Last night I was reminded again why I have so much respect for good servers: it is a very hard job to do well. On weeknights like this, I generally float between the front of the house and the back of the house, doing whatever needs to be done, so I see what's going on in the front of the house much more than chefs whose sole domain is the kitchen.
Last night, we weren't all that busy, but everything happened at once. There was a point when things turned suddenly from going very smoothly to the entire dining room being needy. I don't mean this in a bad way and it's not a reflection on our customers; it's just that every single table needed some attention at the same time.
This is when servers earn their money. The ability to remember fifteen things while doing six and prioritizing another five, all while chatting with a table and hearing the kitchen calling for pickup, and noticing all the water and wine glasses in your section while maintaining your total cool, that ability is priceless. Very few people can do it and even fewer can do it well.
I don't think customers even noticed how busy we were on the floor last night, but that's the trick, isn't it? When there's a good crew on the floor, it all seems effortless and nearly invisible. That's the magic of the server's trade. So to all you great servers out there, I know firsthand how hard you work and how difficult your job really is. Just know that everyone thinks he can do your job better than you can, but only one in a thousand might be able to. Keep doing what you do!