“In the weeds” was cocktail waitress speak for pre-Broadway hour. Back in the 1980’s, my shift began at 4pm with the lighting and distribution of candles on small round glass tables in the Broadway Lounge of the Marriott. The lounge sported a view of Times Square and it was moving. Literally. The room moved. It was one of those 360 rooms that slowly, ever so slowly rotated so that each customer sitting at a table in its perimeter would, at some point, get a view of the bright lights and magic happening eight stories below. By 6pm, the room would begin to buzz. It was busy. Loud. Hoppin. A couple who was on my right side at two o’clock might be at three o’clock by the time the drinks were ready at the bar for pick up. Did I mention the customers were moving? You had to stay on your toes. If you were having an off day, and couldn’t stay on your toes, you’d be in the weeds. And that was not a good thing. There would be unhappy people without their pina coladas, customers demanding their checks, and tourists with expensive Broadway show tickets worried they’d be late for curtain. All at once. The trick was to ask another waitress who wasn’t as busy for help, before you were in the weeds. Before the crisis hit. You’d have to split your tip of course and give up a few tables, but you’d also get to keep your stress at a reasonable level…and your job.
I’m glad my waitressing days are over, but at times I still find myself in the weeds. I have to remind myself that it is okay to ask for help, delegate work, and say no to new projects to keep myself healthy mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This week I felt the overload coming, so I made a pre-emptive strike. I hired someone to do some sheet music proofing for me (something I normally do myself). Instead of buying, lifting and spreading sixty 40 lb bags of mulch this past Spring, I had a local gardener who was looking for work do it. (My garden is happier and I have more time to do the garden tasks I love.) When I was overwhelmed with an upcoming photo shoot, I hired a professional stylist to get my hair and make-up just right instead of doing it myself. When I found myself frustrated with the amount of time it was taking to re-design some marketing materials, I called a freelancer and handed the project over. Yes, often delegating costs money, but this buys me more time at the piano, with family, an hour or so each day to exercise, which are priorities.
And for those of you who thought this post was going to help you with those weeds in the garden? Sorry. I can’t really help you there. I just pull them out old-school style, one by one…