14 Observations About Working At A Restaurant From Mimi Pond’s Graphic Memoir

Pond’s new fictionalized comic diary shows what it’s like to work at a punky 70’s Oakland diner.Over Easy’ comes out with Drawn & Quarterly at bookstores on April 15.

1. You start at the bottom.

Mimi Pond

2. But beg for the job nonetheless.

Mimi Pond

3. To bussers and dishwashers, the waitstaff are the stars of the restaurant.

Mimi Pond

4. The kitchen’s always spying on the floor.

Mimi Pond

5. And waitstaff gets punished for the kitchen’s blunders.

Mimi Pond

6. Everyone knows the entire sexual biographies of their coworkers—

Mimi Pond

7. —As well their hopes and insecurities—

Mimi Pond

8. —Professional stress, and drug habits.

Mimi Pond

9. Brunch shifts are a nightmare.

Mimi Pond

10. The growth of kitchen filth deserves its own Newtonian law.

Mimi Pond

11. Waitress’ perk: eating beyond your means.

Kevin Tang

12. This is your dispersion tactic at closing hour:

Mimi Pond

13. And at closing time:

Mimi Pond

14. Being promoted to waiter/waitress at a prime hour is a momentous occasion.

Mimi Pond

Mimi Pond’s ‘Over Easy’ is as much about kitchen zen as it is about coming of age in the 70’s. In this fictionalized comic memoir, Mimi’s alter ego drops out of art school and works for the eccentric proprietor of an Oakland diner. A lot of our pop culture elegizes 70’s free love and mellowness, but Mimi (being somewhat spiritually East Coast) finds herself ill at ease among the her generation’s Daisy Deadheads and macrobiotic hug-lords. She feels much more at home among the Imperial Cafe’s gruff, hard-drinking staff.

The comic does not at all glamorize restaurant work life, but it does show how service jobs in neighborhood spots once brought you into the warm fold of a community, where turnover was more languid, people remembered your names and earnestly dole out life advice. There’s a tactile thrill to reading about the down and dirty of 70’s kitchen life that makes me want to abandon my computer forever.

Mimi Pond wrote the first episode of ‘The Simpsons,’ as well as several episodes of ‘Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.’ She’s been a staff cartoonist for Los Angeles Times, Village Voice and Seventeen. She also inspired Mike Judge’s cartooning:

Great article about Mimi Pond, a big influence on me early on. Also mentioned her in my list of influences, NY Mag: http://t.co/97e4Z1cPnT

— MikeJudge (@Mike Judge)

The book comes out with Drawn & Quarterly on April 15. By the way, the Imperial Cafe is still open as Mama’s Royal in Oakland.

Mimi Pond

 

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