Omnivore - The waitress anxiety dream: Will it never end?

The restaurant stress dream that won't leave me alone


It happened again last night. For the first time in years. The waitress anxiety dream.

It's always the same. I am training at a new job, but no one has really shown me how to use the POS system. My first table comes in and sits. I get to the point where I've delivered their drinks and taken their food orders when the rest of the section begins to fill up. Because I don't know the computer system well, it takes me forever to enter the first table's order. Everything I have to do in the back gets fumbled - it takes me what seems like hours to get anything done. I have three and four and five tables I haven't even been to yet, waiting in my section. Etc, etc.

These dreams seem to last the length of an entire shift, and they're incredibly detailed. I could draw you a floor plan of the restaurant from my dream last night, complete with table numbers (this was a kinder dream than some, where I have no idea what the table numbers are but must try to deliver food anyway). I know the menu and the orders I took. I woke up in the middle of the dream and groaned - ugh, this is NOT restful. But I fell back asleep and continued right where I left off except my thoughtless time-wasting had put me even more in the weeds.

I haven't waited tables in almost ten years, but I expect to have these dreams until I die. And while I've worked other stressful jobs - in fact, I've had many jobs that were, in my awake life, far more stressful than waiting tables - but none of them have stayed with me in this way, the stress embedded into my subconscious for decades.

Is this universal? Or just me?