Mimi Pond Knows From Waitressing

And dishes it up perfectly in her new 'Over Easy' graphic novel

Mimi Pond Knows From Waitressing

Experience shows and experience knows.

Having spent, in another life, thirteen years waiting tables in Austin's Magnolia Cafe (no, the one on Lake Austin Boulevard), I can hereby attest that Mimi Pond knows exactly what she's talking about – drawing about, here – when it comes to the more working-class, non-franchised end of the food-service industry.

The weeds of mealtime rushes, the relentless coffee refills, the hungover double-shifts, the drugs, the often contentious floor/kitchen divide, the musical-chairsesque sexual hookups with co-workers and customers, the drugs, and every shift's final insult-to-injury known as closing sidework: Pond captures the entire grease-stained, Bunn-o-Matic'd spectacle perfectly.

[Note: Yes, I know I said "the drugs" twice. Whattaya think, I'm some kind of fucking idiot?]

Over Easy, the sixth of Pond's cartoon books, is the first one that's a solid, single narrative – and we can only hope there'll be more like it. A sort of fictionalized memoir, this lovingly rendered tale follows young art-school student Madge who, suddenly bereft of scholarship funds, takes a job at The Imperial Cafe and is quickly entangled in the myriad dramas and dreams (and drugs) that come with food-ferrying drudgery. Specifically: Food-ferrying drudgery in a diner in Oakland, California, in the late Seventies. (The transitional culture depicted – the last hurrah of the hippies and the first raucous yawp of punk – is a bonus.) This is also the first Pond book from Drawn & Quarterly, the Canadian publishing house that makes books to last and to be cherished, and so of course it's afforded the excellent production values such fine work deserves.

Go ahead, buy a copy for yourself and your favorite waitron: Mimi Pond's Over Easy will 86 the blues after the lousiest shift of any year.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Mimi Pond, Over Easy, Drawn & Quarterly, waitressing, foodservice, The Seventies, Oakland, diner culture, The Imperial Cafe

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