“I govern my life around my own personal code of ethics, and I suggest that you do the same.”
Mitch (John Francis Daley) just got a job at Shenaniganz, a restaurant that lives up to its name. Shadowing his trainer, Monty (Ryan Reynolds), Mitch gets a glimpse of what his life will be like when he is working as a server. Between drug-addled busboys and rowdy cooks and sexual innuendo and a total lack of work-life balance, Mitch soon understands that being a server is a chaotic way of life.
A mental health expert with no serving experience may have a lot to say about this particular bunch of assholes, but the truth is that Waiting… depicts a chillingly accurate server lifestyle. I worked as a server back in the day and literally everyone in this movie was one of my coworkers.
In case you are wondering, Readers, I was sort of a weird cross-breed between Dean (Justin Long), Naomi (Alanna Ubach), and Calvin (Robert Patrick Benedict). I had Dean’s inferiority complex and Naomi’s unsubstantiated anger, mixed with Calvin’s neuroses…but this is not about me.
There is one specific problem of Calvin’s that was luckily not something I had to worry about.
After a surreal encounter at a urinal, Calvin becomes unable to use the restaurant restroom. Tasked with working a double shift, keeping a lid on his liquids is a daunting prospect. Calvin shares his woes with Bishop (Chi McBride), a guru-like cook, who guides Calvin through a solution. It turns out, though, that Calvin’s problem is a real one.
Paruresis or “shy bladder” can affect anyone and is considered a type of social anxiety disorder. Calvin seems like the kind of guy who carries his anxiety around like a dull sword; he feels protected because it is, after all, a sword, but its dullness means that when he has to fend off a real threat, the anxiety does not actually come in very handy. The more Calvin stresses about having to pee and worrying if someone else is watching him try to pee, the more temperamental he grows.
Calvin is clearly one of the most clueless workers at Shenaniganz. He works too hard and works too much, covering for a server named Kristy who will not give Calvin the time of day. Though the other servers speculate that Calvin needs to work on self-confidence, harassing Calvin about it probably makes things worse for him.
The good news is that Calvin is not alone. In fact, there is even an International Paruresis Association, or IPA, which is probably not something you want to drink if you have paruresis since alcohol makes most people have to GO. Calvin does not seem like the kind of guy who drinks on the job, but anyone becomes antsy when they have to use the restroom and cannot. In most situations, Calvin is probably fine, but when he spends all his time at work and only has access to a public restroom, the results could be catastrophic.
What is clear about Calvin is that if he gradually gets more comfortable using the Shenaniganz bathroom – a process called exposure therapy – then he could become less uptight in general. Going to the bathroom is not something most people want to worry about, and Calvin has a lot of worries in excess of this pee problem. Once Calvin gets past the barrier caused by urinary issues, he might be more confident by extent because he will not constantly be burdened by the need to use a bathroom without waiting…to pee.