Photo: Alanna Rizza

The Regulars: The life of a Ram in the Rye waiter

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By Linsey Raschkowan

The stomach of an Eyeopener writer was not the only thing lost on a Tuesday evening, last November. I mopped up the vaguely orange scented vomit (a product of the Ram’s Flaming Engineer cocktail) with a coworker and we said goodbye to our innocence. It was the first time both of us had to clean up puke. We laughed a lot that night, mainly because neither of us really knew how to go about it; do you use a broom? Or a mop? Or paper towel?

We ended up needing all three.

I had been working at the Ram for around two and a half years  at that point, and sometimes the job gets a little more complicated than serving drinks and cleaning vomit.

First year, my floor manager found me crying in the stairwell, strained under the pressure of my academic workload, something I wasn’t familiar with at that point. It’s something I’m not ashamed of now, especially having spoken to other students who tell me they’ve experienced the same stress. When I returned to my work, I found he had taken over my responsibilities.

He’s found many people crying, as it turns out.  University is hard, things get rough sometimes. I am reminded of this throughout my experience at the Ram. 

I accept comforting as a duty, sometimes. A lot of students come in who have taken on too much. We find many of them crying in corners. Sometimes the comfort we give to fellow students isn’t just serving them alcohol; sometimes it’s the ‘I feel you’ comment when students stay for five hours to finish an assignment.

In my fourth year, it makes me feel kind of old. I’ve literally been able to see the years passing by. It’s exciting to watch giant groups of students come in to experience their first nights out in Toronto.

It’s hard to keep track of all the people that come and go, but some things stick out. My favourites are the young cuties who sidle up to me, asking to pay for their friend’s meal in secret. Another is the mysterious man who comes into the bar every once in a while and subtly picks up everyone’s bar tab in what I can only imagine is out of pure kindness and nostalgia.

No one is wilder than engineers—I assume it has something to do with “work hard, play harder.”

One year, a fashion student passed out at one of our tables during breakfast. His friends tried aimlessly to wake him. They had apparently been up all night finishing assignments and had just returned from their first exam. One of his fellow students told me it’s common in such a demanding program. It’s easy to sympathize with the people who come in just to ease their minds off of the workloads they take on. When I first started working at the Ram, another server told me it was where she finally found her group of friends, and in many ways this has been true for me as well. There’s a feeling of solidarity between all of us—we understand the pressures of school life. Many of the servers at the Ram are, or were previously, students. It’s one of the reasons why I took a job there, other than the necessary paycheck.

The Ram has offered me a safe space throughout my years at Ryerson. Whether it’s been to vent, cry, stress out and reconcile with my academic career—it’s the kind of space made for students. Everyone on staff knows the feeling of having too much to do and not enough resources to do it. But when you need to decompress after getting through a long cram sesh, the Ram will always be here. Just don’t have too many Flaming Engineers.

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