The commute was always the best part of my day, and then later on, the best part of my night: ripping on a deserted western Massachusetts road, cow pastures on both sides, that rich stink of manure coming in through the vents on my helmet. I would leave around four in the afternoon. That used to be my morning: wake up after 12, drink coffee on the sun-soaked porch, smack away the encroaching morning glories that were swallowing my house whole, then slowly, resentfully, get it together. Black, always black. Black pants, black shirt, black eyeliner. Black helmet. I rode into town like a carefree mutt with its head out the window, momentarily forgetting that I was chained to the night of service ahead. To the customers' demands, the chef's wandering hands, the burning-hot plates stacked on my forearms, the wineglasses threaded through my fingers, and the dishwasher's petulant rage. Arriving always hurt a little—the leash yanked taut. How many mournful cigarettes can one woman smoke before dinner service begins? How many longing glances can she cast at her chrome chariot, wedged between the dumpster and the folding chairs? Finally, the show. No time for wistful gazes in the alley. Would you like to start with drinks? Fresh ground pepper on that? The chef recommends medium rare.