It's a syndrome. Waitrons often have nightmares .. their stations expand, they can't find their checkbook, they are totally lost, their food orders never come out of the kitchen. A waitress in Provincetown once told me a funny story ... not about a nightmare, but a day-mare: "I was waiting tables at the Post Office Cafe. It was the Fourth of July weekend. I was a horrible waitress .. just never got the hang of it. Before every shift I got so nervous, butterflies in my stomach, and would feel like I was going to throw up. Going to work felt like stepping into a nightmare which I had to face and live through. On the 4th I was so afraid of going to work that M.B. [a well-known hostess at another restaurant] handed me a pill and said, 'Here .. take this .. it'll help you get through the day.' It was a blue valium. I popped it, took a sip of my coffee, and set off for work. A half-hour later I was wandering up and down amongst the tables, my arms full of plates of eggs, crying, asking people if any of this belonged to them!"
I haven't waited tables for something like 25 years but I still will have a waiter nightmare about once a year.