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Monday, September 27, 2010

Proud Waiter Keeps on Rollin'

Have you ever had to wait on someone you really didn't want to? No, I don't mean that lady with the cold sores all over her mouth or that gaggle of stroller moms. I'm talking about someone you knew that you just could not face being their server. It can be awkward when someone from another part of your life turns up in your station and you suddenly are their subservient.

Many years ago when I worked at the Black Eyed Pea in Houston on Highway 290, someone came into my station who looked familiar to me. It was this guy from high school. Let's call him Guy. Guy was Mr. High School. He was popular, handsome, a cheerleader, smart, and he dated the girl that I thought I was in love with. (Dawn, are you reading this?) He was everything I wanted to be and he kinda made me sick in that jealous-I-want-your-life kinda way. And suddenly he is sitting in my station and I am about to have to go ask him if wants rolls or cornbread. I looked down at my uniform and noticed the gravy and butter stains on it and then looked at Guy who was wearing a suit and tie and was with three other men in business attire. I regressed back to high school on the day when we were having our school photos taken and I had forgotten. Guy was wearing this really cool purple sweater that I coveted and I was wearing some stupid ass t-shirt.

"Can someone please take table 14 for me? I can't do it?"
"Why? You're not even busy. It's four men in suits. You don't want it?"

I just couldn't do it. I was embarrassed. I had left high school to go to college in another state to study the theater and make it as an actor. Years passed, and I was back in Texas waiting tables and here was Guy. In a suit. During the lunch rush. In my mind at the time, wearing a suit and going to lunch at noon meant success. He certainly wasn't a waiter, that's for sure. When he left, I watched him drive away in his fancy Chrysler LeBaron which he had parked right next to my old Honda Civic. I went into the bathroom to splash some reality on my face and went on with my day. I felt like a loser. A gravy stained, chicken fried steak smellin' loser.

This was years ago. I have changed. Yes, I still wait tables and as much as I bitch about it, I know the reason I do it. I do it because I still remember what I wanted to be when I grew up: an actor. If Guy came into my station now, I would be proud to wait on him because I would be able to say that I am still pursuing my dream. It may not look like I have that much success to someone who is ordering a cocktail from me, but I know that the level of success I have surpasses many others in this world. I think just the fact that I still dream and hope and try says a lot about a person's achievements. If Guy was in my station, he may be a lawyer or a banker or some other bullshit boring ass profession like that, but I guarantee that when he was 16 years old, he didn't want to grow up to be that. I am what I wanted to be: an actor. An actor who supplements his income by waiting tables, but an actor nonetheless And that is a major achievement. So today, let us all be proud of ourselves for doing what we do. We have this job that allows us to make a decent living and it also gives us the opportunity to do other things. We can continue our educations, we can take extra days off, we can pick up extra shifts if we want to make extra money, we don't have to think about our jobs once we punch out and we can carry a tray like nobody' fucking business.

Yes, I am a waiter. A bitchy waiter. But a proud one because this job lets me be what I want to be more than anything in the whole world: a creative, happy, young at heart, financially stable actor. And all those Guys out there? They can keep their Chrysler LeBaron's. I have my dreams.

Do me a favor. If you like this post, share it with someone. Let's see how many people we can get to comment that they too are proud of their bitchy ass waiting tables job.



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36 comments:

b said...

I needed to hear this. Thank you. Not that I'm a waiter, but I'm kind of stuck between pursuing-your-dreams-and-failing or becoming-educated-as-a-back-up-and-then-pursuing-dreams.
Shit, that was a lot of hyphens.

Sandra said...

You are wonderful.

I'm grateful to be employed even though I don't like my barely over minimum wage job answering phones for someone else. However, this brainless job affords me the opportunity to work and grow in music. I'm proud of my achievements and I'm proud of you, Bitchy Waiter! Thanks for writing about this. You are loved.

Donda said...

Very well said. You forgot to mention you are a entertaining writer.

Simple Dude said...

Great post. I actually just had a high school reunion this past weekend. Going into it I had this plan to try to inflate my professional situation if I got into any real conversations with people who I would have wanted to impress all those years ago.

But I discovered a funny thing has happened to all of us... life. All those people who I wanted to be more like have become real people. Divorces, kids, mortgages, jobs they hate have all played a part in changing who they are and making them more real. It's funny how life has a way of humbling people.

It has given me some good blog inspiration for this week.

SD
http://simpledudecomplexworld.blogspot.com/

Kalei's Best Friend said...

I am so sorry u felt like that years ago... I am glad your thinking has changed.. Even tho Mr. Purple looked happy and successful, who is to say how he was on the inside? bTW not only an entertaining writer but one who voices it well.

Lolamouse said...

BRAVO!!! You're not only an actor, you're a talented writer, a humorist, an artist, and (I won't tell too many people) a nice person as well. And you never know, the Guy in the suit may have been out on job interviews because his dot.com job just crashed around his ankles and he spent all his money on his Le Baron!

Just Plain Tired said...

It's all about being content with your lot in life. If you're doing something that makes you happy, then thats success.

California Girl said...

You know, both my sons wait tables and one is putting himself through college and the other is just finding himself; figuring out what he wants. They get tired and "bitchy" about the work but, for the most part, they like their co-workers, the hours, the tips and the flexibility. They are good at their work and I am proud when I see how they interact with customers. They are professionals and they are learning a great deal about life and people and I think they realize that.

Mary A. said...

You are 100% on point.

In my book, if you are (legally)paying your own way & not sucking up my tax money, you rock. Don't care if you wait tables, rent cars, answer phones, try cases. . .whatev.

And your writing is supurb. I'll bet your acting is even better.

Sauce said...

I love my waiting job and I'm not afraid to admit it at all. There was a time when I felt like it made me a failure, but I had a realization very much like your own.

Everyone bitches about their job, but that doesn't mean we don't really loved them deep down.

And as a side note I make more as a "stupid waitress" than I ever did at my degree required desk job.

Jennifer Scavone said...

that reminds me of my own humiliating moments. =/

Anonymous said...

I can honestly say that I make more money than any other person I went to college with that has a boring desk job. I am a bartender/waitress... and I can work half the hours for twice the money of any moronic "executive assistant". You know what, biotch? You are a SECRETARY. SECRETARY not executive anything.
People always look down and call people who are older and still waiting tables "lifers"... well congratulations to those of you who left the restaurants and went on to be some corporate assholes bitch. The only difference is now you have to buy expensive clothes in which to serve some asshole coffee. How's corporate America suckas?????

Jennifer said...

I agree with this completely. I think it is wonderful that you are not giving up on your dream. Keep it up!! I think that no one should be ashamed of the work they do. At least they are working for a living. Keep your head up and be proud of every accomplishment!

You should check out my blog if you get a chance. I started it not too long ago, so it is still in the beginning stages, but any feedback is appreciated!
http://lifeisshortbyjenn.blogspot.com/

Mark W said...

There was a cheerleader named Guy at my high school, too. He was absolutely breath taking. I heard that he grew up to have a belly and a bad mustache.

But, boy, do I have a story I could share with you about that cheerleader...

Mark W said...

There was a cheerleader named Guy at my high school, too. He was absolutely breath taking. I heard that he grew up to have a belly and a bad mustache.

But, boy, do I have a story I could share with you about that cheerleader...

Gabriele Agustini said...

A very poignant post.
And it was nice to see the softer side of you. :)
I will, most definitely, pass it on!!

Wendy said...

Aww, Bitchy. That's sweet!

Why do some people think that waiting tables is "beneath them"? The VAST MAJORITY of Mothers do it (at home) for years and YEARS, and they don't even get any tips, other than slobbery kisses.

It's not like you're doing Heroin or sellin' Crack... Right?

And there is NO price to STILL Following Your Dreams!
=-)

Elora81 said...

Words I need to read, thank you. You have fans (more than 3000!!!!), dreams and love, what do you want more? (And don't say money it's too easy!!)

The Ranter's Box said...

Lovely post. And thank you for doing what you do. If you were some boring office drone then maybe we wouldn't all be so lucky to be able to be entertained by all of your wonderful writing.
Big hugs, The Empress

http://rantersbox.blogspot.com

zeebee said...

I know that feeling so well. I used to work with this guy, we went out, I had his kid, he buggered off. Now he doesn't see the kid, but I still have to serve the ass with a smile on my face.

I make that smile say 'I'm only serving you because you're a dick and I'm better than you. And we have no other tills right now.'

Eleanor said...

I'm not evn a waitress, I work at a salad bar. minimum wage and shitty ungrateful customers, but the people i work with are cool and it lets me study part time towards becoming a jeweller. so go the crappy food industry jobs, becase if nothing else, they're a daily reminder that we were going to do something better

Corina 1.0 said...

Bravo Bitchy! I don't do food service anymore, just other service jobs, but thanks for the uplift! I really love how you write!

Mthoko said...

You forgot one thing though, your former classmate is also not a celebrity blogger with thousands of followers!

http://msibanda.blogspot.com

tina said...

Great post.....and oh so true!!

carmar76 said...

Yes, be proud of who you are! Love it! This post made me happy.

Kim H said...

Amen!

yogurt said...

i hope everything will go well for you.... :)

Laura said...

That was so lovely and well-written. It made me tear up a bit.

The Well-Fed Spirit said...

This was an awesome post! I, too, almost cried because I know how it is to feel unworthy or inferior. I think we all have learned a valuable lesson right along with you: you are perfect just the way you are. Your complete an utter happiness is all that truly matters. Bravo!

jnana said...

Respect to you! :)

Ela said...

Damn straight! You shouldn't be ashamed of what you do. I am in complete agreement with you on this one.

dirtydisher said...

You are an actor. You also humor us by writing about being a waiter. Thank goodness you still serve, I can't imagine an actor's life being as amusing as a server's. You do it for us.

B.Graham said...

my support-my-theatre-career job is a 9-to-5, and often when I go to lunch with my coworkers I wish I was still waiting tables

ps my word verification is "mating"

Julie Buz. said...

This is a beautiful post, and you are SO right. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

So, you're saying it's okay to be a waiter because you're REALLY an actor? How about it's okay to be a waiter just because it's okay?

Robert T said...

I am a 48 year old server in my last semester of college, and I am proud to say that this lowly profession made that dream possible. I would gladly wait on anyone (even my version of "Guy")and tell him/her how wonderful AND awful this journey has been. I was a restaurant manager for many years and thought I could make "easy money" by waiting on tables while I got my education. I now have a lot more respect for all servers, and I am sorry for judging some so harshly in my management career. Thanks for always saying what we all think!