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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Life Behind Bars. And an Apron.

I was stabbed in the heart on Tuesday. Okay, not literally, but figuratively I was stabbed in the heart on Tuesday. With words. Words came from the mouth of a woman, they then formed into the shape of a dagger and that dagger was plunged deep into my right ventricle severing my tricuspid valve and rendering my aorta into a useless shiftless chaotic mass of flesh. (A note to nurses and doctors: that sentence probably made no fucking sense at all. Just go with it.) It hurt real bad. The lady certainly didn't mean to drain my life's blood from my soul but it happened. As casually as someone asking to pass me by on an escalator, this woman unknowingly killed my soul.

While interviewing for job, the manager was telling me she wanted to hire "adult servers" because she didn't want any drama coming into her restaurant. I understood what she meant. Sometimes youngins can let their personal lives interfere with their jobs or even let their jobs become their lives while more mature servers don't feel the need to stay after work and socialize with co-workers. I told her that I knew what she meant and she said something like "with all my years in the restaurant business, I can just sense who is going to bring in drama and who isn't." I crossed my fingers under the table and told her that I certainly would not be one who would bring in drama. (I hope she doesn't read this.)"I've been doing this for a long time," said I. She paused. She made eye contact with me. And then she uttered the words that hurt me so deeply. "You're a lifer, aren't you? Like me."

A lifer. Me. A lifer? As in one who has spent their whole life working in restaurants and will continue to do so until they die or retire with no pension and no benefits and only a closet full of aprons to show for their life's work? I pulled the knife from my heart. I took a deep breath and swallowed. "Yes. I am a lifer." I smiled, but inside I was crying at the realization that she may be right. Oh sure, I'm the creative type. I audition, I write, I do shows, I sing, I paint, but the one thing that has been the constant in my life has been my employment in the restaurant industry. I have just never referred to myself as a "lifer."

I thanked the woman for the interview and went on my way. I went into the first deli that I saw to get a bite to eat. In college, when I was depressed, I would go to the little store across the street from school and get three things that always cheered me up. I did that again for the first time in many years. I walked out of the deli with my bag containing a Pepsi, a Butterfinger and Doritos. My three friends who would understand that I was not okay with being called a "lifer." Not that there's anything wrong with being one, it's just that I still have goals. Goals that don't involve trays, aprons and honey mustard and I am not ready to accept that I have drawn this life for myself. After going into my sugar coma and then pulling myself out of it with the Doritos, I looked at my list of the next place to go apply for a job. It was across town. I got on the M102 bus and went up to 23rd street to catch the M23. I felt okay. Bloated, but okay. Maybe I am a lifer. But I am also a writer. And an actor. And I am feeling the need for another Butterfinger right now. A Butterfinger is a goal that is easily achievable and you can help me by clicking here. Thanks.

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Wendy said...

Awww. Bitchy, i feel so bad for you!
Don't worry about that woman; she just needed someone to make her feel better. She needed someone to make her feel like her life wasn't all suckiness, and that maybe she isn't the only one who has no "big profession" goals.

But YOU DO!!!
YOU have GREAT "profession" goals!

You are a Writer!
You are an Actor!
You have Goals!

Besides, soon somebody is gonna step on your toe and you'll *snap* back into being your Wonderful Bitchy Self and CUSS that fucker out!

WE still love you!
And i personally am proud of you for looking for another job in this cold-ass, snowy weather!

dirtydisher said...

Yes, you already are those other creative things.You should have laughed at that woman. I hope you will in the morning.

Nicole said...

Bitchy Waiter,

being a 'lifer' isn't all bad when you love what you do... And working at a restaraunt gives you more credit than you have given yourself (aprons etc) - customer satisfaction, favourite customers yuo want to please, unfavourite customers you want to piss off, a chance to be creative every day with the most essensial product in the world: food!

Plus, without this little job you wouldn't have been able to let yourself be ambitious and try to further your life.

:)))) Nic xxx

California Girl said...

We all do what we have to do and hopefully have time to develop on the side. I wish I could go back to my twenties an start over. I would take so many more chances. But hindsight is 20/20 as they say.

You're a wonderfully witty and popular blogger. That's an accomplishment.

Mary A. said...

Yes. You are a lifer. In that you have a life.

it was a compliment. I think.

Kara Hoag said...

I don't think it can be completely considered a 'lifer' if you make money from other things as well. More of a stable background job.

visions unto myself

The Empress said...

I'm with Kara. You have many talents and interests that you help support by donning that apron. When you are a big, famous author you can title one of your books "Lifer my ass, biotch".
Hugs to you!

Penny Lane said...

I can see how that could be a bit depressing when you use the restaurant business as a place holder while you work to achieve your real dreams.

But here is the thing, you now are aware of how those words hit home so instead of letting them break you, or worse make you fall into a real life "lifer" you can use them to drive you forward!

Bouncin' Barb said...

I'm having my own pity party here and craving M & M's but don't have any. Damn. Hey look at the bright side. You could be a lifetime bum. At least you have a paying job! Kudos.

Anonymous said...

You've made a great impact here on the web, Bitchy. Look how many people read your amazing writing every day (I, for one, spent much of my Christmas break reading over two years of your amazing, hilarious, witty entries on this blog). Just let that comment slide right off of your back!

Anonymous said...

You've made a great impact here on the web, Bitchy. Look how many people read your amazing writing every day (I, for one, spent much of my Christmas break reading over two years of your amazing, hilarious, witty entries on this blog). Just let that comment slide right off of your back!

Martin said...

My friend, I'm now 60, and slingin' books at B&N for minimum wage. But I love it. I had some good jobs, and some lousy ones, that ran from lobbyist with great travel perks, to travel agent, everything in the restaurant business except owning, and just about the same in the retail and wholesale book trade.

You're in one of the great cities of the world, making a living at what you, at heart, enjoy enough that you're not trying to drive a cab instead, and entertaining a whole bunch of us with your wit and perspicacity. Thanks

purplegirl said...

I'm starting to be afraid I might be a lifer too. *cringe*

Eden said...

I choose to reject the concept that one is defined by the way they bring in income to pay bills. I have never decided what I am going to do when I grow up and at 34 have realized that I want to DO lots of things (and people) and have just started at the top of the list and work my way down. At the moment, its to be a writer, so I write. Who knows or cares what JOB I do to support me while I DO what I want to do.

I am a lifer or LIFE!

Practical Parsimony said...

A lifer? Sentenced to be where you are and have no hope of ever going anywhere else? Well, from what I have read this is not the case with you at all. You have an interesting life. You don't seem bitter or resentful that you are a waiter, so you can do the things you really love. If you were not a waiter, you probably would not have this hilarious blog. After all, without the experiences you have, you might not find material to

Don't work for her. She is just too negative. She would probably cry on your shoulder too much, be harsh, and find fault with everyone because she is bitter about her lot in life.

Robin said...

Damn. I am not sure if you can check the folks that have visited through one of those ISP thingy's,but I have had you on my Fav's for at least 2 yrs, and check in on you 4 times a week at the very least.

That said, This isn't the Whiney Waiter. You have a sort of a brand now. Don't change it. It is working for you. You don't want folks to feel sorry for you and your lot in life. It goes against the Bitchy Waiter idea, wouldn't you say?

Wishing You All The Best. Robin

Robin said...

PS, Of course, part of the bitchines is because you would rather be doing something else, I get that part. But we don't want to feel sorry for you.

sally said...

This was a lot more than an insult. This was a warning sign and a gift. Don't work for a place that would employ a woman who doesn't like--and actually is ashamed of--what she does for a living. This woman told you who she was in the first 10 minutes of knowing her, so take her for her word and stay away from her negative and unhappy energy.
There are plenty of restaurants out there where the employees are proud of what they do because it's hard work, it DOES take skill; and it takes A TON of skill to do well. Thanks to your expertise, you are able to choose from the best of them. Keep your head up bitchy, and remember, EVERYONE is a lifer at something!
ps. listening to bob dylan sometimes helps!

Karen S. said...

Hey you have to love who you are. I hear people say all the time, what's your real job? Or, when are you going to get a real job? I have done other things, but yes I must be a lifer too, and you know what I love every minute of it, yeah there are days that customers or co-workers get you well less than happy, but what job doesn't have that! I say everytime I realize something about me is a good day...I enjoy me and the things that I do! Go for it lifer, we can work and go home and forget about it (usually) and come back and do it all over again! I love it!

holly said...

I worked as a waitress for years, and then got a desk job. And now, every time I'm at a restaurant, I wish I was a waitress instead.

Do what you love. And remember that you are defined by much more than your job.