As a young child I spent a lot of time hypothesizing about what I want to be when I grow up as we are forced to do in grade school. The first thing I wanted to be was a muder (also known as a mother). Then, I moved on and wanted to be a teacher. By the time I got to third grade I abandoned those pansy womenly jobs and decided I was going to be a marine biologist, a career path that was decided after the debut of Free Willy. But that quickly changed in the same year, the big year of 1993 when Jurassic Park came out. Then I had decided once and for all that I would be an archaeologist. And if I were to psychoanalyze that thought process, you know watching humans get eaten by dinosaurs and then wanting to be that thing, I must have always had deranged tendencies rampant in my extracurricular thoughts.
There is one career that I always knew I didn't want to be and that is the career of a waitress. I liked the aprons they wore and they were usually pretty but I had no clue how I was going to remember all of those specials without reading them off a piece of paper. Some waitresses had to say three or four different things complete with descriptions without looking at anything! And to a bunch of strangers to boot! Yikes. That part of the job was way too scary.
But then, low and behold, when I got to high school and for 12 consecutive years there after, I have been and still am, a diligent and dedicated (maybe) waitress.
I guess I conquered my fears.
But what I wanted to tell you about was this internal moment I had just days ago when I was biking home from a brunch shift at a restaurant I just started working in.
This is what happened.
I was biking on my bike. It is a 1.6 mile commute and sometimes most times I don't wear my helmet because it is so close. But that actually makes little sense because there are still cars that could hit me within those 1.6 miles. Don't tell my dad that I do that. Please don't.
Anyhoo, so I am riding my bike home from brunch and I was a little drunk because I drank one beer while I was folding napkins. It was a Six Point Crisp, which is a hip beer brewed in Brooklyn and it comes in a very cold can. So I was riding my bike home without a helmet and I was a little drunk (don't tell my dad) and so naturally I started to get pretty heady. You know, my thoughts in my head stuff. I will try to remember what happened in it.
God damn it, Bronstein is such a pushy bitch! So big whoop if I added an extra piece of bread to the ticket even though the frittata already came with a piece of bread. Hell, I didn't know! I mean I guess I should know that but when you have a bajillion things going on and someone is jabbering in your ear following your every move, saying "uh Meredith, you know that the fritatta already comes with a piece of bread and so adding it to the ticket is really pointless. Ba deeb baba ba doo da ya ya..." Ok I realize that maybe that was a legitimate thing to tell me but then when I accidentally dropped the chicken sandwich I was wrapping up to go because I thought I could balance it in my hands ----
HOLY COW, a stretch hummer! Who needs that putrid looking thing! Why is it in Brooklyn!
---and we have the dumbest grossest way of packing things up to go because aluminum foil is gross and wasteful and to just wrap a slop of leftover eggs in it is really nasto-rama. Those people probably open their aluminum leftovers and just throw them away because who is going to lick the horseradish cream sauce off the top of it. Then when Bronstein told me I was dumb for dropping the chicken sandwich I felt really dumb. I don't know if she told me I was dumb but I felt dumb and I am sure I would have felt that way even if she hadn't acknowledged the drop. It wasn't like I intended to drop the stupid thing.---
WOAH, look how sweaty that man's back is, I wonder what he was lifting! It's not that hot out!
---And who really gives a crapola if I forgot to put the side of ketchup on the plate with the side of potatoes. By the time I got to the table I realized it myself and the last thing I freaking need is someone breathing down my throat saying, "Um Meredith the potatoes get a side of ketchup with them." God, I just wanna yak up a lugie thinking about the snarky tone in her voice and then one would think----
YIKES! Wet leaves on the road with this bike! I could totally skid and hit my helmet-less head off of the pavement. I can see it now! Strangers would have to figure out who I am and then figure out who to call. Who would they call? I don't have anything on my person that says who to call if I die. Would they call the first number in my phone? Nisse? How do they know where I live? My roommates would just realize after a week or so that I haven't come home. Shit, life is so scary without a mom. No ones knows about me here. Who am I? I don't know anyone here! I'm alone!
---Ugh and Bronstein! When service was over I thought she would ease up on barking orders at me but noo..."Uh, Meredith, did you polish all of the water glasses? Did you count how many you brought up in the beginning of service? Did you ask Santos to wash them? Did you...? Did you...? Lady, of course I didn't do any of that because I have been so focussed on listening to your pushy bossy voice the whole time!!! I just wanted to scream, I AAAAAMMMMAAAA. GIve a sista time. UGH. Restaurants! Why am I working here? I have a dumb degree this is so lame and dumb and people are bossy why are people so bossy!---
And I don't even wanna go to Nisse's party. It will be so scary and I hate talking to people. I won't know anyone and all they will talk about is sharing resources and society this and politico that. Gag me.
----It felt so good when I could finally just chillax and fold napkins and drink a beer and they made that bomb ass sweet potato salad so I didn't have to buy food. And holy hell, money. Cash money, bitches. $225 bucks right in me palms. That's what I'm talking about.----
I can't believe Yoshi still hasn't removed those gnarly mops from his fire escape. He has lived in that room for 8 months and it would just take one second. Grody!
By then I was home so my head sort of stopped. I started to get more rational. I think.
I was thinking about when I opened the cupboard underneath the POS system in order to put my napkins in just before I left the restaurant. There are supposed to be 10 stacks of 30 napkins. I had contributed two stacks that day. But when I put my stack in, I couldn't get over the fact that my stack was so leany and uneven and the napkins I folded bulged out and some were way thicker than others. And when I looked at the other stacks, like the ones that Bronstein folded, they were so neat and orderly and flat. Every napkin looked like the next. Just like a nice solid community of napkins hanging out in the dark cupboard. Then I felt bad for my stacks because they were probably being judged by the neat stacks. I bet all the neat stacks were talking about my bulgey stacks like, "Ew those stacks really need to get themselves together. Who let them in here all chaotic and distraught?" Judging, judging.
And then I felt insecure because whoever came into the cupboard to use the stacks next was clearly going to know which ones were mine. And that's when I decided I was being irrational about the whole Bronstein barking in my ear all day thing.
You know, that's when I thought, hey, we are team, we should all be on the same page, doing the same thing, putting in the same amount of work, holding each other accountable because we all want the same thing out of this. We all want the cash money and the cold can of beer. Bronstein can bark in my ear all she wants. Otherwise, maybe I wouldn't realize that the frittata already comes with bread. It doesn't seem that interesting to recognize.
That day, home alone, I decided I was gonna keep working on making my napkins straight so that they fit in with the rest.