I finally quit my job as a waitress to pursue what I want to do with my life full-time.
Don’t get me wrong; waiting tables is a wonderful purgatory between phases of life spent in the company of kindred souls. Servers are a simple people whose appetite is satisfied from feeding our customers, knowing that they leave feeling fuller than when they first arrived. We are patient, indulging substitutions of angel hair pasta because we understand how it feels to want more than what is offered.
However, what was once carousel ride with predictable regulars has spiraled out of a place of routine comfort and into monotony.
It begins at four o’clock with the elderly couples whose primary concern is maintaining a well-groomed hedge fund. Then, the gangly high school students scavenge for lunch items at five because they can neither afford nor pronounce beef bourguignon. By seven, the young parents escape for a bite to eat to complain about their bosses and children (one of whom will still be greeted with a mudslide cookie despite being a “snot-nosed brat”).
Then, twenty minutes to close, it’s the young professional crowd who have either come straight from work or are headed to a fraternity mixer. The men’s ties dance in the juice of T-bone steak and the girls split their bodycon dresses emphasizing that they only want “a half of a pump of sugar-free syrup in their nonfat caramel latte, puhlease.”
Nine-thirty strikes. The soups go away, the coffee goes away, the customers are long gone. It’s only you, left alone in an empty dining room to polish silverware and self-reflect in a tarnished butter knife.
Your comrades have untied their apron strings to attend law school, to see the world as a flight attendant, or finally settle down and retire. They have recognized that they too are are worth more than the suggested fifteen percent and you wonder what it is that you’re still waiting for.
Those cookies that we tack on with the bill are a little reminder that something sweeter will always await you on the other side.
“Waiting” is the introduction to a series of waitressing anecdotes that I will be sharing in a series called “Guest Checks”.
Originally published at www.theoliveeye.com.