Waitress with an English Degree

I’d rather be labeled a server, actually, and that’s what the restaurant would prefer as well — keeps things upscale, would never want to be mistaken for the kind of place that serves fried chicken and has a waitstaff that will gladly sit at the booth with you while you order. And I’m fortunate to have landed at the kind of place where I have to wear a tie and have my hair in order, it keeps me feeling somewhat accomplished.

For at least a couple of years now I’ve touted the principle that a college education is The Fastest Way Out of Poverty (!) and that I’d one day be helping the undervalued youth of the nation find their way into the academic institutions I’ve put so much faith in. I’ve read plenty of idealistic literature recounting the accomplishments of men and women who have started schools in the kind of impoverished places I romanticize, who have solved the tuberculosis crises in the helpless nations of the Southern Hemisphere, who have Made The Road By Walking, who believe in a Preferential Option for the Poor, and I at twenty, armed with the skills of proper semicolon use and thesis statement formation, wanted to join their ranks.

But it’s late May 2014, and I’m awaiting a diploma on the doorstep of my $550-a-month two bedroom apartment back in Lakeland as I smoke rainbow-stemmed Nat Shermans on a highway near Buffalo with regretful rejection emails in my inbox. I have 5 days to fabricate a new “next step” to tell my tables of two when they ask what I’m doing next, since I’ve recently graduated from the university around the corner and I couldn’t possibly intend to refill their waters and uncork their $42 bottles of pinot noir for the next several years.

I’m tired, though, of term papers and grading and the general anxiety of maintaining scholarships and avoiding disappointing my superiors, so I’ll tell the financially comfortable retirees and the young couples celebrating anniversaries that I’m taking a little time off. My sole purpose is to bring their filets and meet my friends at Molly’s in a few hours, to avoid responsibility and rest confident in the accomplishment of being twenty with a bachelor’s, of having an apartment just my size and an inbox of rejection. I’ll be fine.

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