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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