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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