some people will tell you that waitressing is an art. others will tell you that it is something to do for money in a time of transition. some will say they simply like to put a smile on other people’s faces. and I will tell you that if your parents raised you kindly and you are a fundamentally ‘good’ person, then waitressing is soul-hardening, esteem-destroying, aneurism-inducing, and barely an occupation.
think of a restaurant as a city bus in 1959. there’s the bus driver. he’s always there. if you’re inquiring about riding the bus, he’ll put on a cheesy smile and convince you that you’re the right person for a seat. you’re late to the bus one day, and you have to sprint after it and flag the driver down. sure, he’ll stop. but he’ll also be an asshole. every time you board from that day on. you’ll gradually migrate from the deceivingly charming front-end of the bus to the gritty and outwardly unpleasant back-end of the bus. which is why i specified that it’s a bus from 1959. because that’s where all the outcasts, fugitives, and foreigners are. everybody in between? well, they’ve become a cultish egotistic team and they’ll dismiss your presence until you do something out of the ordinary. like rosa parks. then, they’ll chastise you without consulting the dreaded bus driver. which is far more threatening. see, it
turns out the bus is free of safety belts. and the gig is to ride at your own risk.
our sociopathic bus driver that i speak of, of course, is the manager at your restaurant. if you disagree, you were probably hired last week. give it some time for christ’s sake. the folks in the back are the illegals, typically hispanic. they have accumulated talent as cooks and they work their frijoles off for microscopic salaries. i’m pretty sure they eat free, however. regardless, all frustration is eventually dumped on their heads, just like people of color until the civil rights movement came along (at least on the bus). you’re the waitress. i use the term ‘waitress’ in stead of ‘waiter’ because, as far as i’m concerned, if you’re going to sign up to take orders all day and night from complete strangers for money (assuming they leave a tip), you must be some kind of pussy either inside or out. everybody else, the veteran staff, is already drained of all compassion and if you don’t contribute to the universally silent hostility by filling ketchup bottles and rolling napkins every day then they will surely have you terminated- whether it be official or unsanctioned.
nobody wants to ride the bus. nobody wants to damage their pride irreparably. but pride doesn’t take one from point a to point b. pride doesn’t pay the bills. yet, interestingly enough neither does your boss (2.13 an hour?? really?). it’s the customers.
so you’re working with a gang of super villains, wrists covered in mayonnaise from scooping it out of a huge foul jar for somebody’s hamburger, getting paid less than the 16 year old girl down the street swirling yogurt, and forcing a smile through all of your misery so that the diners in your section will have a 100% satisfactory meal. these people could be the worst people in the world! they could be larcenists, or thieves, or bullies, or even members of the tea party. but you’re gonna refill their club soda and cranberry immediately. because although you are standing above them, somehow they are sitting above you nonetheless.