2002-10-27 - 6:42 p.m.
I am the biggest proponent of the, “If it doesn’t fit don’t wear it,” way of life. Sure, I understand that in certain instances you can alter your garment so it fits like a glove, but there is a process involved in that, one has to step up to the plate and say, “Okay, this doesn’t fit, I am going to make the effort to get it fixed.” I also realize there are things one must wear, whether they fit or not, such as uniforms for work, but one can make a uniform work for them with the right accessories and the right attitude. At my previous job we had to wear black bottoms, white collared shirts and a (gasp!) TIE. I was aghast when the announcement came that we were switching to that uniform, I created a ballot, I fought it and fought it claiming the loss of our individuality would harm our customer base. In the end I lost and walked into work wearing a cumbersome and confining tie and a shirt five sizes too big for me because it was impossible to find a women’s shirt (at that time) that was collared and made for wearing a tie. Eventually I settled into my uniform, buying ties that were flashy and pretty, buying little boys dress shirts that fit me better and accessorizing my ears, neck, fingers and arms with multitudes of very feminine jewelry. Eventually I ended up liking my uniform, eventually I was able to feel like myself in it, but it took some work. I gave it a chance and I did whatever I could to make myself happy with it. If I had done all that work and still not liked the uniform I would have quit because like I said, I adhere to the, “if it doesn’t fit, don’t wear it,” ideology.
I have been at my present job for over five years now and realize that it does not fit me any longer, I must get rid of it. I had always been uproariously happy there until sometime within the last eight months or so. Progressively over these last months I have been becoming more and more unhappy there. First I got sick of making ice waters and filling coffee pots, then I got sick of reciting the muffin list, then I got sick of running into people and so on and so forth. Finally I started changing things, I changed the way I made ice waters in the morning, deviating from the normal routine of that task, I changed the pattern of the muffin list, starting with lemon poppyseed instead of blueberry, just changing the pattern of everything to keep myself from going insane. And it didn’t work, I was still sick of those things and worse, I was getting sick of even stupider things like putting omelets in the microwave, I was even sick of putting a spoon in a bowl of oatmeal. It was getting so repetitive and stale that I thought I was surely going to lose my mind from lack of stimulation. Right around that time, when I was sick of every single little task that I do to perform my job I started getting sick of customers. I found myself cringing when certain people walked in, found myself getting a little bitchy with people...until it all finally culminated in my realization that I was approaching tables with a visibly fake smile on my face while inside my head I was muttering, “I fucking hate you mother fuckers, I hate you so much I would like to bash your stupid fucking teeth in and then dump hot coffee over your head.”
I was not cut out to be a waitress, I’ve never really liked it much. I started in the restaurant business when I was fifteen, making sandwiches. I was quickly “promoted” to waitress. When I left that job a year and a half later I went to work at an ice cream shop where I still had to do kind of waitressy type things, but I was behind a counter and my actual time spent with customers was minimal, I would take their order, fill it, take their money and be done with them. And there was a process to it, in order to be efficient one had to figure out the precise pattern and most times, because of the lack of actual customer service required, one was able to follow that exact pattern. As a waitress your pattern gets broken every few seconds or so resulting from a customer who says their coffee isn’t hot enough, they need another fork, eggs cooked differently, adding an order...blah blah blah. If I could go to a table, get a drink order, get their drinks, take their food order, deliver their food, check on them, clear their plates, give them a bill and then be done with them I would be happy. But as it happens there are at least five more steps involved, none of them anticipated. There are still some customers that I like. Those are the ones that know that I will come by and fill their water glasses, I will come by with a fresh pot of coffee, I will see that they need another napkin...the customers that trust me, that leave their care utterly in my hands. It’s the customers that interrupt my routine unnecessarily that piss me off. The people that will start waving maniacally as soon as they pour the last drop of coffee from their coffee pots instead of trusting that I noticed that and would be by with a new pot as soon as possible. Because they have started waving for me I now have to put aside whatever task I was tending to, such as delivering food, and get their damn pot of coffee so they will stop their crazy waving. You see, I am a bartender, not a waitress. I mean, bartending was what I did and was happy doing because there was a definite “dance” to bartending, it was graceful, everything flowed. I would swoop down the bar refilling drinks for the customers and when I reached the end of the bar I would fill the waitresses drink orders. No one was interrupting my dance when I was a bartender. However, I followed my boss when he bought this restaurant, telling him I would waitress to help him out until he found a good crew of waitresses. That had been the plan. But somehow I ended up making really good money, not wanting to work for the new manager at my previous job, and I ended up quitting my bartending job and working full time for Jeff at the breakfast restaurant. And now I have had enough.
When I left for my vacation I thought it would give me a much needed long break from work that would leave me feeling refreshed and ready to go back to work. But I was wrong, what my vacation did was push that deep hatred of everything job related even deeper. I came back dreading work more than I had before. I realize that it is time to go, I need to follow my own advice, not put myself in a situation that makes me miserable. There are two problems. One, I will not find a job where I make the money I do, have the hours I have and have the freedom I have at my job. We are essentially without any rules, we make up our own rules and I can take off as much time as I want and tell my boss the days I want to work without much problem. Second, I do not want to find another job in the restaurant industry, I refuse. I hate it. But, I am qualified for little else except massage therapy and I hated that more than I hate waitressing. So where does that leave me? It leaves me needing to quit my job but without any other prospect. What I want to do, what I am trying to muster enough courage to do, is take off at least three months and just write. Write enough so I can send some stuff out and see where it takes me, to see if I have “it” to be a professional writer. But there is of course a Catch 22 involved in that. In order to take three months of work in order to write stuff in an attempt to make money, I have to have money. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. And so, in conclusion, this is where I am. I am getting up at my obscenely early time and going to work. I am trying not to bash anybody’s teeth in and all the while I am wracking my brains trying to figure out a way to come up with some serious cash by the end of the year. Anyone have any ideas short of selling my body on the corner? How ‘bout you all make a visit to my quaint little breakfast joint and give me $20 tips every morning? That would make for a good start.|
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