Dec 2, 2004

I am your waitress

It's a scary thing. This do I or don't I have a new job feeling that is building up in me. It's making me nervous, happy, confused, nauseous, hungry and crazy. It's unbelievably important to me. One of the reasons is that the job I have has stressed me out for ten years. The actual work is a only a little stressful. The hours and the fact that I'm not in any way applying what I've learned in school are good reasons to move on. The drunk people. The vomiting people. The people who have lost their minds, wallets, cell phones and purses. All good reasons for me to hope I get that other job. But it's the people who think that the waitress is fair game to grab, hit on, insult, or critique. This is the serious reason. The big, big reason. This is the real reason. It's the people who ask the waitress personal questions knowing that she is in a weird position. She's intruded upon in this manner, but she must pretend not to be rattled. She (and by she I mean me) doesn't always succeed. Hey, wait a minute..She has no right to be upset, you say. She is payed for this afterall. No. She's payed to bring you drinks and to be pleasant. And that's only if you pay her. She is upset by the personal questions being-hit-on-yelled-at-grabbed-touched-body-parts-critiqued etc. She has to surpress this. Sometimes she cries in the bathroom. Sometimes she and the other waitresses gather together and talk about all of this. And it isn't good. Geez, here's a dollar, can't you just shut up and take it? Thank you for the dollar. And yes. She can. She does. That's my point. She still feels all of this, though. Otherwise it would indicate that she's managed to do away with her feelings, and her personal dignity. I know. It happens. All of the time. In all kinds of jobs. The numbing. But, people, if you just behaved yourselves no one would need to lobotomize themselves, or otherwise cut deals with their self esteem just so they can pay their bills. Somehow, I have managed not to be numbed. I'm also not popping valium all night long. I feel these things. I'm as indignant when someone grabs my ass today as I was fifteen years ago. It's not ok. The day that such a presumptious intrusion into my personal space no longer shocks me is the day I've lost something..something healthy about myself. There's no other way to look at it. Again, I know. The waitress has waved her rights. For the money. And, yes, for the money I have put myself in a position that is bad for me. I take full responsibility for what I've elected to do with my life. It would be great, however, if everyone simply behaved like civilized, conscientious human beings. I mean, when I go out and I get drunk, I manage not to grab anyone's ass. I hate HATE it when I'm grabbed inappropriately. And, similarly, I hate it when a customer asks me for my phone number. It's usually less of a question and more like a demand. And it's grossly unfair. If I was out at a club and someone hit on me, I would be free to handle the situation (ignore them, reciprocate, whatever) anyway I want, with everyone being on equal ground. But when I'm at work and someone puts me in the position of rejecting them (on top of all the other things I've got to do), they are making it very difficult for me to do my job. And they know it. How can she say no? How can she reject me right now when she has to be gracious? When I'm giving her money? Oh, but I can. What I usually say is that I am engaged. Then they ask to see my hand (ring). Then I show them my hand (no ring). Then they wonder (out loud) if I'm lying to them. Oh, the ego. Of course I'm lying to you. Now stop putting me in this ridiculous position. I don't say this, but how I wish I could. I used to just say, I'm sorry, no. But that kind of directness comes across as bitchy. Not Victoria the bitch. But me the waitress being a bitch. It gets factored into how well I've done my job that night. Even if this customer doesn't show it, he hates me, now. It's like, now it's personal (yeah, personal, and who's to blame for that?). So that no matter how well I've done my job, how pleasant I've been, I'm likely to be left with no tip. Zero dollars. For not giving out my phone number. That is, for being a bitch. Guys: That's why you never hit on the waitress. You never put someone who is working in that position. Besides, do you really want to go out with someone who's agreeing to go out with you just because she feels cornered into it? Really? The truth is, whenever you hit on women, you should already be getting all kinds of clues from her that she's interested in you before you ask for her phone number. It'll save everyone all kinds of humiliation. And, lets face it, when a woman is interested, it's fairly obvious. It's a subtle exchange that, I guess, is altogether lost on the drunk that hits on a waitress who is obviously not interested. That guy is all out of ideas. He is steps away from paying for companionship. He lost dignity long ago. That is why he is so hostile. He has (all willing participants aside) confused the waitress, who has given him no reason to believe that this is a potentially romantic situation, who's there to make a living, with someone who might play a role in his personal life. That's ridiculous. How did it get there? She showed up to work. She did her job. Now she supposed to give you here number, or else. Or else what ? No tip? Wait. What's going on here? What just happened? So, YES. I'm over it. Done. All that hard work in school has got to pay off eventually. I'm done with vomit, both the proverbial and the literal kind. I'm done with drunkeness (theirs). Dirt. Loss of dignity (theirs and mine). Hollowness. Shallowness. The taking of liberties. The ugly lights at the end. Getting home at five or six in the morning. The constant striking a balance between protecting my personal space and privacy vs. being friendly. Seriously. I'll run around and make sure you've got drinks, cigarettes, cocktail napkins, soda water for the wine on your shirt, I'll get you gum, I'll get you mints, I'll retrieve your girlfriend who has passed in the ladies room, I'll get you matches, I'll search high and low for your cell phone, I'll make your drinks really, really strong, I'll get you a couple of rounds on the house. I'll listen to you. I'll smile. I'll laugh. I'll treat you with respect. I'll wish you a Merry Christmas. I'll be nice to you. I am your waitress. But, God willing, in about a month, I will be done with this being your waitress once and for all.

4 comments:

  1. Good luck with your new job.

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  2. waitressing sucks.

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  3. This is the best post I have ever read. Thank you for sharing... I will never be able to walk into a bar and not appreciate my waitress ever again!

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  4. In the immortal words of Jane Siberry:
    "I'd probably be famous if I wasn't such a good waitress."

    (She said something rude to me, but then again, I don't think I impresed her much.)

    Great blog ... keep it up.

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