I just now realized that there are no pictures, selfies, or portraits of me on here. Perhaps I will post one in the future and kill one of the last few shreds of dignity that I have left. When that moment comes, you – the whole two people who are reading this right now – will see that I look thirteen years old and appear to be embarking on my freshmen year in high school. The truth is that I am twenty-three, a college graduate, and currently working as a waiter at a steakhouse. Oh yes, don’t let my babyface fool you, this is what my version of adulthood looks like.
My degree was in business. Too bad I didn’t get my shit together earlier and fight for a major that I was actually passionate about. But coulda shoulda woulda bitches, I’m fighting for my dream job now.
Writing during the day to eventually serve during the night is sort of like having sex with a blow up doll that pops right before climax – you wish your were doing the real thing, and then as soon as you fool yourself into thinking that you are, the fun is over…the illusion ends. I hope that one day my blow up doll becomes real and doesn’t end up popping. Translation – I hope that one day I can actually write as a real novelist and not have to end my days wanting to slit my wrists with a butter knife while I bring some snot nosed little shit his Roy Rodgers.
Did I mention I am not only a server, but a “host” as well? I prefer to just rock it and call myself a hostess. Why not right? Just slap a rack on me and let me take you to your table with a smile. I often find myself talking in some sort of heightened voice to customers as though a tiny gnome lives in my pants permanently cupping my balls. I’ve been called “miss” a time or two by a menagerie of customers who are trying to order a to-go steak. The phone rings every thirty seconds and I answer it with the ever professional response of, “Black Barn Steakhouse, how may I help you?” I don’t know why my professional voice reaches a pitch that only dogs can hear. Perhaps it is a mystery that I will never solve. It is a question that deepens due to the fact that I find myself deepening my voice when I’m not working to counteract the tiny gnome’s work molestations.
Recently I had a customer call me to inquire about her reservation. She asked wether or not she had a good table due to the fact that it was her parents fifty-sixth wedding anniversary. The little gnome squeezed my balls and I proceeded to convey in a voice like that of Mickey Mouse that she did, in fact, have a good table. This was followed by a delightful treasure chest of questions in regard to free desserts, the kinds of free desserts, and the air conditioning of the wonderful establishment in which I work. The culmination came with an in person meet and greet where her table was not satisfactory and a move to two more tables was required. It all ended with a handshake, a smile, and the wonderful compliment of, “young man, for only being in high school you have what it takes.” I smiled, thanked her, and returned to stand behind my podium. There, in the glow of the POS system, I pondered the compliment…I’m twenty-three, a college graduate, and I have what it takes to be a seating hostess in a steakhouse. Even the gnome in my pants was kicked in the balls on that one.
Now don’t get me wrong. I know I don’t have it bad. It’s not exactly like I’m handing out condoms on a peace corp mission in the middle of the Congo while I wait for literary agents to read my queries. I refuse to get drunk on self pity, despite the thirst of my inner martyr. I hate being a waiter. I hate working in a restaurant. I hate when my sex doll pops (for the record I do not have a sex doll…Yikes!). But I hate the thought of giving in and giving up even more.
The moment behind that podium reminded me of a little cult classic gem called Galaxy Quest. In that fine piece of cinematic history, Tim Allen recites his Captain Kirk-esque line of, “never give up…never surrender.” I am currently clinging to the belief that I have what it takes to do just that. But I admit that sometimes I think about the upside down version of that very same question…What if I don’t?