IT’S A GOOD THING I’VE STARTED WORKING AGAIN, and not solely for the sake of my pocketbook. It turns out that sleeping all day is a really crappy job that doesn’t provide a lick of conversation material.
FRIEND: Hey Jenny, what’d you do today?
ME: SLEPT. I slept. All day. I’ve been sleeping all day.
FRIEND: Oh really? That sucks. I worked, then went to lunch with my mom. Then I bought a lottery ticket and sure as shit, it was a winner! So we went to Denny’s to celebrate and who’s sitting there but Angelina Jolie. With some guy, he looked like Brad Pitts or whatever. They had about twelve kids with them, must have been babysitting or something. So she sees me and’s like, “Hey, you look snappy, watch my kids.” And I was all, “OK.” So I start on Monday I guess. I guess it pays well, but heck, I’m a millionaire. So how much’d you sleep?
ME: ALL DAY. I said all day.
FRIEND: Oh. That sucks. You prolly missed Grey’s.
My job is not cool. I don’t work as a video game consultant, lumberjack, window dresser, or any of those other things that well-connected professionals do for a living. All of those jobs present adequate amounts of danger and human interest, two things that most people love more their family pet. Not mine. What am I doing instead of chopping down trees (for good reason, of course) or saving whales? I’m working at the same Godforsaken restaurant I worked at when I was 16. And 17. And 18. And 20.
The place hasn’t changed a bit. They still have little notes hanging up that I wrote two years ago, the busboys are still lazy hornballs, the food still tastes like glorified cardboard. The only difference is it costs more, and instead of being the high-schooler, I am now the has-been. The old, crabby, and overqualified college student. You know — the bitch.
I am that girl. Yes, the one working at her high school job, that people secretly believe will someday be the manager of their high school job. This would be cool if I worked at Vogue or the White House, maybe even Burger King, but a shitty hotel restaurant is hardly reputable. When I go places and see people that I know still working after 5 or 6 years, I stop to ponder for a moment. What has kept them here for this long? I run down the list of things that would perpetually bound me to a place: free Wi-Fi, a chocolate fountain, optional uniforms, or an endless supply of well-inked pens. Assuming that the establishment doesn’t offer all — or any of these things (most don’t), I infer that they are either running a drug ring from the back office or sleeping with their manager, or in the case of some restaurant workers, have become dependent on particular foods, e.g. “Mongolian” (fancy word for disgusting) stir fry, in order for their bodies to function properly. Then I see the gravestone: Here lies Daniel J. McBuffet, King of the Royal Fork and Father of the Smorgasbord. Eternal rest, greasy soul…
(I then trail off to think of an old boyfriend or a well-aged cheese I once had at a roadside shack in Wisconsin.)
Does it give me satisfaction to know that I can change a roll of credit card paper or ring up an order with my eyes closed? Yes. Do I take pride in knowing the the choices of potatoes and their substitutions? Of course. Am I cool? No. I wear a name tag and look pretty. I staple receipts and organize drawers. I make small talk with the men that work on the railroad. I eat a lot of food.
As far as I’m concerned, going back to this job makes me nothing but a hypocrite. A really cool, pathetic hypocrite (see this friendly note) and this update from the last time I worked in August.) Thankfully it is for just a few weeks, enough time to make a little scratch while I’m home and before I move the heck on to other restaurants I’d rather not work at. Yes, I realize I really need to get out of this food business, but the money you make is like crack! Nobody turns down some good crack. Nobody. (Unless, of course, you find better crack.)
If nothing else, I am getting some good conversation material out of this job. Jesus knows I love me some 16-year old bois talkin’ ’bout their souped-up ’99 Civics wit da bumpin’ speaks’ and ‘woofers, boiiiiii. Can’t resist me dem homies workin’ to pay a brotha back his 6 G’s, using complete sentences such as “Shut ‘yo ass!” WORD.
More lata, y’all. Work’s got me SPENT.