Last night I went to visit my BFF Erica who bartends at Beso on 5th avenue. We used to waitress there together in the mid-nineties and I was fired because they said I was giving beer away for free but I swear I wasn't! Infact, the person who I supposedly gave beer to was the owner's brother. But that's besides the point - I just wanted it to go on the record that I wasn't stealing beer, not that there is anything wrong with stealing beer.
I miss waitressing, not in an I-long-to-waitress way but in the way that one sometimes romanticizes something after enough time has passed to forget the reality of the situation. My waitressing career lasted about 10 years and the funny thing is unlike some people who were aspiring actors or writers just paying the bills I actually had "waitress" in mind as a career goal. Since I was a little girl thought waitresses were cool, with their pens fastened into their ponytails and aprons and their holding a million things capability. And when I first became a waitress I loved it and I was proud of it once I became good at it. I prided myself on holding 6 plates at once, at being able to take the order of a table of 8 without writing it down, at negotiating with the cooks to get the table what they wanted.
Eventually though it wears you down - you see too much. Celebrities that don't tip (I'm looking at you Forrest Whittaker), busboys that lock you in the walk-in, tables of 20 that tip you 10 dollars on a $600 tab, managers and owners who just don't care how hard you bust your ass, demanding men who think that you are their whore throughout the duration of the meal. Not to mention aching feet and fucked up spinal chords. My waitressing career ended with a slipped disc and back surgery.
The part I miss is the action, the bonding with the other waitresses (and waiters), the way your mind zones out and all your other problems go away at a packed brunch. But luckily there are drugs for that feeling too. (Just kidding - kids don't do drugs! Stay in school!)