Archive for July, 2008

The Real World

“Think about it this way.” He pulled a server’s pad toward him and began to draw the inevitable clock: an eight-top table with numbered seats and their corresponding orders. “So just bring the plates and work your way straight around like the hands on a clock!” 

Duh. It sounds easy. It should be easy. But I want to tell him that I was twelve before I could read a face-clock. I want to tell him that I can’t just move around the table dropping plates in order if the kitchen sends them out hap-hazardly. I want to say that I drew that very same diagram and lined up all the seats with all the dishes numbering each one as I went: that’s why my ticket reached the kitchen last. But it doesn’t matter. I still screwed up the dishes and there isn’t any such thing as a 504 plan in the real world. 

It seemed silly when the psychologist diagnosed me with a “visual-spacial learning disability.” I mean, what the hell is that and why on earth does it matter? Apparently it does. It might explain for hitting the garage three times with my car, for performing choreography backwards when I had to move it onto a stage, for not being able to copy math problems down from the white-board. And now, for not being able to match the numbers on my waitress pad with the number of seats at the table.

Still, it doesn’t matter. My problems are my own business and if I struggle to lay a table, then I struggle. That doesn’t excuse me from performing my job as quickly and efficiently as anyone else. My manager says that he will do anything he can so that the tickets make more sense to me, but he doesn’t know what else to do. So he draws the same diagram and I nod and promise to fill out my ticket just so for the next event. 

Maybe it is good that I leave for school in three weeks.


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~Some people aren’t supposed to have children. I know this because I deal with these children, the ones the parent’s don’t want to deal with themselves. The difference is that I get paid and am able to send the little hellions home at the end of the day.

~Some things in life are inescapable. Children, lovers, family, memories. We have to deal with them, whether we want to or not, and the the manner of our “dealing” is the only recompense we can hope for. A situation may lack all logic or justice, but we must take whatever we get from Life’s grab-bag.

~I always hoped that my parents were wrong: that children can be ruled by kind fairness, by gaining their trust and compromising on both the child’s and the adult’s end. That isn’t always the case. I never wanted to admit that one does what one can and prays to God that He will compensate for one’s insufficiency.

~If you need humility, spend time with a child.

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This is to let you know that I am still alive, yet very busy juggling two jobs at the moment. I work as assistant camp director for Tanglewood Youth Theatre by day and as a banquet server at Biltmore Forest Country Club by night. Camp ends Friday so hopefully I shall soon regain the privilege of unnecessary activities such as blogging….

‘Tis a shame. Eighty-something drama queens and kings all packed in together for eight hours a day makes for some fabulous stories. But I have a feeling that exposing the antics of hyper-active, overly emotional children is somewhat below the standard of “professionalism.”

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The Scent of Money

Have you ever wondered how rich people spend the Fourth of July? It’s not that different, really. Just bigger and more expensive with 100% pure Angus beef instead of ground chuck. Oh, and it comes with pretty cool inflatable toys to keep the kids busy while the parents get happy at the bar. Maybe that “happiness” explains the inordinate lack of child supervision. I wait tables, get drinks, clear plates. I don’t baby-sit. If your five-year-old wants to enter a sugar-induced coma by gorging on Klondike bars, that is your affair. And I am sure that you signed something to that effect when you joined the country club. If not, I am sure that our lawyers can fit that clause in somewhere.

Still, I am glad that you had such a good time. The blue-grass band played the correct American classics, the barbeque exceeded expectation, and the snow-cone machine was a family-friendly hit. This is your privilege of moneyed happiness. All you want and more. 

That is my job: to create the impossible. Whether you want a dish the chefs have never heard of, or need a Beefeater Gin and Tonic in a large glass, extra lime, extra Tonic, and NO straw, then that is what you get. The smile is extra. 

It struck me as odd tonight when a couple at the table “welcomed me” to the country club. Though I acted as their hostess, for all practical purposes I suppose they were right: It is their club. One might as well say that I am their guest. And they pay for that privilege too. Money may not necessarily buy happiness, but it buys a Hell of a lot of other stuff.

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The more I see of the world the more I am convinced that anything can happen and that nothing is sacred. Basically, that is the only rule of life. And this rule came to mind rather poignantly yesterday afternoon while window shopping in down-town with Ben Torres’ girlfriend. For me to be close friends with a fellow English major who appreciates chocolate, tea, cute shoes, P&P, and bargain shopping is only logical. But it is always difficult for me to forge my own relationship with someone whom I know only in reference to someone else. So when I first met Mariana and placed her on my mental “exceeds expectations” list ten minutes after Ben introduced me to her last April, I still wasn’t sure how things would work out between us. After all, she was “Ben’s Girlfriend” and I was “Ben’s Friend from Church.” Luckily, not everyone is as narrow-minded as myself, and boxes can be done away with in some circumstances. This possibility proved itself yesterday as we curled up on cushions at Jerusalem Garden restaurant, eating Moroccan food with our hands, and pondering how to juggle doctorate degrees with children.

I would think that I would have the intelligence to do away such boxes. Mariana is only one of the more recent escapees from my mental warehouse. People lie there, packaged and labeled, until they unceremoniously break through the cellophane tape and force me to take them on their own terms in place of my mental creations of their supposed selves.

Rosi is another example of my extreme presumption. Within the first honors meeting in Dr. Thuot’s tower classroom I sized her as bored, beautiful, perfect eye-liner, a down-right weird taste in music, and a cavalier attitude toward grades altogether inappropriate for an honors student. By December she was my closest friend at school. 

But somehow, I don’t seem to learn. In a way this failing is delightful, since it amazes me to share nerdy pleasures with Rosi, like reading The Magician’s Nephew in the attic of Stowe Hall, or to re-discover how similar I am to Mariana while we admire restored Javanese furniture at Terra Nostra Home Decor down-town. Also, my mistaken ideas of people force me to practice humility. It is people like Mariana and Rosi who force me to accept the idea that life goes where it will. “If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans.” God delights in raining on our parades, wrecking our preconceptions, and reducing boxes to piles of gluey brown sludge.  

Certainly, presumptions and narrow-mindedness constitute some of my greatest failings. But if God chooses to cure me of this failing through people like Mariana and Rosi, I welcome a rain which closes my parade in exchange for tea and friendship. It is a generous exchange even for all the fanfare and glitz of a Bourbon Street Mardi Gras.   

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