Daily Archives: August 27, 2010


Bern’s pick

I was sitting here staring at the “Put title here” thing and just sighed lightly and looked at it some more.  My sister (middle sister, in case I ever refer the them as big or middle sister) is sitting across my kitchen table from me.  We’re kicking back, drinking beer, listening to music and duel laptopping. I think I just made up that word.  Anyway, I asked her for a subject.  We looked at each other for a minute or so, and I do mean that.  It was not a second or so, it was a minute or so.  She came back with “waitressing”.

When I turned 16 I was told that I was going to get a job.  It wasn’t a surprise.  That’s what my parent’s children did when they turned 16.  Claudette turned 16-job.  Bob turned 16-job.  Bernadette turned 16-job.  I turned 16, knew what was expected, job.  I was one of those kids who didn’t want to get my driver’s license, few and far between but for the record my son followed in my footsteps.  We just had different reasons.  Anyway my dad would drive me around from place to place to put in applications.  I never had a choice as to where I would apply  but  when they wanted to interview me immediately I always had the choice on whether or not I would pass the interview.  There were a few places I just didn’t want to work and trust me, they never ever called me after I had interviewed.   Be a little creative and you can fail any interview you choose.  I can be creative.

My middle sister, Bernadette, worked in the next town at a restaurant called Embers.  She liked it and had fun so I didn’t fail that interview.  I was then a 16 year old, very naive, inexperienced waitress.  Being in hs I got mostly “bar rush” shifts.  I’ve heard that in other 24 hour restaurants it’s called “the drunk run”.  So right, it’s working the shifts when the drunks come in after bar close.  What a wake up call!  Ya learn pretty quickly how to kick someone in the shin.  Or, that could have just been me.  Okay, just asked Bern.  Apparently she never had to kick anyone in the shin.  Still not thinking it wasn’t  just me though.

So many directions I could go with this but I think I’m honing in on the fact that that job didn’t  just become a complete life change (and tonight, I’m not going there either), it became a life style. Once I left  there I moved to Bemidji to go to college and got a job, of course, as a waitress.  By the time I’d married Rob the 1st time I swore I’d never do that again.  But I did, time and time again and that’s what fed my children all through my 30’s as single parent.  It’s a  hard job but the instant cash is hard to walk away from. That and with the hours I worked I could still raise my children, go on field trips and so on.   Good thing I was never a bartender, I’d still be there.

By the time I was in my 30’s I would get repeat customers who told me I should be a stand up comic.  Um, just thinking no one else brought humor to their lives.  I’ve got to work doing the same thing over and over and over again, of course I’m going to find ways to make it  fun.  Sometimes for them, sometimes for me. You give me a table of 4 people and one of them is a crab-ass and  I will bring out dinner for 3 people and say to the 4th “and if you were nicer, you’d be eating now too”.  Right, I know how to make 3 people laugh and one crabby person get crabbier.   I just don’t have a lot of tolerance for people who need to share their crabbiness with total strangers.  That and anyone who jokes about tips, or told me they were a big tipper.  I would always look at those people and tell them that I just did this for fun, my kids didn’t need to eat, they ate yesterday.  Right, and what is with the people who felt the need to tell me how cheap they are?   See?  I’m starting to spout.  Total burn out on being a waitress.

After I got a “real” job at the ripe old age of 41, I stayed at the restaurant  I was working at for another 3 years.  The last year was a competition between my manager and myself.  He wanted me to quit, I wanted to get fired.  I never called in sick, I never didn’t show up for a shift.  Outside of that I did the most outrageous things to try to get fired.  He still won, I did the total burn out thing and just could NOT do  that anymore.  One night at the end of my shift, without any forethought, out of my mouth  came “I need to turn in my two weeks because I want to shoot everyone here”.  My manager looked at me kind of funny, and I couldn’t place the look in his eyes at the time, said “do you want tonight to be you’re last night?”.  Then I understood the look.  Fear.  I assured him that it wasn’t the employees I wanted to shoot, it was just the customers.  Okay, you and the customers.  Since then he was fired so there ya go.  You get what you give.  That applies to customers and managers.  Treat people as you would like to be treated no matter what your position.

So going back to Bern’s topic, and that is just so huge for me in one post,  bottom line is that I could be homeless or starving but still would never, ever be a waitress again.  Or, maybe I could.  Then I would have 3 square meals a day and a roof over my head.  I would be in prison.