It was published, it seems. I forgot about it completely. Tis because the turmoil that followed and all – surely…
It was horrible. It was truly really bad. I wanted to die and walk out, not necessarily in that order. Every muscle in my body hurt, I hated my job, could not learn the menu and remember the table-cloth sizes, numbers, the wines etc, etc, etc. And I knew I would be fired and/or wait tables for the rest of my life. It was roughly 55 hours a week, the commute at 2 in the morning, the people on my back testing me on everything… Most of the time I felt like an idiot. I had always been a shit waitress (mediocre at best). I had no idea what I was doing in this stellar restaurant, where captains of industry, politicians and celebrities go to feel cool and be seen. Where everyone worked really hard, but got paid well, too. Where everyone was always impeccable and impeccably nice. To me, too, not only to the patrons. But I sucked.
It was that day that I served razor clams to Dustin Hoffman and almost dropped the food into his lap. I stumbled and the silver plate jumped in my hand. Suddenly everyone around the table was looking at me. I just stood there, stupid. Then Mr Hofmann said: “My god, you are like I was. I got fired for stuff like this all the time. Nobody got fired more times from restaurants than I did and I was a waiter for 10 (TEN!) years. I was hopeless. I would stand around staring at people, so I got fired.” My heart missed a beat and I wanted to hug him. I wanted to tell him how much what he said meant to me and how much I respected him and loved his work and it was extraordinarily nice of him to say such things now, when I feel so hopeless and wrenched and he made my day and I feel there is hope for me after all. For a moment he made me feel like a human being, an emotion I forgot I was capable of. But of course I did not say any of those things, you are not supposed to talk to patrons, that I was told more times than was necessary. So, I just swallowed and said:”You are very kind, saying that.” Then got on with my work.
I got fired a week later.
He was there in the charity shop, singing “Everlasting Love” (Open up your eyes/Would never realize/Standing by my side/Everlasting love). His voice was coarse (to say the least), he stank, was slightly bent and had greasy blondish-grey hair. It was my lunch break. As I entered the shop the uneasy tension was palpable. I hate scenes, so I turned around and walked out, my head down. He came after me for some reason. He bumped into me (literally) in front of the news agent.
“Sorry” – I said, because I am always sorry.
“What are you sorry about? Have you been sorry all your life?” – he replied smiling with yellow/brown teeth.
“Yes, more or less.” – I answered, still regularly wonder why.
“So you spent your life being sorry, on your knees.” – he was clearly enjoying himself by now.
I straightened out, looked into his eyes and said:
“No” with all the conviction I could muster.
He was taken aback, but would not give up.
“Are you Irish?” – he asked.
“No” – I said and walked away.
Tis high time I re-evaluated my life and shit.