“Sugar, it's no parade but you'll get down the street
one way or another, so you'd just as well throw
your shoulders back and pick up the pace.”
from: The Poisonwood Bible
by: Barbara Kingsolver
When I started looking for a job here in Logan..I thought I would enjoy a waitressing job. I enjoy people. Im happy to help and serve others. So I was very pleased and even a little excited when Steph, my boss, took a risk in hiring me, the old lady with no experience in food services.
It didn’t take long… in fact it was probably only a few hours before I began to question my sanity and my abilities. My first days as a waitress/busboy/ peoples slave had me wondering whether you really do have to be cute, young, and blonde to receive good tips and have stamina enough to carry on. I was discouraged to say the least when the young, experienced waitresses around me stuffed their pockets with more cash than I each night when they headed home. BUT…now after a few months of being in the trenches, I have learned…that the critical word here is experience. It truly is more important to be sincere, confident, efficient and relaxed as you work to get the expected tips. Its not so much about how cute you are. (not so much…but it tips the scales in ones favor Im sure.)
I have a good smile. People like that. They tell me so. I look people in the eye. I try to connect with each guest, and I am rewarded more often than not with generous tips. Though I still have to remind myself that tips are NEVER predictable. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to how much one can make in any given day. Some days its only loose change thrown in the tip bucket, and other days its 5 dollar bills. Low cut shirts, good hair days, sporting blue or purple company t-shirts doesnt seem to have the slightest effect on one days success and another days famine. There are days I come straggling home with a lousy 20 bucks for my 8 hours of hard labor and other days when my apron pocket bulges with a wad of ones and fives equaling a whopping 50 bucks. I scratch my head in wonder why some days people are generous and other days they are not. Its another one of lifes many mysteries.
I have felt all along that God directed me into Center Street Grill’s parking lot last August…the voice in my head that said, ‘pull in and see if they are hiring” was convincing. Steph was there that day and I felt we hit it off. I am grateful for her willingness to give me a try and for her patience as she has trained me. But now in the spirit of honesty..I must confess that there are too many times that I ask myself what it is I’ve done. Why do I subject myself to this drudgery? Im smart, I have skills and abilities beyond mopping and washing , stocking shelves and making milkshakes. I constantly ask myself why Im doing this type of work. (I know I’d be happier there if I could strictly waitress. If I could just be out on the dining room floor serving the guests, life at the Grill would be more tolerable for me then.) Its when Im in the back rooms..washing dishes and cleaning nasty bathrooms that I become so discouraged. But I was hired to do it all. And that’s what I do. And so I often sulk and grumble under my breath..or cry into the dishwater wishing I was hiking and soaking up the St George sunshine and not beating my feet into a state of unrecognizable pain and discomfort. That’s the truth of it.
Steph is amazing. There are people on this planet who love being in the restaurant business. And Steph is one of them. She loves to cook for people and to concoct new menus and to greet each person that comes through her doors. She is passionate about her food and its freshness and presentation. She is also appreciative of me and what I contribute to her restaurant. I know I am valued. And so I stay. The idea of leaving and having to find a different job and learn the ins and outs of it are inconceivable to me right now. The stress of it all would take me down completely.
So Im putting up with the mountains of dishes that need washing before I can clock out at the end of the day. I put up with hauling the garbage bags that weigh more than one of my grands to the dumpsters in the back alley. ( Though I have learned to turn a blind eye to the heavy 5 gallon drums of mayo that should be hauled to the cooler, for I refuse to throw out my back at such work.) I mop, I scour and scrub baseboards and walls and machines, all of which are covered with grease and grim that will soon cover them all again by the very next day. And for the most part no one notices the things that need cleaning but me. Greasy fingerprints on windows and doors always need wiping away but I find teenage kids for hire turn a blind eye to those things as I suppose as I do to the heavy lifting.
And so I stay.
I do the work.
I feel a sense of loyalty there.
And Im tired.
I don’t want to cook or clean when Im home.
I fear my feet may never recover from this abuse. There are no breaks while Im there. I cant sit and relax for even a moment. Concrete floors seem to be my downfall. They are ever so much worse than sand and rocks and trails.
Im determined to stick it out at this job for a while longer. I guess for as long as it takes. I try to feel grateful for the work. I’ll stay until My Builder has built his rabbit food empire.
God sent me there. Im not sure why. But I stay because I do believe I was directed there for whatever purpose..or purposes. It just isn’t time yet to quit. But as soon as Im able... Im outta there and never looking back. Saying ta ta wont be difficult at all.