Waiting, mes amis, is what I might have called my previous position as office manager of an interactive marketing agency. There, at my “real” job, I sat at a desk for 8 hours a day mostly biding my time until I could figure out my next move (read: until I could convince myself to stop doing what I was “supposed” to be doing and start doing what I wanted to do).
And what did I want to do?
By god I wanted to live by the beach.
Don’t ask me how it took 28 years to come to this conclusion. Haven’t I always decorated my apartments like beach houses? Haven’t I always doodled swaying palm trees and crashing waves in the margins of my notebooks? And haven’t I spent endless winters parked by a space heater vowing someday to replace all my pumps and stilettos with flip flops?
How, then, did I not get a clue a little sooner?
No sense dwelling on strangely spent years, however. Now that I write to you not from a swanky, little third floor office or even the Midwest, with its autumn already on the horizon, now that I’ve made it to the beach, I find that taking up waiting tables for the time being is not just bearable – it somehow makes sense.
And how seductive the waiting game is… I can think of at least five instances in which I’ve sworn it off forever, only to find myself tying on another apron. How hard it is to deny something when (damnit!) you’re just really good at it. And then there’s the cashflow. Between that and a skin that’s been thickening for some six years, I’ve amassed something of a protective shell capable of deflecting any swing a customer can throw.
Add to that the rush. I liken it to a runner’s high – which I think I may have only experienced once, and which I’m convinced is only experienced by someone who runs infinitely more frequently than I do. What I mean is – you keep at it long enough, and you get into a sort of stride. And when you’re in the stride, and the tables are full and everything clicks… well it’s far more satisfying work than wearing adorable outfits behind a desk. There’s something to physically earning every dollar you take home that has always (and will always) appealed to me.
And because serving shifts are typically shorter than the average workday, I arrive home with time to attend to creative projects, to get outdoors, to head to the beach I moved here to be close to.
I’m not implying I’ll be a server until I’m old and gray. Of course I hope to mold one of my 342 interests into a career that’s both lucrative and stimulating. But in the meantime, I’m happy to serve a bunch of fellow sushi connoisseurs (or even the California Roll types – you know who you are) and to never again find myself just… waiting.