Thursday, January 27

Server Girl :: the big question

I've been a waitress (server) for going on seven months now. I love working at a sushi place, but I really hate the job. What I (think I) really want is a boring job where I have a tiny desk, fetch somebodies coffee five times a day, answer the phone and file paperwork. A job where I get paid by the year, not by the customer.
There are good nights as server; nights like tonight when I work six hours and make about $120, which comes out to $20 an hour-- more than I would as an office assistant. But most nights this isn't the case. Most days I make minimum wage or less, and generally speaking I make $50 per shift. The worst days are the ones where I work my ass off but customers still only pay me one or two dollars per person.


(If you weren't aware, servers don't actually get paid by the restaurants they work at. Not usually anyway. I get paid about a dollar an hour by the restaurant-- after taxes-- my boyfriend doesn't get any money from his. It all goes to taxes, tips are all we get to keep. For the majority of servers, the individual customers are the ones that actually pay the server. What you leave as tip is all we get paid for serving you. Which is why 10% is never an acceptable tip, unless you got your food to go. Soap box over.)


But what's bugging me most isn't the money. It isn't (completely) the fact that I've been broke for a full three months now. It isn't that my boss keeps cutting my hours so in a few weeks I'm going to be struggling to make ends meet.
It's that at this job it seems that I'm pretty much always miserable. I like the other servers I work with, I like that--other than putting up with crazy people and the like-- my job is mostly easy. And I even like the food where I work, even though I don't get to eat it more than once a month.
But I hate that this is what I'm doing. 
I'm not traveling, I'm not moving up any corporate ladder, I'm not creating things or doing something interesting, I'm not building my future or living in my present, and I'm not doing something I love
I'm working a crappy job just to get by and I'm not even doing things I like in my spare time. All I ever do is wait to go back to work so I can get more money to pay my bills and buy groceries. I watch tv, I pour over job sites for a real job, and I wish I had money so I could replace my five year old jeans or fix our car.
I've tried thinking of creative things I could do to make money, but nothing ever pans out, even when it seems like a good idea in the beginning.

I keep telling myself that I'll be better. That I'll spend more time on my Bible and find the inspiration I need to do all the things I want to. I tell myself I'll clean and finish editing my novel and create things and be happier. That I'll be more active and treat myself to things once and awhile and I'll do more things that I love and want to do.

But every day I still wake up late and I still end up on the couch watching tv because nothing feels worth starting. I'm stuck in a place where nothing looks like it's going anywhere at all. This whole up-coming year feels like a great big stretch up stuck-ness, nothing like what I want it to be. Because my manager doesn't like me (for some reason she won't actually tell me) my hours continue to drop at work, and the process of finding another stupid restaurant job makes me cringe and sink even further into the couch. Because apparently real jobs don't want me, even with two degrees and a decent resume. I have applied to so many local and national companies for all kinds of work that I'm actually kind of qualified to do, and I haven't received a single call back. Not a single request for an interview. It makes everything seem so useless.

But this is a lot of me complaining, and that isn't my point. I don't want to whine and be boring.

What I've been thinking a lot about is Weetzie. For a while, Weetzie Bat was a waitress at a diner. It's where she meets My Secret Agent Lover Man. From there everything seems to pick up for her. But there isn't a note about Weetzie being unhappy during her work there. And all I can think is, How? I feel so trapped here in my post-grad going-nowhere too-qualified-but-not-qualified-enough life in the same damn town but with no money and no friends, I can't imagine Weetzie being happy during that time in her life. How did she handle it?!

Ok, ok, she's fictional. I know this. She stayed happy because that's the way she was written. Happy and optimistic and loving.
But in my (off and on) quest to live a life more like her, I've continued to make excuses on why I'm not doing it. "Because life isn't that way", I'll say. But isn't that the point? To be like Weetzie in the real world? To be like this brilliant, fun, happy character (and other FLB characters like her) in a world that is hard and boring and poor and unpleasant and unforgiving and so un-magical in day to day life? Those who see magic and love and life every day are lucky, and I want to be that way but too often I want too much and do too little.

So then I'm back to the beginning. In this place in my life, stuck in between what I was and what I'm trying so hard to be (( student->server---assistant?, content->miserable---happy?, etc)), how do I look at where I am and smile and just be happy with what's around me, instead of only waiting for the things I'm searching for? Or just be happy with where I am while I try to create the life I want?

How do I buck up and actually live my life instead of just waiting for it?

I know I need to change myself before I can change my life. But how do I get to that point?

How would she?

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