Thursday, June 3, 2010


I love packing.

One of my favorite George Carlin routines is about our stuff. Our addiction to and accumulation of stuff. And that's the truth, if I didn't have so much ***damn stuff, I wouldn't need a house.

But we don't have a whole lot of stuff; we have more than a little but far less than most families I know. As Carlin points out, people move to have more room for more stuff. That's not us.

I've always been pretty anal about not letting our possessions get out of hand. The home I grew up in was always outrageous when it came to that. Everything we wanted to keep, things we thought we might need to keep, and everything else we were too lazy to actually sort through just sat in piles all throughout the house. These piles grew and grew and got shoved into corners, against walls, and forgotten on staircases. Watch an episode of "Hoarders." We weren't that far off from needing an intervention, ourselves.

I moved out of my house for the third the last time when I was 22 and I made a vow to myself to never, EVER, get buried in crap again.

Still, here I am with my life, my stuff, in boxes, and I know this moving process would be a whole lot easier if there weren't so many to fill. I just get endlessly annoyed at the decision-making that goes into sorting, packing, and moving. What's this? When was the last time I used/wore it? Is it my husband's? One of his exes? What the fuck is he doing still holding on to an old book of hers, anyway? And a how-to book about love?! Ha!! Obviously that wasn't of any help!

Wait, what were we talking about?

For the most part, I'm actually a thrower-away-er, sometimes to a fault. As per the nature of this blog, allow me to make another comparison between running and my life. Running: Moving quickly in one direction, not looking back (Except maybe on an out-and-back route, which I usually hate. I much prefer a loop.). You can't hold onto shit during a run. Hot spots? You can take off your sneakers and rub your feet or you can keep running. Sore legs? You can go home and pop a couple Advil or you can keep running. Hitting a wall? You can sit down and give up or keep running. Just not feeling it today? You can wallow in the reasons why or you can keep fucking running.

So when it comes to my life, I try not to hold on or hold back. Anything that conjures up sentiments I wish to retire, I throw away. Things that bear no relevance to my current situation, I toss. If it brings me back to a place I don't want to be anymore, it goes buh-bye. Whether it's two-week-old cheese that might still be OK or fifteen-year-old wrinkled and humidity-stained notebooks with song lyrics scrawled on the covers and "poetry" (read: Pre-teen Angst-ridden Lamentations) squeezed in between pages of biology notes.

Each mile is not the same as the one before it, and can not be run if you do not allow yourself to pass from one mile to the next. So go the pages of life.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

a little bit about what I do... or, what I did

My last day at the restaurant was Saturday and I am proud to say I have survived being a server. Rather, the restaurant survived me. Too many dishes and pieces of glassware did not. You're welcome, Mikasa.

I was never married to being a server. Most nights, the latest I stay up is because of work, otherwise I'm in bed after the eleven-o-clock news. I suck at building a rapport because I don't remember names or faces very well. Serving has infiltrated my dreams on more than one occasion (my personal favorite: the Perpetually In the Weeds scenario, where I'm sat table after table after table and everyone is giving me their order and each time I try to go ring it in another table is sat and is whistling me over until everyone in the entire dining room is glaring at me because they have no food, no water, and no sweet tea), but for the most part, I don't carry my job around with me. Really.

But it's been one of the best jobs I've ever had. I love my coworkers, our Chef, Sous Chef, and the rest of the kitchen crew. I really like my boss, despite being certain that she had it in for me on more than one occasion (coming from the Olive Garden didn't help). The job has certainly had its ups and downs; too often would I leave hating myself because no matter what I did, I couldn't seem to make anyone happy. But just as often I'd leave with a sense of accomplishment. The best days were the ones when little old ladies would all but pinch my cheeks and tell me how fabulous everything was (even if they still think it's 1957 and tip me in change), or a little kid smiles up at me and says, "You're the BEST waitress EVER!"

When I was pregnant I pretty much rocked it, tip-wise. Except I didn't show through my work shirt until I was like 7 1/2 months. One time, I was describing some dishes to a table where a woman very engrossed in our menu when she looked up, startled, and said, "Oh my god you're pregnant!" The thing I got all the time is that not one part of me looked the least bit pregnant, except for the basketball sticking out from under my shirt. On my last day before my maternity leave, a customer asked the usual "how much longer do you have?" "Uh... like, 3 weeks and 1 day..." and she goes "WHAT are you still doing HERE? Go sit down!"

And the bad days, well, I can laugh at them all now.

Like the time I made a 6% tip for no apparent reason (3 days ago, actually). The couple was all nice and smiley whenever I was at the table, but in an intense argument when I wasn't, according to my manager.

Or the couple that our manager had to kindly ask to leave because their argument was far less discreet. There was yelling. And cursing. Very loud. On Valentine's Day. Ah... romance.

And the time I got yelled at and had a check presenter practically thrown back at me by a man who was very upset that someone else at the table had arranged payment with me before the end of the meal, because he had to pay and there would be no exception.

The numerous occasions that I had to tactfully explain (without sounding condescending) that "bruschetta" means "bread", and does not automatically signify a dish made with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, to a person who was already very pissed off that we didn't have "normal" bruschetta.

The people who ask to sit outside at night, only to get upset at the lack of lighting and the size font on our menus.

And my personal favorite: Waiting on a table of 20-something 20-somethings, all Latin American (before you call me a racist, my coworker Jose, who's sister had been promoted and was the reason they were all out to eat, came up to me beforehand and said, "You're waiting on them? I'm going to tell you now: I'm sorry.") Remember that serving nightmare I described. That was this table. I couldn't make it around the table to get everyone's order without the person I started with pointing at his empty beer bottle, pointing at his watch, and then throwing his hands up in a "what the fuck?" kind of gesture. Yup.

I doubt I'll be returning to serving anytime soon, except for when I come back to Greenville so the baby's grandparents can see her and I can pick up a shift to make up for the drive. Unless Kevin Gillespie's restaurant is hiring. That might be worth the commute from Newnan to Atlanta.