Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Salad Of Thoughts

isn't this a beautiful salad? i don't normally like salads unless they are covered with things to make them taste less like salad. but since it has been so long since i posted and i can't decide on just one thing to write about, i decided to create a salad of thoughts for you to read as you like. it ain't a melting pot - they all don't blend together and the ingredients remain separate.

i am a waitress now. it is a strange transition from government administrative work to food service. actually i have been able to put into practice a lot of the skills i learned at my last job. the main one is being nice to people who are not pleasant people, and being a good cog in the giant machine. i guess that's what a job is, when they all come down to it. one difference between the two jobs is that i did not wear a kimono when i worked for the government. another is that most of the people in my former job spoke english as a first language. and no one put raw fish into my mouth despite my objections at the Capitol, either.

so if i could be the voice of all waitresses for a minute, i would ask you to please realize that MANY things can go wrong with your food that are not our fault. the cooks can lose your ticket, the pop machine can be broken, the bartender might have accidentally used vodka instead of tequila in your margarita, the owner might have turned the air conditioner to full blast to compensate for the hot grills. none of these things should logically result in low tips, but they do. can't you realize that? also, if you come to our place and are annoyed that we seat you with other people, just deal with it and don't come back if you don't want to, but that shouldn't result in 0% tip.

i have more to say! if you are a jerk to a waitress, they will all remember you next time as the guy or girl who was a #$!*%. will probably get great service. see, we remember your face, how much you tipped or didn't tip, how you drank too much and flirted with us in front of your wife and family, and ordered tons of food you didn't eat and had to be thrown away...but we will grit our teeth and serve you with friendly smiles. we hate you, but we will be your slave anyways because it is a contest to see if we can be the one to make the #$!*% finally leave at least 10% gratuity. (you should also know that if you leave a poor tip AND got great service, we will probably all know it by the time you hear us say "goodbye, thanks for coming in." and if you cannot afford to leave a tip, perhaps you should quit eating at pricy restaurants. times are tough, eh? then stay home.)

waitressing is actually a very easy thing to do. or should i say, it is 10,000 very easy things to do, and could you do them all at once please? and in the right order, don't forget. and if you are really good, you COULD do items 7004-9934 all together, but don't confuse them with items 4007-3994. and item #1? don't even think about doing it second or eighth, because that will create an additional 1,000 tasks interspersed with all 10,000 of the original ones. and for every party of ten that divides the check after telling me it was all together, you can just tack on an additional 15,000 tasks. and you probably expect me to be quick with those checks because you didn't ask for them until you had to leave immediately. i hate you.

i have stopped taking the bus so much because since they changed the routes, my bus is ALWAYS late. i like using the bus, and i like how they pretty much buy my gas going to and from campus - a good 15-mile roundtrip every day for me. (if you pretend to care about the environment, you'd better be using the bus whenever you can before you come whining to me to boycott plastic bags.) it is strange that taking the bus makes me feel independent, like i don't even need a car to get around. it is actually the opposite - i am subject to the schedule and weather. but it makes me feel like i did when i was in other countries.

i hope this doesn't sound snooty, but i also like how the bus has given me more awareness of the people in society's margins. the people with low incomes who ride the bus not because they are lazy students but because they probably don't have cars. i have learned when to ignore people and when to make friendly eye contact. i have seen some very scary people and some very adorable old men and women. there is a woman who carries a large crucifix in front of her and refers to herself as "we." there are people my age lost in iPods, wearing drab colors and not picking up their feet when they walk. there are tired mothers with dirty babies and there are snippy bus drivers. i suppose i sound like rich white people who like to have cultural experiences to write about so they can come across as more understanding.

the other day i actually told someone i was a photographer. i have never said those words before, because in my head it sounds presumptuous. when i said it - it was an artist in a gallery who asked me whether i was an artist myself - i felt strangely different, like my love of photography had instantly and officially changed from a hobby, something i like and something i do, someone that i AM. how weird is that? i have a long way to go before i really start applying that identity to myself. but it was a surreal moment, an unforeseen corner i'd suddenly rounded in life, when usually all i observe are straight roads stretching to the flat intersection of sky and earth.

so, speaking of photography, i have had some exciting things happen. i got an infrared filter for my birthday, and while i have yet to take any very good pictures with it, i have plenty of ideas in my head that i can't wait to explore. i had one of my photos selected to be in a photography book, which is on sale now. i have sold several prints online, for marginal profit but increased confidence in my work. AND i was contacted through RedBubble by a woman who found my images to be full of meaning relating to her family, and is buying a large number of prints to use to decorate her home. each photo represents one person in her family and a few characteristics which are unique to that individual. this project has been a challenge for me - most photos are being reworked in Photoshop so they will form a cohesive single work of art - and it has also been wonderful to communicate with this woman and discuss our families and lives. she has looked through thousands of images and suddenly found all the right photos in my single gallery - she believes she was led to my work. how exciting is that?? oh, and Justin is going to get me a custom made book for my work - but i feel like i should wait for the summer to be over, so i can include colorado and north carolina (and the rest of summer in Nebraska) in the book. i cannot wait to get it done! it'll be great to have something to show people when i talk about my art.

the music i have been hearing lately:
some of the songs from robbie seay band's new album
a few select songs by creedence clearwater revival
the 1812 overture
anything by Mew
some random choral stuff - a few Requiem tracks, Veni Veni Immanual, Carmina Burana

two weeks from today, i am leaving for North Carolina's Outer Banks. i am so excited about this trip - it's about a week and a half long - and the chance it will give me to see where Justin and his family have so many memories. it's an honor to be included this year, and i can't wait to see a part of the country i haven't before. from what i hear, our itinerary will include a lot of sleeping in, sunning, eating, swimming and for me, photography. then the week we return, we'll leave for a family reunion (my family, not Justin's) in Colorado. another few days there and we will be in nebraska for a month or so before we go camping with the onefaith group right before school starts. it is quite the agenda - but i am so travel-itchy and i can't wait to see and photograph everything i can.

hope this made up for all the time i left you blogless. :) next time i think i will write about why i photograph and how it thrills me, and about the intersection of art and photography - how they are the same and not the same. if i feel so ambitious. thank you so much for reading and sticking with me. i would love to hear your comments about any of the above.


At Tuesday, July 01, 2008 3:39:00 AM, Blogger Johanna sayeth thus:

Ah, very very good! A salad of thoughts--brilliant! I'm sorry being a waitress can be a drag. I always try to be nice to my waitresses. :)

At Friday, August 01, 2008 12:54:00 PM, Anonymous natalie sayeth thus:

wow, that's cool about that lady who wants your pictures! did she tell you how she sees the pictures representing her family members and what qualities in each one? maybe you can show me sometime...:)


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