The restaurant where I waited tables for five years called me a few days ago, in a bind because too many waiters had taken off for the holiday. "Come in," they said. "And you'll make some money. Things have been busy."
I have not really shared this I don't think, but I've been pretty broke this school year. My take-home pay is $1092 every two weeks, and after rent/utilities ($600), student loan payment ($180), car insurance ($130), phone bill ($60), and gym bill ($45), I'm pretty much broke and living for my next paycheck. The summer decimated my savings, and I'm still trying to pay down the little bit of non-secured debt (mostly from taking my last class at Towson) that I have. I'm also trying to save for a new car and a new house, but right now my savings are still just three digits big.
To be fair, the main reason I quit my second job, besides having not much of a social life and working too hard, is that I finally got my Master's Degree and the nearly $7000 raise that comes with it (Step 9 on a Bachelor's Degree to Step 10 with a Master's). The raise did not kick in until Wednesday, despite all the correct paperwork being submitted in July. My paycheck jumped over $200 for Wednesday's paycheck, and while I don't quite understand all the numbers on it, I think it's probably the raise - which is awesome. I've also not been given my tuition reimbursement from last spring, so that's something else I can look forward to soon.
Still, even with the recent good news, it's no surprise that I took the shift. I'm not working there again with any degree of regularity, but it's nice to be able to go in there, make a hundred bucks ($102 last night), and be on my way, and catch up on all the restaurant gossip to boot. Waiting tables is, as my friend joked with me, kind of like riding a bike. A bike that you never, ever can seem to get off no matter how hard you try.
I was also reminded of one of my favorite parts of waiting tables - those human interactions that you just can't have anywhere else. I waited on a woman and her sister who were on their way to see a show at the Fells Point Corner Theater. This isn't unusual, as we're one of the closest restaurants geographically to the theater, and anyone cool enough to go to that hip, out-of-the-way, hard-to-find theater would also probably be cool enough to research out our out-of-the-way, hard-to-find bohemian bistro. What was unusual about this one was that, while we were chatting, I learned that the woman's daughter was one of the stars of the show. And she made me promise that I'd go see her in the play (and I probably would have gone anyway - I quite enjoyed the theater's previous show, Take Me Out, and the new show has gotten good reviews, plus I've usually liked plays written by Wendy Wasserstein).
When they left, she wrote a note to me stating her name, her daughter's name, and reminded me of my promise. She also thanked me for dinner.
It was a nice little moment, and a good reminder why waiting tables can be kind of cool.
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