Chronicles of a Cocktail Waitress Pt. 3

Helpless anger seethes in my chest. I may be working for tips, but I’m not working to please you sexually, I think as I flash another fake smile from the aisle as the older man kisses at me when I pass for the third time.

A woman with bright orange hair and a fox mask gets up on stage. She holds the mic close to where her mouth should be and begins to read poetry no one can hear. I am crying with laughter from behind the bar. The band, which is improvising music along with the reading, can’t hear her muffled grunts from behind the mask either, they look at each other and decide to play a Guns and Roses song.

The poet’s words still hang in the air like frozen moisture. The room is silent as he ruffles through his pages to get to the next piece. I’ve stopped working and am sitting: this man’s poetry can’t be ignored, it must be honored by listening.

The Jazz sounds like a cat in a blender to me. The saxophone is screaming the high pitched yowls of the theoretical cat as the blades rip into its flesh and I can’t help but feel like the cat as the music rips into my ears. I look up at the clock and sigh as I realize there’s another hour and a half to go before the night’s done.

The solo performer is CRAZY. Like, totally bat-shit nuts. She can’t sit still. She needs everything NOW. Her husband, a beaten looking bald man, is trying to placate her as he pulls another chunk of hair out of his head. I am not digging the energy and want to run very far away. I can’t, however, as the solo performer needs a glass of water that’s room temperature with a slice of lime and honey and a cup of ice on the side with a couple of pieces of bread as well and a bottle of soda water for her kid thankyouverymuch.

The bass player gives me a knowing smile and chuckle as I pick up a cup of what used to be water and quickly put it in the service bin. The cup had so much backwashed food in it I thought the whole thing was covered in vomit when I first got to the table to clean up. I had to wrap my hand in towels before attempting to pick the glass up. The bass player, who was sipping a beer after his set, watched and provided sympathetic phrases and jokes that made me laugh enough to keep my own bile down.

The smell of pot smoke is ripe, so ripe I wonder if someone is actually curing the marijuana in the room. The reggae music is amazing, however, and I let the atmosphere of the room (dark, warm, undulating currents of music) take me to a relaxing place.

We’re bored. Very few people are there to see the amazing Brazilian music that’s played by incredibly talented artists. We look at each other. Nod. Twenty minutes later we’re stoned out of our minds: nodding to the Brazilian music and wondering how we got so lucky.

Dark cave. Up the stairs it’s summer and sunshine! Dark cave made even darker when the lights on the ceiling are on. There’s something about lightbulb light in the daytime that makes a room feel even darker when the sun is shining. I dream about running up the stairs and running out of the restaurant, up the street, to the subway, to home, to pack, to run to the airport, to buy a one way ticket, to go and to never come back.

June 30, 2013 at 3:49 pm by Natalie Allen