If you’re reading this, I’m almost 100% certain that you’ve been asked to relate a good quality about yourself (You might have also learned that you shouldn’t really talk about just any 3 good things, but stuff that will make you look good to the person you’re talking to. A bit disingenuous, but Trump is president so c’est la vie).
Now what I’m getting to is that I have a job here at a restaurant, where people fucking ‘celebrate’ with us on Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve and Day, and Christmas Eve, and this restaurant needed (actually still needs) another back-up cook. I offered my cousin, who wouldn’t be able to decide to go left or right to escape a paper bag, and the manager on duty at the time had asked me a simple question:
“Is she smart?”
Now, intelligence means different things to people but when people say smart, I can only think of a few definitions that one could mean. So I had promptly replied:
“She’s as smart as me.”
The manager at the time had given me a dubious look, complete with an upturned eyebrow. Kind of indignant, I had continued:
“I’m actually really smart.”
The manager had laughed and said:
“You had one good Saturday, and now you’re so confident!”
That wasn’t all untrue. For the first time, I had gone through a Saturday successfully. It had been perhaps my second or third Saturday. I had not even had the three days of training that I was supposed to get (they had simply forgotten that part, but I didn’t know until a couple weeks later).
That wasn’t all untrue, but nor was it all a joking matter. Being as smart as I meant nothing. It wasn’t something to aspire to.
Before you wonder why the hell I’m being so conceited, I don’t really mean that people should try to be as smart as I am, but I lived my entire life knowing that I was very intelligent. I lived most of my life with people recognizing my smarts. I was the sort of smart that made people think that I wouldn’t survive ‘on the streets’ or ‘in the real world’ or whatever platitude to build themselves up after knowing that they couldn’t match me in wits even if I was ocean deep in the cups.
But no one would know it as I worked in this restaurant.
I hadn’t thought of this moment in a while, as I was busy hating the company behind the restaurant and the guests patronizing the restaurant (who the fuck comes in at 7 am on New Year’s Day? Scum, that’s who.)
When the beginning tingles of this memory surfaced, I thought also, was I still upset about what had happened? How my manager had reacted? The situation bloomed in my mind once more and as the anger and indignation and stagnant anxiety shook me to my core, I knew it still drove me nuts.
I’m fucking smart.
I get these tickets to make food; they print out as soon as a waiter or waitress puts in the order. And waiters and waitresses know this. And yet the ton of them still come to ask:
“Did you get my ticket?”
“I need a salad.”
“Are you making my dessert?”
Do they do this with the other side of cooking? Nope! They are perfectly certain that the people over there are getting the greater side of their orders ready. They never need to be checked. You might be thinking, maybe they are checking to see if I need help. BWAHAHA.
The most infuriating part of it is that I’m one of three people behind my station, almost always working alone. So they should know by now that I know. They know that I have been working and getting things done without the constant barrage of check-ups but I feel as if they think that and then they think:
“Oh wait, we can’t trust her. She’s an idiot.”
And I’m smart. And I know what I’m doing. Don’t give me advice, just in case, because that just tells me that you think I have no idea, when you should remember that I’ve made this a hundred times correctly, without your help.
And I think and had thought… Just show them how smart you are!
But there’s nowhere to show it. I hate working doing what I do for the people I do it for in a place that keeps on the radio and the radio sucks. And not in a Grandpa-voice-music-is-not-what-it-used-to-be BS said by people who don’t know how to use the internet or music streaming services to escape the radio hobbling of aural entertainment, kind of way. But in that they-are-playing-the-same-thing-over-and-over-again kind of way. Over and over in the same night, in the same hour, in the same half hour. Or that they talk. The main radio has a talk show between the extremely narrow music selection EVERY GODDAMN NIGHT. Fucking praying and shit
Singing to the music, because that’s a way I can keep my sanity, and people do ask me how I know all these words to the song and how to sing them. As I try to keep the Archer voice from saying how can you not, I tell them I hear the songs a lot. I mean, damn, Taylor Swift has always been overplayed but this station makes her seem like their patron saint (Saint Swift does sound nice). Multiple songs from her, every night, and often repeated.
I could show my intelligence being some sort of doctor. But my interest in the medical field is more nonexistent than god.
And that brings me to my loves of the humanities. Perhaps almost anywhere in there (probably not poetry though). People laugh at the humanities and how majors there (or outside of STEM really) are useless (it’s ageist/anti-Millennial BS BTW), there are people out there who would like to *GASP* ENJOY THEIR WORK, instead of working to get a paycheck.
And that’s the main reason why I work here, is for a paycheck. I want things (things in particular!) and the only way I’ll get them is to work for actual money.
Working for money isn’t the main problem. I don’t mind working for money. But I hate this particular work (and most others). What if my paycheck depended on how much I wrote? I have to put work in for people to start paying for things that I love to do. I have already put in the work others are already getting paid for (congratulations them!), but while we live in a world of getting references from people that merely pay you, and dealing with getting experience that requires experience that requires experience, I feel such things are a long way off.
I try to shut down that part of my brain. Who cares if I’m smart? No one. And that’s ok. It’s ok. Ok?