The holidays are almost here. Time for all career servers in Halifax to recover from a month of serving office parties and”cool”university professors coming in to have a beer with their students.
Cocktailing chritmas functions for various government organizations full of people with real jobs, and the small groups of middle aged women who have been out shopping all day and are desperate for a Special Coffee.
Time to take their place on the couch with a cold Garrison and reflect on another year “in the industry” and to ponder the annual question;
“Will I still be doing this next year?”
But don’t get too comfortable noble server…you know what needs to be done now.
The trip home for Christmas with the parents.
Time to pack up the bags and go back home for the annual right of all parents of servers…The Holiday Guilt Fest.
It usually begins shortly after arriving and hugs have been exchanged and you’ve settled in to the place you called home back when your future seemed so bright.
You’ll set up in the bedroom where you slept as a child and dreamt of things far greater for yourself than what you’ve achieved, and then head to the kitchen for coffee, cookies….and questions.
Lots of questions.
It begins harmlessly enough.
“So is the restaurant busy these days?”
It’s not bad.
“Do you like the people you work with.”
Some of them are okay, some of them I could do without.
“So…do you think you might do something with your degree this year?”
I don’t know mom, maybe.
“So you still waitressing, son?”
It’s called ‘serving’, dad, and yes I am.
“Are you keeping your eyes open and checking the newspapers?”
Yes mom I am, and actually people look for job ads on the internet now.
“I just heard the mill is going to be hiring fifty more men in the spring.”
That’s really not for me, but thanks Dad.
“Have you thought about going back to school?”
Not really mom, there’s really nothing I want to take.
“Do you think they might promote you to Manager this year?”
I’d rather jump off the MacDonald Bridge than be a Manager, Dad.
Mom, is there any Baileys in the cupboard?
Each answer you give is met with a solemn dissapointing nod of the head and eventually question period ends with your mother saying, “Well as long as your happy, that’s all we want.”
You’ve survived another holiday grilling. But there is more to come. Now that the questions have stopped, the updates of what you’re schoolyard friends are doing begins.
This is where your parents bombard you with unwanted reports of the wonderful things that are happening to the people you grew up with. People who were no smarter or better looking than you, but don’t begin their day picking up loose change falling out of their work pants when doing morning laundry.
“So….you remember Jack Roberts?”
You think to yourself, “Here we go”, and you drum up the courage to perform your duty as the son of dissapointed parents, and you respond, “Yes.”
“Well he just bought a new house up on the hill. He got married last year to Janika Taylor, you remember her? Well she’s five months pregnant now and he just got a job promotion. I ran into his mother at Sobey’s and she’s very excited. She asked how you were doing, I said you’re still living in Halifax.”
Oh, that’s great, good for them.
“I see Ricky built a new house down the street. He and his wife have four kids now. I remember you two playing street hockey for hours.”
Yeah dad, I remember that too.
“I was reading in the paper that Jennifer got married to a lawyer. When did you guys break up again?”
Seven years ago, mom.
“Well she looked absolutely beautiful and he seems like a very nice man. I always liked her.”
Yeah she was great.
“I ran into your high school teacher, Mr.Johnson. He asked how you were doing, he said he always liked you and thought you had alot of potential. I told him you were still waitressing in Halifax.”
It’s called serving, dad.
And then as quickly as it began, it’s over, and you’ve survived another year. You pack up the car again, exchange hugs, and head out on the road to Halifax.
Your parents will no doubt retire to the kitchen table, pour coffee, open a box of chocolates, and discuss how it is that you are still serving at this point of your life.
Meanwhile, alone in your car and sipping on a Tim Hortons, you’ll be thinking the exact same thing.
Happy Holidays to all the servers and parents of servers in Halifax! Follow me on twitter @halifaxserver.