Thursday, August 14, 2014

Table Six

I keep feeling the need to get some of my life as a waitress off my chest. Weird things happen to waitresses. People expose themselves in our presence in ways you wouldn't believe. Really, we see the best of humanity and the worst of humanity, right there during the lunch rush. With our pockets filled with crumpled straw wrappers and granules of artificial sweetener we devote our time to strangers, ensuring their glasses are perpetually full, their needs all met before they've even voiced them. We serve them, and then we judge them, as soon as we see what kind of a tip they've left us.

Table Six certainly didn't embody the worst of humanity, by any means, but she sure left an impression. She was an Australian visiting her friend here in Savannah. She was slight, and her head was covered with a silk scarf. The whole potentially dying of cancer aspect of her softened the blow of our incredibly uncomfortable interaction. She was vacillating between the vegetarian plate and our local steamer clams - two vastly different dishes. I recommended the clams, but admitted it wasn't the healthier of the two options. As I stood at her table, answering her questions, poised to write down her order as soon as she made her decision, she reached her hand out and patted me on my tummy as she said, "Well you can eat anything you like since you're eating for two."

Be nice. She's dying of cancer.

I heard my mother's voice in my head. "Stand up straight, Anna." I looked at Table Six and, with my smile still on my face, said, "no, ma'am, that's just the result of my poor eating habits combined with my poor posture."

As I straightened my back, and sucked in my tummy, she smiled and said, "Oh, you're right. It does rather disappear now that you're standing up straight."

Every time I had to stop at her table she would say something like, "You really are quite slim," or, "Please, don't go changing your eating habits. You're really lovely."

Tip: $10.00 on $55.00.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Back Where We All Began

Holy moly! A loooong time has passed since my last entry. Why haven't I written, you may not be wondering? Well, frankly, things sucked for the last little while. Who wants to read about adventures that suck.

Now that things are turning around, or now that I am trying to turn my attitude around, I feel more like writing. Maybe you'll read. Maybe I'll just come back to all these musings later and cringe or laugh or cry, or whatever.

So, my family is now living in Savannah. Where we all began. This is the city that stole our hearts when we were young and fresh-faced. Not world-weary and bedraggled. This is where we bought our first home, where our son was born and learned to walk and talk. We love this place.

Another thing that called us home is our amazing friends. When we arrived we moved into a tiny and disgustingly filthy house. We made one phone call to ask for help, and we had a host of people over, helping us clean the place in preparation for our move. I'm talking about cleaning cockroach feces off the baseboards and out of the cabinets, and covering everything with a fresh coat of paint. Half the people who showed up I'd never even met before. In the midst of the grueling labor I was able to look around and smile, knowing we were in a good place with amazing people. And several days later, when we pulled up in our U-Haul, a dozen or so folks showed up to unload it. Within a couple of hours our living room was decorated, our beds were made, our kitchen was completely stocked with donated groceries, and we were moved in. These people are ridiculously wonderful! 

My dear friend Trish recently loaned me the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It's difficult for me to make it through much of the book at one time because I am inevitably reduced to a blubbering mess. Ann is insightful and eloquent, and I feel inspired by her challenge to slow down and list the tiny, everyday things that are masked by our sadness or business or distractedness. I'm not numbering my list, but Trish and I challenged each other to write down three things we are thankful for every day. If my attention to my blog is any indication, you know I'm not diligent about my list. But, most days I pick up Ann's book, and find something to write about. The more I practice the act of gratitude the more I look forward to it every day.

I started to write today because I was going to grumble about my life a bit. I am stuck at home, not making money for the second day in a row. There's a polar vortex (or is it an arctic storm?) hitting the south right now. What does that mean? Here in Savannah it means it's very cold (but not freezing) and rainy outside. Honestly, it seems like a poor excuse for people not going out to eat (and not tipping me). Anyway, that's not the most important thing for me to talk about. It's comical, but I'm not feeling terribly shaken about it, now that I've written about how life really is good for my little family right now. Yes, there are things that are scary, no I'm not making enough money, but in this cozy, clean home, with its fresh paint and the family-friends we have here, I am grateful. It is enough.