When I was spat from a court ordered rehab into the bosom of the great wide world, I truly anticipated finding a meaningful employment, which would be my sturdy raft upon the sometime tempestuous seas of life. Dutifully, I applied at the state employment agency, was given a referral, so I scurried off to present myself. To my relief and astonishment, I was hired on the spot. I should have taken better note of the day – April 1st – April Fools Day.
Anticipating a lively work place, surrounded by co-workers all pulling together for the greater good, I blithely and innocently set off for my first day. It began easily enough as I learned the nuts and bolts of being a restaurant hostess, meet, greet, smile and seat.
Then I was assigned to the Poolside Patio.
In a nanosecond, the areas of my responsibilities exploded and shifted as if I was but a tiny piece in an ever-shifting kaleidoscope. There were guests referred from the main entrance a flight above, there were guests approaching on foot from the parking lot, there were guests leaving the two bars and wanting a table for sunset, and there were guests arriving by boat and wondering in from the dock!
I was given a walkie-talkie for garbled communication with the front desk, to coordinate available seating with hoards of famished and for inebriated patrons and sometimes platoons of squealing offspring. “Can I get in the pool NOW Mommy”? “How long do we have to wait”? Some evenings I became hoarse repeating the same litany over and over: “There is a wait list. Please use the beach area and the pool until your number is called” AND “No, you can’t sit there just because it is empty and you have been waiting since last Easter for a table because we’re trying to seat a party of 6,729 and they have been here for half a century before you.” Oh and I must smile and smile and smile while refusing to throttle the next imbecile who pretends not to understand me.
By the time I get home … walking, waiting, bus riding, and walking again hours after I left my 5-day (I mean 5 hour) shift, I was pooped! Not only that I was beat, bleary and burnt out; fatigued, frayed, and fizzled out; spent, squashed and shot out (no, not that way!); weary, worn and washed out.
So you see how I may consider being here in jail a small reprieve from some of the pressures of life: I get to sleep a lot, my meals are brought to me (no dishes to wash) and I’m able to spend my leisure time doing jigsaw puzzles and playing scrabble.