I’ve done all the Shit Jobs. Yes, that’s supposed to be capitalized. It’s a category, see. There’s Shit Jobs, which is the bottom rung, followed by A Little Less Shitty, Not-So-Shitty, Merely Nauseating, I Enjoy My Job, and then, all the way at the top, the grandest, sparkliest of careers, They Pay Me to Take Naps. A close second would be, Sometimes I Don’t Get Dressed at All. I consider this the Promised Land–the real world equivalent to the Biblical notion that there is indeed a fluttering-winged Heaven up in the great and endless dome above. It’s something we Shit Jobbers only hear about in whispers–hushed speech not meant to reach our ears, but we know.
Now, the Shit Jobs…I’ve done most of them. I’ve even cleaned up actual shit–haven’t you? What, you don’t want to shake my hand?
Anyway, this incredibly humbling experience of working for establishments that list “mopping up vomit” as a special skill, has taught me things. Important things. Too much information things. You see, I can always pick out a person who has been in my shoes–a fellow Shitter. Or been-shit-on-er. I digress. These are the ones who tip better, clean up after themselves, speak in full sentences–even sprinkling in pleasant pronouns and inflections in their speech. These are the ones who ask my name with interest, and I give them the real thing in hopes they’re genuine and won’t abuse it.
But…and it’s a big but, (Kardashian size), there are the others. Always. The Elite, as my kind personality likes to address them, or Il Duce, as Lorelai Gilmore has taught me to do with poise. They are Important, if their extensive knowledge of muddling and garnishes and uppity up-ness, (all pinkies extended and crystal-stemmed glasses), doesn’t give them away. Didn’t you know? They are The Most Important People in the Bar. These are the ones who demand service and demand it now. These are the ones who berate the others in such a subtle way that it isn’t noticed or acknowledged because they do it with such chivalry. They truly believe that their presence in the bar is so monumental and deserving of honor that we ought to put their name and photo on the wall as a shining tribute of their very existence.
“And what’s your name, sweetheart?” They ask as I mix nine different alcohols into their drink while sixty-some lesser mortals await impatiently for me to serve them. It’s all shmoozy and sickly-sweet, as if this works for them, and I should fall apart right then and there.
That’s when I tilt my head as if I really care, and say, with a matching sick-sweet smile,
“I’m Rosemary. Want to see a picture of my baby?”