Wow, October of 2020 I wrote the passage below but never hit submit. Like all those texts we rant hard on, then in a fit of passion hit ‘send’…or delete. Why do we do that? Is it anxiety boiling over and we finally pay attention to the mess and proceed to cleanup? Perhaps, or maybe it’s knowing our words will fall on deaf ears, or encourage a fight. For the record, I still feel as passionately about my “restaurant rage” (angry late young-aged woman shakes fist at sky). I won’t cop to middle-aged, no no, not yet.
I’m angry for more selfish reasons (but are they selfish?) Restaurant work still pays my bills, albeit poorly, and I’m seething to get out (that’s 100% on me). I’m craving support from friends I’m not getting (but we’re all suffering from the loss of our friend who was my former partner). An old friend posted to Facebook- “Do you hang on to connections that don’t serve you? Do you know why?” My shortened answer, for here, loyalty to the past. To a place we all worked in, to another friend who passed from cancer, and now for our friend we laid to rest last week. A lot of these friends moved away, and to be honest, I don’t keep in touch with because it’s tough to admit that we shared time and place and memories, but not a close friendship. Some moved and I do keep close. I’ve been questioning friendship and what that means to me, and what I actually need from people. Being in my 40’s is the hardest part, so many have kids and spouses that take up 95% of their time. I like kids, but they are adult-friendship killers. Unless, of course, you also have kids.
So, as a childless, unmarried woman of a certain age, I’m learning to seek out those who better serve my emotional and intellectual needs, as well as my interests. Regardless of your situation, I gently suggest you do too.
“It’s troubling to continue addressing this, but as I live in the DC metro area, besieged by election and Supreme Court atrocities, the feeling is climaxing. I’ve long dealt with anxiety and depression, and have managed to curtail the worst of its ugliness, until now. I’m seven months into being “unemployed” or as I’m starting to call it, again, under-employed. Working part-time delivering food and alcohol for my company, and also making drinks for the outside of our restaurant, the only spot to enjoy food and drinks anymore. It’s fine, it’s “fine”. It’s hourly, not tips, I doubt many know the tips they are leaving don’t go to us, but to pay salaries and keep the lights on. I shouldn’t even be mentioning that here, but I’m getting fed up when I see the generosity people are offering, thinking it’s helping us keep our lights on, our bank accounts full. It’s not. I don’t want to bite the hand that feeds me, as this payment in cash every week for my hours leaves me to collect unemployment. I don’t want to be on unemployment, I want to be a functioning member to society, to my life, my future. And I’m sorry, but I can’t do that on 30-40% less salary. Not in the DC area, where depending on where you live, rents have not eased up. I have never wanted to pack up and run screaming in the other direction more in my life. I live in a very-well-to-do neighborhood that up and ran away with being affordable long ago, but I kept hanging on because I made a good living, most of my friends are here, and it’s safe.
So back to that anxiety, see, it’s always been there, but kept hidden. Hidden by the “safety” and “comfort” of my job in a profession that has been decimated by this pandemic. Never did I think bartending would go out of style, but here we are folks. People are ordering cases of wine and beer to be dropped at their doors, learning how to make old fashions just like the bar down the street, and building bars in their basements.”