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waitress

Binders, Guest Posts, Relationships

Waitress of the Month

September 22, 2015

By Gail Konop

Mother is dying. I dream…wedding night, summer of 1986… having second thoughts, jitters all week leading up to wedding. Who am I kidding? I had the jitters from the moment my now ex arranged and orchestrated a proposal straight out of a Kay Jewelers’ commercial, a romantic dinner at the French restaurant where we’d had our first date exactly a year after said date, a walk to the same park we went to after that first date, then down-on-his-knees “will you marry me?” with a diamond solitaire gold ring and me thinking how this would make one of those girls who leafed through bridal magazines and stared longingly into bridal shop windows and dreamed of marriage, over-the-top happy. But I wasn’t that girl.

I thought marriage was a capitalist contraption manufactured to enhance men’s lives and careers and trap women. But in the wake of my older brother Richard’s suicide the year before, I found myself attracted to this safe and stable seeming man who already had a life plan and represented hyper-normal Normalcy which I rabidly sought even though there were red flags from the start. We met in 1984, an election year, and I was crazy excited about Mario Cuomo’s speech at the Democratic Convention. My ex claimed to love everything I loved including Cuomo and Grace Paley and slam poetry readings and cheap vegetarian food in my neighborhood near Tompkins Square Park, my quirky tastes in clothing and friends, my “progressive” opinions about marriage and capitalism. My gut told me his “claims” were inconsistent with his Dartmouth College pedigree and belonging to a fraternity and that secret society, with the fact that all his friends had a life plan involving either Ivy League post-graduate schooling or jobs requiring expensive polished shoes. But he said that was silly and “now look who’s being narrow-minded.” When he took me home to meet his WASPY conservative Western Massachusetts family, I overheard them saying they were “okay” with me being “Jewish” as if it were a contagious disease…but he’s down on his knees in the little park in the West Village asking me to marry him and I nod and start having an out of body experience from which I didn’t fully emerge for many years. Then a stretch limo filled with champagne and strewn with rose pedals pulls up and drives us all over New York City and delivers us to the Plaza Hotel and I keep thinking, where is that girl this should have been for?

Coughing up enough bridesmaids… who weren’t either anti-wedding or too weird or eccentric to want to commit to anything… was nearly impossible. Not having the kind of friends who would want to be in a wedding straight out of that Kay Jewelers’ commercial made me feel certain there was something inherently and irreparably wrong with me… so I managed to round up a motley crew: my sister who was in the middle of her own crisis (I later learned) in France; my soon-to-be husband’s sister (who was very angry at me that my now ex was getting married before her since she was older); a friend from college (one who had been kicked out for fabricating her entire existence… she had claimed to be a poor girl from Ireland but was actually a rich girl from Boston) and my on and off again best friend from New York, who all had reluctantly agreed to wear the hideous blue dresses and matching shoes my soon to be mother-in-law had picked out at the local bridal shop.  And now it’s the night before the wedding and I’m staring at the dark circles under my eyes in the harsh bathroom mirror lights at the Howard Johnson’s (where all the out of town guests are staying) and thinking about how I would plaster my eyes with cucumbers before I went to get my hair and makeup done in the morning when the phone rang and it was Mother on the other end.

She said, “You need to pay back that $50,000 immediately.” Continue Reading…

And So It Is, Interview, Jen's Musings, Video

The Goodest Hardest Look At Yourself.

August 19, 2014

By Jennifer Pastiloff

Annie Sertich and I were having coffee last week (she is a fantastic author and actress) and she decided to give me an impromptu interview. I shared it on my Facebook page and got a myriad of reactions.

Listen folks, I would never, and I mean never- and you can quote me on this if you want to, which I doubt you do- but I would never knock waiting tables.

Continue Reading…

Eating Disorders/Healing, healing, my book

Ghost Lives.

November 27, 2013

I had my nervous breakdown behind the restaurant where everyone went out to smoke once the tables had their food and seemed to be as happy as they would ever get during a meal.

It was that little secret cove for the smokers that I found salvage in, oddly enough. I leaned against that red brick wall and slowly slid down it onto dirty butts.

My chest heaved. About a hundred years passed and I started to drown in cigarette butts. There were millions of them and they were smothering me with ash and nicotine and lipstick stains and sticky bird shit that also had been on the ground. There might have been bubble gum too, but when you are drowning you don’t pay attention to anything except oxygen and that is what I couldn’t find anywhere. Somebody help me my brain told my mouth to say but my mouth was drowning and closed.

Nothing came out except the word Enough.

Enough waitressing. Enough guilt. Enough anorexia. Enough pretending I don’t have a hearing problem. Enough numbing myself. Enough sleeping to numb myself. Enough eating to numb myself. Enough starving to numb myself. Enough drinking to numb myself. Enough saying what I don’t want instead of what I do want. Enough sex with people I don’t love or even like very much. Enough living in the past. Enough worrying about the future. Enough wearing 6 inch platform shoes because I feel being short means I am inadequate.

Enough self-hatred.

To read the rest of the essay click here.

**Published on The Rumpus.

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