I think I might just be staying on with Thai Express and add on to my impending weekend job at Tangs, because one day I want to bathe in banknotes. Not really, but really, being employed gives me a vague sense of purpose, and while I realise that all the money probably won’t improve my life too much, at least I’m doing something with my time not called Stay At Home And Do Nothing.
I’ve invented this new game I play with myself at Thai Express, and it’s called the OCD Game. When I’m free I’ll take initiative and arrange the utensils in neat stacks – the forks and spoons, and then the soup spoons and saucers, and when I’m done with these the bonus stage is the chopsticks – all pointed in the same direction. I’ve won the game twice. People bay for job satisfaction, I say MAKE YOUR OWN.
I’m freaking myself out now, but it’s almost as if I enjoy the humdrum rhythm that characterises waitering. “Get the fish sauce!” “Table number?” “Wipe table 23”: the myriad voices that swim in my head, the reassurance that life won’t change too much in the next five minutes (unless I spill curry on a customer), and sometimes it’s so easy to be satisfied/drunk on that reassurance. I will never make a living out of this full-time, but I can see why someone WOULD.
And we are waiters and we are invisible, and we have a feast of people waiting to be milked of their life stories. We are that lady in Sandman who felt like she had STORIES inside her. And then our customers leave and others take their place (after a hurried change of utensils and wiping of table and “Good morning Sir/Madam table for how many?”) and they are different yet they are comfortingly same.
“Are you ready to order?”