A Portrait of the Waitress as a Young Artist: Labor Day, Literally

I've been stewing on the idea for a while of blogging about my life as an artist who happens to be employed as a waitress and the dynamic of that lifestyle. Here I am, making good on that plan.

It's a big topic in my life with a lot of intricacies, but I'm going to start with just a short musing on the day that will be now in 20 minutes: Labor Day.

A holiday about taking a break from the hard labor of life, you say? Not so for service industry workers. While many Americans get a break from work, we work harder to serve them while they relax. They get annoyed if our businesses are closed, so our managers keep them open to make more money. Then they get rude if service is slower than their expectations for their glorious day off. A day that should result in higher tips often ends in lower ones because people have unreasonable expectations of service workers who get slammed on a holiday.

Of course the real irony is that many of the people who have labor day off work a jobs that are much more revered and cushier than service industry positions. The people doing the most labor in the first place end up being the people who don't get a break at all, and continue to be the servants of the higher classes.

This is every holiday in the life of a service worker, but it takes on special significance with labor day. When I walk home from this coffee shop, I'll pass numerous bars where youths with better jobs than me are out celebrating that they have the day off tomorrow. I'll be heading home to sleep so that I'll have my wits about me when they're glaring at me because their food is taking too long and they're too hungover to be polite.  Not to mention the more common offenders, large families who expect you to pay attention to no one but them because they are white, privileged, and important. Don't get me wrong, I like my job. But I do wish that people thought a little bit more about how they treated their slaves, I mean, servers. And that I'd occasionally have a holiday off. Alas, that's the price one pays to get off work early and have time to pursue a creative life.