It’s noon. I open my eyes to my blue room, quietly lit by the midday sunlight. My six hour shift of misery starts at one. As I roll myself out of bed, I realize that my head feels as though its weight has doubled from what it was the day before. The dizziness and insane power of the lights and city sounds also begin to strike me. I already know this will be a shit day.
After I had managed to drag myself through my morning routine, I throw on my work uniform. My grogginess is highlighted by my sleek waiter dress: fresh, jet black shirt and pants. The outfit makes me feel awkward in my own skin. I don’t feel like a waiter today. I feel a lot more like some kind of a bum, or some grudge scumbag like Cobain. Every day I throw this thing on, and for what? I’m trying to make some bucks, but is this really where I want to be? More importantly, is this where I belong? These are questions in the margins of my thoughts. I carry them everywhere, but only let them reveal themselves to my conscious at my most unbearable moments of discontent.
I get to work and as I’m working the register, my eye falls on a group of young hipsters in the corner of the cafe. I usually try to steer clear of even thinking the word “hipster”, but these cats are hip. They look like they were transported into the cafe directly from the 80s. They’re sitting attentively in their little corner going over music notes. They have to be a band. My brain makes an immediate connection to my friends and I back in the day, when we would obsessively tweak and edit our classic home videos, which had stirred more laughs than anything that had been put on TV in years. Suddenly, that big, dormant question in my head is stimulated again. Where do I belong? Where do I want to be? Whether there is a difference between those two questions is unclear. I have to work toward what I am passionate for, not what will simply get me by. Those musicians over there fit perfectly into their skin. What about myself? I absolutely don’t. Not right now. I have to find my place. I have to find myself.
With this fresh bout of motivation, I storm into the lair of my boss. She is a cold woman, and you know she’s cold the moment you look at her. Brow scrunched, lips pressed, and a look of general scorn all across her old mangey face. There she sits, writing a letter with such vivacity that it almost distracts me from her ugliness. Before she can look at me with her cold eyes, I firmly spit it out, “I’m done. I quit.” She looks up at me slowly, and then fixes her predatory gaze on me. “Okay, Billy. Why are you deciding to leave?” I was so taken back by this humane response that my jaw literally dropped, leaving my mouth a gaping hole. I had so much to say, I didn’t know where to start. All that came out was, “I’m just… tired. I need some free time.”
“Fair enough,” she says, “just don’t leave anything around. Finish this shift for me and then turn in the uniform.”
This was the first time this woman had ever spoken to me like a human, and I didn’t understand it. Did she know that she had already pushed me to the edge and had no reason to be evil? Did she recently have some life-altering revelation that changed her bitchy ways? Was there a sudden tear in the space-time continuum that sent me into a universe in which I had a normal boss? It doesn’t matter. I’m quitting. This job doesn’t make me happy and that’s the bottom line. I can’t let my mind wander from my goals too easily, especially a goal I had set minutes ago. For now, I would go and finish this shift, and then I’d be free to seize the world in whichever way I choose.