Tuesday, December 22, 2009


As many times as my heart has been broken, I have to say that it is possible that I may have bruised one or two myself. Upon further reflection, I have come to the realization that I spent most of my teen years and early twenties chasing the boys who were less then interested (oh, they were SO uninterested) and sort of brushing off the guys who might have maybe treated me well, and changed the path of my life in some way. I clearly was not intrigued by the idea of being treated well, of being cared for. Hurt me, baby. That was my motto.

For the past few days, I have been doing a lot of remembering. Slowly, my memory is returning, bits and pieces popping to the surface and bobbing around waiting to be snatched up and opened and reveled in and squealed over. Yesterday morning, on my way to work, I was having these really crazy memories of another waitressing job I had, working the breakfast shift, with a boy, and a broken heart, and an egg sandwich.

When I work, I like to work hard. I like to work hard and earn money. I have never had a job where I was paid exceptionally well for my hard work, and that may be a combination of my lack of formal education, and my unwillingness to subordinate - I like to run my own show, know what I'm saying ? These quirks (that's a nice way to describe them) do not bode well for corporate life, and therefore my work experience is a clusterfuck of "How did I get this job" and "Why did I take this job" and "This job does not pay enough" sprinkled with a healthy dose of "This job has almost no extended responsibility, so I can quit at any time and I find that very empowering". I.E. waitressing and temp work.

I have *loads* of stories about temping (Oh My GOD the stories I could tell - like the one about the guy who designed the automatic toilet flushers and faucets in public bathrooms. More on that another time. He was the awesomest little jewish guy in sharp looking suits and shiny cowboy boots - I shit you not - who chain smoked and yelled a lot. Oh how I adored that little, little man.)


I had this memory yesterday, it came out of fucking NO WHERE and I cannot for the life of me remember what triggered it and it doesn't matter anyway because the memory is enough. I remember sitting in the tiny kitchen of this little breakfast joint located near a river in a quaint little town. The restaurant was in the basement of a very old building. And there were a cast of characters, and all of the drama that you would expect not just from me and how I lived my life back then, but also because restaurants inherently have a lot of baggage, and a lot of drama. Yes, they do. Some cook is always fucking someone in the back room, someone is always getting fired for giving out free drinks or getting high on their cigarette breaks. People are always storming out over a $10 tip or telling someone to fuck off because that is THEIR table. I think this may be why I love restaurants so much - it makes my drama look like NOTHING.

POINT IS (man I am having trouble getting there today) I had this memory which involved all of the senses. I could feel the heat, and the cold, wet steam that I watched my former self trace circles in, on the small panes of glass in the old rickety window that was propped open with some random wooden dowel for ventilation.  I could smell the bacon cooking. I could hear the chef singing, and his voice telling me stories about some drunken escapade because that was what we DID back then, was drink and work and sleep. And I could taste this sandwich that he made for me. I remember eating it, almost choking over it as I calmed myself down. I had been crying so very hard. The egg sandwich was like a tiny piece of heaven: over easy egg, bacon, swiss cheese, all stacked up on an english muffin - the bright yellow yolk was oozing, the cheese would stretch away from the sandwich comically every time I took a bite. I was covered with grease and egg, stopping occasionally to mop the food and the tears from my face, where they were swirling together in a big crazy mess.

It was still dark outside, no one had come in yet. I was exhausted from the emotional trauma of my latest heartbreak. My marriage was over, apparently for good, and I was devastated. And I did not realize, as I sat there babbling incoherently, that the chef was listening. That the sandwich and the companionship were offerings. Gestures. He was supporting me so gracefully, so compassionately, so respectfully....that I was oblivious. The story of my life. I do not pick up on subtlety. Apparently.

So when a few weeks later he presented me with a box, and inside the box was a beautiful gold necklace, and I tried to say "No, this is too much" and he insisted and I finally accepted and said thank you....that was the first time I really realized that I was in a situation that it was going to be hard to figure out. I was going to hurt someone in some way - and I could see it coming and it made me sick to my stomach. I was so far behind the ball on this one, that even if I summoned up every bit of manners and graciousness, I was still going to be coming out of it an asshole.

As hard as I had fallen, for as many as I had fallen for, I had no idea how to spot someone falling for me. No idea how to reciprocate those feelings. And to be honest, if my crushes had ever responded, I probably would have gone running as well, so damaged was my ability to show affection and accept love.

So yesterday morning was my first step in making amends. I sat down and ate a fried egg sandwich, and smoked a cigarette in the parking lot, and paid my respects to a guy who tried to show me the same. Poor fella.

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