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Exile in Rushville
A few years ago I was a waitress.  A very bad waitress, but nevermind - I was nice to my customers and they tipped me despite my erratic refills and forgotten forks.

Everyone I knew who waited tables told me to "work a look" that would help me get tips. I put my hair in braids and wore cute dresses - Courtney Love inspired this look and coined it "kinderwhore",  but I was classier than that. And drug-free (unless you count on the pints of drip coffee that kept me awake until I got home at dawn).

It was open late - way past last call in bars. As the post-club crowd poured in, we put on the upbeat, dance-y music and got into work mode.

We had our fair share of post-club messy-drunks. We also had night owls and out-of-towners. And then there were always one or two customers sitting on stools by the bar - regulars who think they have a close and personal relationship with you as their waitress. Solitary and often bookish. I'll call them savior type, because  they invariably think you need saving from something - your life as a waitress?

I was 22 in this story - young enough to think that you could just strike up a friendship with a guy and there wouldn't be expectations. That you could go for beers or talk with them on the phone and they would not think that you were leading them on.  That if they were really into you, they would say something, and not let it stew on the back-burner until they kind of hated you and your stories of the other guys you were actually into.

I became friends with one of the stool-dwelling regulars. He seemed different than the rest of them, and I let him drive me home once I figured out we had a friend in common. After that, he'd show up often after his shift ended and stay 'till closing. We would chat a bit,  I'd smoke his cigarettes, we'd talk about music and he'd give me a lift home.

This story is pretty banal, but I just remembered it because I heard a track from Exile From Guyville. I really liked Liz Phair that year and one night I brought that album for him to play in his car as he drove me home. He really liked Rush. He hated Liz Phair and her poor musicality and monotone voice and cynical lyrics. And he dissed her with so much passion, I knew it was about something else. He took out my CD and blasted Rush's "Tom Sawyer". He was trying to save me from something.

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post #1366
bio: adina

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