On the train to work Saturday night, I tried to convince myself that I was lucky. Yeah, I don’t have a job yet and my schedule has reduced my Rican visitation rights down to about 2.5 hrs per week. But, even though the night would earn me 600 dollars so I could afford new boots at 300 dollars, as if I’m living in a fucking Mastercard commercial, I’ve learned that respect is priceless.
And there’s no better way to win the no respect contest than when your job decides to host a sweet sixteen birthday party, and turns you into a teenager’s servant.
Just like any other party, they made us treat it like it was for a bunch of relatively sane 35yr olds. We had to pass hors d’oeuvres and then run a buffet. (I use the term “hors d’oeuvres” loosely since it was mostly chicken fingers and pigs in a blanket.) But they forgot one thing. Kids don’t want to eat. Kids want to fuck. Adults get older, realize all the problems and hassle that comes with fucking, and settle down by the buffet. But these kids snubbed me and my chicken like I was carrying a Saturday night math assignment in favor of starting an orgy on the dance floor.
“I know I didn’t act like that when I was sixteen,” I told the chef as brought an ignored tray of mozzarella sticks down to the kitchen.
Upstairs in the main room, everyone watched the dance floor orgy in horror, convinced they’d always possessed the maturity of 35 year olds. But the truth is at sixteen we all acted the same way. I probably would have chugged a cup of vodka outside, came in and made out with some 10th grader. Then, like they looked at me and the food I was carrying with pity, I too probably would have rolled my eyes at the nobody waitresses. Because I was in national honor society for fuck’s sake. These girls didn’t deserve any respect. Maybe if they would have known their adult life would be reduced to serving chicken fingers to high school students they would have thought twice about studying for that algebra test, now wouldn’t they? Then they could have gone to a little something called “college” and avoid this whole embarrassing blue-collar mess.
“I hope this is a new low for me,” said my fellow high school servant coworker. “I hope this is the lowest I’m gonna go.”
Feeling as big as an hors d’oeuvre, I slumped my shoulders over and sighed. My job pays the bills and affords the boots, but it can’t ever buy me the thing I want most.
There was only about a half hour left of the party. A few of the kids reconsidered some of the food, and came to the buffet for a serving. But most of the early bumpin’ and grindin’ had turned into rhythmic make out sessions on the dance floor.
“If I was a rich girl
na na na na na na na na na na na…” sang Gwen Stefani on the speakers.
And my inner DJ replied,
“I could tell all these kids to go fuck themselves
If I was a wealthy giiiiiiiirl.”