I’m an openly kind person, I view people as people and it really is that simple.
There are people in my life who put up with my wackiness. They 100% accept me for my loud voice, my rotten choice of words, and my filter that doesn’t exist. I want to be that person for other people. Everyone should get to have those people who put their unique traits on a pedestal. The biggest right that we are given as humans is the ability to be 100% true to ourselves. Society has fucked that up; judgement has fucked that up.
In my late elementary years, in a school I had just started attending, some of the boys in my class coined a nickname for me: linebacker.
Sure, my shoulders were broad, I already knew that but I was legit shook over it every single time. I liked football, I was aware that the linebackers were the stocky ones, the solid ones. There are people who are torn down way more than I was in the sixth grade, but the gist of it is that I never want to make someone feel that way.
I get no joy out of making someone uncomfortable, it’s actually the opposite. I will make myself uncomfortable before I shove an intentional, or unintentional, difficult situation on someone else. I’m super fucking nice.
Don’t let this post make you think I’ve always had this outlook. I’ve had my moments of bitchiness and have absolutely done my fair share of unkind things. I used to make prank phone calls to teachers, pretending to be another student (the true victim), and ask for private tutoring. That’s fucked up. I have also sabotaged relationships, others and my own, and felt little to no guilt over it. Why was I like that?
I’ve fallen into the judgment zone and I’ve said some harsh things, I’m human, but it’s never felt good. Accepting folks for who they are, their struggles and achievements, are not mine or yours and that’s the beauty of it. Maybe your hair is less than normal, perhaps your awkward stance is there as a wall, I don’t know your story until I ask and actively listen.
Often times I wonder if others look back on their life and wonder what the hell happened? Why did I act a certain way? Why did I do those shitty things? I don’t have my own answers to those questions, what I do have is clarity. I know who I am, who I want to be, where I envision my future, how I want to be remembered when I’m gone – and at the root of it all is the kindness.
When we were kids, I thought I hated you and I was fairly confident you hated me too. Why else would you chase me around the house with your eyelids flipped over, laughing your ass off while I ran screaming for the hills? Why else would you force me to go on bike rides with you and when I couldn’t keep up you’d yell at me. Why else would you tie me up and leave me in the back yard?
Remember the summer mom almost got fired because I wouldn’t stop calling her to inform her again and again (and again and again) that you were being an asshole? If she did lose her job, in true little sister fashion I would have taken zero blame for that. On the flip side, I’m sure you can appreciate the number of times I took the rap for you. From your 9-1-1…
I haven’t memorized a number in years. Staring at the ceiling as if one’ll slowly, like a feather, fall into my hands I dialed the only one I knew.
Dad? I need some help.
After confessing my whereabouts, he came but would not speak. In the car, words were replaced with heavy sighs while I attempted to replay the nights events in my polluted brain.
How did I get there?
…Where are we going?
He pulled into a treatment center, the same one I’d made repetitive false promises about.
“You asked for help. Go, or I will tell your mother.”
This was written in response to: Friday Fictioneers. The objective is to challenge yourself to write a 100 word (or less) story that is influenced by a single photo. To read other submissions written for this photo, or to submit your own: click HERE.
No, not the ones that provoke raw emotion while you’re trying to do your job in the real world, the nightmares that come to you while slumbering. I want to know why, as a waitress, I can never just have waitress dreams; the kind that make me feel good. Never once have I woken up, rested, excited to tell someone about waiting on Miley Cyrus and her leaving me a $500 tip. No. They are always nightmares, reoccurring ones at that.
The I Got Lost Nightmare
Sometimes it’s the actual place I work but more often, I have never seen the building in my life. Either way, they always consist of me running around frantically trying to figure out where the hell I’m supposed to deliver the damn cheese curds.
These people are hungry, clearly that’s why they ordered an appetizer – WHERE THE $%#@ ARE THEY?!
Most of my current co-workers were in the most recent lost nightmare but we were working in some sort of multi-level adult arcade, and we traded in our black button-ups and neck ties for more risque attire. It had potential to be an actual dream, and not awful until I was running up and down stairs trying to find my section in 6-inch heels.
The I Can’t Remember Shit Nightmare
You take an order, you write it down, and when you walk over to the system to send it off to the kitchen, your page is blank. Nothing. Wrack your brain and try to remember what they ordered, fail miserably, go back to the table, take the order again…aaand repeat.
It never stops, until you wake up. I have had this dream on a continuous cycle for what seemed like my entire slumber, multiple times and it’s terrible.
The Only Thing I Can Serve You Is Chicken Strips Nightmare
I’m not sure if other servers have this particular nightmare, but this one is almost comical. If there is ever an instance where I can squeak some rational into my sleeping brain it’s with this one.
I am in the kitchen traying up my table’s meal. After triple checking to make sure everything is there, I lift it up onto my shoulder and carry it out to the dining room, but once I’m there and set it down – it’s nothing but chicken strip baskets. My place of employment doesn’t even serve chicken strip baskets! These people are expecting steak, seafood, and other deliciousness and all I have to offer them is a checkered lined, red chicken strip basket.
I take it back to the kitchen, ditch the chicken, retray up the right food, bring it out, and BAM! Chicken strip baskets again. FML.
The Overwhelming They-Won’t-Stop-Coming Nightmare
This is the dream that inspired this post – had it just last night. I had a party of 14, a party of 10, and a party of 20. Everyone wants their beverage, the second party is annoyed because they ordered theirs before the ones receiving theirs and I just can’t keep up. The running to-do list in my brain is growing to the point of craziness and all night, I basically feel like I’m losing my mind.
I have to imagine most people fall into their work lives while they sleep, servers are not alone, but at the rate these things come at me… I think I need a vacation.
I moved around quite a bit as a kid, changing schools and attempting to make new friends quick enough that I’d never be labeled, “the new girl”. In sixth grade it was as simple as having the same name, quickly becoming best friends with Jenny Hoffman.
We had notebooks we’d pass back and forth gushing over our latest crush, fully equipped with nicknames – based on their initials, of course. We lived close to each other, but not close enough to share a bus stop so we’d alternate, meeting half way between our houses because best friends do not make entrances onto a school bus alone. We also had (have, if we’re being serious) nicknames for each other… Fur-Fur and Imp – we were pretty unstoppable.
When I think about the shit we got into I often wonder how we are still here to talk about them. Both of our parents considered the other the bad influence when in reality, depending on the day and whose outlandish idea was better for that moment, we both were.
Today is Jenny’s birthday, and as a gift I’m documenting my most favorite memories of us.
Not for us, for unsuspecting folks like our sixth grade teacher and a few others. We found it hilarious to call Pizza Hut and order pie’s for people, but it did not stop there. When we were able, we’d perch ourselves up on the hill outside and watch them get delivered. Looking back we probably should have felt bad for the delivery driver more than the recipient.
College, Cat, and Cornfield
While visiting Jenny at college she had a simple question for me: Have you ever driven through a cornfield? Growing up in the cities, this sounded intriguing: Sign me up! When two nineteen year old girls borrow a car (please keep in mind that this was not our vehicle) to speed through a cornfield, what could possibly make the decision worse? Let’s bring a cat with us. This actually happened, people. It wasn’t our proudest moment, but hot damn did we laugh hard. She drove, I held the kitty. It was all fun and games until we began spinning out of control, I was screaming at the top of my lungs and looked over to my BFF – there she is, perfectly calm, claiming: I got this, I got this… The car came to a halt and while she looked for the cat I sat examining my scratched up body, just happy to be alive. This was the night we realized we were indeed, ride-or-die bitches.
Band – Last Two Chairs
We both played the flute and if you’re familiar with band you know about the “chair” system to show how great you are, or how much you suck at playing an instrument. Maybe it’s supposed to push you to be better, Jenny and I? We were last and second to last chair consistently and never got any better, and we did not care. We had a great time pretending to play at the concerts and socializing during class.
We sat up in her bedroom one night and made Cosmos. I do not remember how old we were, but absolutely not 21. I do not even know if they were actually cosmos, but I trusted her bartending skills then just as I would now. I’m not sure if ‘cosmo night’ was the same night we decided to play out an entire photo shoot and tell each other how hot we were. I mean, look at these pictures, we probably should have sent them to agents or something – is that how modeling works?
My first job, at fourteen years old, was cashiering at a drug store. It wasn’t long before I recruited Jenny and we basically ran the place. We worked a lot so we could afford to walk to the mall and buy one shirt from Abercrombie & Fitch with our earnings. We had creepy boys come in and flirt with us, and we liked it – giving them discounts on disposable cameras…because those were still a thing then. We had full access to the magazine rack, providing us free Teen Bop reading pleasure and while I hope we didn’t steal the posters, I wouldn’t have put it past us.
Karaoke Videos and Stickers
Do malls still have the karaoke booths? If not, they should. We choreographed these things, like, legit practiced dance moves and executed them (not so) flawlessly in a 4×5 box. If I had to guess, we did this at least 10 times. Picture this: Lisa Loeb, Stay, matching tye-dye gap purses and terribly frizzy hair. We’d exit the box after our stellar performance and wait for the VHS to pop out of the machine so we could run home and watch it, and talk about how awesome we were. Looking back, this hobby of ours (yes, I called it a hobby) was my favorite. The mall also provided us with picture booths and The Limited Too had the best one – it made stickers out of your photos. What more could we want? We stuck those bitches everywhere. The metal poles at the tennis courts in Richfield probably still have the faded goodness on them.
It was with Jenny that I stole my step dad’s car to skip school and go shopping. I will take credit for this idea, but let’s get real – she thought it was a spectacular one. You can read the full story here… but just know that I drove from Wisconsin to Minnesota, picked her up at the bus stop, bumped to some Missy Elliot, threw some tuna fish sandwiches out the window and got home without getting caught – until three or four years later.
Jenny is one of those people who entered my life at just the right time, I sincerely hope that our children will find friends like we were for each other… while especially hoping they don’t do half the shit we did.
Happy Birthday, Jenny!
It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. -Ralph Waldo Emerson