Along with many other part-time 20-somethings I know, I too am holding down two jobs. One is helping me achieve my career goal and the other is totally just for extra cash. I work on the weekends as a server at a banquet/wedding hall. It’s always been pretty easy and fun work full of unemployed hilarious actors, slightly egotistical bartenders, and an insider’s cynical view on the wedding industry. I’ve seen it all: bridezillas (moms of the grooms are often worse though), drunken guests (playing skip rope with the table linens), and the definite no-nos when it comes to speech giving (keep it short, avoid generalized marriage clichés and tell funny but appropriate anecdotes). But what happened to me one night was straight out of a sitcom.
I was doing coat check, a relatively easy position for a decent pay rate, when I see someone I know from my high school enter the queue. Now, in my two years working here, I’ve only come across people I knew twice. One time was pleasant (the dude was a dj) while the other was super awkward (she was a guest). When the guest saw me, she said “so I guess teaching isn’t going so well”. Yeeeeesh lady, just take your damn Slider already.
So with that prior experience in mind when I saw someone from my high school approach the coat check, I froze. Luckily, I was not recognized. Phew. However, the next person did. Along with a slightly judgmental gaze, she goes “wait, did you go to…” Yup, I did. She then proceeded to tell me about how the event here tonight was run by another alumnus and there were a whack load of other OACs running about here tonight.
When I was in high school, I graduated in Grade 12, the first year to do so. As a result, we never got to be the top dogs in the school and had to share graduation honours with the OACs (the 13th year). While I’ve gotten older, age differences amongst friends and relationships doesn’t matter, but when I was 17? Those 18 year olds were so mature and super cool. Now, a whole bunch of them were going to be here tonight. Hindsight: Anyone who does the “milk challenge” is NOT mature nor cool, unlike my teenage self thought.
Person by person filed through the line to drop off their black coats (seriously Toronto, does everyone here wear black?). Some recognized me and said an awkward hi, some recognized me and said nothing (but they knew! They KNEW) and others had no idea who this little girl was who politely took their coat.
Some of the discussions that took place in that coatroom and what I wished I said back to them:
- “You’re still so tiny!” (Yes, I am. Normally people don’t grow much past the age of 16)
- “Is this your job?” (Yes, but I have a super rich boyfriend and I just really like coats)
- “Wait, I know you! Did we go to University together?” “Yes. Also high school” (and we used to be facebook friends, you nitwit)
I count my stars that at least I didn’t have to serve them food and make too much small talk while handing out chicken skewers. My interactions were limited to entrances and exits. And man, after the embarrassment of the entrances, I did not look forward to the exits. Little did I know, the exits would be the best part of the night.
Everyone gets drunk at charity fundraisers. A little less than those that would at a wedding, but there are still a large amount of people who pound a few back. So when they all started wobbling back: girls taking off their shoes and slurring their words, boys trying to be sly and obnoxiously hit on me, it was amazing. Suddenly, I felt in control. I had their coats. I was all powerful.
I handed them out, thanked them for coming and tottttally judged them like they judged me. That hot football player? Kinda has a beer gut now. The cliquey girls? Pretty sure I saw one of them go outside to throw up. I most likely won’t see any of them again and those that I did see that I liked, I can always chat to them on facebook. So see ya later, people of my past, I’ll enjoy counting my tips.