December hurts the worst.
Not sure why.
But no one comes during the day.
Empty, hours at a time.
ON A FRIDAY.
I get a bit down, rent is hard to make, I've hit my savings up...
Frap asked me to make him a pirate hat.
My bartender and manager, asked me to make him a pirate hat.
I grabbed a Chronicle from the stack and went at it with scissors and a stapler.
Seemed it wouldn't stay on his head...
I pulled a few rubber bands out of the till and tied knots to keep them from slipping
(out of the other knots and the staples)
He looked rather fine.
He had a chin strap, and a huge FRILL of paper fringe I had curled on scissor edge.
The kitchen manager, in this time of no people and no business.... he saw the hat.
"I WANT A HAT!"
I took my scissors and my stapler and went to work.
His was a bit larger, so it fitted down around his ears with the rubber band straps,
but on top were two tiny fans, EARS! He was the panda. He had the Panda hat.
Sabrina the prep cook and rock star and wonderful little young red headed lady all around...
Well she did not want a hat.
SHE wanted a headdress!
I folded the Chronicle long ways and went back to measure her head.
Her head was larger than the Chronicle, and we should not be surprised.
I attached rubber bands with careful staples. It fit.
I built fans of Chronicle and jangley pieces of paper clip strings, swirls of ribboned Chronicle
it dripped to one side, I liked it.
She liked it.
She wore it all night.
So did the Kitchen manager.
I don't make a lot of money.
I pretty much live at what America considers poverty.
Under 20 grand?
I have a roof.
A warm bed.
I eat better than most (shop local and cook for yourself)
And I work at a job that lets me make hats...
when we are sad and bored.
Christmas was invented to get us through these dark months.
I've always called it my "Little White Box"
I picture it a cube of white light in the back of my brain.
It tells the truth.
I have never come to harm listening to it, no matter how bizarre.
I have come to harm
when I DID NOT listen to it.
As I left work tonight and climbed South onto IH-35
My 'little white box' told me to stop by Opal's.
This has happened before.
it has been a birthday
or reunion of some kind.
Everyone (I still have much family there) is always amazed
I knew to pop in.
I parked my car in the annex parking lot and made my way
towards the lights. My old job of three years, the folks who
kept me on through my accident... The folks I walked out on
when it became more than I thought I should endure.
But still, family.
I saw Derrek was bartending, (that guy who still has my copy of DARK KNIGHT'?)
I walked up to order a local beer...
Tiffany, who hasn't worked there in as long or longer than I
met me in the middle of the floor.
Have you heard the News?
I looked into her face.
Seconds can last a thousand years.
GOOD NEWS? i asked weakly...
She shook her head and closed her eyes.
Chase is dead.
I almost vomited.
That feeling when your heart hits the bottom of your stomach
and everything in you wants to escape.
Chase, in his mid 20's.
with that HORRID red bandanna he wore as a headband and nearly pulled off?
The up and coming ROCK STAR i covered shifts for when he was on tour?
That little boy who was always weaseling out of something with his charm and big brown eyes?
Chase. Who lasted longer there than most of us, because he was willing
to put up with any job
that would allow him time off to run after his dream...
He died in a car wreck tonight coming back from a gig in OK.
He wasn't driving.
His brother was notified, and notified...
*head in hands*
It was a strange reunion.
Many had been called, I had a new number...
So my little white box notified me.
A dozen or more of us ex-Opal's and current
sat and talked and cried and raised glasses.
I left after one beer,
I knew I would be shit on the road.
I'm still in shock.
It was only two miles, and I am home now.
Glass of red wine, red eyes, still shocked.
He was a kid.
He was so devoted to his art...
And he was a good waiter.
That is very nearly the highest complement I can pay a person.
Good servers are rare. It has to come from the heart.
He was a good man. A talented man. He was a very very young man.
I am... this is..
I just don't know what to say.
I just don't know what to say.
Tiffany looked around the table at us all
and perhaps said it best:
He'd appreciate this.
I know why I do what I do.
It is different from anything else one can do for a living.
It causes almost war-time like bonds between folk.
It provides a living for people who are doing the work of their heart
in a way nothing else could.
It isn't meant to last, but it can.
I feel very much the old veteran tonight.
I usually leave when I drive up to Waxahachie on my Sunday after work...
on Tuesday evening.
I stayed the night, left after coffee late that next morning.
Drove 175 miles to work.
The day was dead. Didn't clear 40 bucks folding-cash on leaving at 9 PM.
Maybe the credit card tabs will save me tomorrow? I had five still open.
I went to the SIDE BAR.
A guy in a black shirt with white text that said: NO I WON'T FIX YOUR COMPUTER
sat down, with a fag--I was sitting alone too. I looked the whole place over and.....
NO body I knew.
I tugged on my almost free Guinness and walked over.......
I hate sitting alone to smoke, I thought I'd know someone out here.........
I like your shirt.
We talked for an hour.
HIs Pop, my Pop, the car that flipped on a Dallas freeway......his Pop walked away.
All the things you need to say to a man....like your Father.
When the question comes.
No one is ready.
I talked about the man I watched be buried.
My love, HIS Father.
We talked at length of FAMILY.
How men with jobs like our own Father's
could take so much from a family, they nearly lose them.
But still they stood.
Rick and Charles and Ginger.........
Our Parents never left each other.
He has six years under his belt, this Rick I met.
He's shooting for what his parents have.
I hugged him and wandered down the path of that ilk of 6th...
There was a Tarot man.
There is never a reader on the Street.
The candle staid lit, the wind was hard.
I handed him six dollars for the five he asked for.
I sat down.
He read my cards, they were tiny bent cards.
Not a deck I knew.
I was read.
I watched the candle go out, as he read.
All the cards were down.
He told me my Story,
did not look up
for my face.
He didn't look to see if he was right.
I knew the layout.
I knew the pattern.
I was shocked.
strange, all the cards are positive.
I handed him another five.
When I left the bar tonight, so tired and more than disgruntled......
There was a couple, kids, and a little dog. Rat Terrier I think...
They had a sign.
I--I can't really remember what it said.
Something about 15 bucks making them happy.............
I opened my bag and pulled out a twenty.
Handing it to them I said "Be more than happy."
SXSW is so much work, it breaks you.
But the money is good.
I've never really given a damn about money.
Hope is strange.
I still don't know what I want to be
when I grow up.
But I did mutter that under my breath tonight while waiting tables.
Someone heard me.
He told me I was great.
It seems I had refilled his water several times.
Cleared his table, and made eye contact.
I really needed that tonight.
I really really did.
My new router/modem arrived today and I have successfully installed it!!!
Ginger has legitimate internet again YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!
As I am getting off work I check my phone and there is a text message
that reads: WATERS OF MARS, Brie, Baguette, Barley Wine.
I pulled a hard *YES!* with my fist and right arm--guy sitting next to me
as I was working on my check-out, asks what my good news was?
My Fella, he's waiting for me with fresh Dr Who and ripe cheese.
He looked puzzled.
I don't care.
Four freakin' guys this morning and two hang ups with AT&T,
and it was the personal-skilless-chick that got shit done.
She won me on this one.
I now have internet again.
Michael gave me laughter,
Saul was mildly useful....
You know, I don't even know her name.
And as a waitress, this distresses me.
She gets a TEN and Jazz Hands when they send me the thingy what asks me stuff....
I have internet and no land line.