My view from behind the bar
I had a good laugh to myself while driving in my car last night. I often have conversations with myself in my car, but this was more a laugh with God and the conspiring forces that brought me to that exact moment in time. Like an “Oh You! Always one step ahead of me!” kind of moment when you can’t stop yourself from grinning and feeling, at least for a moment, like everything in the world might just be alright in the end (and all those typically “Robyn” melodramatic moments of despair were, as per usual, completely unnecessary…).
It started, sort of, with a craving for oysters. Now, this is a pretty common issue with me, but when I arrived home from one of those dreadfully slow days at work to an empty apartment and about six rejection texts from friends to join me for a bevvie, I said, “To heck with it, I am an independent woman! I can go to a restaurant by myself and not feel amiss!” So off I went by myself, to feel surrounded by people. Perry, the “slightly unhinged” owner and host-extraordinaire of Rest (where Kahlin, my croommate[cousin+roommate], works) greeted me with a kiss, but a glance around the tiny, bustling, darkly-lit and all-consumingly enchanting dining room told me that there was not a single seat where I could sit. No matter! Perry told me to hang around behind the bar and mingle. Fortunately (or unfortunately?) I was dressed in black and looked like I could have been employed to stand awkwardly behind the bar, instagramming and imbibing bubbly whilst on the job. I quickly felt compelled to make myself useful and began polishing glassware until a spot at the bar opened up. When it did, I first finished the tray of glasses and started a new load in the washer before joining one of their “preferred guests” at the bar for the rest of the evening.
John, an anarchist in his earlier life, was an entire bottle of wine in in his present, and a pretty cool 63-year old in general. We had a lovely chat and he shared his frites with me. He told me that, being much older than me, he had learned something fundamental in his many years of living: life is too short to judge people; instead, we should embrace everyone as they are, flawed and complex. After all, most judgements we bestow on people are simply because they’re actually mirrors. It was an interesting follow up to a small revelation I had just earlier that day. A regular member had come in to the Credit Union, a bit of an odd duck at the best of times but very friendly, and I found out that he had recently shaved his entire head, eyebrows included, for no reason at all. My first inclination was to think, “Oh heavens boy, you are just SO weird…” but this thought was suddenly replaced with a slightly bemused, “What the hell, why not?”
Conformity is more than just unoriginal and boring, it’s easy. Too easy. Trite, even. This is the last thing I ever want used as a description of me and, much more importantly, it is the last state that could possibly effect lasting and fatally necessary change in our world. I’m not saying anarchy is the answer (though it might be part of it), but there have been too many signs in my life lately, too many indicators that tell me that life is too short to walk with trepidation, to plan to follow my real dreams when I retire and finally have the money to do so. Not only this, but I’m learning not to treat the times when I feel like I am not living my dreams or accomplishing something tangibly meaningful as a waste of time. This requires a perspective change, one which I am working on even as I type this.
I recently met a beautiful creature. A philosopher of sorts. It felt a little bit like, for three short days, all the stars aligned and a crack in the heavens opened up, showing me a glimpse of an alternate reality. In the heat-induced haze of unprecedented temperatures, I allowed myself to imagine what it might be like to kick down the slowly forming wall of bricks I’d been mortaring together for some time now without realising. Now, it’s as if my brain, as a hive of dozy bees awaiting the imminent and inevitable arrival of spring and its life-sustaining pollen, has just been violently shaken. Suddenly the arrival of spring is not so certain, and within the colony of bees, questioning spring’s meaning and their role in it all, murmurs of rebellion stir and gain momentum…
But I digress. It was a catalytic experience, to say the least, and one that has since engendered a heightened curiosity of what it means to live and work and love, and why we do what we do, truly.
And so, though no decisions have been officially made, I am looking at different courses for my life. Law is not off the roster (and I am still waiting on one last pesky school to accept or reject me to make my choice), but it is potentially on the back burner for the time being. Although I would more than love to be in Australia in March, the amount of debt I would have to go in to be there is just too daunting right now. And let’s be honest, could any of you imagine me pulling 80 hour work weeks to make the kind of money required to pay that off? No. Me either. I still do feel like it is something that I am meant to pursue in some way, but in the meanwhile, I am sketching out some ideas that include applying to do a masters next fall, applying to some jobs in my “field” (whatever that means), moving, perhaps, and what it would take to follow my dreams properly.
If you’ve followed this post all the way here and are still wondering why I was laughing to myself in my car last night, part of it was that, after all these years of trying to get a coveted spot working at Rest, I may at last have secured a foot in the door, and all because I decided to go there last night, by myself, for some oysters. The restaurant industry isn’t for everyone, and it is not what I will be doing for the rest of my life, but I do love it and it serves me well, and I may just be around this ol’ town for another year (maybe…). So this little bit of serendipity made me quite elated. Combined with recent revelations, new and smile-invoking connections with intriguing people, and a new-found hope and spirit for where life is taking me, my optimism was uncontainable.
Dare I end this post on a cliché? “The world is my oyster” or something equally colloquial to tie it all together? I won’t (or maybe I just did) but I will say that tearing down walls is a deeply uncomfortable and sometimes painful experience, but it may just be the most rewarding thing one can do. Life is too short to live in a box.