Once upon a time, I was a cocktail waitress at a blues bar that was open until 4am. I have memories. Some weird. Some terrible. Some both. One time, a girl threw a Dior lipstick at my back because she “wanted more water.” One time, I sold the shirt I was wearing to a dude for $50 and finished my shift in my undershirt. One time, a rat ran across the stage mid-song. One time, I got tipped $100 just for dancing with somebody who could actually dance. Oh, and one time my manager dropped ice down her own shirt because the unavailable blues musician dressed in head-to-toe yellow singing “I’d Rather Go Blind” looked like a “big, sexy banana.” She’s married to that big, sexy banana now, by the way. She got married in that very bar wearing a hot pink dress, just like she always said she would.
But there was also one time when someone vomited in a beer bucket and just left it on the table for someone to find. And because I’m a very lucky someone, I found it. It was so full. It was a tangible Ren and Stimpy gross-out close-up. It’s foulness runneth over. But being the professional that I am, I draped the handle of that toxic waste over my wrist and made my way to the garbage can.
But I was intercepted. I was intercepted by the person we all fear encountering; the popular girl from high school. She got excited to see me and hugged me. It was hard to reciprocate due to the vomit bucket, but being a professional, I made it happen. The only other person I’d ever run into from my high school at work was my freshman year gym teacher, who luckily did not remember my face or the fact that he yelled, “Would you like a lawn chair and a glass of lemonade while you’re FAILING MY CLASS?,” at me every day.
The popular girl talked at me about planning her Connecticut wedding to a popular boy and said he was going to grad school somewhere impressive. I nodded and smiled. She asked how I was doing. I held the puke bucket like it was a fancy purse. I smiled wider and told her I was great. I thought I was lying at the time, but I don’t think so anymore. Because God only gives you what you can handle, and He knew that I could be great on the one hand, and handle the handle of someone else’s vomit bucket in the other. He knew I was a professional.