Monday, December 18, 2006

I am a robot

Someone just posted a comment on the blog asking, "Are you a robot?" I'm not really sure what that meant but I liked it a lot.

This morning, ie 1:30pm, I was at Trader Joe's getting a few things: a Judy's breadstick, a bottle of green juice, a blemish stick, and kitty litter. Pretty typical waitress morning stuff to get. I was shuffling around in my furry parka and flip-flops because I'd just gotten a pedicure and sipping on the tiny cup of free coffee they give you while you shop.

After the checker finished ringing up pre-made sushi for the fit lesbian couple in matching red fleece vests, army green cargo pants, black messenger purses, and Oakleys, he took one look at my purchases, and me, and asked, "You just wakin' up, girl?"

"How did you know that?" I asked. "It's one-thirty pm!"

"You know, you just all quiet, sippin' on your coffee," he smiled. I told him I was a waitress and as I left TJs (after telling him he should come to The Restaurant sometime; I just can't help myself!) I heard him say to the person in line behind me,

"I knowed she worked nights. I could just tell."

The conversation and the bustle of the grocery store fading behind me, I padded home with my bag in hand, smiling to myself because I have a secret existence here in this busy city: that of a night owl.

There are plenty of us, and you'll recognize us as the ones in the bar at 1am who aren't drunk, but chatting with the bartender sincerely about how his night is going. We're the ones in the sunglasses at the coffeeshop at 2pm, lingering over the New York Times and a bagel. The streets of San Francisco are my domain at lunchtime and before, I share moments with bike messengers and homeless people as I wander the streets just for a look (I can't get enough of this city, even though I've known it all my life), corporate types bustling through their mornings with eyes wide shut.

Coming home at midnight on a Sunday, my whole neighborhood is asleep, and once again I have the streets to myself. I never guessed working late at night would make me feel that the city belongs to me, personally, because I see it during off-peak hours.

Sometimes I have weeks where I'm sick of serving people, jealous of their shiny Christmas presents exchanged in cozy booths as I open yet another bottle of expensive Burgundy for people who are paying to ignore me. Today, though, walking calmly through a city that felt like it belonged exclusively to me, I sipped my tiny coffee and relished my existence.


johng said...

Yeah, but you ducked that person's question, didn't you? Or I guess one can assume robots don't wear flipflops while drinking coffee at TJ's.

Love the blog!

Restaurant Girl said...

I thought I answered the question in the title of my post: I *am* a robot. Seriously though, I have no idea what the question means. I do love inane questions, though.

Waitress4Life said...

I can so relate. I've been a waitress for so long, you just kind of get used to the lifestyle.
I never had to experience traffic until only recently (Switched a PM for an AM shift - whole 'nother story...) because I am always out of work after midnight. I'll keep my hours - I like to be in charge of the roads. It's hard to believe that those quiet city streets are actually so busy while I sleep...