A middle aged American man silently shook his beef at me.
A forkful of overdone steak was being shoved in my face. Because the customer is always right, I had to stay calm and repeat a calming mantra in my head; “Think of Athens, think of Greece, think of Athens, think of Greece; think of all of Eastern Europe…Think of the money and don’t tell him where to shove his meat…”
“I’m sorry sir, I don’t eat meat so I am not entirely sure what it is I am supposed to be seeing?”
His kids laughed at that and he quickly placed his fork back on his plate and explained that his steak was overdone. A feat that could have been managed minus the incredibly unnecessary beef shaking I’d say. In the end he refused a new steak since the first had taken so long to arrive and insisted I let the chef know that that was the worst steak he had ever eaten.
Not feeling like getting shouted at by another person; I didn’t pass on the message.
But such is life when you’re a bartender-slash-waitress in a busy pub on Edinburgh’s Rose Street; the people are mostly decent bar a few horrors, such as above, and its pretty much Scotland’s decent minimum wage and the promise of weeks of unscripted adventure that is getting me through my shifts. It’s all part of the schlep of making it to your adventure.
Most of us begin with deciding that an adventure is going to happen
Personally, I can check that off as I have booked a flight to Athens and a few nights in a Hostel named after a greek god. Then I have two and a half months to make my way through Eastern Europe and back to London by mid-November.
But right now I’m experiencing that awkward in-between time where I am working towards saving for my travels. The departure date is getting closer and closer but it feels like my shifts are lasting eons and as if the universe is testing my resolve for hitting the road with the most irritating of situations.
I am someone who was not naturally built for work that requires being on your feet for hours at a time. My passions include baked goods, chocolate, lying in bed, procrastinating (lol just ask this blog post which has been sitting open on Microsoft word for over a week), and complaining about all the stuff I have to do.
I also have a rather serious case of Resting Bitch Face so being smiley, as the service industry requires, is not my forte.
SO HOW DO I SURVIVE?!
(this is specifically applied to the kind of work I had to do but you can apply it to any frustrating work situation you may find yourself in).
First of all: KEEP CALM.
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT hit anyone who is being annoying over the head with a bottle while you are serving them wine. The assault charges wont be worth the seconds worth of gratification you may feel. I think.
TAKE A BREAK FROM REALITY.
When life is getting to be a bit too much and you want to say ‘screw it’ and throw in the proverbial towel; envision all the places you will get to see on your travels and imagine the breath-taking experiences. It will be worth it in the end.
My favourite pastime at the minute is imagining what it will feel like to watch the sun set from Oia, Santorini (after the 9km hike to get there).
Call your family or a friend, go for a run (gross), read a book, or even watch a crappy reality TV show. Anything that will keep your mind off the tedious task at hand.
WRITE UP A WISH LIST.
Start creating a mini bucket list of things to do and see while you’re out seeing the world. It always gets me hyped and less unenthused about work.
DO NOT QUIT.
You’ve made it this far haven’t you?
Moral of the story (TLDR); if you want nice things in life you do have to work for them. Hard.
Which is how I found myself working full time in a pub and doing some agency work in odd places (like a chicken van. But that’s a story for another blog post).
It’s tough and I have to check myself almost every day but I am working towards my goal and getting there step by step.
And this hard work is accompanied by hours of complaining, hundreds of fake work smiles, a lot of hiding under my duvet while pretending my alarm wasn’t going off at 6am, as well as me whispering ‘what the fuck?’ to myself way too much.
But its just over a week until I catch my flight to Athens.
I am getting there.