Out of the last 30 hours I worked 21, commuted for two and slept for maybe four.

At 1:24am on Sunday morning I’ve eaten every meal standing up since Friday. I had to give myself a pep talk to get off the shower floor tonight because drying off seemed too exhausting and going to bed without one seemed too disgusting.
I know I’ve been lucky to finally find work in Melbourne. Waitressing may not be my dream job but it’s better than stressing about spending $4.50 on a cup of coffee.
I’ve done this before- lots. But I’m not a 21-year-old student anymore. I swear for some reason waiting tables is more physically grueling than yoga or the gym….Maybe that’s because my ego aches as much as my back does. I’m 29 years old, still paying off my Masters Degree. Serving tourists in a town where I’m still, technically, a tourist.
After closing the restaurant Friday night and opening it on Saturday morning, I leave my shift to head to my second job, catering. It’s some woman’s 30th birthday party.
She must have spent thousands on the event, held in her tiny but gorgeous apartment. She could probably afford to have it at a venue but I think she wanted to share her space and beautiful things with her family and friends.
Understandably so. She seems to have achieved a lot on her own. And she’s down-to-Earth too, calling all of us staff by name.
Judging by her fathers speech and the way she looked at him, she just wants him to be proud..but he seems hard to please;

“We’ve had our ups and downs, and even though she’s high-maintenance she’s got a heart of gold.”

Um, Ouch?
Maybe that’s why her younger sister talks like Liza Minnelli, slams cosmopolitans and sneaks off to the back bedroom to snort blow off some guy’s keys (it’s a room the caterers were using to store equipment. Let’s just say I walked in at the wrong moment to drop off dirty wine glasses.)
I can’t say I wasn’t jealous of this girl, six months my senior, even though I was mixing mojitos for her friends. Just how did she do it? I wondered. How does anyone? Why can’t I just figure it out for myself? Not that money equals happiness….but.
Working this party made me miss my friends.  Miss having tea with my grandmother or lunch with my Mom. Being able to call any friend for a ride home from this random gig so Matt doesn’t have to leave a concert on Saturday night to scoop me off the sidewalk (literally, I was laying on the sidewalk crying.)
Melbourne is my home now. My city. But like two stubborn creatures we’re trying to break each other without budging. It’s a power-struggle every. single. time. I get on the wrong tram. Oh the rage!

All I can do is try and stay positive. It’s hard sometimes. Really, really hard.

After a final, exhaustive cry and when I felt like every sensation had left my body. Numb. I poured myself into bed and slept for the next 12 hours.

Author: dawnrieniets

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5 thoughts on “Careful what you Wish for…

  1. Dawn, this just made me cry. You are such a good writer. I loved it. See you tomorrow… lets get you that dream job. x

    Posted on June 1, 2010 at 6:53 am
  2. I feel this way too a lot. Just gotta keep working hard and someday, I'm hoping before I'm ancient, the brass ring will come.

    Posted on June 1, 2010 at 1:00 pm
  3. I find myself often jealous of the 30th birthday girl…but I bet behind the expensive clothes, furniture, and friends she hasn't had the same life experiences and growth as a person as you have. Acquiring stuff takes up time and money, time and money you have spent in a more positive way -acquiring life skills and memories. Your 30th birthday will be richer in so many ways as your life is richer in ways that can not be simply observed over a 4 hour cocktail party.

    Posted on June 1, 2010 at 3:49 pm
  4. Dawn…the secret may be that the 30th birthday girl put the entire party on her credit card and has mounds of debt in her closet. However, I understand the feelings of complete exhaustion mixed with exhilaration and the ups and downs of starting a new life. We're here with you! Keep smiling, sister. Your book deal is on the horizon 🙂

    Posted on June 3, 2010 at 1:33 pm
  5. Your support net has been exponentially decreased which will make small triumphs that more significant. Nothing like getting things done on your own. Enjoy the idependence and energy you have in this glorius opportunity. Age is bullshit…I mean relative.

    Posted on June 16, 2010 at 2:53 pm