Black & Blue Collar

For the time being I’ve returned to working at the hotel. It’s not what I wanted to do and at some point soon I hope I can leave. I’m tired of the boredom, the pain in my feet that standing on the sidwalk for eight hours brings, and the banal leadership I’m under. But in the meantime it helps pay the bills, is very flexible, and lets me have the occasional interesting experience where I interact with someone famous, like that time I got snubbed by Trent Reznor, or knocked at a room that had requested baggage assistance only to find myself talking around the door to a naked member of Kings of Leon, or was mobbed by Britney Spears fans.

I knocked off work last night after eight hours standing on the sidewalk and walked up the hill to Oddfellows. Jon has been closing Wednesday nights. I rolled in, sat at the bar, and watched the man at work. The opportunity to just sit for an extended length of time and watch someone work at whatever it is they do on a daily basis is actually quite rare in my experience. And someone who is very close, an important figure in your life? Almost unheard of. Having a brother who is a bartender affords me that opportunity.

So I sat there for an hour or so. Jon took care of me, because that’s who he is. Got me a drink, got me a meal, and wrote it all off with an unheard of discount that essentially meant I didn’t have to pay. As I sat there between working on some writing, talking to the couple next to me and eating my brisket sandwich with greens I watched him work. I’m always struck by the fact that he never stops moving. Making drinks, putting away glassware, touching base with the servers or manager, chatting up a customer… he never stands still. It seems SO tiring. I can also see why the people Jon works for always seem to love him. He’s a workhorse.

It’s eye-opening to hear someone talk about work and then compare notes with the experience of actually watching them. Hearing anecdotes is one thing. Getting a taste of the mundane realities, the fatiguing rhythms, the sounds, the smells, and observing the inside jokes is another.

My desire to be somewhere other than the hotel has felt pressing over the last few weeks. I’ve struggled to walk the tightrope between wanting more for myself and believing in my ability to find something more fulfilling and the realization that every job has its drawbacks and that school needs to be my focus right now. Hearing Jon, who has what looks like an incredible setup from the outside, talk about his own frustrations has helped me be grateful for what I have.


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