Last Sunday came and went like any other Sunday, except this one brought with it a giant life lesson. By the end of the day I’d asked myself a question that everyone should be asking themselves and found the answer was far more simple then we allow it to be.
I’m one of the lucky ones because I’m able say I have a full-time job that I enjoy doing, for the most part. I work as a waitress and generally enjoy this line of work, but anyone who has worked at a breakfast diner on a Sunday morning understands hell.
This particular restaurants outgrown itself in the morning. We are chaotically busy and there’s no room for anyone, anywhere. Us servers have to co-exsists in a two foot wide area behind the counter, where we do everything.
In this cramped space we typically have: two or three hosts who are cashing people out at the register and seating people as they walk in, a couple of dishwashers who are walking through with racks full of glasses or silverware and five/seven servers who are trying their best not to lose it on everyone.
Don’t get me wrong, everyone is struggling with the lack of space, but the servers have the most to do back there. We have to wait on the patrons at the counter, get drinks, pull your food from the window, prep the food and try to walk the gauntlet with a tray piled with hot food or drinks. The entire time we’re screaming safety words so no one backs into or trips us.
Once we have gotten through the area behind the counter, we have to wade through the sea of people out front. People waiting for a seat overflow from the lobby area into the dining room and those who are waiting to be cashed out, stand impatiently among the others.
We have to walk through these people, hoping no one knocks the tray out of our hands, with a giant smile plastered on our face saying “excuse me”. What we really want to say is “move it moron!” If you ever wondered what your patience level is come join us, your learn real quick if you got the stuff kid!
On this particular Sunday it was exactly how I just described it, but times ten. There’d been a concert the night before and everyone was getting breakfast before starting their journeys home. I’d once again tempted fate by putting a few extra plates on the tray, and was struggling with that when I became stuck in traffic.
What was the hold up? I wondered as I stood shifting my weight and holding a tray above my head.
Then I saw the reason everyone had come to a standstill. There was an elderly couple slowly inching their way through the unforgiving crowd. He looked to be well into his eighties but could probably still boogie when boogieing was required. She was a bit younger, but not much, and was inhibited by the walker she relied on.
I’m ashamed to admit my first reaction was irritation. I had places to be, people to serve and four tables with open menus people, come on! My frustration wasn’t directed as much towards them as it was towards the people who weren’t getting out of their way!
People were so worried about losing their place in the check-out line, or not being the next ones sat, that they were pretending they didn’t even see these two struggling to get through.
My impatience gave way to respect quickly when I took a good look at the pair. He was behind her but he wasn’t showing one sign of embarrassment for being the main kink in the traffic flow. Most men would have helped to rush her along, to move her out of the way of a server at least, but not him. He stood with his hands gently on her sides to give her confidence, silently letting her know that she was okay because he was there.
I found myself thinking … “That is what a relationship is!”
It’s a dying breed. One of the last of its kind. A relationship that was build and sustained without social media and technology! This pair knew what a working relationship really was!
I like to imagine that they’d been together for years! That they met in their early years and stayed together the entire time. I picture what their lives looked like some fifty years ago.
Did one of them serve our country and what did they do to maintain that long distance relationship before their was FaceTime? Did they write long hand written love letters and wait for weeks by the mailbox for a response? Did absence make the heart grow fonder?
There is zero absence in today’s world because everyone is a button push or two away. With the swipe of a finger you can connect to random strangers around the world and see what their up too. Did these two miss that in their relationship, it sure didn’t look like it from where I was standing!
Did they have children? How did they raise kids before interactive video games and internet? What did they do when their child spiked a fever at two in the morning and there was no WebMD to run too for answers? Did they rely on each other to get through the difficult years of teenagers, before they could read articles on Parenting.com?
Who knows what their relationship endured but what I do know is they had to work much harder to make it endure. They’re the picture of strength and patience. They knew what they were in for when they made their vows. That was it, they were each others end game. Their was no “well if this doesn’t work we can get a divorce” or plans for failure! If it didn’t work, they sucked it up and made it work!
I watched this man gently weaving his wife through the un-accepting crowd and wondered to myself “Is he here today because of a sense of duty, or does he really love and cherish this woman so much?”
I can only hope that when I’m that age I have someone as dedicated to me. Someone who will stand behind me and support me, even when it could be irritating to them. If I became crippled today, would my man be there for life?
Since then I’ve made it a point to become more aware of the elderly couples I wait on. This entire week I dedicated myself to scrutinizing people who I assumed were in a relationship together and what I found breaks my heart.
Young couples who don’t even look at each other for more than a second or two and when they do speak to one another it’s to show the other something on their phone. When they order they don’t listen to each other and there is no “ladies first” mentality. The time in between ordering and getting their food is spent sitting on electronic devices or talking about someone behind their back! I don’t know who Becky is but darling … you got people all riled up about something! Then when the bill comes it is usually split between the two, even though their on a date.
Middle aged couples fall somewhere in between. Torn between technology and each other’s company. They will use their phones during the entire meal but it’s to play a words with friends game with one another, or talk to their children in another state. Men are in a hazy place between being chivalrous or allowing their woman independence. There are still traces of the old ways, but they’re quickly fading.
Elderly couples make me wish I had been born eighty years ago! I’m not saying they had life made, they didn’t, but they do know how to rip happiness from thin air and demand it stays put! They don’t have time to pout and whine about their life because they’re too busy making shit work! Getting it done! Men wait for their wives to order before they do, they ask them if they want desert and the guy always pays! There’s a mutual respect present that’s not found in relationships now!
The world changes and we change with it. Woman wanting equality and independence has played a giant role is the way relationship dynamics have shifted. We don’t know what the hell we want so how is a man supposed to know? We want a guy to pull out our chair and open doors for us but then we bitch because “you don’t think I can do it myself?” We want them to offer to pay for dinner but then we get offended because “what do you think I need you to pay for me?” We want a family life and the choice to stay home with our children but god forbidden a man suggests it because then he is being controlling.
Listen, I am all about equal rights among women and I don’t think we should “belong” at home barefoot and pregnant but we still want to be taken care of. I know I for one am very happy woman can venture out of the house and work without being looked down on. I work and my boyfriend stays home with our children, can you imagine how that would’ve gone over fifty years ago? They would have beat me back into my kitchen with sticks! However, I still want doors opened for me, I want to feel protected and cared about, I want mutual respect and I want to know that when I’m seventy years old I’ll have someone who has my back the way that gentlemen had his ladies!
What about you, what do you think?
Welp …. there is a pretty lonely comment section below! It’s like a dance floor … someone has to be the first one, but then everyone follows! 🙂