Saturday, April 28, 2012

a real human being

this song goes along with the title

i'm currently winding down my last few shifts at my restaurant. i've been working the peace corps angle on every table i have just to see different reactions people have about the idea.  i usually try to find some way of bringing up my masters degree and working for $2.13/hour which then lets me bring up what i'm "going to do" with those degrees.  i literally had one guy ask, "what the hell are you doing here then?" though most people are more tactful.  these are the different reactions i get when people find out i'm going to nicaragua with peace corps.

impressed: usually these start out with a "good for you!" or "that's awesome!" we discuss a little bit about what i'll be doing- teaching entrepreneurship, etc. and how i've been waiting for a year after graduation. they are very encouraging and we bond. it's like i've made new friends when they leave. they tell me they'll be praying for me and are very proud.

shocked: these are the people who don't really understand why anyone would want to go live in poverty for two years (most people ask if PC is 6 months long. the 27 kills it for them).  these conversations usually start out with "why do you want to go do that?" or "they're crazy down there" (yes, i had a woman tell me that). most of the conversation revolves around me being really careful and inquiries about my shots (why does everyone worry about me having my shots?).  when they find out i've been to other places they are even more baffled. these conversations are funny because often people tell me things that would possibly make someone not want to go.  i always want to ask, "you remember that i am going here right?"

indifferent: these tables usually could care less or have never even heard of peace corps. some think it is a church thing, others think it is like americorps within the states. the conversation splits between explaining what peace corps is and back to the "why would you want to do a thing like that?"

those are the main three types of reactions i get. in general, it's funny to see people change how they talk to me once they realize i am a real person. i have goals, hopes, dreams... i don't really want to wait tables the rest of my life. the entire dynamic of how we interact changes.  they speak to me more on the same level instead of just "i want x now." it's nice.

so next time you go out to eat, remember that your server probably doesn't want to do this for the rest of his/her life. just talk to them like a real person even if you don't talk about their entire life story. we servers/bartenders/waitstaff of the world appreciate it.

my last shift is tonight. i'll be telling the same story to every table and probably getting one of those three different reactions at each one.

ps- we pay our bills with tips, not verbal compliments too. ;)

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