So Much “Potential” – Fucking Wasted

I can’t help but think, every time I go in for work, that this is what I’ve dedicated my so-called “potential” to.

See, in school, before things really got a grip on me and I dropped out (luckily later I got my GED), I was smart. Smart probably isn’t even the word to describe it – intelligent would work. I was seventeen with the mind of a fifty-year-old. To this day, I like to think that I’m an old soul. Get me into a deep conversation and I’ll say things that will blow your mind. Hell, put a few beers in my hand and I’ll get philosophical on you. I was in honors Spanish my last year of high school and passed it. I got the jokes that our science teacher would make when no one else in the class did. I was also musically talented and did well in band class. I also had a decent singing voice in choir. I also aced every test in English and American history and got into at least the top ten in Young Writers more times than I can even remember.

I have an IQ of 127. While that’s not genius, it’s definitely not average either. On the IQ scale, 127 ranks as “superior intelligence.” It won’t get me into Mensa but it’s not something I’m ashamed of, either. On my GED exam, I passed English (both part one, grammar, and part two, writing) with a PERFECT SCORE. I never did well with math but rocked just about every other subject. I was (and still am) especially atuned to English and grammar. In fact, so much so, that one of my friends calls me a “grammar nut.” I don’t know what it is, but improper grammar, spelling, and proununciation bug the hell out of me.

What did I do with it? I became a fucking waitress.

I’m not down-talking my job. I take pride in it, if for nothing else, for the simple fact that I have a job, which is more than I can say for a lot of people I know. Sure, it may not be the most glamorous job in the world but it pays my bills and keeps my head above water. It also tests my ability to deal with the public, as I’m not a people person and most likely never will be a people person. And sometimes, just sometimes, I actually make decent money doing it.

One of my co-workers tells me that I need to go to college. She says, “You’re smart. You could learn something. You don’t want to be stuck doing this for the rest of your life.” She’s been doing it longer than I’ve been alive. Sadly though, that’s what I see when I don that uniform – a lifer. I see someone who is condemned to relying on the kindness of the public for the rest of her life, someone who slaps on a big, plastic smile and pretends that she’s very happy doing what she’s doing, all the while knowing deep down inside that it embitters her more and more every single day.

So why do I do this? Well first, the place I currently work was the first place to call me back after I’d been applying all over town. It also seemed like something I could pick up fairly quickly (which I did). It’s also because I made a few crappy choices in my life and I now have the price to pay for them.

Do I want to better myself? You could bet your last dollar on that. I don’t want to be a waitress – at least by career – for the rest of my life. I want to do something better with myself. Maybe I’ll get better at guitar and actually do something with my musical talent and my voice. Maybe I’ll become a writer or a journalist. I don’t want to do this forever though. This is my stepping stone, or at least, I like to think it is. It’s a job, and it pays the bills, but I don’t want to look back in twenty years, still waiting tables, and think about the mind, the talent, and the “potential” that I fucking wasted.


One response

  1. You don’t have to go to college to make something of yourself. In fact, I’m almost regretting going to college now because it means I’m going to have about $50k in loans to repay in a shitty job market. Woohoo.

    Anyway, waitressing actually allows you the freedom to pursue some things you might not be able to otherwise. Its flexible schedule means you can change it to suit your needs without too much hassle.

    Whatever you choose to do, please do something that makes you happy. Life is too short to be miserable. I don’t like my job, but just four shifts a week pays for what I need. I love my life, my husband, my dog, my hobbies…

    As long as you’re MOSTLY happy, that’s what matters. The happy can counteract the bad, so focus on getting as much joy in your life as you can. If that means writing, playing music, or professional wrestling while also waitressing, do it. If it means quitting your job and finding something else, do it. Just don’t be miserable over something you CAN change. :)

    June 2, 2011 at 1:31 AM

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