It’s just a night like any other. Sitting at the bar with my girlfriends/coworkers, talking about our other co-workers drama, how I had a mental breakdown in the middle of the shift tonight, how even though we say we won’t, were probably going to hook up with that hot new server again when we’re drunk.
And I start to realize that this restaurant isn’t just my college job, it’s my life. My friends, my romances, my money, the only food I hardly ever eat, even my general happiness. It all sprouts from a tiny generic steakhouse.
I judged Longhorn and the people within it the moment I had my first interview. I walked in the door and noticed that all the waitresses were white, pretty, and different shades of brunette. I figured it would just be something to get me my rent and car payment every month, but besides that I wouldn’t get too involved in the scene. But I was so mistaken. I fell in love with all of them in a matter of months and it blew me away. All of a sudden I was surrounded by intoxicating, wildly fun people. My music internship was almost the more boring part of my day, and I was instead looking forward to bussing tables every night just so I could cut up with the girls on the line or make sure I looked good enough for that one server I was trying to impress.
If you’ve never worked in restaurants, it’s almost impossible to explain. They suck you in with the insanity of everyone and yet it’s also what holds you all together. If you haven’t had a DUI or slept with a coworker yet, you probably won’t last more than a few months. It’s constant flirting and partying until 7am and then rolling out of bed, chugging water and excedrin, and waiting tables two hours later. It’s bitching each other out mid-shift, and dancing and laughing together by the end of the night. It’s family.
These people are my family, and I didn’t realize it until tonight when I sat at the bar with a few of them, talking about our problems, and laughing at the insanity of it all. Knowing that we can’t judge anyone else, because we’ve already been there and done that. It’s the realness that I love so much. The fact that although we all come from different places and enjoy different things, we have this bond that ties us all together.
Most of us will be graduating within the next year. Some have already started getting “grown up jobs”, others talk about their plans to move to a new city alone once the time comes, and I just want all of them to stop. I struggled through college to find my family of crazy friends, and I did, and soon enough they’ll be moving on.
In reality, A steakhouse is the only real thing holding us together. My family. Just waiting on it to end is terrifying and heartbreaking.
Isn’t it funny how wrong first impressions can be?