The tide in him was tortuous. He felt as if an inner force was pulling with its fingers from the inside of his face, down and in. The weight of the yanking and stretching made him feel dehydrated, which he probably was, having run after he got to work. The pull went from the top of his head, grabbing his brain, and trying to push it down his neck, it grabbed the rest of him at the top of his shoulders in a vortex of flesh and energy through in the insides of his back, to his waist, and then to the back of his spine. He felt like he was collapsing and his legs were nearly paralyzed.
He walked as if he was carrying a huge sack that was as wide and longer than he was. He kept saying to himself that he wished, just once, that he could come to work and work was not the crap shoot it was. It was an obstacle course of surprises and repairs such that at one point his parched mouth could make no smile, his eyes sagged for the stress was constant, the compromise of self exacting and diminishing seemingly forever as he prayed again for rest, even though he had just returned from vacation. Even as he had so few days at work, it was constantly on his mind, a plethora of menial tasks loaded into one. He had fewer fingers and toes than what he felt he needed to accomplish every second of every day. He wondered why he was being sacrificed and why no one joined him, except that when he involved them it was mostly in private or else they were in shock, speechless, and that amounted to a “hush, please” diatribe.
He felt hollow. He had no real anger, he whined at this point. He spoke from his neck, not his diaphragm. He must have sounded weak and bothersome when Peter asked to be tipped for carrying a few glasses to their settings. He can’t remember Peter helping much, except for an appearance in the room with a cluster in one hand and then with every glass Peter put, Peter required instruction, and then to have his settings repaired since Peter covered the spots where his glasses should go. He was training Peter at the same time as he was running to get the Hors D’oeuvres, the utensils, the glassware, the napkins, the wine, all in a few moments, knowing it would be impossible. There were other mouths to feed: Tim from Room Service, and the other waiters: Sensial and Max, who were the only ones on the floor on a Friday night, and they already had things to do.
Their time at The Palace Bouffant was compacted and had to be perfect or else they’d be written up. He is not one to complain for himself, but it seemed like they were trying to fire him. The capitalistic ploy of shortened hours and increasing workload was evident. Knowing this, he was made angrier. Success at the job meant financial security and yet the threats were both veiled and open. He felt like the rat that was held underwater and went limp. This was even though the rat had been brought out of the water before it had drowned. It simply gave up. The psychological damage had been done.
Everyday seemed helpless, unknown. It affected his sleep, his free time, and the loss of spring and summer sun. His job only got harder. It never subsided. It asked everything and yet the work was so dumb.
Still, as the tasks grew voluminous, he grew automatic, impersonal if he was to survive. He tried to take nothing personally, but the emotions of strangers washed over him, like electric storms, and they messed with his concentration. Then there were questions to ask about allergies, bottled water, cocktails, plate sizes, cutlery, napkins, spoons, timing, and the customers’ names, and often just waiting. Every airplane wanted to land at the same time on the same strip and every patron inside made special requests.
He was sinking, never to come up.