Expensive Conversations

This week on the blog, I’m talking about the Raiders + Saying things we don’t mean.

Working as a server for the past few years has taught me a handful of things. Sometimes people leave important things lying around like driver’s licenses and wallets. Sometimes people are unfaithful in the clear of day, but their significant other is blind to it because of the love that they have for the bastard. Sometimes you see kids that brighten your whole outlook on the day, and sometimes you are given gifts from your customers, be that in a kind word, a gift card or a massive tip, the people we see and speak to every day can mold and change us. My entire day can be ruined (because I let it) by a customer who treats me like dirt. The same can happen in reverse when someone genuinely kind comes into my care at the restaurant. Working through as many parties as I have I’ve come to learn that it is easy for many people to stack up mountainous bills on all of the alcohol and appetizers that they purchase. The shock comes when they get their bill to see that it was $300 in liquor alone.

I have also had the chance to talk to so many people through this industry. I started working as a dishwasher and climbed my way out of that position in order to be a chef or a server. I was given a choice between the two at my previous job, and I picked serving for the sake of talking to people, for studying how we interact with one another and using that for my writing.

Today, I’m going to be talking about that and giving you all something that I have recently learned in my position that I hadn’t noticed as much before.

People talk, a lot. As if all of the silly things we think have to be ripped out of our minds and through our lips regardless of the scenario. I have served a handful of tables where my customers had no filter. They just kept going. Opening their mouths and letting whatever was on their mind drip out and spill across the table for the rest of their company to slurp up from the lacquered wooden surface.

My friends and I have done this plenty as well, one time that I recall recently a few of us were at the restaurant and talking about the Raiders transferring to Nevada. None of us were Raiders fans and I like to poke fun at my friends who are. So I did just that, talking about how terrible of a team they were and so on. This older guy sitting at the other end of the bar listened to us ramble on about something we didn’t really know that much about and I asked him after noticing his Raiders hat, “How do you feel about the Raiders moving to Nevada?” He told my friends and I that we need to learn the history of the team. That was about it. I recently got around to actually looking up the history of the Raiders and found so many interesting notes and things I never knew about the team.

I think what that guy said to us that day kind of stuck with me for that reason. We were blathering on about something we didn’t understand. Content to mock something and talk down to the fans of something we just didn’t get. Our banter started out as playful jabs at our friends for being fans of the team but it evolved somewhere in the midst of the conversation to shit talking all Raiders fans. Especially from my end. This old Raiders fan stepped in as a pissed off guru and shut me up for a while.

We all have a tendency to do that, too. I’ve noticed it so much more since that day. We like to talk shit, we like to talk at all. The majority of us like to hear the sound of our own voices. So we open our mouths and let the words slip out without paying attention to what we are saying. That is a dangerous game to play, because we can so easily hurt those close to us or worse, total strangers.

I don’t mean joking about football teams, or even really shit talking teams. I mean the others tuff. Politics. Abortions, religion. Our core belief systems and ideals that we swing around like weapons can so frequently hurt those nearest us. In some cases, while it may be more rare, it can hurt those we don’t even know.

“If all those guys think that, maybe it’s true.” Etc.

Obviously this isn’t always the case but still, I learned that day that I need to be more certain about the things that I say. Especially in public. I never know who is listening. Even if it is about something trivial like football, to some people that may be the thing they love more than anything else in the world.

The words we use carry a weight that we don’t understand and we so easily slip our strong opinions into everything with a crass mentality. I do it, you’ve likely done it. There isn’t a person I know who has gone about their lives with limitless tact. It is just part of a larger learning process.

When we party in the real world, we should be sure to regularly check our bill. I hate getting a large bill and wind up paying heavily for something I only enjoyed for a few hours.


Mean Shadows here!

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