soooo i wash dishes in a restaurant, okay? lemme tell you about some things i’m thinking of on the job
so i went to apply, one month ago already. while waiting to be interviewed i talked to a girl who works there as a cook. she said, ‘honey, apply as a server, they don’t hire women as dishwashers here. and anyway you’re too beautiful’. (i mean yeah, if server was my dream job maybe i could see how washing dishes would be below me. i am choosing to solve this pride issue by going for the lowest possible position.) [carmen’s commentary to her last sentence: „that’s what she said.”]
so i got hired. yeah i’m the only girl dishwasher in the whole joint. i work with men at the dishwashing machine on the night shift and/or i work alone, but surrounded by bussboys and cooks on the day shift. the only other woman in there, sometimes, is the girl cook i mentioned above. yes there are a lot of hostesses etc, but they just pass by, ocassionally scrunching their noses.
now for my 2, related but distinct, problems: 1) as a woman, i am physically weaker than men; 2) as a woman, i am apparently someone who men will at some point try to approach (which i still don’t get, but alright). THERE IS NO EQUALITY. NO PRETENCE, NO SEMBLANCE, NOT ANYTHING OF EQUALITY. i don’t understand how the various undercurrents that function in these places balance eachother. i’m just trying to stay out of trouble (with moderate success so far) and do my job (ditto). except it’s not like any other job, forget that bullshit. i should know how it’s different from teaching, and i’ll expand that to office jobs – as for academia…shrug. it’s because it’s a physical job.
(why am i even talking about this?)
1) i get paid by the hour. everyone does. i do the same work my male co-workers have to do. except it soooo does not take a scientist to figure out that it’s unfair. because either i will take longer to complete my shift, or i will work less. i have been, am, doing my best, and am in good health and can lift and carry and push and maneouver things, yay me. and on a couple of days i solved the timing discrepancy by having lunch break ONLY AFTER i punched out, although i had the right to include my break in my working time. it just seemed the right thing to do. now how to stop that from bothering me, though?
2) i get helped. i mean, being helped is not new for me. an air of innocent cluelessness/ out-of-placeness will elicit help from people. help from men who ask for your phone number at the same time as they mop the floors for you…a little different, oops. and saying oh, that’s kind of you but no, nope, no way in this world you’re getting anything in return but god’s eternal grace…is not entirely satisfying, neither does it entirely solve the problem. no matter how upfront i am, i will still coast on my gender/(looks? oh god) as much as i’m coasting on the payment system.
so the feminist solution would be to find a job that can be done by a woman? i’m asking sincerely, not maliciously. because i think what actually attracted me to the idea of dishwashing is its purely physical component. (i told someone i didn’t want to be a waitress because i refuse to smile politely at people who haven’t earned it.)
but it’s also a bit like my stubborness re: living in north america. i want to do what i can’t do. i want it bluntly and obsessively. it’s not a matter of growth, personal development or becoming, or being yourself. i want things that i am stopped from having, by my gender, place of birth etc. like, BECAUSE i am a peasant romanian i want to be a hipster. BECAUSE i am clumsy and have been declared lazy throughout my childhood etc i’m having a spike of craving strength and deftness.
and i’m going through the motions. i’ve been going through so many motions these days/months, remodelling my life to this incredible extent. i just keep in mind that some of my aims are of the kind that lead to shortcircuit.
but some days it’s fun, and some people read and label what’s on display – in the good way, i mean. one afternoon while i was yelling at the frying pans and singing leonard cohen out loud, one of the cooks, erik, suddenly : „carmen!” -„what!” – „you’re still a girl.” – „well, yea…” – „don’t change!”
no worries there.