Jumbo Jet they called her – fast on her feet, zooming in, swooping up trays, delivering with flight- attendant flair.
When did she turn to autopilot, stop paying attention to her destination?
Didn’t she know she was set on a crash course, headed for disaster?
Tried to warn her, wake her from stupor; told me she’d reset but danger remains.
She’s cruising now – over-sized turbo-lacking under-fuelled, no longer able to soar – trapped in a treacherous game.
Waits tables, tries to keep a clean house, caters to others, lends an ear, has squeezed every drop of self into a low flying life
needs to land a space of her own, with room to breathe; take life in shorter intervals, refill her jets.
(Portrait of a Waitress was originally written in 2016. Image a self portrait. Note: once upon a time, I was a waitress, whom the cooks referred to as “Jumbo Jet”. I waitressed my way through university, and a few rough spots in life. While I gave up the job, the metaphor of ‘waiting’ continued to be a theme in my dreams for many years after.)
If I were a kitchen, I’d want an old-fashioned woman at my counters – rolling dough canning pickles, chutney, jam, homemade pasta sauce, and every Sunday, a roast. She’d wear her sweat like a saint, ignore her aching back – one practiced hand feeding her Carnation baby, while other children flocked to Formica, hot flesh sticking to vinyl as they picked at fresh made sweet buns, the pot on the stove perpetually simmering.
Or give me modern efficiency – ninjas and presses, air fryers and induction cookers – let the children belly up to the breakfast bar, chomp on veggies and humus, while cook totes baby in a sling, and preps bone broth, strains of Baby Einstein emitting from a propped up iPad, while a cellphone vibrates on granite, and the Keurig spits out Starbucks Pike.
Just don’t abandon me, piles of unopened mail, or tossed aside receipts company for coffee rings on my counters. Please don’t litter my surfaces with rotting takeout containers, or dishes caked with processed cheese – don’t leave my stainless steel sinks stained, spoiled food reeking in the refrigerator, traces of late night mishaps curdling on the floor; absence of familiar sounds declaring my presence invalid.