Awkward Exes Serving Awkward Exes

Being a server sometimes means you’re gonna have to serve tables that know either too little or too much about you. In my case, I have on occasion had to wait on my ex-boyfriends’ exes. Not just exes, but the women who had broken my ex-boyfriends’ hearts. Which would make them the “big love” my boyfriends had lost at some point not too long after. And these women always seem to know who I am.

I’m starting to confuse myself, and probably you, so let me throw some examples out there.

Years ago, after I recently broke up with my first boyfriend, Cameron, I had to wait on his high school sweetheart, someone Cameron had a hard time letting go of after they had ended their relationship. Needless to say, it was someone he had loved hard for and I knew this while dating him. They had also kept in touch during my relationship with Cameron, always making me wonder if he was ever over her. It didn’t really matter anyway, considering Cameron and I didn’t work out. But what was awkward was that I knew certain private and personal things about her and she definitely knew certain private and personal things about me.

So when I announced my name (which is incredibly unique) and that I’d be taking care of her, I knew the smile on her face was purely superficial and nervous. This, in turn, made me uncomfortable, so for the duration of her dining out, everything was tense.

Irony, I think. Why is it that the ex-love of my recent ex-boyfriend somehow ends up sitting in my section when I know they are entirely unaware of my existence at The Restaurant? Especially when we had never met before?

But it doesn’t get anymore awkward than having the ex-WIFE sitting at your table. THE ex-wife your ex-boyfriend talked to you about for hours, telling you things she probably wouldn’t want you to know. And, as far as you know, she might know things about you that you wouldn’t want HER to know. And not only is it an ex-wife, but a recent one at that. Tricky, tricky…

I had never met her before, but had heard plenty. I also knew she was aware of my existence, but it was hard to say if she could recognize me by looks alone. I knew she would know my name, though. So, as I watched her tiny figure gracefully sit, looking with those extremely arched eyebrows, puffed out cheekbones and lips, I had to consciously restrain myself from going in multiple directions like a chicken with its head chopped off. For a split second, I felt guilty. Maybe it was because I had felt like a mistress when dating this man. Being hidden from his personal life always made me feel like I was in an affair and that if the wife found out, I would be in huge trouble. But it was his EX-wife. And he was now my ex-boyfriend (or more like a whim/fling/situation #2…refer back to situation #1 for clarification). “Boyfriend” doesn’t seem to fit this particular guy anyhow.

Still doesn’t change the fact that it was nerve-wracking. I swiftly passed by the table without greeting the ex and her date, and grabbed Ethel, another server, saying, “I can’t take this table. It’s HIS ex.” But really, I could have; however,considering it was dead in the restaurant, I knew Ethel could take it off my hands. I just didn’t feel like testing out my acting skills at that particular moment. I was just happy she didn’t walk in with her daughter. I could just feel the bile rise up my throat if that had happened. He did such a good job at hiding me from his daughter, how ironic would it have been if I got to meet her through his ex. Not that I wanted to be hidden, but he felt it best for his daughter not to know about me. Again, the Mistress title being labeled onto me. And again, I want to vomit. If only I was a Super Ex-Girlfriend, I wouldn’t feel so pathetic…Yes...this is more like it.

There was always another reason to vomit, and it was because I knew he had really loved his ex-wife. She was his “big love” just like Cameron’s high school sweetheart was his “big love.” And both ended up in my section. Years apart, but in two separate states, and yet still the same irony. Still the same awkwardness. Because, I too, was an ex. And I hate serving exes.

So you wanna challenge?

I got one!

I’m starting to feel the heat of life. It’s been nine months since I moved from Arizona to California, and the first eight were easy, smooth, controlled, and, honestly, a lot of fun. I had a boyfriend, a job that generally made good money, and beautiful weather. But I wasn’t in any shows yet, which was fine. I think the only patience I have in my strong-willed, stubborn brain is literally reserved for the days when I pretend to be an actor.

But then, in just one month things pop! Near the end of May, I was leaving for my cousin’s wedding in Missouri. On that day, I knew I was recently cast in Cinderella and also got a call announcing that I was approved for Wonder Woman within Six Flags Magic Mountain. Good news, wouldn’t you say? I tell my boyfriend at the time how excited I was and then realized how busy I was going to be. He responded with a very dry, “Good luck.” That marked the first step towards the downhill slope coming my way.

To back track ever-so slightly, I was also on the hunt for a new job. This being because my General Manager was turning everything to hell and I wanted out. Unfortunately, I can’t go anywhere until I have another job lined up.

Back on track—I’m at my cousin’s wedding and I realize just how truly happy she and her husband look. Believe me, I can smell faux-happiness anywhere. Except in myself, funny as that is. So at this point, she tells me to never settle, that he’s out there, that she’s been in many relationships never fully satisfied until this one. This sinks hard into my over-analyzing brain and I leave Missouri with a sour lump in my stomach.

Weeks go by and I still can’t find a job. Nobody’s hiring, or they say they are, put me through two interviews, then never call me again. I go into one place weekly just to see if they have an opening and I’m never able to see a manager. At this point, I feel like a stalker.

“Well at least I have Wonder Woman and Cinderella,” I mutter aimlessly.

Oh wait! Not so! I had been approved by Warner Bros. and DC Comics, but Magic Mountain wouldn’t pick me up. They neglected to set up any interviews or even return my calls. I actually had to drive 40 min. up to Magic Mountain thinking I had an interview scheduled at 1030am to find out they wouldn’t see me until 1230pm. I was so angry because my life is already too busy that I just left. There was no way I was going to sit around for two hours. No way!

So Wonder Woman is out of the picture. On top of this fabulous discovery, my boyfriend and I were having deep conversations. Conversations about calling it quits. And then it happened pretty much in the same week.

So now Terminator is out of the picture. What do I have left? No real close friends, that’s for sure. I spent most of my free time with my relationship, neglecting to work on making any friendships. I actually sobbed one night—obviously with a glass of Merlot nestled tightly in my grasp—and I’m talking a full-gusty meltdown of pathetic gush where I cried to my cat about how “alone” I am and how “I have no friends.” The only thing that could actually sober me up was, shockingly, the Vicodin I took thinking it would put me to a hard sleep. Not so. I was as chill as a popsicle.

Then I could really ponder on what I had left. What was it? Oh yeah! Cinderella and my awful serving job. And the sad thing is, every time I walk into a new restaurant to apply, they all say, “We’d love to hire you! But we need you to have more availability…” Go figure, Cinderella would be the one thing keeping me from escaping my current job.

So as I sit here typing out smoking little letters of impatient frustration…I realize the challenging part of California has finally arrived. I’m either having to fight very hard or submerge myself in utter patience—which I actually fight very hard to do anyway. But I won’t be beaten! My stubbornness would rather kill me. And if Plan A never works, I have plenty of Plan B’s waiting…patiently.