Initially this was supposed to be at least an introduction to a potential idea for a new book, which it still might become although I tend to doubt it. The new book was to be about my time in the restaurant industry and the psychological side effects thereof. I joked with someone that it should be more of a survival guide and she simply said that she wasn’t sure I actually survived. It was an interesting point and not one that I take lightly; looking back on the roughly 10 years I spent in the industry I’m not sure I did either. For me to document all the factors that contributed to the perspective that I came away with would be very personal and honestly a bit painful to recount.
It is not as simple as, “This crazy story happened. Wow, that’s pretty fucked up.” I took my first job out of pure necessity, because who the hell would want to bus tables, mop bathrooms and do dishes. The circumstances that led to me essentially being trapped in the industry were very messy; yes I know that I live in the United States and things don’t really get that bad and of course I could have tried to get into a different field, and I wasn’t serving in the military, so any mental trauma or symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress are obviously me being overly dramatic in the name of literary license. Those are a few of the reasons I have trouble justifying what I guess would amount to a memoir. Lots of people work in the hospitality industry and don’t seem to view it as being dragged across hot coals; some people actually enjoy it, or at least put on that face (from day 1 until day 3,650 or thereabouts across about 30 different restaurants, I was told I wasn’t smiling enough and possessed a questionable attitude). There was probably a day here, a few months there that weren’t something out of a Dantean version of Office Space, but by and large someone may as well have been following me around hitting me with a lead pipe for 5-16 hours a day (I’m not sure what circle that would be).
Maybe I could write a book about these things, but I’d probably bore myself and feel like a big whiner more than anything. I made money, graduated college, didn’t lose my house and managed to get out without too much drama, and I’m sure that many others have done the same. All of the above is more than likely why I prefer writing fiction, because in a memoir you already know the ending in that the person is writing it about themself, so for better or worse survived their ordeal. I might come around to the idea; probably when I reread this in a month or two.