…And so I had the good luck to find a small side job as a singing performing waitress in a lovely restaurant, a hidden gem in Copenhagen beneath the old classic building of the New theater. I applied for a job there, as a way to compensate the hours spent in the academy, which for now, doesn’t really give that much of a green income.
For all the year spent there — it has being and is a space:
— of stress —
the high tempo, heavy hot plates, opening wine bottles and serving them while commenting on the effect it will give the whole food experience and the fear of constantly breaking glasses in front of the guests, not to mention spill the food on top of the head of one of them (this one hasn’t happen yet)
— and rest —
the fact of doing something completely different of what I will call myself competent for, therefore, giving me a break from the anxious nerd who wants to make that line in the Allegro a bit more clear in interpretation (it’s never good enough, no, no- still thinking about how to solve that one, where did the non-obsessive sloth go?!)
It could feel tiring to work outside with something you did not choose to do, but rather do it out of need. Somethings are out of reach in terms of personal power.
This hasn’t being the first job I take in sense of “need” — Throughout the years I have worked in some pretty harsh environments and I cannot deny how tired and frustrated I became because of them— To be bossed around, to be yelled at, to be put in situations you are not prepared for, to take a responsibility, you at times have hard to get personal with, because the motivation behind this job is purely to get economical stability, so you can do what you set yourself to do: Music, Art, Dance or whatever you feel a higher calling for.
And so, these sidejobs can feel like a waste of time.
My beloved sister shared some pretty wise words once — while my Alfa complainer was out of the leash, shouting at the world these sentences, which I pretty much hear everyday from people in my field taking sidejobs:
“It feels like a waste of time! I could be using the time to do the things I decide and want to do….but I need the money…”
My wiser sister declared, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world to say:
“Who says you cannot get better at what you want, even though you are not physically doing it, or even mentally doing it…It is a matter of becoming aware. How the dots connect, you see?”
And so…..I started thinking about it….
How can a side job as a waitress compliment my development as a performer you may ask?
For me it is not a waste of time. It is all the gold in the world, aside the paycheck I get, which I use to make a saving account to hopefully at some point in the future, afford to play on my own instrument.
I learned more about being a music interpreter throughout those experiences with life outside my own little ideal box of perceptions and nerding sounds.
When I enter my side job at the restaurant nowadays, This is how I feel:
I feel like the one who knows the least, the one who is always asking too many obviously stupid questions, the one who is slow, insecure and clumsy — breaking glasses, overworking the brain in the paranoia of writing the wrong dishes down, or misplacing a meal in the wrong table or telling the customer that wine goes good with the dish and being completely wrong about it….
This general feeling of being in a place where you are just not feeling like the fish in a pond. More like a clumsy sloth trying to swim.
At first the task feels so needlessly uncomfortable…
— BUT — it is also an attractive challenge.
You become completely dismantled from the usual place of security — and so you decide, to look up to your colleagues and learn.
Some of them are experienced waiters and waitresses, who love what they do.
One of them is so engaged in every single little thing to be ready before the guests arrive. There is specially one task at hand that inspires the most pure form of joy:
Cutting the butter.
Using those precious minutes of life, to take the long cylinders of organic butter from the fridge, find a cup of hot water, a butter knife, some gloves and butterholders. Open the package of butter, put it on a cupboard. Dip the knife into the hot water and proceed to cut the butter in good tempo, precisely 0,5 centimeters thick. Then place the slice on a beautiful circular holder. Three of them, nicely putted like it was a wedding.
It is such a small doing — but the joy it provokes, on the creator of such an affair, is indescribable.
That joy and love put into such little task is contagious. You feel engaged and start loving to do all these small steps as well. Entering, cleaning, preparing the bread and butter, the tables, walk around with the plates like it was a New years’ resolution.
Through my side job I learned the art of engagement, commitment and presence.
Because on the ultimate level, commitment and presence doesn’t require the thing you love to create to be there.
The act on itself will compliment the creation later and so you practice this manner while you do this side-work, while you serve, while you remember there are so many things that you will never be good at…. and you will enjoy learning and working besides people who can, and THIS, on it’s own sense, will give the inspiration to create what you are ultimately best at.
But most importantly:
For them… as a token of gratitude.
There goes the exchange.