When I rolled out of bed the next morning, my eyes were wide open. I couldn't wait to go back to Monks. My head was still reeling from the dream that had been the previous night. I had a happiness hangover. I checked my email, took a shower and twiddled my thumbs waiting for 5:00 to roll around. When, at last, my wall clock displayed the correct time, I threw on my black pants, t-shirt and sparkly eyeliner and headed out the door. Back at the restaurant I was greeted by Ria, Ethan and Jackie, all getting ready for a repeat of the previous night.
And a repeat it was. I was given my tiny section, smiled my way through being a terrible waitress, danced a lot and even sang You Oughtta Know again (this time I had Dennis give me my opening note. It went off without a hitch). I was getting used to hearing odd names for drinks...
Customer: I'll have the Liquid Panty Remover, please.
Asia: Um, ok.
Asia walks to bar.
Asia: (to bar tender) Something about panties.
Bar tender: Coming right up.
and (true story)
Customer: Do you have Bacardi?
Asia: I dunno. I'll check.
Asia walks to bar.
Asia: (to bartender) Do we have Buck Hardy?
Bartender gives Asia a concerned look and pulls out a bottle of Bacardi.
Asia: Dang it. I've even heard of that one.
and I was trying to remember the names of my fellow server/entertainers. I ran through them briefly in my mind again: Megan, manager, tall with beautiful dark curly hair, song repertoire including Janis Joplin, Fleetwood Mac and Bonnie Raitt; Ria, manager, small and Filipina, always covered in sparkling jewelry; Ethan, tall and thin, bleach blonde hair, song repertoire including: Billy Idol, The Beatles, LMFAO; Candy: Short, with long dark hair and big bangs, song repertoire including Etta James, The Cranberries, and support harmonies; and Jay, dark hair, dark eyes, song repertoire including: The Beatles, Bob Seger and support harmonies. These were my new comrades-in-arms. My new crowd. My new scene. Still trying to get the smell of bleach out of my nose from how pristine my BYU experience had been, I welcomed them with open arms.
At one point during the night, I was in the back putting together a salad when Jay came around the corner to fill some water glasses.
"So, what's your deal?"
I was startled by the question. "What..?"
He smiled. "You know, where are you from? Are you a student? Are you married?"
I'm gonna cut this conversation off here. I don't remember what I replied, but I'm sure it was sad to watch. You see, Jay was handsome. He looked a bit like Tom Cruise (more on this later) and my awkwardness around handsome boys was pretty embarassing. I still had a-ways to go before I was confident enough in my new environment to give sassy, non-mumbly answers to questions from cute boys.
This embarassment only skyrocketed from here. Later on in the evening, I was clearing empty plates from my tables when I noticed that Jay had disappeared. I hadn't seen him for a little while when Dennis took the mic to introduce the next song.
"Tonight at Harmonious Monks, we have a special guest. All the way from Hollywood, give it up for Mr. Tom Cruise!"
Then, from the employee restroom at the back of the restaurant, Jay emerged wearing nothing but white socks, a button-down shirt, sunglasses and white briefs. He had a microphone in his hand and a smile on his face. The band began to play "Old Time Rock N' Roll". Jay jumped up on the stage and began to sing and shake his hips around. All the women went crazy and literally started taking cash out of their pocketbooks to stuff into Jay's... whatever. I didn't watch. My face turned a flourescent shade of purple and my hand shot up to block my eyes. I had, literally, never seen so much of a man's thigh.
Once the song ended and my face had resumed it's normal coloring, Jay changed back into his normal work clothes and resumed business as usual. It was getting late in the night and my eyes were beginning to droop, but no fatigue has ever stopped me from dancing. When the speakers started up with their usual Pitbull, Sir Mix-a-Lot lineup, I was shaking it like a polaroid picture with the rest of the crowd.
The night ended with the same panache of the previous night: at 2am the lights came on, security escorted remaining patrons out of the building, napkins and glitter covered the floor. As I wiped my tables, I listened to Ethan, who was somewhere across the room, listing names of liquors we sold, replacing certain words with gay references (for example: Queer-noff instead of Smirnoff) and getting a chuckle out of himself. I smiled and continued cleaning. Suddenly, Jay appeared.
"Hey, it was nice to meet you." He said with a smile.
"Sometimes a few of us from Monks go dancing. You should come."
"That sounds great." I said, trying to contain my enthusiasm.
- - - - -
The next day was church. I was always somewhat relieved that my weekends ended on a spiritual high note. Sometimes my employment in the bar would expose me to the dark under-belly of young adulthood. Sometimes I heard too much profane language, smelled too many foreign substances on the clothing of my coworkers or saw too many customers staggering around, unable to hold their own body weight because the drinks they had consumed. These things would bring a gray cloud to muddy my otherwise blue sky.
But when I was able to shower away the sweat, beer and glitter, put on my Sunday best and remind myself that the good in the world is worth waking up early for, the clouds would dissipate and I would once again feel the sun warm my skin.
And as long as I was floundering in my quarter-life crisis, I may as well have stability somewhere in my life. And, not coincidentally, it was not at the bar where I would meet my future husband.