They had sharp heels and sharper tongues. They were the shabbos waitresses.
With some encouragement, I overcame my fear of them and joined their ranks. Though I never picked up on the habit of wearing heels, between the beginning and end of my time as a waitress, my words were honed like tempered steel.
We came from different places, but had the same value. For $85 a shabbos, we waitressed. Special Correspondent Ellen explained the system to me on my first shabbos at college, all while holding a plate of potato kugel. She was waitressing but, having finished serving her tables, had taken a small mountain of kugel from the kitchen for herself. So, she took a few minutes to tell me an email address to contact after shabbos. I thanked her, and we went our own ways. A week later, we were back together: setting tables, chopping peppers, and carrying plates of potato kugel from kitchen to dining hall.
For the next few years we waitressed together. Other students came and went, but a core group of us were there week in and week out. And, in our own fashion, we’ve stayed together since.
By the time I graduated, most of the waitresses had left school. So it was left to me to explain to the next generation of waitresses how to hide the extra cupcakes from prying eyes, make kidush for the group, and the like. It wasn’t the same. Slowly, the group of us realized that we weren’t just waitresses. We were The Waitresses.
The Waitresses have their own perspective on life. And I’m writing for them.