It’s a slow shift. Rizzo and I are sitting in the back drinking coffee and reading the papers. I’ve only been a waiter a few months. The reality of my situation is sinking in.
“This job sucks.” I say simply.
Rizzo lowers his paper and says, “You think it sucks because you lack perspective my brother.”
“Perspective.” Rizzo repeats.
“Ok. I give. Enlighten me Obi-Wan.” I counter.
Rizzo puts the paper down and stares at me earnestly.
“Listen there is a guy named Vinod, he’s just off the boat from Bangladesh. Do you know what his job in this great country is?”
“Tell me. I can’t wait to hear.” I deadpan.
“He’s the squeegee guy at the all night peep show on 42nd Street. He cleans up all the garbage and jizz in the stalls. And you know what? He’s grateful he has that job. FUCKING GRATEFUL!”
“Ugh.” I wrinkle my nose in disgust.
“Yeah so while you’re bitching about working here, some guy who left a mud hut in some shithole is busy wiping up pervert spooge all day and he’s grateful. So stop your bitchin.” Rizzo declares, returning to the funny pages.
I think about that for a moment. Yeah I guess it could be worse. Yet, I can’t help wonder about “Vinod” and his custodial job at the porn shop………..
Big Al’s Nude Dance Emporium
Live Girls 24 Hours! All Nude!
123 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10017
Mud Hut No. 2,999,857.234
Sylhet, Sylhet Province, 3100
America. Great Country! I have job. I am chief custodian at Mr. Al’s Dance Emporium here in the greatest of cities. New York! Yes the Huge Apple. Oh Purna it is so exciting! Mr. Al is very kind. He pay me $1 an hour! So much money! I sleep in the back on the floor. A real floor! Wonderful! Mr. Al very kind. He lets me eat the popcorn free and beats me only once a day. I work very hard.
The dancing here very strange. Not like the dancing at home. Mr.Al tells me it “performance art.” The dancers very nice. Funny they all named “Amber” and all from Russia. How funny! I work hard. Soon I be manager. I will bring you and mother here to work when I get money. Al has not paid me yet. I know he will soon. When you can buy a pencil write me. Best to mother.
America Great Country!
I look up at Rizzo and say, “You’re sure he’s grateful?”
Without looking up from his paper Rizzo says,
“Bet your fucking ass.”
The door chimes. Some customers walk in. Rizzo and I get up and go back to work.
I guess it is all about perspective. Hey, at least I’m not the squeegee guy at Big Al’s.