So I’ve only been on the job for three days and already I want to quit. Or at least, there’s a small part of me that screams out that this 5-buck-an-hour sale-of-soul isn’t worth it.
And I know which part of me that is. It’s the part that wants to have 8-hour-long nights again.
Since the job requires me to purchase, in the wee hours of the morning, newspapers to read and mutilate, I have taken to setting my alarm clock (and handphone, and watch alarm) to the ungodly hour of 0600hrs (which is still an hour later than I should be waking up). I haven’t woken up so early since my army days, and I definitely haven’t taken to the streets so early since my days in Singapore’s meat-grinder-education-system. My body rebels against this by shutting down in the most unexpected ways. Whilst transferring milk from carton to cup, I fell because the milk unbalanced me, something that sounds pathetic but is entirely plausible when you experience it. And it was low-fat skimmed milk too. I laughed when I was on the floor , because what else can you do when you’re lying on the floor with low-fat milk all over yourself?
Walking blearily through the streets before the sun is up, I look at the little kids going off to school, so excited and happy, and wonder if any of them will end up like me, a wastrel with minimal wage. I look at the mothers towing their kids along, looking as bleary-eyed as I do, and wonder if I will ever have a kid for whom I will have to wake up at 6am in the morning (if only to strangle, so I can go back to sleep). I look at the white-collar workers who buy the papers from the same store I do and wonder if I will have to wake up this early forever, doomed to a life of hating alarm clocks and having dreams of getting sufficient sleep (a cruel joke, if ever here was one).
I want to sleep. And this time, it’s not metaphorical.
On the bright side, the job has me learning so many new things!!! (in my most non-sarcastic voice)
On the news a lot these past few days has been the topic of quality service. I read the articles and weep, for they represent Singaporeans so. You see, it’s a simple enough topic that every ah soh ah ma has to give their 3-cents worth on the issue. And you can differentiate between the Singaporeans and foreigners, almost every Singaporeans equates good service with free meals or refunds when the server is bad, and has little to say on smiling and being looking you straight in the eye.
A related issue that has been brought up is that only good customers get good service (supposed premise that white men get better service in Singapore). This notion has outraged several readers, who believe that good service should be impartial and available to every customer who is kind enough to pay their poor waiter to serve them at the table. These people are invariably Singaporeans whom I doubt have ever worked in the service industry. Not that I have any empirical evidence of people who have never done service being worse customers, in fact I’m sure programmers make pretty good customers (sit in a corner, speak very little and eat pizzas).
In any case, I guess I must have been a pretty lousy waiter. I have never refunded anyone for their meals (though I have never gotten the orders wrong), I never smiled generously and made jokes at the table, nor did I ever compliment my customers’ choice of orders. But what can I say? They were all snotty cheapskates anyway who never did go for the lobster and were unlikely to tip.