I haven’t posted in a while and I know myself pretty well and it will probably be another while before I do start posting regularly. This is because I’m doing a lot of writing for grad school—which makes sense, since writing is my major—and it’s kind of draining me of any desire to update my blog. Trust me, I’m doing you all a favor. I’m still unemployed and there’s nothing going on in my life. I’m at my best when I’m venting and I have nothing to vent about. I’m still writing articles for the Star—that will end after Columbus Day—so you can read my bitchiness over there. I will, at some point in the near future, have to go back to work again and that’s most likely when I’ll start writing. Sorry for being such a loser. Send me messages and stuff if you want—I always love to read them and I always write back!
There Are No Words
We got there at 8 AM. This beautiful loft—also, the biggest loft. Like maybe 4,000 sq. ft., though I’m not too good at judging those things. What did we have to do at 8 AM? Help catering deliver their order, line up chairs (so many chairs—300 chairs) in precise rows we measure from string, 18 inches between each row, on two sides of the runway. It was the perfect job for me because of how anal retentive I am.
After the chairs were done we stood around by catering and watched all the models in hair and makeup. Backstage was swarming with people—about 100 of us PA’s and interns dressed in black, and then all the PR people too. I took a really bad photo. Here:
I sort of covet the hard wood floor.
What it is, is a group of people wearing carefully planned outfits designed too look as though, “Oh, I just threw this on without thinking too much about it,” when the reality is more like, “I planned this down to the really ugly black boots of unflattering height I’m wearing.” Not as many people dressed crazy as you might expect, though there was a woman dressed up in a yellow Geisha robe, but I think that’s her thing? Anna Wintour was there wearing pink Chanel and I thought about that an awesome, yet boring, photo essay might be taking a picture of her face at every fashion show she attends. This is the second time I have seen her in the flesh and I am telling you, I think her face is frozen that way.
Then we had to move the chairs again because they were too close and then we stood by aisle markers while people filed in. Alicia Keys! So pretty! Everyone is so pretty, actually. I don’t know if people get into fashion because they’re skinny and that’s what you do if you’re skinny, or if they love fashion and become skinny to fit in, or what. But I have never seen so many people in one room who looked like they could carried off by a stiff breeze.
Four hours of hair and makeup for a ten minute show. Here’s a picture of a blurry blonde model, obscured by a bunch of other people—sorry, we weren’t actually supposed to take photos—in line to walk the runway:
After the show was over, I searched in vain for a gift bag I hoped someone had left behind. No such luck. There were lots of half-empty bottles of Evian though.
Two hours later and we had stacked and covered all the chairs, disassembled the hair and makeup tables, pulled up all the brown paper covering everything, and were done for the day. The clothes? Eh. I can tell you that, according to this designer, beige, sparkles, and mid-thigh shorts are going to be in for the spring. Blech.
I get to do it all again today. Yay!
Hi! I’m here in New York. I will wear all black everything and scurry around backstage moving trashcans and setting up chairs and staying out of the way of the models. This is glamorous. Probably I will sit around and sit around some more until the show is over and everyone leaves and we break down the set and the backstage. Maybe I will get to steal some shampoo. Hopefully I will be able to steal conditioner because I use that to shave my legs (seriously—sooo moisturizing) and I am running out.
Hmmm…grad school. Well, I have an awesome class and then I have a typical “I like this/I agree/I thought this part was really interesting” class where the professor and my classmates (and me, I guess if we’re being fair) all coo over each others’ writing and don’t really say much of anything and it’s boring the crap out of me and also making me angry because I am paying for that shit.
Well. I am going to try so very hard to update through the weekend. Last week when I came in it was for a fashion-related commercial shoot, and there was clothes and makeup (so much free makeup!), but it wasn’t a real designer show. It was interesting to see commercial sausage get made—and it’s just as lame and typical as you might expect—like, a million takes of two extras rolling a clothes wrack back and forth across set while everyone but the director stands around looking over it.
An Actual Starbucks Order I Had To Pick Up Today Because This Is What You Do When You’re An Assistant
grande vanilla latte
grande five pump skim chai latte lite ice no water
ice chai latte soy milk grande
cookie frappucino grande
venti green tea 1 tea bag half
grande vanilla latte
Grande ice coffee
ice coffee grande
Grande ice latte
The World Needs Cynics, Right? RIGHT?!
God I hope so.
I’m sitting in class and I can’t help thinking, when the professor brushes aside criticism of creative writing programs, “But we’re all here because we were privileged enough to get Bachelor’s degrees and that means we all, probably, most likely, enjoyed a certain amount of economic comfort and academic success due to our demographic and the opportunities available to us because of our race, class, or the influence of our parents, and so yes, great, we chose to be ‘challenged’ by graduate school but also it’s not really much of a challenge since it wasn’t that difficult for most of us to get here in the first place, ya know?”
And then I heard my therapist telling me I’m a “Yeah, but…” kind of person which, you know what? I’m totally fine with that. The emperor has no clothes. There, I said it.
So it was kinda anti-climactic. The professor never showed up. Seriously.
I spent an hour driving from Amagansett to Southampton—though I took the back roads, traffic was horrendous for a Monday. Then I sat in the classroom for another 45 minutes while one of the administrators tried to figure out where the professor was. Finally she told us we could go, but then we had to introduce ourselves to each other and the only person whose name I remember is Emmett…or Ian? I don’t know.
THEN on the drive back, an ambulance was coming west and all of us headed east pulled over EXCEPT for the douchebag in a white Chevy Yukon (I think—also, really?) who sped around me to ultimately move one place up in the line of cars. Way to go—you win at life.
Probably the best thing that happened was, as I was turning off 27 and onto the road that goes through campus, this guy sitting in the back of a small silver convertible along with a large bag of golf clubs, turned around and smiled at me—like a joke smile, all teeth. He looked kind of like Brody Jenner, although I seriously doubt it. I smiled back and he laughed. And that’s my whole story, just some guy in the back of a convertible giving me a goofy smile and me smiling back. And then I found five dollars.
Class tomorrow and Thursday (hopefully the teacher will be there), and Thursday night I’m driving to the city to stay with my sister because…I’m going to be a production assistant at a fashion show…maybe? I don’t have all the details. It’s through Leah who knows people who know other people and because I’m unemployed she pulled some string and got me some work during fashion week. Should be interesting…
First Day Of Classes
Oh my god I am going back to school. I never thought this would happen. I have a non-fiction class this evening and I’m so nervous about which table to sit at during lunch and what should I wear and should I do my hair up or down and what if they don’t like me??? What if I say something stupid? What if graduate school turns out to be just like high school???
The Things You Can Do With An English Degree: …
So I just got off the phone with a very nice gentleman who works at the New York State Department of Labor. He was asking me about my MFA in Creative Writing program because I might be qualified for some kind of thing where I’m not required to search for a new job due to the fact that my “training” will allow me to get work upon completion…or something like that. I didn’t really understand.
He apologized for multi-tasking and said he was on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website trying to determine what fields require a Master’s in Creative Writing and he was coming up with nothing…except for technical writing which, as he described it to me, boils down to writing instruction manuals and stuff like that. I mentioned that, “If you can’t write, teach,” so he looked at teaching positions at the secondary level, but most of those you need a Doctorate for. I do know that I’ve had college professors who only had a Master’s, but he said he needed proof.
In the end I told him that there was probably someone else out there who would benefit more from whatever this thing is. This was after he told me that, “with many, many asterisks, the program, blah blah blah, sometimes the money runs out and we don’t even get a warning in our office, blah blah blah.” I really couldn’t follow it, but when I heard “sometimes the money runs out,” I took stock of my own situation and thought, “I can deal with this.” I know I’ll find a job—maybe that’s just me being cocky, but I’m not particularly worried. He thanked me for thinking of my fellow citizen and said he would do what he could from his end to see if I qualified for…extended benefits? I think? And then he wished me luck with my studies.
I took away two things from this conversation: 1) There are some really amazing, well-meaning people who care working in government. 2) There are no jobs for people with English degrees. Which has always been the joke.
“What are you going to school for?”
“My Master’s in Writing so I can be a waitress for the rest of my life.”
This morning I was driving to meet my friend Anna for breakfast. I was on the highway and this gold sedan, some model from the late 90s, blew past me. Three girls in the back seat, two boys up front. The girls held their hands out the windows and I watched the one sitting in the middle run her fingers through her hair.
I felt a sudden urge to follow them, to go with them wherever it was they were going. They reminded me of me as I used to be and their car tugged and pulled me along.
But they were driving too fast and I am a responsible adult now so I didn’t try to keep up. I wanted to, but I didn’t. I think some things are better left as memories—if you attempt to recreate them in the present you just end up with a sad copy of something that used to be beautiful.
We went to Boston yesterday and I did not take any pictures. Well, my mom took one of me standing on the bridge in the public gardens with a swan boat in the background.
I know that I’ve been on a swan boat before, when I was very young, and I feel like I can remember the smooth wooden seats and the red trim. The island is still there in the middle of the pond—filled with ducks and Japanese bushes, the kind with the slender, reddish pointy leaves, and a ramp that leads into the water so the ducks and swans have an easier time hoisting themselves onto land.
But then I begin to question: do I actually remember or do I know about all this stuff from looking at old pictures? What is memory and what have I seen in photos and come to believe is memory? So I didn’t take any pictures yesterday, instead preferring to simply walk and talk with my mom through the Commons and the garden, down Newbury street towards Copley and back up again along the middle of Commonwealth—this wide street that is divided down the center by a large grass strip bordered by trees and containing statue after statue of dead white people, some of them women for which, I suppose, I should be grateful.
We ate a late lunch in a sushi place on the second floor above some shops on Newbury Street and our table was right in the window on a little ledge and we could see all the tourists coming and going and an old, squat woman sat at a folding table covered with a scarf and tarot cards and crystals and she would entreat the young women—only the young women—to have their fortunes told. By the time we left the restaurant, she had gone.
I took my mom to Pinkberry for the first time, which is really not much of a milestone. In any case, she liked it. Then back across the Commons and into those streets around Downtown Crossing where we killed time until the thick of rush hour was over by looking at shoes and bags in DSW, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx. We didn’t buy anything—just looked. Which is the point, for me. I get sweaty when I think about spending money and I didn’t want to get anxious. The sale racks in the Macy’s shoe department were tumbled with stray footwear all mixed together like a colorful artistic commentary on the emptiness of materialism. Maybe. That’s what I thought while I waited for my mom to pick out socks one department over.
I read some article about memory and how we don’t remember most of our lives—you know, like the day to day stuff that includes brushing our teeth and checking the mail. And I was trying really hard yesterday to make the memory stick—to make it more than just a casual afternoon stroll through Boston with my mom. But then we went home and got into our pajamas and made a bowl of popcorn and watched an awful episode of CSI and went to bed and I think maybe it’s okay if it becomes lost like all the times I waited at a red light or stood in line at the grocery store because something about the non-specialness of it is what makes it so sweet.
If I Become A Juggalette, Can I Still Be Buried In A Jewish Cemetery?
The longer I don’t write the harder it is to know what to say.
I lost my job and along with it some of the structure of my life. Five days a week I would wake up, have coffee, and write. I could still do that, totally, completely. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t do that…but now I have all day. All day to get it done and so I put it off and put it off and then I don’t do it at all.
So I went home again. I spent the weekend in New York City helping my sister paint her new studio apartment in Harlem. From 7 AM to midnight with some breaks in between for trips to Home Depot and the Rastafarian juice bar/restaurant a few blocks away.
“Well, I can’t really write—I don’t have time,” I said to myself.
Yesterday I drove home to my parents’ and my friend Hilary came over for dinner. “I still don’t have time,” I thought. How convenient.
Today I woke up to an entire day of wide open time. I have done zero writing. I mean, yes, I wrote this but this entire thing is about how I don’t know what to write about. How meta.
Instead of doing what I should have done, I…
1. Organized all the apps on my phone into pragmatic categories.
2. Updated my calendar for the entire rest of the year—birthdays of people I haven’t seen since elementary school, anniversaries of totally random things like the first time I saw Star Wars. It’s important to keep a record of this shit.
3. Figured out how to pay for the fall semester of graduate school when I will attempt to get my MFA in Creative Writing and presumably spend some more time thinking about writing but not actually doing it, as well.
4. Clicked through hundred of photos from the Gathering of the Juggalos on the Village Voice’s website. Obsessed.
5. Seriously considered “Juggalette” as a legit career move.
I did just get back from walking the dog, which is good because it means I went out into the fresh-air and partial sunshine. See how boring this is? “I walked the dog,” I said to my mom. “She didn’t poop.” This is my life now.
I also feel this pressure to write about something—anything—because I don’t want you guys to get bored and stop caring about me, even though I’m no longer a waitress and really the only thing I could criticize is people’s behavior I observe in the real world, not some guy being an asshole to me at work. But I kinda lost some steam and basically: everyone sucks and that is the entirety of my opinion about most people summed up in two words.
But not you guys—you guys are great. Hang in there—I’ll come back from this. School starts soon, Leah and I move into our own place, and (hopefully) I get another waitressing gig when all the seasonal workers return from whence they came.
In the meantime, I’m going to watch “Miracles” on repeat until my mind goes numb.
Things To Do When You Don’t Have A Job:
2. Laugh because life is a cruel joke.
3. Accept that you’re a lady of leisure and let out your inner socialite: attend fabulous events, drink buckets of white wine, channel a Real Housewife. (Do not flip a table.)
Obviously I chose #3. On Saturday Leah and I went to a Pop-Up jewelry sail on a yacht at Montauk Yacht Club. The jewelry company is called Adornia and their whole thing is, “Women should adorn themselves/always be adorned.” No argument there…I guess?
The women, Mo and Bex, were so, so kind and practically thrust glasses of Chandon into our hands, urging us to look at the displays, to ask any questions, to sit and relax.
We got there a little after one o’clock when the weather was pretty shitty and the ladies were absolutely trying so hard to make the best of it. In fact, the whole thing was perfectly manicured and curated, down to the matching floral print bikinis the models sported.
Leah and I sipped our champagne and murmured faintly over the rings and bracelets and earrings. I liked a lot of it, but the price tag, not so much.
We talked to the woman who owned the boat with her husband. She said they sailed all the way from Maine down to the Virgin Islands, and made their living by renting the boat out for events like this one. They had a cute little dog she said was a stray they’d found as a puppy on St. John and I thought what a life that must be—never tied down to one place in particular, kind of just going—literally—where the wind takes you.
But back to the jewelry. I felt like a fraud so I decided I had better interview Mo and Bex about the concept and when/why they had decided to launch a jewelry company. Turns out they both just graduated from Wharton with MBA’s, which, I don’t know how much that means in this economy, but still it sounds impressive.
Bex explained to me, “Everyone has ten fingers, why not wear ten rings?” I hadn’t really thought about it like that before.
"I heard," I said, "that before you leave the house you’re supposed to take off one piece of jewelry or one accessory."
Bex shook her head in denial. “I’m exactly the opposite: I put on one more piece.”
Leah and I wished them well and said goodbye. We’d been there a little over half an hour. “Let’s get lunch?” suggested Leah.
So we headed over to Inlet and ate sushi and watched the boats coming and going on the channel and by the time we left the sun was out.
Yesterday I attended a luncheon/charity event. It was held at some mansion somewhere. The grounds were extensive enough that I didn’t actually see the main house, but the fields and trees and breeze and everything else was enough for me. To whit:
Don’t ask me how I get invited to these things.
The invitation said “dressy casual,” and outfits ran the gamut from sneakers and teeshirt (James Lipton) to fancy shmancy, like this lady in the floral maxi.
James Lipton was there because a) he has a house out here, b) he probably donates money to the cause, and c) one of the auction items was two tickets to Inside The Actor’s Studio and he sold the hell out of it by saying that whoever won the tickets could choose whichever show they wanted to attend and that Jake Gyllenhaal would be the guest on August 20th. Be still my heart.
We sat at numbered tables, and the older couple next to me started asking me where I had gone to school, what I did out here, what I hoped to do. They live in compound on the corner of Ocean Ave and Lily Pond Lane and have eleven grand children. I can’t even imagine. They were delighted when I told them I hoped to be a writer—I don’t know why since there’s no dearth of bloggers, columnists, novelists, whatever-ists out there.
And we listened to speeches, which I guess is a fair trade off for a free lunch (well, it was free for me, anyway).
The gist of it was that we should “pat ourselves on the back” for being here and contributing to the cause, the cause which is so important because “otherwise people would buy up all the land” and develop it (ie: build mansions); “lakes are ephemeral” (what that has to do with anything, I’m not sure, but, word); there was a shout out to the Native Americans who were here first (and this was in the context of one of the speakers explaining that his family went back 12 generations on this land, and then kind of realizing that, well, at some point his family probably took the land from people who were already living off of it—yay white people!); at one point the speaker said “web of life” and I imagined him holding Simba up to the gathered animals of the Serengeti; this woman was honored for something—it was a little unclear to me—and in her speech she talked about why she enjoyed coming out here and she said, “God forbid I should miss the ripening of the peaches,” and damn, that about sums it up.
Then we ate our locally sourced (I’m assuming) salads.
And then I went home, half-falling asleep in the back of the car, slightly buzzed on the aforementioned buckets of white wine, filled with half-decent catered food, and tired from all the talking, talking, talking.
I’m a ‘yeah, but..’ kind of person.
"Conservation is really important. Charity events like that raise money and awareness."
"Yeah, but…why does it need to be an ‘event’? Why do people need to have the cocktail hour, the tents, the food, the ridiculously expensive luxury auction items? Why do they need to get dressed up and feel glamorous and fabulous? Why do they need someone telling them to pat themselves on the back just for donating money to a cause that shouldn’t need to drum up support in the first place—it should already be supported? Similar to the jewelry pop-up sale, the charity event was selling an image that the people who come out to the Hamptons are eager to buy: one of opulence and wealth, of social elitism, of exclusivity. The invitation to the yacht said to RSVP, but there was no list, there was no one taking names. Yeah, okay, maybe to get a head count, but it was clear that anyone could just come on down. But the illusion needed to be there—the illusion that you’re welcome here but others aren’t. Hence the crazy expensive tickets to the charity luncheon, the women manning a table where we needed to ‘check-in.’ I just find the whole thing so unnecessary and so depressing that this is what has to get done in order for people to keep donating to a cause—the donors need recognition on a grand scale like this, they need to feel good about themselves in a public way. And in a similar sense, the jewelry sale was this perfectly manicured experience of an image these women were attempting to sell: ‘Buy our necklaces and you, too, will suddenly belong on a fancy yacht and have access to the VIP Hamptons experience.’ But what I find to be the saddest thing, is that so many people are eager to buy that image, to buy into that experience. That is what they hope to attain when they come out here during the summer: luxury, wealth, ease, the feeling of having the world at their beck and call. At the end of the day, it’s such an empty thing to hunger for, but there it is."
So yeah, that was my weekend.
I didn’t write about my trip to Vermont because of all that had been going on—I was getting off the ferry at Bridgeport, CT when I got the call I had been discovered.
In a way, the distance made it easier. There was nothing I could do but wait for my phone to light up with a text or a call and service is spotty where I’m from, so even then there was an electronic barrier between me and what was going on in the real world.
My friend, Hilary, has been teaching—well, she still is teaching—English in South Korea for the past four years. I’ve known her since I was 9 or 10 and pretty much every significant moment in high school happened with her or at her house, for me.
She picked me up at the ferry and we drove home together. The first thing we did when we got to our town was go for a swim in Sunset Lake, which is just beyond a little hill, so when you turn down the road to the lake the parked cars are obscured and every kid I have ever known who has grown up in my town plays the guessing game, “How many cars?” I guess six, she guessed four. There were eight. I won.
Hilary’s stepmother is a shepherdess, among other things, and that first night we had homemade lamb sausage from her own flock—sausage with fennel and cayenne and just so many flavors, the gaminess of the lamb.
They live on a farm in a house surrounded by pastures and gardens, and those ringed by acres of woods. No neighbors in sight. Nothing but the breeze through the tall grass, the crickets and cicadas and birds.
I forgot how quiet it can be. Anywhere I got in the Hamptons there is the rush of traffic, the hum of a leafblower or lawnmower. At Hilary’s, the only sound of civilization at night was the faint, nearly indiscernible electronic hum of the house, and that was mostly overwhelmed by the wind in the trees.
I miss the quiet, I miss the peace. Hilary and I ate lunch at a pub in the center of town—this was on Tuesday—and there was hardly any traffic, no one being loud, no large groups of people taking up the sidewalk. For the first time I think I really understood how heartbreaking it must be for the people who’ve lived in the Hamptons long enough to see it change from small, coastal farming villages in to the behemoth of traffic and people it is today. I would be devastated if that happened to the place where I grew up.
Our waitress at the pub talked to us a little—turns out it was her third day on the job she’d been a freshman the year Hilary and I graduated high school, and she’s had a bunch of mean tables earlier in the day. She knew my best friend’s little sister. We tipped her $10 on $35.
And at Sunset Lake, as Hilary and I were drying off, these two boys who couldn’t have been more than 13, came down to the water. They had on beat up work boots, cut-off jean shorts covered in dust, and teeshirts with the sleeves ripped off. They threw down their hats and we could see their buzz cuts. One of them was chewing a piece of grass and Hilary and I just looked at each other, recognizing that these boys were the same as the boys we had known, the boys we grew up with, the boys who gave us our first kisses and drove us through the woods in their trucks, going just a little bit faster than was safe.
The story so far:
Since I have some new followers, I’ll do a brief synopsis:
I graduated college in 2009 and moved to the Hamptons to live with my boyfriend, Billy (who I met in college), who grew up out here. I got a job as a waitress and had been more or less happily muddling along when it dawned on me that a blog might be a fun way to vent about all the crappy customers I have to deal with, and so The Hamptons Waitress became a thing. In the spring of this year I changed the format to make it more accessible to a wider audience. Because of that, a local newspaper got in touch with me about writing an anonymous column in a similar vein to my blog. Oh, and also Billy dumped me in the beginning of the summer—I think he might have been cheating on me, but it’s unconfirmed—and I moved in to my friend Leah’s parent’s pool house and she had an abortion and I maybe made out with her brother Silas and a bunch of other stuff.
I said yes to the newspaper, fully understanding that if I were ever found out I would be fired, which is what happened two days ago.
I did my best to keep the blog and the column separate, but now the cat’s more or less out of the bag and I figure some of you might be interested in reading my articles…maybe? They’re called Tales of a Hamptons Waitress.
Rebecca deWinter is a character from the book Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Rebecca is shallow, deceitful, vain, and cold. A really awful human being, which is why I thought she would make a good nomme de plume. I’m sure there are some similarities, but I comfort myself by thinking we are mostly very different from one another.
Oh, and Eloise is also a false name, and I write this blog and the articles without mentioning the restaurant where I work or any identifying physical information or menu items. So, you can guess all you want but I’ll never tell.
In the fall I’m going to grad school just a short drive from where I live. Leah and I are going to move into an apartment together and, in theory, I’ll get another job as a waitress and continue to write about my experiences…or maybe I’ll write a book. Whichever happens first.
To Anonymous: Thanks for the tip!