“I totally hooked you up,” said our server, beaming at us as she piled extra grapes on our fruit et fromage plate. Then she leaned in closer and proclaimed, “I’m sleeping with the Mexican in the kitchen!”
My boyfriend and I made eye contact across the table. “Good for you!” he told her, enthusiastically.
The waitress squatted down beside our table and lowered her voice a bit. “I can’t tell anybody that works here, so I am telling all my customers!” she gushed, her eyes twinkling. “I think I’m having a midlife crisis or something. I mean, he is only 27 and I just turned 40 and, ha! He’s like five feet three and I’m almost six feet tall! But, it’s wonderful! We hang out every Tuesday night, and he is teaching me Spanish.”
While we sampled the cheese plate and sipped our wine, Kelly the Waitress proceeded to tell us about her fling with “the Mexican in the kitchen.” Apparently, she had a very successful 15-year career as a legal professional, and recently decided to “take a break” from that to experience life. She took the job as a server at a very laid-back, casual restaurant and was now living life to the fullest while contemplating her next career move.
She had flowing, strawberry blonde hair that was loosely pulled away from her face and adorned with yellow daisies. I could not even picture her all dressed up in a suit standing before a courtroom. She exuded a carefree, hippie attitude. It was contagious.
“My friends all tell me I should work in an upscale, fine dining restaurant so I could make more money,” Kelly was saying. “But I sweat too much for that! Besides, I like it here. And we just hired an Italian in the kitchen, so now I can learn to speak Italian, too!” She laughed and then asked us, “The Mexican is only like five-three. How short do you think the Italian will be?!”
Over the course of the evening, I found it ironic that Kelly was on a break from her lucrative career as a lawyer, and seemed to be loving her life. I, on the other hand, had given up full-time work in corporate America years ago, to pursue my dream of being a self-employed graphic designer and writer. Now in my early 40s, I was thinking it might be a good idea to enter back into that corporate world, if only for the steady income and insurance benefits.
“I bet she is a Cancer or an Aquarius,” I told my boyfriend. “She’s so flowy! She has to be a water sign.”
Kelly came back to our table a few minutes later and I posed the question to her. To my boyfriend’s amazement, she was indeed a Cancer, just like me. I was not surprised by this, but I was totally blown away when she told me that her birthday was the exact same day as mine! We were just a couple years apart to the day, living on opposite sides of our career paths. She is nearly six feet tall; I am just five feet. My midlife crisis is the thought of going back to work full-time; hers is waitressing and learning Spanish from a much younger (much shorter) Mexican sous-chef.
After a couple glasses of wine, and an empty fruit et fromage plate, we said goodbye. Kelly asked us to come back and see her soon so she could give us the latest update on her life. “You guys were so much fun!” she told us. “All my customers should be like you!”
Maybe, when you find happiness in your own life – whether it means taking time off from your career, finding pleasure in your freelance work, or sleeping with the Mexican in the kitchen – everything really is that much more fun.