Recently I was asked by a friend from New York about, what appeared to her to be the class separation in the restaurant in which I was working. “You know, someone takes your plate, and then another person takes your order..” she said referring to the Mexican back servers, runners, and bussers. Almost immediately I assured her that it was not what it looked like for the most part. I have seen circumstances where profiling has occurred, but it occurs for several reasons in any industry where the visual is particular to the product. Waiters are expected to look clean, behave in a kind and understanding way. They are ambassadors to the product, they are part of it.
I thought today, as I watched some food get sent back for an extremely unconscious and wasteful reason, I reflected on the DNA of the restaurant, as well as the city of Los Angeles. As I spoke with the chef before bringing back the plates to the dishwasher, I came around the corner to see that my back server had already taken the side plates away, and was in the process of replacing them with new silverware and plates for sharing. Moments like these remind me of the people whom are our backbones.
They help us walk when hurt ourselves, or when time robs us of our strength. They raise and care for our children while we live our other lives. They are the rarest to behold downtrodden amidst the city streets poor and destitute, they would rather work themselves to death than give up. They would rather sleep in an apartment with 14 other people and dig for bottles than accept help from the government. They are the solid stilts of our tarnished dream, and without them our red white and blue clown makeup smears off, dripping from our faces in the soft summer rains.
We have given up on work in the country. There will not be any Putting American’s Back to Work. The revolution was decades ago, it wasn’t televised because we weren’t paying attention. Instead we were watching reality television, living someone else’s life. While our children rank 48th in education and continue to fall. My generation would rather move back home, teach yoga, or go back to school for a degree to validate their woes and vocational dissatisfaction. They won’t move to any city, drop everything to take any job available, or work the graveyard shift.
The generation that could turn this around is aging fast. My generation is the first to see the passage of the sun into the horizon. We are the dusk of humanity; we are the children of twilight.