Though I had to leave all the glamour of Times Square and Midtown food service behind me for the flash of temporary receptionisting, I occasionally go back and wait tables when I need extra cash or manage a brunch or two when someone goes out of town. It seems like working extra days in an already work-heavy week would be not so fun, but in fact it is an awesome way to be the guest star that I’ve always wanted to be.
When I walk into my old restaurant, I feel like Addison Montgomery-Shepherd returning to Seattle Grace to help out with an emergency baby delivery. I always make sure my hair looks nice so that it can swish a little as the camera pans to me walking in looking beautiful. Everyone (kind of) stops what they’re doing and one person will ask excitedly, “What are you doing here?!” I smile, nonchalantly and reply that I’m there to work. NBD.
I take orders with a swift finesse I never possessed as a full-time employee. I can carry more wobbly drinks on a tray than I ever thought possible. My feet barely hurt. When you are the guest star, you always shine the brightest. Throughout the shift, I inevitably have heart-to-hearts with the other servers. The bartender will lean across the service bar to take my hand and say earnestly how good it is to see me. The guys in the kitchen tell my I’ve never looked more beautiful; “Que belleza!” Being back at the old restaurant is like putting on my skinny jeans right after a stomach virus: so comfortable and flattering, but I know with time they’ll start to pinch.
Incidentally, both Addison and I work with a guy named Alex who will inexorably say something insensitive. My Alex however, is not played by Justin Chambers and we will certainly never have romantic feelings for each other.
Some of my best friends still work at the restaurant, and as we work, (taking orders not delivering miracle babies), we reconnect. We have our special moments and I help them solve the problems of their lives in my own unique way. When they ask about my other job, I just smile and wryly say something about it being a long story and change the subject to something more focused on the story line at hand. (On Grey’s the audience obviously knows the story with Addison because they watch Private Practice. In my life, my new job is far too boring to burden any polite inquirers with an actual answer.)
At some point during the time I’m there, someone will tell me things just haven’t been the same without me, which allows me to smile and fake modesty, all the while feeling the smug satisfaction that I am irreplaceable.