I have always fantasized about coming into a great deal of money. I’m not talking about marrying a prince, or working super hard to earn all that cash. Those are separate fantasies. I’m talking about something dramatic and spontaneous, like winning the lottery, or inheriting a disgustingly large estate from a relative I didn’t know existed before his or her death (I really love my family; the thought of losing a known member really tarnishes the foundation of the fantasy).
I used to dwell on this fantasy especially hard when I was waiting tables. I have never wished to stop working and bettering myself. If I were to find myself in possession of a large fortune, I would probably live in the same apartment. I would give money to cherished causes. I would definitely devote myself to making theatre and taking classes when and wherever I could. It would be a financial vessel, designed to carry me to my dreams.
I also wouldn’t tell anyone. I’m not famous for my skills of assertion; often something will bother me for years before I can summon the gravitas to stick up for myself. It’s a super healthy way to live. I would want to keep something like that a secret until the best opportunity for the reveal presented itself.
In my years as a waitress, I have had customers blame me for ruining birthdays. I’ve had large men violently grab my arm in the middle of the restaurant to insist that their card be the method of payment. I have been groped by many different hands. I have met the scum of the earth, clad in business attire. And every time one of these amoebas with a black card assaulted my sense of decency, I returned to the same fantasy:
If I were to suddenly find myself in Scrooge McDuckville, I would bide my time. I would keep waiting tables, bravely and silently, maybe for months. I would wait until someone was really, really rude to me. And then I would use my financial good fortune as a teaching opportunity: I would look him or her in the eye and say, “I can never wait tables again. You are so awful, you have ruined my day and the days of everyone sitting here with you. I have to go.” And I would take off my apron and never return.*
In my head, that person goes on to never be mean to another server again and my amazing feat of passive aggression saves the day. In reality, they would probably receive a sincere apology from the restaurant accompanied by free dessert, but in that reality, I would be a millionaire, so I guess I wouldn’t care that much.
*After I reread this post, I realized my fantasy must have been inspired by the Frances Hodgson Burnett novel, A Little Princess. If I am ridiculous, at least I can blame some of it on great literature.