I moved to Nashville to go to Belmont University in order to be in the music industry. I took a job right before enrolling at a downtown bar/restaurant/music venue to help support myself through school. Fast forward almost 9 years, and I am still working at this same place part-time on nights and weekends in order to help support my Belmont student loan pay-off. I am no longer in the music industry as I took a job in corporate America working 8-5 for a bigger salary in order to pay off the loans I accumulated while at Belmont.
This bar/restaurant/music venue is a tourist place for sure; we do not have ‘regulars,' and for the most part, I seldom see any friends there that reside in Nashville. However, being the music venue that we are, we sometimes have up-and-coming country bands play for a spot to be a regular house band of ours. That being said, I was working last night and there were 4 different up-and-coming bands playing. It seemed like it was going to be a normal night in tourist town except that I kept seeing people I knew. They were all there to see their friends play in the various bands. A couple of them came up to me to say hello and to tell me they were there with so and so who is currently on stage. My conversations with them were quick given it was a busy night for me, but out of the 5 people I saw and conversed with, 2 of them made it a point to insinuate the word still in conversation with my employment there. They said it in the oh so southernly sweet, ‘bless your heart’ kind of way, but the insult was heard loud and clear.
I felt embarrassed and ashamed. There they were in their cute, bright colored spring clothes with their high heeled shoes hanging out with the band; there I was in my dark barbecue covered t-shirt looking like a sweaty mess sporting an old baggy apron stillworking as a server. Then my pride kicked in and I thought of how great it is to be 6 months away from a debt-freedom that a few of them may never experience. I know at least one of those ladies still have college loans and there is no telling what else the rest have financed along the way.
So yes, I am stilla server.