A Waitress on the Convention Floor

by

09/01/2005

200 w 34th St. ny ny 10119

Neighborhood: Midtown

I expected to lose some dignity, I just didn’t expect to lose it on the convention floor.

The month of August the New York party business is in a coma–waitstaff and chefs either decamp to the Hamptons where there is plenty of work or vacation themselves. But last summer there were so many parties in town that the waitstaff could pick and choose. I was broke and the only one I turned down was the “W” Stands For Women party.

The night I cried on the convention floor, I had seen tears of joy from excited delegates– Dick Cheney was about to speak. Our kitchen was on Radio Row and every time I’d trundle another tray of cheeseburgers to the biggest contributors to the RNC, one million dollars plus, I’d hear my nightmares asking for another. They ate so much their stares didn’t linger on my cleavage until the tray was empty. But for every innocuous comment about the food (“good for New York”) there was the author of “It’s My Country, Too” who had never worked in his life but wanted to speak for everyone his age (my age) who had to, the red states blogger that asked where his desserts were after he grabbed my ass.

The chefs joked that he was just doing what they all wanted to do and I went back out with two trays precariously balanced and heavy. Pausing at the end of the row, I waited for the area to clear I listened as a delegate gave a radio interview. He wasn’t a local politician, he wasn’t anyone’s boss but the he was representing his home and spoke for people when he said that the issue that deserved the most attention was the greed of the gays. They wanted special privileges, he said, more than they needed and they wanted everyone else to pay for them. I dropped the trays on the dirty grey carpet and just cried. A service napkin, a coarse polyesther rag was the only thing I had to hide my tears but it was full of hamburger grease and only irritated my eyes. The delegate didn’t notice, though, nor did anyone but my boss, because they only saw the free food gone and the trays empty.

Breaking down the kitchen at the end of the night, I was approached by a couple print reporters asking how many of the staff were Democrats, what I got out of this. And I said, I have no problem taking their money. And on Friday, two dear friends are getting married so the RNC is, in effect, paying for my expenses for a same-sex wedding.

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