Since I worked at the Bistrot on New Year’s Eve, I’m reminded of the fact that one of the things that people find curious about me is that I continued to wait tables even when I was officially employed in an office job. I only stopped working in restaurants when Covid hit and the restaurant business shut down.
There are several answers that I give. The first one is simple – I won’t turn down extra money. The few dollars an hour I earn waiting tables happen to be a few dollars an hour I would not have had otherwise.
Then, there are the perks. Instead of spending money on food and drink, I work and get fed, and if I am lucky, I get a beer on the side.
Then, I also point out that I can’t be too proud about being a director of this and that but “embarrassed” to do certain work.
The reality is that the fancy title that I currently enjoy can easily go tomorrow, and if there’s anything a decade in the insolvency business has shown me, it’s the fact that it’s not that difficult to be kicked out of your livelihood.
So, it’s always good to be willing to take on manual work should you ever need to do it.
I’ve also tried my best to cross-pollinate my activities. I’ve met certain lawyers in the Bistrot and worked with them in my corporate job, and I’ve also made a point of entertaining people from my corporate existence at the Bistrot.
Given that I’ve spent my earliest years hustling and will likely spend the rest of my life hustling, I need to be in constant circulation.
These are my personal reasons for working in a restaurant, even at the age when one expects me not to. However, there is something greater for me. Working in a restaurant taught me the importance of “creating memories.”
I think of the day when a man was proposing to his lady at one table, and at another, you had a girl celebrating her hen night.
Now, I appreciate that we were only going to know the tables we served for the duration of the service. However, it dawned upon me that even in that brief moment when we were dealing with the two tables, we were playing a role in creating special memories for people.
Memories are what you’d call an important part of what makes us who we are. For me, that message was brought home during my last trip. I ended up in Covent Garden, and it became important for me to have a cider in the Punch & Judy.
The reason was this simple. I was brought to this pub 31 years ago when I was 18. The girl who brought me there was the first girl I was in love with.
My relationship never got off the ground, but that particular pub signified something important in my life.
I would often drink there when I was studying in London. I developed more memories of the place from every subsequent visit, but the memory of the place as being where I first fell in love with someone.
It made a good story for the pub I last visited – a 31-year absence from where I first fell in love—helped that my junior colleague and I ended up sitting with a couple who had just gotten together and wanted to travel (he was a PwC partner in London who had just left to set up his own thing, and she was a creative director at Diageo).
The first time i entered this pub was 31-years ago. The person who brought me here was the first girl i fell in-love with. Realationship never really started and I’ve not seen her since. Still, i make it a point of visiting to relive that special moment. Brought the Junior here and it was a great story to tell the pub staff and the couple we shared the table with
I think my relationship with Punch & Judy and I have become conscious of my role in creating memories. It affects the way I do things.
I often get walked over for being too nice, and I am getting a little sharper as I get older. However, I am always conscious of my role in creating memories for others.
I always ask myself how I want the people who come into my life to remember me, and I act accordingly.
At the end of the day, what you make or don’t make in terms of monetary gain will be history.
The only thing that remains are the memories.
A version of this article first appeared at beautifullyincoherent.blogspot.com