September 26, 2020

Photo Credit: Pexels, Lukas

LIFE BY THE GRILL ENTRY #1

Disclaimer: The following may contain content of an adult nature. If you are easily offended or under the age of 18, please exit now. This post is intended for adults only and includes sexual innuendos and profanity. Reader discretion is advised.

Hello, I am Sydney Jack, and I would like to welcome you to the life of Kennedy Macintosh. For all intents and purposes, I think it is important that you know, I am a writer and actress committed to authentic storytelling. Thus the character, Kennedy is a combination of myself and some brilliant women I’ve had the pleasure of encountering, and her experiences, a collection of our experiences. I really hope you laugh much and enjoy!

ENTER KENNEDY MACINTOSH—YOUNG, DUMB, AND DOING DUMBER ISH!

I work at a restaurant! Sound easy enough right? Well, it should be—but when you factor in the fact that I…

  1. Am a 22-year old black girl from the smallest town in America in the most redneck state in the south who is 2 years post graduation from one of the top Black Ivy League Colleges in the country, even though I admittedly still don’t know what a Black Ivy League is;
  2. Have found a way to get myself involved in some staff-cest which involves me having a sister-wife with whom I have a love/hate relationship with, and
  3. Am consistently trying to prove myself to myself which almost always turns into me trying to prove myself to my coworkers because I
  4. Aspire to be an entertainer of all things for a living…

Well sugars, that makes for a headache for me and pure entertainment for you, so enjoy this shit! 

To all of the 20-somethings out here in these streets trying to make it with both your life experience and gas tank on E, welcome to a day in the life of a mediocre, militantly black, female server working at a noticeably racist institution while chasing superstardom and her bag $$$. I’ll start by introducing the players!

  1. Kennedy Macintosh
  2. Anna the A-Hole
  3. Queen B
  4. Apple Emoji #2

PLAYER #1: ME aka KENNEDY MACINTOSH (That’s a very white, rich, and privileged sounding name. I am none of the above, but it’s nice to fantasize. Now would be a great time to tell you that I have never, not even once, wished to be white. This name was chosen purely for comedic purposes.) Moving forward!

Well, you already know a little about me. What I think is also important to know is that I have a preference for the wrong kind of men…you’ll understand later. Also, every shift, I get a little bit closer to slapping the dog shit out of a white woman, which brings me to player number two…

PLAYER #2: ANNA THE A-HOLE Anna is actually a man. He’s actually THEE man—he’s the BOSS. I despise him deeply and will almost always refer to him using a woman’s name because well, it’s funny to me. Anna’s probably racist. I have no reason to believe that except for the fact that every time she does something even the least bit a**hole-ish to a black employee, she says, “Well, I guess I’m racist now.” What I want to say is, “Yes! And fat…and not very attractive!” but I also want to keep my job…that I hate. Did I mention that I hate my job? I really hate my job. Sorry! To get back to the task at hand, allow me to introduce player number three.

PLAYER #3: QUEEN B There are actually two—a Spanish (white-looking) girl and a black girl. However, the Spanish girl poses no real threat to me and plays a very insignificant role in my day to day struggles at my job…that I hate. So this, ladies and gentlemen, is about the black Queen B. Queen B has been working here since the restaurant opened. She’s served, managed, and is currently serving again. She gets the best sections all the time, is never forced to do her sidewalk, pouts and argues to get her way, is cool with all of the cool managers, intimidates all of the not-cool (white) managers—both men and women—and is the leader of the black girl clique. If Queen B doesn’t mesh well with you, you definitely won’t get that invite to the Friday brunch. 

Now here’s where things get interesting. I’ve been involved in a cold-war of sorts with Queen B since I started working back at the restaurant. (I left for a bit. It doesn’t matter, though. I’m back now.) There’s a good chance that this is all in my head, but you know what they say about vibes folks. They don’t lie, and more often than not, I get a very competitive vibe from Queen B. She and I are both alpha females, leaders in our own right, and sometimes those energies don’t mesh well with one another. Sometimes, it feels like I’m working with a crazier, older, more insecure, attention-seeking version of me…and I’m the actress! 

The cherry on top is that Queen B and I are constantly in competition over the affections of Apple Emoji #2 who plays work husband to us both, which subsequently makes us sister-wives. I began calling Queen B my sister-wife, jokingly of course, to Apple Emoji #2. I haven’t said it to her face…YET. I’ve thought about it, but I’m sure it’s not the best way to keep the peace. I think it’s borderline delusional that I even think peace is still possible at this point. Ha! More to come folks…more to come!  

PLAYER #4: APPLE EMOJI #2 You’re probably wondering where the hell a name like Apple Emoji #2 came from. I’ll keep it short. In high school, my first boyfriend was a total douchebag. (I just laughed out loud because I’m black, and I said douchebag.) In all seriousness though, that’s the only word I can think of to describe his obnoxious, narcissistic, cheating ass! Yes folks, he cheated on my ass, with a woman who…you know what? That’s definitely a story for another day. Long story short, after all of our drama, I thought it would be fitting to save his number as the apple emoticon to represent “the ultimate temptation”—like an Adam and Eve kinda thing. Perhaps that’s giving him too much power, but I have to admit, I get a nice chuckle every 12 months when that apple emoji flashes across my screen. 

Now Apple Emoji #2 is probably exactly what you’re thinking, well kind of—attractive, charming, with a girlfriend that he lives with, no car and no real ambition. Okay, that was harsh, but where is your car, sir? What are your plans post restaurant-maintaining? Is there a plan outside of maintaining and merely surviving? I’m sure those questions just revealed a whole lot about me as well, but we’re not talking about me right now. Save your judgement! That’s currently my job. Back to Apple Emoji #2. Apple Emoji #2 was on my trail pretty much as soon as I walked through the door. I thought he was attractive, but at the time, I had this thing about dating coworkers. I didn’t! At that time, I only flirted. Believe me, I did lots of flirting, but there was never any number exchanging, and that kept the boundaries clear. Everything that happened at work stayed at work, simply because there was no other choice. About a month in, I caved and finally gave him my number. The conversations were…well mediocre, high-school-like, but at the time, I was also entertaining other men who’s conversations stimulated my intellect, so I treated the non-thought-provoking conversations with Apple Emoji #2 as just another “something to do.” I was feeling myself, but not necessarily because of the right things, if you know what I mean.

Well, here we are 7 months later, and I’ve given Apple Emoji #2 the cookies…the snickerdoodle, the chocolate chip, the sugar, and the Biscoff!! It’s amazing where non-stimulating conversation and a nice smile that’s not without a gap or 2, has gotten him. Did I mention that Apple Emoji #2 flirts with Queen B and I in front of one another? (Yes, we do the same thing to him, but I honestly don’t believe either of us would if he didn’t. It’s a woman thing.) Maybe I’ll give you guys the complete backstory later on, but for now what’s important is this. I slept with my coworker, and I had no intention of it being anything more than that and neither did he. Somewhere down the line, though, I realized that I am not the kind of woman who accepts good poporei and the other p-word as compensation for my time, care, intellect, and that other p-word. I must require more because I am more. So even though it was fun—yes y’all, I won’t lie and say that it wasn’t fun—it’s got to be done—finito—because there are more important, more life-altering things that I am working on. I may take one more ride on that pony though. Hey, I’m 22!! 

Now that you understand the players, try to understand this. At the end of the day, I am college educated, which means that I walk through the doors of the kitchen every morning thinking, “I have absolutely no business being here!” That sentiment only deepens as I carry out the tedious opening tasks which include, brewing coffee and tea, folding soup-plate napkins, filling the sauce and dressing containers, cutting lemons, portioning bacon OR candied pecans OR Oreos OR cranberries AND ANY. AND. EVERY. OTHER. FOOD. ITEM. THAT. MUST. BE. PORTIONED. PRE-OPEN! In case there was any confusion, yes, I am screaming!

THEN, I must sit through pre-shift where I listen to one of my managers talk about a bunch of stuff I care absolutely nothing about, like guest perception, some lady’s mean review on Yelp, the amazing job my coworker did on her mystery shop, and the 50-top that two of my white coworkers get to share during today’s shift because hey, they’re white, and therefore better at our jobs and more appealing to our mostly white clientele. I mean, hey, it’s logical. In case you breezed over the part about my white coworkers getting the better end of the stick when it comes to opportunities to make money (you know, the reason we’re all there), I’ll say it plainly…I work at one of thee most racists institutions as far as restaurants are concerned in my city. I mean, only two years ago, black girls weren’t even allowed to wear their natural hair, and that was 2018 y’all! 

And with all those grievances and all that drama, I stay! I literally choose to stay, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why! Maybe it’s fear. Maybe it’s comfortability. Maybe it’s both! I wake up in the morning, agonizing over the day I might have, the money I may or may not make, and all the personal reasons I need to make the money in the first place. I do yoga for about ten minutes because that’s about all I think my body can take, and then, I get ready for work, which, for me, means brushing my teeth, showering, applying a full face of makeup that emphasizes all of my blackest features (I’m clever with my militance), burning some sage and a blunt if it’s that kind of day, and listening to all the Jay-Z, 90’s Outkast, MC Lyte, and Meg the Stallion one 15-minute ride can handle.

Maybe it’s a sickness. Maybe I’m 22 and losing it! Maybe I’m 22, and I just want the best of both worlds like Hannah Montana (Side note: I really hated that show. I always thought it was a whiter, less funny version of That’s So Raven. Fight me! Now Miley Cyrus, that’s one white lady who has enjoyed all the perks of being a white woman, experimenting with blackness whenever she feels like it.) I’ve digressed! Anyhoo, I still hate my job, and I’m still working my shift tonight because I need $1,200 in 2 weeks…$750 for a black-female-empowering t-shirt line and $511 for the rent. See you next time!   

Sincerely,

22 and Going Through It

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