From the eyes of a fellow service industry worker

by Rachel Porter
photo by Aaron Raysor

A couple weekends ago I was hustling at work. Now, I’m trapped in my house from the misery that is known as the coronavirus…

It’s a Friday night at 9:00pm and my eyes flicker back and forth between my phone and the TV. The couch unwillingly became my cocoon as I sluggishly sprawl my body across it. The TV provides entertainment while my phone informs me of the never ending horrors of articles I read in regards to the coronavirus. 

I know I need both, but they don’t take away from the emptiness building up inside. A couple Friday nights ago I was standing by the front door at Howl at the Moon, a dueling pianos bar in Center City, greeting an array of customers. 

I’d clock in at 7:00pm, check out the Happy Hour list and reservation seating, and wait for an appropriate time to do cover charge. I do this every weekend for over a year straight. Working in service industry messed with my sleep schedule on the weekends but it kept me moving. My body would sync to the vibe the bar presented. Everywhere I’d turn I’d hear a symphony of sounds- glasses colliding for a cheers shout out, customers singing with the band, my co-workers attending to their jobs, and the outside commotion each time the front doors opened. These sounds symbolized the chaos and celebration that occurred on the weekends. 

It reminded me how essential bars are because of what they represent. For half of us, it’s our treat from the work week and for the other half it’s our time to grind. This quarantine feels like an ugly thunder storm at the beach that taints over the enjoyment one is supposed to have for the day. It’s disturbed and broken millions of us. I should be prepping for a huge crowd to come into the bar tonight. Instead, I grow uneasy and question when this storm will stop. When will we see the sun shining indicating it’s time for us to embrace that beautiful beach day?

I pray every night for the well-being of all us. I pray for a cure. I pray for the millions of unfortunate employees who had to read that email or be told in person they were laid off during this quarantine. 

While I sit here and ache in misery, I try to imagine the day my boss informs us we’re all able to reunite and get back up on our feet. 

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