Here’s a sentence that I’ve said many times in my life, “I don’t know because I don’t work here.” Perhaps it’s my stern resting face with severe glasses combined with good posture and a confident carriage. I’m not sure, but whatever it is and wherever I am, people usually assume that I’m in charge and are forever asking me questions and where things are located.
I don’t really mind and try to help when at all possible, “Let me think, if I was paint thinner, where would I be?” Because even at the hardware store, I look like I’m steering the ship, and not many things make a girl feel sexier than looking like she knows her way around a claw hammer.
And so, I’m always having these sorts of conversations with strangers as I try and navigate my way in this world-
“No, I’m not the owner. Just here having dinner.”
“I don’t know if they’re hiring. You should ask the chick with the name tag.”
“Tell you what, if they let me make my own cocktail, it would be my pleasure to get you another one too.”
In my twenties, I was having dinner at a Bennigan’s in the same strip mall as a comedy club where I was working. Bennigan’s was a popular chain restaurant in the 1980s and 90s. They were decorated by someone who decided it would be better to paint everything kelly green and glue random crap on the walls, like old rugby cleats and rusty trombones, instead of having a design plan or choosing an accent color. It was America’s original casual dining concept and was fun. It felt kind of like eating in a storage unit with dirty shoes hanging next to your plate.
On my way to the restroom, I saw a group of people staring, and then a woman waved and motioned for me to come to their table. We made pleasantries for a minute as I waited for them to ask, “Aren’t you a comedian?” the woman instead asked if they could have their iced teas refilled. And I said, “sure, I’ll tell your server.”
Because again, it’s no big deal, but moving forward, please let the record show-
“I can’t validate parking.”
“I’m not your kid’s principal. And yes, I’m sure.”
“No clue where that book is located. Check the card catalog or Dewey Decimal System.”
And, “I’m probably not allowed in the kitchen, but I’m sure someone would be glad to bring you more bread.”
Once at a brunch buffet, a man got extremely annoyed and marched off in a huff when I couldn’t tell him if the gravy was gluten-free. He didn’t seem to believe that I wasn’t managing the line, but it worked out for the best because it looked like he’d had enough gravy in his lifetime. You’re very welcome, chubby guy’s arteries.
I also get accused quite often of being an undercover cop. And it’s a good thing I’m not because apparently, I would be terrible at it. More than once, I’ve been sitting in my car, minding my own business, when suddenly tap, tap, tap on the window. “You a cop?” Nope just listening to NPR.
One time before a show, I was taking a picture of my name on a comedy club marque when a man suddenly began walking towards me very aggressively and asked if I was a police officer and had just taken his picture.
“No, I’m a comic and took a picture of my name.” I said, pointing at the sign.
He then barked, “If you’re a cop, you have to tell me. If I ask, you have to tell. Those are the rules.”
Really? Those are the rules? “Look, mister, I was only educated in the Texas public school system, but I’m fairly certain there’s more involved in undercover work than just the honor system. And in fact, in Texas, pretty sure they just make it up as they go. So, walk away before I haul your dumb ass downtown.”
The job that I have that no one seems to believe that I have is stand-up comedy. I’ve heard this a million times. “Seriously? You don’t look like you’d be funny.”
So, guess I don’t look like I’m funny but do look like I’m in charge of gravy.