Big Plans for the Weekend?
By Nick Dothée
I hate holidays—all of them.
Memorial, Independence, and Labor days are apparently different for the majority of Americans. For me, a long holiday weekend simply means that I’ll be serving them their unlimited sangria so they can get blasted and have an extra day to recover. Most people are excited about summer and the amount of long, lazy weekends, but all I know is that I have to work.
As an actor, writer, sometimes model, but mostly singing waiter at a tourist trap in Times Square in New York City, holidays benefit me in only one way: cash. Still, that money comes at a price. And over the years, that price gets higher and higher as I serve people who live the life I wish was more like my own.
A few times a year, I prefer to pretend that I am one of the “real adults” with a 9-to-5 job that spends a holiday weekend boozing it up at brunch. Last year, in fact, my buddies and I made plans with a large group who would later have to work at our tourist trap. Since our server was not just sticking to unlimited mimosas, and was allowing the unlimited offer to include any of the alcohol behind the bar, I found a martini buddy within our circle of friends and went to town on some vodka at noon.
I knew somewhere in my vodka-soaked head that I was going to have to put a bowling shirt on soon and sing “Don’t Stop Believing,” but I wanted so desperately to pretend I was that three-day weekend person. Soon, I was drunk. Really drunk. My friends dragged me to work where I was quite able to serve tables' their Sunday brunch and booze. It took about two hours, however, before the cracks began to become more noticeable. I began taking drinks from the bar at work, drinks that belonged to paying customers. I ended up sobbing in the employee bathroom, while close friends tried to talk me off the ledge and clean up my mess, get me home, and take over my tables. All this was in the middle of a very busy holiday weekend dinner rush. I had decided that I didn’t want to be there and serve people. I wasn’t ready to stop pretending that I was that bruncher and had become Nick the Destroyer, desperate to stay on my self-destructive path. It didn't end pretty.
I suppose it shouldn’t be such a depressing question. I wish it wasn’t the case because it really puts a strain on online dating. On OKCupid, I'll get messages from guys with regular day jobs who inevitably ask: “Big plans for the weekend?” Delete. What? Would it be better if I replied with, “No! I’ll be serving you your hangover food because you partied all night at the Eagle and woke up naked with boys you didn’t even know or remember meeting in your Crate & Barrel bed with lube-stained Ralph Lauren sheets!”
I work my ass off on the weekends alongside actual “Broadway” performers, serving food during a “mega-mix” of Grease songs, while running around trying to remember which table needed extra ranch or mayo. It exhausts your body, your voice, but more importantly, your soul.
Forget alcohol-induced hangovers. These days, after a Saturday night shift, I need at an entire day of recovery. And since I usually work Sundays as well, this day of rest is usually Monday, when I should be auditioning or trying to figure out how to grow up and/or be a real adult.
So I guess my answer should be: “Yes. Yes, I do have big plans for the weekend." They're neither plans I'm proud of, nor particulary excited about. But, alas, they're mine. I plan on being miserable this coming three-day weekend—but hey, the next one will be huge.
Nick has been acting and singing on stage his whole life. He began writing his own pop music in 2008 and writing personal essays just this past year. Nick resides in NYC where he records his popular podcast Dirty 30 Something (available on iTunes).