What do you do?
Where do you work and what is your title?
I have several jobs. I am a waitress at Thunder & Buttons, I teach the violin to a few amazing people and I am half of a duo musical project called The Hopeful Heroines!
What do you do there and/or what are you responsible for?
I serve food and aid in the general merriment of many a Westsider at Thunder & Buttons. As a violin teacher, I instruct beginner and intermediate violin players in the art of bow-holding, the zen of proper pitch assignment and the magic of music theory! With The Hopeful Heroines I am responsible for creating and conducting my part of our tiny orchestra with my trusty dusty loop pedal, my violin and my voice.
How long have you been doing this kind of work (total)? How long on the Westside?
I have been working in the service industry for 15 years and have been working at T&B's for about eight months. I have been playing the violin for about 20 years and have been playing out for about 3. My bandmate (Xanthe Alexis) and I love playing at The Loft and we have also played at Motif and of course Thunder & Buttons.
What do you like best about it (other than quitting time)?
I love waiting tables for the same reason I love playing music: the puzzle element. You seat someone here, get someone a drink there, run some food. Boom boom boom, you’re sticking the pieces together and before you know it you're driving home, some money in your pocket and you can take some satisfaction that you just facilitated a lot of things to happen within a couple of hours. With music you work out some lyrics, figure out a melody, practice it. Boom boom boom, you play it at a show (try not to mess it up too much in front of the nice people), and a couple of hours later you're driving home etc... Ultimately the latter takes longer but the end result feels the same: satisfaction that you just brought something together for other people to appreciate.
If you could change one thing (other than pay), what would it be?
The people I work with at T&B's are super nice, the food tastes great, and the locals and tourists that come in are pretty entertaining. If I was really pressed to find something that I wanted to change I would ask patrons to not come in when their blood sugar is so low that it is only until they have eaten that they are nice. As far as my musical side is concerned, I would love to have more students, but really, I am pretty satisfied.
What part of your work did your training/education never prepare you for?
The service industry is full of things that you can't prepare for. Its a constant flux of trying to find something to do and being inundated with people and information. I think that's one of the reasons why I have stayed in it for so long. Its almost like a big, real video game. Sometimes you sail through it like you were made for nothing else and sometimes you fall down into the weeds and just have to know that you get to start over on your next shift. Playing in front of people is pretty much the same. Most of the time all of the notes line up right, the timing is innate, you feel like you’re really creating something. Other times everything is off and you feel like an idiot. Nothing can prepare you for the embarrassment of failure or the shock of pulling something off that is really great, no matter what line of work you’re in.
What makes working on the Westside special?
I live downtown and though we have our own special kind of community, it's not as close-knit and completely definable as it is on the Westside. The Westside is defined by small things like this local paper or the bluegrassy vibe at Front Range. It's middle-to-upper-class, hardworking people who appreciate themselves so much that they would rather stay and support the businesses around them than go to Micky-D's. I also love that the older buildings have maintained dignity in a time when it's so easy to tear down the past. I guess what makes the Westside so special is that nice people live here, they have learned to find commonality amongst themselves in their environment, and they are willing to support each other in order to keep what they love.
“What do you do?” is a regular feature in the Westside Pioneer. If you know someone who has an interesting job on the Westside (but doesn’t live here), he/she might be a candidate for this column! If you know someone who might qualify, give us a call at 471-6776.