Draft 1

Not the teller anymore

By Tenzin Jamyang

2010 was an eventful year for me in many ways. It was my first and probably the only year when I got to live in the city, New York City that is, for the entire length of its span: Partying into the wee hours of the morning and blowing my money away as if I were the heir apparent of a kingdom. It was the year after I came of age, and felt if I was coming into myself more and more as the months passed by. I also started developing a strong affinity towards literature, and finally found an excuse to pursue institutional learning—an appellation not without a pejorative undertone—once again; in effect I was going to give college another chance. I had played with the idea sporadically and perfunctorily until one day, brimmed with frustration from taking everyone’s non-sense, as a server at a restaurant (Tokubie 86), I decided to sit down and forge a letter filled with such redemptive sentiments that would evoke the sympathy of even the cruelest debt-collector. And forge I did.

I know many of you go to restaurants and think about servers, or waiters as they are called in some parts of the world, as someone who fakes a smile, scribbles something on his pad, and then shows up only when it’s time to flex your wallet. But from my experience, I can attest to the physical and mental toughness that this profession demands. For some people it is a fun profession because they enjoy being of some service, but for those who are just not right for this, it is an everyday torture. I was a member of the latter group: a group which consisted of people who thought it was just a transitional gig before his big break; those who saw this profession as something beneath them; those who always changed the subject when obliged to respond to “what do you do for living?” in front of a bunch of successful former high-school acquaintances. If you love being a server, then any form of hard-work becomes fun. For me, however, it was a drag even when faking a smile; I felt as if I was selling myself when shouting “Arasi masei,” as required by the management to make patrons feel themselves at Japan. I remember thinking once, “if not for those generous scholarships, my parents would have probably made their worst investment to date.” Those months of serving tables were nothing— besides a poor excuse for making ends meet— but hours of stress, finding new bottoms for my self-esteem, and finding out everyone else doing things more interesting.

On December 22nd of that year, as usual, I was crawling my way to work and literally two blocks short of getting there was when I received an email from my college. It was a confirmation with details about my accommodation at Union College—the recipient of the aforementioned letter. I still remember being at the door of a Starbucks café and telling myself, “The hell with Tokubei, I am going to finish “Brave New World” today.” My euphoria only got amplified with each cup of coffee, and after justifying and putting an objective spin to this emotion, the happiness still felt like an absolute reality—an emotion strong enough to duel with the desolation of death. After several attempts from my colleagues to contact me and understand my absence, ask they did, but I did not tell. I was not the one obliged to tell any longer. Obama, on the other hand, was completely revoking “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that day.

 

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4 Responses to Draft 1

  1. Avatar of zk122596 zk122596 says:

    I think you use repetition very wisely, it makes the reader want to keep on reading, it emphasizes your thoughts.
    Frankly speaking, it was hard for me to read your draft because of your choice of very sophisticated words: “I also started developing a strong affinity towards literature, and finally found an excuse to pursue institutional learning—an appellation not without a pejorative undertone—once again;in effect I was going to give college another chance. I had played with the idea sporadically and perfunctorily until one day, brimmed with frustration from taking everyone’s non-sense, as a server at a restaurant (Tokubie 86), I decided to sit down and forge a letter filled with such redemptive sentiments that would evoke the sympathy of even the cruelest debt-collector.”(Tenzin) To me, this sentence is loaded with unnecessarily complicated words. I loved the part in Zinssers book when he speaks about the importance of simplicity. Thats what we all have to strive to do: be as simple as you can when writing, because it might distract you from the very essence of the story. Moreover, the last quoted sentence is very long and is full of 3-syllable-words, which makes it even harder to comprehend.
    I loved the second paragraph, I have been working as a waitress since I came to the States, so this grabbed my attention right away. And I am sure there are many readers who can relate to it, especially here in New York. I really enjoyed reading this paragraph.
    Again, when you spoke about your acceptance to college, I could totally see myself. I had the same emotions when I got my acceptance letter. I was very proud of myself too.
    I loved how you correlated events going on in America (Obama) by simply mentioning it in your last sentence. I was struggling with inserting this into my draft. Yours came naturally.

  2. Avatar of js105691 js105691 says:

    Hello Tenzin,

    I enjoyed your reading your story.

    However, some may struggle with processing your points because of your refined word selection. You may like to consider the third paragraph on page eight of from Zinsser. The suggestions are helpful on how not to lose a reader within your work.

    “I know many of you go to restaurants and think about servers, or waiters as they are called in some parts of the world, as someone who fakes a smile, scribbles something on his pad, and then shows up only when it’s time to flex your wallet. But from my experience, I can attest to the physical and mental toughness that this profession demands.”

    That surely made me smile. You could have played up a sub theme of “waiting.” For example, you “wait” on your customers, “waiting” to decided to go back to college, “waiting” on your acceptance letter and finally “waiting” on your co-workers to stop calling you.

    It would interesting to note early in the essay the major current event(s) at the time. .

    This like all your works thus far was interesting and eloquent within it’s delivery.

    Thanks,

    Jay

  3. Avatar of mp050585 mp050585 says:

    Tenzin,

    Your essay draft 1 was well written. The subject and world event chosen both caught my interest.

    Although your essay was well written, I was unfamiliar with some of the words chosen. At times, I believe simpler, more common words would have worked as well. When writing, although it is important to “care deeply about words…”, perhaps choose a unique word that expresses the thought most efficiently.

    “The race is not to the swift, but to the original.” However, in the next paragraph, Zissner continues on to write, make a habit of reading “what is being written today and what was written by earlier masters”. Most, if not all, “original” work is based on previous facts, studies, ideas, events, etc., etc., etc., Usually “original” refers to the manner in which one expresses a new idea or thought; perhaps the”style” of writing, painting, acting, etc.

    Also, I would have enjoyed reading about more anecdotes and “epiphanies” encountered, which were “more interesting”.

    Perhaps a future essay could talk more about Obama’s revoking the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” statement. What event caused this statement statement? Did he explain the statement further?

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    Michelle

  4. Comments and suggestions from you guys are duly noted. Thanks so much guys.

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