Driving along the wine country road, she allowed herself to be completely absorbed with the music blasting through the car speakers. Today it was the melodies of Of Monsters and Men that briefly uplifted her spirit as she proceeded towards the source of what was testing her optimism in life. Her views during the drive are nothing but picturesque – rolling hills defined within a clear cut valley, row after row of grape vines with their leaves glowing in Fall colors, and elaborately crafted wineries with beautiful people and beautiful cars pulled into their driveways. This is what people traveled across the country to enjoy, and she got to drive through this scene of wealth and beauty every single day. Yet, as she approached her destination, buried in the heart of the most beautiful and secluded area of Napa Valley, she could feel the weight of something crushing her slowly.
This is what she had been working towards for the past four years, yet she could feel in her bones that it was not where she was truly supposed to be. She had graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality, and networked thoroughly to land this job at one of the best resorts in the world, located in her childhood backyard. She had been surrounded by an excess of wealth growing up in this area, not due to her family, but due to the geographically convenient friends she made at school. She knew many a teenager that crashed their new BMW in an act of simple stupidity, and Mommy and Daddy Moneybanks would just buy them a new one and deliver it with only the slightest of scolding. It was clearly not the child’s fault that they had no sense of reality and consequences in life, as their parents lived under the same delusion in their fortresses of wealth that protects them from experiencing the trials of the layman’s life. She did not live in the same fortress however, and had returned to her hometown not to waste her life away leisurely sipping on world-class wine, but to instead serve the beautiful, wealthy people who could afford to sip their lives away. This was a brilliant career path move for her – working for one of the best resorts in the world, in the heart of one of the most beautiful locations in the world, at a pay that is applauded in the hotel industry. She had landed the retirement job that others had spent their whole lives working for, the job that paid you relatively well for your servant status and allowed you to partake in the finer things that your guests enjoyed at a price. It was a position that was envied by her friends and peers for its obvious perks – free wine, free hotel rooms, free fine dining, however it was missing what she really needed – a free spirit.
She dreaded the dictated ways to act and speak that she would naturally fall into at the hotel where she worked, her fake smile, oddly high-pitched pace of speech, and upbeat manner that the guests and her boss had come to expect. She put on a show of submission every day and executed it with a natural finesse. She could feel her confidence and disregard for approval from others, being crushed under the wheels of her car as she progressed towards her destination. Taking another drag from the spliff precariously perched between her fingers, she exhaled and allowed herself to get lost further in the soft, comforting melodies of music. It was as if she was trying to absorb the spirit and emotion in the music, and hold it with her throughout her shift when she was left devoid of any spirit. If she allowed herself to, she could almost pretend that she was driving along the beautiful, winding country road to go visit a winery herself and sip on champagne in the garden. It wasn’t until she had to make her final turn, and pulled into the pristine parking lot, that the reality of her next nine hours surfaced and the mystifying dream of living the life of her guests was washed away with the clarity that the show must go on. She covered the scent of weed and disappointment on her with a spritz of perfume, tucked her emotions away into her purse, slapped on a face of makeup and enthusiasm, and with a deep breath of surrender, she stepped on to the servant’s stage.