Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The way things go

I got the job. I am working the job after an expedited applying, fingerprinting, backgroundchecking carnival which means now five days in a row waking up at the crack of dawn. The disarray of multiple employment. It is only 10pm and I am totally exhausted. Can I quit the restaurant yet??

Probably not. First thing I went out and spent a paycheck on shoes.

I want to get this all down but I am so tired. It feels delicious.

Meanwhile the past continues to slip away. So many things...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

"The Public"

The restaurant (bar and grill?) where I work was recently featured on the front cover of a local magazine (please, lets not all go in and tell them about my crappymanager post). The management decided to carpe diem the publicity and up the profile of the bar. We had a staff meeting, a compliment sandwich and orders to dress in all black. The waitress pool was later assessed by sending in secret shoppers to evaluate and grade our service. Huzzah! Last week we received a 12 page typed report on the quality of the P------ experience.

We scored an overall 84%. The two consistent failures were not addressing customers by name and not inviting people to come back. Additionally there were rumblings over a slightly tardy 'satisfaction check' coming in once at three minutes, once at four minutes and once at (gasp) six minutes. Most egregious though, thanking them for coming in is not enough for A-list front cover-making scenes. Again and again the mystery guest reports "I was not invited to return."

No buddy, from the bottom of my heart, you weren't. And mind you, I will never, ever read someones name off their credit card (the shoppers suggested method of getting to know your customer) and I will never holler YA'LL COME ON BACK AND SEE ME SOMETIME as my customers walk out the door. Actually, if things work out I wont ever serve a table again and will just run around town leaving 30% tips like a secret shopper angel.

But in reality, while Clark thinks maybe I can quit cocktailing I know that two of my three jobs are going to dry up mid-June (can I say that?) and the only place I will be in demand will be for to serve nachos and Guinness as the tourists and Gresham yay-hoos roll in on the Max for the waterfront festival season.

I wonder how much this report cost. Some of the quality observations included:
-Beth promoted the happy hour menu with a suggestion that the quesadilla was good
-She made a check on satisfaction four minutes after service, "you doin' okay?"
-She missed an opportunity to address me by name (from the credit card)
-There was pop/rock music playing at a lively yet comfortable volume
-My beer had 1/6 remaining when Crystal asked me if I would like another. (No.)
-The jalapeƱo wrap sticks were pleasantly positioned around a ramekin of Panko sauce.

I shouldn't have gone to school when I coulda make a living just being a twit.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Five minute update

Tomorrow morning, earlyearly, I have a interview... because who wants to settle for two jobs when you can have three?! But the rains have moved in, and tonight my windshield wiper motor broke, grinds and grinds and does not wipe the rain. I rushed home between squalls and shone a flashlight on the wheezy thunking little motor, then touched it with my finger but it didn't seem to fix the problem. Unfortunately that is the extent of my mechanical aptitude, and a justifiable days work all the same.

Anyway, I will most likely have to ride the bus now, unless I can find my long-arm squeegee and some goggles. I can't go to bed any early then I am able, I don't like to get up any earlier then I have to. I am horribly sleep-disordered. The great dramatic crux of this story is that I might have to ride the bus, and that means I have to get up at least an hour earlier.

But don't cry for me. I hate driving anyway.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I have what might be the worst hangover of my life. The walls have a sort of shimmery effect and nothing looks familiar. This is not very fun, and I don't recall it was fun to begin with. Wow.

I am feeling so bad I can't even take responsibility for it. This certainly must be somebody's fault, this supersaturation. It is like having a superpower.

I am wearing clothes that are nonceremonial and I am going to get my car.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The earth wont hold still

Wow, the silence is deafening.

I am thinking about good and bad, or the perception of events as Good or as Bad. I recently read the terriblest of cliches in a new quote form "happiness writes with white ink" and while I get terrifically annoyed with that old saw, there is some truth in it. Who said it, I don't know.

Sometimes in my memory the earth slopes or sags under me like a comic drawing where in extreme moments the sky is black and the earth has broken into islands from which we shake fists and throw thunderbolts. But I know the earth wasn't quaking or the planets aligning in any moment I might pause to recall. Fer instance, I acutely remember that at my brothers wedding the earth tilted rather precariously to the south west but that the champagne toast did not spill over at all.

So much for the reliability of memory. Really, contrast is the only thing that stands out. The acreage between me and you like generations of fields grow, die, grow, die, clouds gather and disperse, a river carves a canyon, but we are like six inches apart from each other the whole time, and pissed off. That moment someone flicked a penny at me on the plaza stands out. Pausing to open the gate across a dirt road. One lunch hour during sixth grade. I have simply reacted to the wounding sting of these single moments. That is all it comes down to. A life shaped just like that.

There are no purely good moments in my life because they are at all times compromised by inevitability each time I exhale. Death and decay is in every single metabolizing cell. If all my business living were free of this divine dualism I might run and run and run without the sluff of my day, the exhaust fumes, time clocks, dehydration, sugar spike, foot fracture, sore ankle, the desire to quit and die softly on the couch. I still have bargains on the table in which certain instances permit me to smoke again, deeply into my lungs. Terminal illness, paralysis and prison. Those are my terms. But even yet I would imagine Hope because deep down I know I am only my worst moments.

I sometimes think in absurdist prose, like, if I had a million years in a vacuum to add numbers in my head I would eventually become intuitively sublime in my counting skills, would I not. How deeply could one become submerged in a discipline until they found only truth? What a meaningless thought. But it spans out meaningfully in suspended moments.

If I ran without the peripheral trauma of daily life I would become swift and unyeilding until eventually running was as easy as levitation and even later still I would start at the same place I was going to.

The Most Annoying Person In The World. For now.

I had to call in at the last minute today and request next Friday off. It's my birthday after all. I nearly forgot and the schedule comes out tomorrow. IS THAT ALL? the manager asked me. YES, THANKS. Our conversations are brief these days.

But NO! As soon as I hang up the mind reels. That is not all, there are numerous engagements... The Worst Day of The Year Ride, the Blazers game with Mama and Papa Coop and Katie The Newly Engaged, Buddhist temples, canoodling on Valentines day, laundry, overdue books. I have no tolerance for the service industry and its whims, its crappy bosses and thousand petty tyrannies. Everything is more important. SOMETHING TELLS ME IT IS TIME TO MOVE ON.

The manager is a self described 'lifer and professional foodie' though in my esteem a crappy one who stayed on while others went and lived bigger lives, one who eventually did foment for himself the inverse sourgrape identity of the one who wanted to stay.

This morning he asked me how my new interpreting job was going, asked a few well-intentioned questions and quickly, yet innocently unearthed an understanding that my field seemed to be one that wouldn't really require much education or training, in fact none at all if one put ones mind to it.

Last October, during the week before the marathon he struck up an affectionate conversation with me about endurance running, noting with fascination that he had recently read an article in the newspaper about how the marathon isn't the accomplishment it once was... SEEMS, he said, THAT THEY SAY THAT JUST ABOUT ANYONE CAN DO IT SO IT REALLY ISN'T VERY REMARKABLE. THAT IS WHAT THE ARTICLE SAID AT LEAST...

All that might be appropriate had I walked around with a race medal around my neck for a few weeks (WHAT, THIS OLD THING??) or if I steered every conversation invariably towards my innumerable and glorious victories, the extraordinary triumph that was my internship, the moving passion of my engagement, and the staggering force of my intellect. Which I don't. Not really. Much. Anyway, this is a man who, despite the exasperated fuming of everyone server in the restaurant, is driven to condescend as matter of pressing psychological need.

It isn't only the employees. The other day a customer was working on the crossword puzzle at the bar as he boinged into the room, and though isn't fair of me to poke fun of him because he walks on the balls of his feet - honestly, on top of everything it would annoy you too... and he grabbed the crossword out of her hands unbeckoned, filled in a few of the clues, threw the paper back down and said rather satisfied THERE, IT SHOULD BE A BIT EASIER FOR YOU NOW.

And then there was the time he tried to sized up Clark... and then there was the time... and that other time when... and every. single. day. he...

So. Lately I can hardly stand to be in the room with him without a triple dose of Rescue Remedy and the occasional shot of vodka. The horror is balanced out only by the five hours a week I have interpreting at the college. And yet, and yet... I have made not one single call about freelance work. Its like, the door is right there and I just wont go through it. What the 'ell is wrong with me?

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