This was a hard day at work, but it’s a hard day in another, more profound way. In a somewhat unexpected way. These are the days that are going to be the hardest for me. Hard day at work and all I want to do is come home to a person who loves me, values and respects me, cares for me in ways that only another person can do.
I want to come home to a hot cup of coffee and a bubble bath and kisses and hugs and someone to talk to about my very hard day.
I’m fine alone most of the time, really. I’m certainly happier to come home than I have been for several years, when coming home meant that, even though there was someone here who claimed to love me, I wasn’t coming home to someone who was happy to see me. I never got met at the door with hugs and kisses, and the standard, “How was your day?” was laced with the undertone of, “God, I hope she doesn’t talk about it for hours…” Or I would barely get an acknowledgment at all because a very important video game thing was going on. I often came home from work and wouldn’t be spoken to for an hour.
I feel like no one has ever wanted to hear what I have to say. I always felt like I was somehow inflicting myself on them, like an annoying, buzzing fly. I’ve been told countless times that I talk too much or I talk too fast or I don’t stay on topic (just ignore the ADHD, no big deal). I’m a rambler. My brain processes information in a rambling manner, drifting from one thing to the next in no discernible order. Like some kind of fucked up word association game.
That’s why I have been a writer on and off for most of my life. I never felt like my thoughts and words had any value or held any interest for anyone. Looking back, I realize that it was no more than a self-fulfilling prophecy. I didn’t believe I had any value, so I essentially made myself unavailable to a broad range of human interaction. I allowed one person here and there to affect my own idea of self-worth to such extremes that I genuinely believed that I wasn’t worth getting to know, and so I didn’t actually try very hard to get to know anyone else.
I had a really hard day at work. (I don’t know if I’ve written about work… hm.)
I started my job the first week of October last year. There was this older guy who was the morning prep lead and trained me. They hired me so they could lay him off for the winter because he wanted to take the lay-off, but also because he was the highest paid in the kitchen (so I’ve heard). They got me for cheap, basically, and I was okay with that because, where I live, a winter job is a very, very rare thing.
Old dude trained me up (kind of, he wasn’t very good at a lot of stuff) and I took over prep when he got laid off around Thanksgiving. I also trained on pantry and the line and by January, I was basically running the whole thing for over half the day by myself. Prep, make any orders that come in (it’s so slooooow in the winter!), do all the things. Then chef asks me if I want to be morning prep lead in like… March… I don’t remember exactly. I’m like, “But what about other dude?” Chef says I’ll be working together with the guy when he came back but that he basically wanted me as the morning prep lead because I was way better at it that the other guy. So… babysitter for the old guy.
I think the whole thing was planned out because old guy came back and quit less than a month later. He couldn’t keep up with me, you could see the inadequacy all over his face. It was kinda sad but the guy was useless compared to me. Wouldn’t train on the line, wouldn’t help unless it was absolutely necessary, would leave prep undone and cut himself early… Too big for his britches, in my opinion.
Today, I had to jump on the line. Someone called off (because of course they did) and we were getting killed. So, I jump on the grill and start doing the thing. No one is communicating, saute is putting shit out way too soon, food is dying in the window because these guys aren’t speaking to each other. I kinda took over.
As a prep cook, I’m bubbly and happy and carefree. I love doing prep, working at my own pace (which is rapid as fuck), challenging myself. I love coming in every morning and seeing that nothing was 86’ed the night before. That means I did my job, I’m winning. When I get on the line, though, well. I’m serious as fuck, you know? There is a huuuuuge difference between prep me and chef me. (sidenote: I have a degree in hospitality administration and the culinary arts) Prep me is helpful and cheerful. Everyone loves her. Chef me is super serious and I feel kind of maybe a little cranky. Snappy. And I definitely got some dirty looks today.
Or maybe chef me is just confident and assertive? Hmmm.
I. Fucking. Killed. It.
That’s all that matters. I made food happen and people happy.