Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Just saved 

From the clutches of earlymorning fluorescent lamp-lit office dronedom. After a couple of weeks of going through the auditioning process of open calls for new and established restaurants, decided that it was evident enough that perhaps the universe is telling me no more hospitality industry jobs, for now.

So. Having conjured up the requisite surpluses of enthusiasm and love (‘cause if ya can’t do it with love, why do it at all?), hooked up with a couple of recruiters and a couple of temp agencies. With six-odd years of officework behind me, even with this two-year hiatus since I up and left for India, I am fairly employable. By last Friday, was looking forward to embarking on whatever temp assignment would pay what I asked and see me through to Guruji’s visit to NY (for which I want to be free to be the yoga bum that I am), in just over a month, starting Monday. Even though I’d have to go back to rising at 4-something for practice and de-sweatifying before commuting, was looking forward to joining most of the world in having weekends off and evenings free, in not being physically tired a lot of the time and conserving energy just to get by a practice. Even if this meant sacrificing some favorite midday midweek activities, like pujas at Eddie’s and midmorning practice and teaching at Alison’s. And sucking up sunshine and walking in the park and knowing that the daylight hours are all mine.

Sunday afternoon, I get the call. The general manager for a new greek restaurant. Had applied back in December- by the time they gave me a callback, was already onboard at Josie’s West so they got the back burner; by the time I got around to re-contacting them, they’d had their fill of servers for that time. This time, was ready and, with a little prodding and monetary enticement, willing and happy to jump onboard as they set sail.

For the last nine days, I’ve been spending my days and evening at the new Greek restaurant in town, sandwiched between Times Square and Grand Central. For training, we are all on minimum wage—but at least they’re feeding us, and well! Like living my favorite reality show on my beloved Food Network, there is drama every day, but also lots of laughs and a mounting sense of excitement, as we approach the ever-receding horizon of actually opening to the public.

Thus far, we had a tasting for one of the critics of Iron Chef America, and two evenings of tastings for family and friends [of management, sorry guys!] in exchange for feedback. We had the executive chef quit, four days into her tenure. I had three of the servers ask me out, so persistent and overt in their flirtations I can only smile and shake my head. I am learning Proper French Service, with not a few Eliza Doolittlian moments in the proper choreography. Am also sharing the education of the crew on the greek dishes’ and wines’ derivations and pronounciations and descriptions with the other two greek servers. And very very close to throwing in the towel at Pastis and Protect a Bub.

For what feels like too long, have tried to fit my eggs in too many baskets. What happens with that, is you’re in danger of not being able to carry them all, anyway. Increasingly feel like I have to take the risk and put them in this one and see how far I can carry it. Like with most relationships, I can’t expect to Know from the get-go that this is going to be it. But it would sure be nice, to be a part of something. Help to build something. To soar, again, from the stability I’ve tended to, the freedom I've requested.

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