Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lovely Dishwashing

I worked two shifts dish-washing, busing tables, and taking to go orders at a restaurant this weekend. I haven't worked in a restaurant since 2004, and then it was only for two nights. Before that, I'd last done it when I was nineteen, way back in the nineties, a surly goth girl coming onto shifts in stained Beatles T-shirts and a leather jacket, smelling of clove cigarettes and complaining about my community college English teacher.

I noticed last night -- it sort of came as an "Oh, yeah, I remember how that works" -- that there is a special "kitchen time" in restaurants. At other jobs, you may get bored, you look at the clock, and time crawls by. The afternoon in a cubicle with nothing to do can seem endless to the unimaginative mind. Or you get a lot of work done, and bam! The day's over. Out for cosmos with the friends.

Kitchen time, though, is wholly different. In kitchen time, you bust your ass washing dishes, clearing tables, answering calls, refilling drinks, and then you look at the clock. You fell absolutely certain that an hour must have gone by since you last checked. How else had you managed to do all those things? But sadly, according the the clock which measures the pace of the world outside the kitchen, only fifteen minutes have gone by. Then you ask yourself how in the world can you survive this for the hours of your shift that still remain.

In those circumstances, you can kind of feel like the Flash, moving so fast that those around you seem to slow down. The world slows down. It's like being a super hero.

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