Sunday, March 18

ADIOS WITH AN IRISH CAR BOMB

Last night was my first real shift at the Local Alehouse. I had a few days of training, and was feeling pretty comfortable with the way of things. It was going to be a big night; I had been told that St. Patricks day was a big deal for the Alehouse. All of the staff seemed pretty excited. A couple of days prior, one of my coworkers asked me if I had picked out my St. Patricks day shirt yet. I told them I had never celebrated the Irish "holiday", and therefore didn't know I needed some special shirt. They were actually surprised, but I didn't see why. Come now, do I look like someone who celebrates St. Patricks' Day?

The shift went well. The Alehouse was standing room only all night. Irish music blasted through the speakers while people dressed in kilts (isn't that Scottish attire?) chugged Guinness and other assorted green beers. At the peak of the night, a local band performed while people "danced" what I'm assuming was an Irish jig, but it really just looked like alot of drunken Flash dancing.

The only annoying thing about the night were the Irish Car Bombs. It's a shot of equal parts Irish whiskey and Bailey's, dropped into a half pint of Guinness, then chugged. Ugh. To me Guinness tastes like old, wet, mushed up tree bark; I am stupefied as to it's seeming popularity. These shots were on special for the night, and people were ordering them literally ten at a time. They are one of the more time consuming beverages to prepare; pulling the Guiness alone takes like half an hour. I kept wondering if these people really liked these Car Bombs, or if they were drinking them because they were called "Irish". I asked one guy who was on his ten-thousandth ICB of the night why the drink was so popular. He said it tasted just like chocolate cake. Yeah, I wasn't buying it. Chocolate cake is far too delicious to be in the same category as Guinness.

Halfway through the night, Sandra, the owner, approached me to see how I was handling things, and to tell me she thought I was doing a great job. In the few days I'd been there, Sandra as well as the other employees repeatedly told me how well I worked and how glad they were to have me. Sandra was pressing me to work full time for them, telling me I could have any schedule I wanted and that she really wanted me to make a full commitment to the Alehouse. I had been hesitant about making a full leap over and just quitting the Restarante y Cantina altogether, although I had been not exactly happy there for awhile. I thanked Sandra for her offer and asked for a few more days to think about it.

As the night wore on, however, the decision made itself. I was surrounded by people who appreciated me, staff and customers alike. I was working for a woman who gave us ownership of our positions and didn't breathe down our necks all of the time. I was making the money I deserved to make for as hard as I was working - plus some. I was apart of a cohesive team of people who enjoyed coming to work every day and supported each other. As I sat drinking my own green beer at the end of the shift, I asked myself 'What more did I need'? Nothing, I decided. I knew what I had to do.

It was only a little after one in the morning, so I headed to the Restarante y Cantina to talk to El Pechugon. He wrote the schedules every Sunday, so I thought it would be best to put in my two weeks' notice as soon as possible. I still felt a little nervous; what if I was making a mistake? Despite the drama, the Restarante had been home to me for a long time, and the main owner, Senora Octavia had held my hand through some very rough spots in my life. There was much that I would miss about the place.

I walked into the office and told El Pechugon that we needed to talk. Senora Octavia was sitting in the corner. I informed them of my decision to terminate my employment at the end of two weeks' time, but added that they could use me as much as was needed in the interim. All they did was stare at me. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity of uncomfortable silence, El Pechugon informed me that he needed me to stay late on my next shift and that was all. All? What did that mean, all, I asked. He told me it meant after the next day, my services would no longer be needed, that he already had people lining up to work there.

I was literally speechless. I could feel my eyes burning and I knew they would well up with tears at any moment. That was all? I nearly ran to my car, ignoring all the patrons standing outside, calling me. That was all? Senora Octavia had just sat there, never even spoke, nothing; after all the time I'd worked there. After everything I'd done, as hard as I'd worked, after all the shit I'd put up with...that was ALL?

I drove straight across the street to the Pub. I plowed through the St Patricks Day stragglers and up to the bar. I told the bartender what I wanted, and she paused before walking off, taking in the fact that I'd obviously just been crying. I didn't care. She came back in a few minutes and sat my drink down. I dropped the shot glass into the pint and chugged the whole thing.

That guy was right. It did taste just like chocolate cake.

Saturday, March 10

LATERAL MOVE


As you know, I've been trying entangle myself from the web that as known as the Restarante y Cantina. My plan was to move on up to a "real job" where the dress code was business casual and I could finally wear all of the cute high heeled shoes that are collecting dust in my closet. Alas, that was not to be. Last week, I saw an ad for a job at a restaurant I've been dying to work at, and I applied, never dreaming they would actually hire me. Well, they did, and now I work there. The Local Alehouse is located not far from my current job, but the difference in the clientele is like night and day. The drinks are great, the staff rocks, the food is delicious, and there is never a slow night. I've worked a couple of training shifts and am already in love with the place.

As much as I've bitched about the Restarante y Cantina, I'm not quite ready to leave it. Even though I'm ready to be free of the creepy hell that is El Pechugon (can a person "be" hell?), I'll be working a couple days a week for awhile. I'm a little afraid to just jump ship, in case this new dream job of mine turns out to be a nightmare on elm street. Somehow I just can't seem to shake the restaurant biz. Perhaps deep down I actually enjoy working in the industry.

Hmmm. I'll have to ponder that.
Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 4

I

I hate that I let others dictate my emotions.

I'm disgusted with myself for letting small pieces of information send me into an emotional tailspin.

I'm frustrated that I'm not yet where I want to be at this stage in my life.

I'm worried that I will never figure out what to do with myself, or that I'll never learn my true purpose.

I'm afraid that I will never change, no matter how hard I work. That I will always be quick to anger, and easy to fall into a depression.

I'm scared that I will never fulfill my dreams; that I'll never see every wonderous corner of the world or look true love in the eyes.

I guess most of all, I'm tired of being frustrated, worried, afraid and scared. Every night before I struggle to fall asleep, I beg God to make this go away. To let me wake up in the morning and know exactly what to do, and to finally not be fearful anymore.

I've been practicing that nightly ritual for the last twelve years. Maybe tonight, my prayer will finally be answered.

Sunday, February 25

LIFE

There are many people who just exist. They don't see each day as an opportunity, each moment as a another chance. They move through life below the surface, not noticing the beauty of the world around them. I have been one of those people. I worked hard, had a few friends, lived a "normal" life. But I was so empty inside. The only thing I ever felt was anger and a deep, deep sadness. When I began to acknowledge that void within, that unbearable loneliness, I decided to jump into life. The life I chose, however, only served to deepen that hole in my soul. I traveled a reckless road for a long time, telling myself that everything I was involved in was ok, because it made me feel better.

The last couple of years I have spent analyzing that gaping void. After I finally came to grips with why it was there, I knew I had to do something about it. But somehow that seemed like an overwhelming task. So after taking one step forward, I took two steps back, regressing into the life that provided an easy emotional fix. Doing something about my life seemed like hard work that I just wasn't up for.

A few months ago there came an event that forced my crazy roller coaster to a screeching halt. Since then, I try to remain aware of the world around me, to try and put myself in it. But unfortunately, the journey to fulfillment can be awfully lonely. The things I once did, the people I once surrounded myself are no longer apart of my life. The process of "finding oneself" isn't one that includes others.

I know in time I'll find new friends. I hope one day the sadness won't creep up on me unexpectedly anymore. It's getting better though, little by little. I find new things to love about life all the time, smiles are more frequent, and the vise that gripped my heart for twenty years has loosened. But I still haven't found my place in the scheme of things, and it's so confusing sometimes. At times I'm afraid I'll never find it.