29 June 2008

29June- running things...it ain't all gravy.

So here's the thing. For whatever valid reasons, and they were valid reasons, we've had to downsize an employee. This doesn't happen much here at Baan Sawan but we found it unavoidable and now here I am, at home: waiting on vegetables to roast, wild rice to cook, tuna to sear and red wine to cauterize the wounds.

We tend to concentrate on the person who's lost their job, as well we should. They've put themselves on the line and found themselves, for all intents and purposes, rejected. This is not an easy place to be.

Fact of the matter is, contrary to the opinions of the servers, I have a bit of a heart. This is not where I wanted to be either and these are the feelings I wanted to avoid. The other end of the rope isn't always the most comfortable place to be and the remnants of genuine emotion the last twelve years of restaurantin' has allowed me to keep are still challenged when bad news goes to good people.

But business is business. Otherwise we'd pay more than we can afford, we'd hire everyone we liked and we'd give away our food, wine, and time.

Responsibility is a bit of an odd thing. The more we have of it, sometimes the freer we become. Yet, in many ways, the more beholden we are to policy, to expectation, and to business. Within the construct of the restaurant I rose through the ranks. I began as a server with a personal, financial stake in the project. A share holder, if you will. Time passed until I took control of more responsibility partially because I was family but mostly because I was the only person who gave enough of a damn to do so. And that was because it's family. Gumption goes a long way and there came a point when I had enough of it to volunteer for more responsiblity.

So here I am, with beverages to decide upon, servers to hire and schedule fairly, deliveries on which to wait and put away, menus to print and collate, a dining room on which to keep an eye, and fires to put out. Much of the rest can be spread around but these are most of the things for which I'm responsible. This leaves me with two free hours before work (between 7.30am and 9.30am), two hours in the afternoon (2.30pm-4.30pm) and then whatever I'm left with after work (usually 11pm until I go to sleep around 12.30.)

My time to myself is so valuable. Cooking calms me. Reading. Practicing piano. Just being around Leigh is like an emotional salve. But she's out of town this weekend and my cooking is done.

I like a quiet evening when I don't have to leave someone in tears because I've had to downsize them. Yet here I am. Post just that.

All I can think of is the swollen and scratchy-eyed night that awaits the fallen, perhaps cursing us and/or themselves. Maybe they're unable to sleep, their minds buzzing with where they might apply next. Maybe, as their breath hitches, they wish they'd never met us and put themselves through the trials our unique brand of managing demanded.
I almost wanted to the response to me to be hostile. Hostility is an emotion I can handle. But the response was quiet. And hurt. And it left me with a pit in my stomach that aches when I remember the deed.

But I remind myself that nobody was ever foolish enough to say that this would be easy.

I don't know the name of this piece but it's by Vilhem Hammershoi.
I love the atmospheres he creates. Its loneliness, reality, and starkness appeal to me right now.

1 comment:

kodiak said...

You Can't Un-ring A Bell.


Main Entry:
fer·ma·ta Listen to the pronunciation of fermata
Italian, literally, stop, from fermare to stop, from Latin firmare to make firm
circa 1859

: a prolongation at the discretion of the performer of a musical note, chord, or rest beyond its given time value; also : the sign ·̑ denoting such a prolongation —called also hold