VAMP/ fifth time’s a charm

Dear Feastlings,
Thirty years ago or more, I went to visit a friend in Santa Cruz. It was fabulous- it had mostly recovered from its earthquake damage, and I had the best cup of coffee I’d had to that date at a coffee shop in an old warehouse whose name eludes me, but which was so far ahead of its time that that cup of coffee still swells to fill my thoughts three decades later. I went to the Kumbwaa Jazz Center and saw Marcus Roberts play, and I even tolerated the roller coaster on the boardwalk, despite my distrust of people’s competence swaying me against any and all carnival rides. But the thing that comes back to my thoughts more often than Marcus Roberts, the perfect coffee or the white-knuckled surety of my impending demise on that roller coaster was a tiny classified ad on the back page of their weekly rag- the New Times? The Weekly? Something else I don’t remember?- that advertised an upcoming meeting of a group called VAMP: Victims of Astrologically Misaligned Planets.

It seems to me they met in the basement of the YMCA or some equivalent locale, and to this day, I, even as someone who sees himself as a victim more frequently than he’s entitled to, think of the people in that meeting and I roll my eyes. Way back into my head. Please.

The past year and a half have been rough, though- rough enough that I’m back to regarding myself as a victim, though in the spirit of fair play, I regard nearly everyone as a victim just now, with the possible exception of the guest who last Saturday asked me if I had “noticed a dip in business” during the pandemic. I can’t tell you the restraint it took to keep me from sinking my thumbs into his eyesockets or crushing his windpipe.

Anyhow, as I’m wont to do anymore, I offer you my case for reconsidering my status as a VAMP:
-my business skidded downhill for fourteen months to park itself deeply- DEEPLY- in the red;
-my friend here at Feast had their livelihood yanked out from under them as I pumped money from my savings into the restaurant again and again;
-the red tape for PPP loan forgiveness is a lampoon of itself;
-at home, the guy installing my washing machine (yes, I know- I’m lucky enough to be able to afford washing machine, but self-pity knows no irony) managed to snap the pipe off inside the wall, leaving me to run to Feast and borrow the shopvac to remove fifty-five gallons of water from my house, after which a plumber and a drywaller rescued me and billed me accordingly- I’m still waiting to hear from the company, which will remain nameless unless I’m sure they’ve wronged me, as to whether they’ll cover the damage.
-upon re-installing the machine yesterday, the same guy came out to fail to secure the hose that drains the machine, leaving me to shopvac another four or five gallons and endure a quivery PTSD moment.
-my PPP loan forgiveness application was rejected a fourth time, this time because they don’t recognize our accountant as a real payroll company despite her doing our payroll. Mind you, they didn’t mention anything about it during the first three rejections. Evidently they prefer to reject the application for one issue at a time, each of which requires a secure email that’s replied to two business days later, two time zones over, so when I write on a Wednesday at 4, they send a reply the following Monday.

Anyhow, I’m not usually one to pin all my woes on Mercury going retrograde, but after my bedroom filled with water a second time, it was hard to celebrate my good fortune at not having yet brought the ShopVac back to work. The classified ad made its way back into my thoughts, and I considered finding a YMCA basement in hopes of finding a meeting already in progress.

I’m shaking it off to the best of my ability, though, as the washing machine is, he said cautiously, working as a washing machine should now, and apart from a couple of burnt-out lightbulbs and a doorhandle on the walk-in cooler, things mechanical are mostly behaving here, but I just looked it up and Mercury’s retrograde is meant to last another week, plus there’s something that a couple of people around here would note, which is a thing called a shadow period, and it means that things will continue to be screwed up for a few days beyond that. If you’re curious, I found this:

Mercury Retrogrades 2021

And if you’re not curious, or regardless whether you’re curious or not, I suppose, here are some other things to examine, and with any luck, they’ll all go swimmingly. First, at least chronologically speaking, there’s this Saturday’s tasting, a collection of Spanish wines both red and white:

Feast, Fiesta y Fuego

Next, there’s Father’s Day, for which we’ll be making a few specials,

Treats for Dad

and then the Bonfires of San Juan, for which Saturday’s tasting is a harbinger.

Setting the world on fire

Hot on the heels of that is a delivery of food to six different apartment buildings, to both the residents and the people helping them out

Our next donation run(s): six very special apartment buildings.

and then it starts all over again with another wine tasting of chillable reds that has yet to be posted, but we’ll get to that soon enough. In the meantime, we’re still seating the restaurant indoors at dinnertime only, and even then the last seating is at 8:00 pm, until we have enough staff to offer you more. it was brought to my attention that I’ve made it sound as if an end to extra unemployment benefits is the only driving factor in restaurants’ (and other businesses’) difficulty in getting new staff to apply for work, and I’ll mention here that I’m acutely aware that there are many more other reasons for it as well- an exodus from the industry, child care issues, people cobbling together a living out of multiple jobs, of both the traditional and the gig varieties, and many more. So there’s that disclaimer, just in case you were hoping for one.

With that, I’m submitting my PPP forgiveness application for the fifth time and crossing what’s left of my fingers, as long I I don’t accidentally take them down to the nubs with all the nail-biting. Please do join us and participate in any of the above, or just come get a bite to eat. We’re still operating at limited capacity to make everyone feel safe, so a reservation is a really good idea. You can call us at 326-9363 and we’re happy to assign you a table.

With love,

Your dear VAMPS at Feast

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