It should come as no surprise to anyone by this point: life for us at Feast, like life for pretty much everyone, is a rollercoaster. And for me personally, that’s not sweetening the deal. Once I was tall enough to reach the line that allowed me to meet the primitive safety standards enforced by a one-armed carney at the most rudimentary roller coaster slapped together on the Pima County Fairgrounds, I’ve not been fond of them. My tiny knuckles where chalk-white and my teeth ground to nubs by the end of the ride. It was mortifying, especially with the graphic image rolling around in my seven-year-old brain of how that arm was likely removed from its owner. Ever since that first roller coaster experience, followed by a Sixty Minutes story on the precarious assembly of dilapidated carnival rides and the ensuing results, I’ve avoided them, far more content to squander my time on idle ripoffs that only threatened my pocket change and not my well-being.
I feel the same about my current rollercoaster- uuuup with the introduction of vaccines, dowwwwn with the cancellation of every catered event on the books, uuuuup with the news that Omicron was less of a threat to us all, dowwwwwwn with it neatly removing a quarter of our crew at any given moment for weeks now. And in the interest of not rattling any cages unnecessarily, I won’t even talk about the social and political rollercoasters we’ve all been on throughout.
Leery as I am about not addressing the rollercoasters that everyone else is on right now, the only experience I have to reflect on is my own, so here’s our experience: the current passel of tribulations has a synergistic effect that’s not to be trifled with. Being blown off by a dishwasher in more normal times is an inconvenience, but not much more than that. On a day that we’re already short-handed, behind multiple weeks of being short-handed, and with our crew evacuating the restaurant industry faster than Ukranian Embassy staff, Sweet Leonard’s choice not to show up for Day Two was not only a blow to service, it was a blow to our morale, and to our egos. Oh, Leonard. How could you? Oh, linen company delivery guy who’s shorted us at least two items that we’ve desperately needed for three weeks running. How could you?
While the Gem Show gave us some desperately needed business, we’ve scrambled behind the scenes to make it work, bringing the restaurant’s laundry home as a stopgap, running from store to store for the phyllo dough that none of our distributors could offer us, and we’ve kept people in positions that they were long promised to be promoted from, only because there’s no one to take their eventually former spot.
It’s as unnerving as any rollercoaster I’ve been on, be it some rinky-dink item haphazardly assembled on a dirt lot here in Tucson, or an icon of recreational hardware like the timeless wooden rollercoaster on the Santa Cruz boardwalk that I tried my darnedest to love, only to fail and walk from it, wobbly and vowing never to ride one again. But this metaphorical rollercoaster we’re on has an advantage: the ride started so long ago, and has changed so steadily, that we’re kind of used it by now. And being used to it, we can at least try to find the pleasure in it. Maybe it won’t be so bad after all, or at least no worse than it has been. And again, we’re already used to how bad it’s been. So while I may not be able to accomplish it, I’m going to try- yet again- to attempt to derive some small amount of pleasure from this particular rollercoaster, if only to listen to the Ohio Players a few times.
As for this week, Valentine’s Day is already behind us, and so is Leonard, so I think it more or less evens out. One mark in the positive column, one in the negative. The week is young, but we already have this Saturday’s wine tasting figured out and posted,
and whatever detractor from the upbeat start to the wee has yet to rear its ugly head, so I’ll go on about my business, attempting an early start to writing the March menu (early by my standards, anyhow) and lining up another donation run to feed all the people we missed on the last one- you’ll hear more about that when I’ve heard more from the people we’re bringing food to. And I’ll go home tonight and watch this in its entirety, a tribute to rollercoasters everywhere, and some ideas for new uniforms for us at Feast:
See you soon.