From all reports I’ve heard, the Gem and Mineral Show this year is a shadow of its former self- fewer buyers go wandering from booth to booth amongst fewer sellers, and the hotel rooms that in years past were booked solid months in advance are now available for someone to stroll in at the last minute and even find a discounted rate. That said, they’re here without question, those gemstone lovers lured by glitter and sparkle, and we’re seeing them at Feast. The two people that looked like solid prospects for the kitchen last week, though, fell through, one who came to work a stage and then realized he’d never be able to do this without wiping himself out at his primary job, and the other calling an hour before her stage to reschedule, but not willing to choose a new date to join us.
A line cook is in the hospital with pneumonia, a server out with a torn ACL, and our one step forward has been followed by and easy seven or eight steps back, all the while with scads of extra people in town and dining. But what illustrates it best? The Aesop’s fable of being careful what you wish for, where the shepherd prays to find his lost calf, only to discover it in the jaws of a lion who now threatens him as well? It doesn’t seem appropriate? The “et tu, Gem Show?” of betrayal by a trusted friend who’s always brought us good fortune in the past? Again, it’s not a parallel situation. I suppose the thing it’s closest to is Alanis Morissette’s supremely irritating and gravely incorrect assertion that it’s somehow ironic to have ra-ee-ain on your wedding day: here comes the business we’ve longed for for nearly three years, and I’ve still got tables and chairs in my garage, a crew in various states of physical and emotional disrepair, and whatever extra cash we might bring in this week will be spent on sick pay for some, overtime for the others who’ve covered their shifts, and profound burnout and disillusionment on all fronts.
The superstitious Doug blames the fact that I mentioned that things might be looking up in the last email. The pragmatic Doug isn’t dwelling on it and is just trying to get more hands on deck. More boots on the ground. So I guess the literary device is a metaphor today, which is something of a letdown for me- I’ve been digging through a box filled with synecdoche and metonymy, flinging puns and hyperbole and aphorisms as I search for a means to describe this mudpuddle we’ve found ourselves mired in, and there is again: a weak little metaphor.
Maybe if I anthropomorphize it and nurse it, it’ll grow to something more substantial, but I doubt it. We’re all a bit tired over over here, and as I listened to the story on This American Life of Kelsey Irby, the Charge Nurse who called 911 to see if they could get help in the ER she was running, I thought, “hey, that sounds an awful lot like restaurants: not enough people to staff it, people steadily streaming in, and one bad car accident away, as Kelsey Irby described it, from somebody dying.” So there’s at least some amplification and exaggeration, but ultimately, it’s just another metaphor.
I do very much look forward to going back to just being a bunch of people who make good food, offer good drink and provide good service for other people who want to take a little break from whatever crappy metaphor they’re living, and we’ll keep our heads down and do the things we mean to: we’ll change the menu on the first Tuesday of the month (yes, I know it’s February, but the menu begins on the first Tuesday, so hang tight for a few more days, which I believe is a colloquialism and therefore counts as another literary device.) We’ll keep offering weekly wine tastings, like tomorrow at 2:00,
and we’ll cobble together a special Valentine’s Day menu of food and wine that makes you and your beloved feel special.
And despite the fact that we’re still mostly just trying to stay afloat in our rickety little boat, we’ll keep contributing to our sweet little community (keep your eyes peeled for a fundraising dinner for Sister José Women’s Center on Monday, March 6, when we’re otherwise closed,) and looking for a more cheerful metaphor to describe our situation.
Stay well, all of you, and we’ll see you soon from the shore. Drinking something out of a pineapple or a coconut.
Doug, and everyone else at Feast