As we fast approach the three-year mark since the weird Hardships for Everyone began, I have to say that even despite the fact that we’ve been in a fairly frantic mode for the better part of those three years, this past week has become something of a turning point. Yes, we’re still short-handed. Today Covid took one of our lunch crew out of the mix and it was the usual mayhem- doing my own job whilst occasionally covering for the missing coworker du jour meant not discovering until noontime the trove of voicemails left yesterday while we were closed, then trying to handle returning those calls as more rolled in and I tried to shoehorn in the reservations scrawled on loose slips of paper by the servers who jotted notes as they answered the phones between waiting on guests, seating people, clearing their own tables and running their own food.
And while it felt like the rest of the past three years, it was accompanied by the fact that I DID have to shoehorn those reservations in. We’re busy. And I’m grateful for it. As much as the added stress of being busy dogpiles onto the stress of being short-handed, at least we’re busy. I listened to a podcast the other day in which a scientist described his findings that lab rats who were subjected to gruesome and inhumane stressed experienced the same effects on their overall health as lab rats who were subjected merely to mild irritations. Regardless where you stand on the ethics of treating rats poorly to learn something, I’d venture to guess we’ve all felt rather like lab rats for the better part of three years now, and frankly, if I’m going to react more or less the same way to stress, I’ll take the stress where we make enough money to cover payroll.
So scrambling as I may be today, and only getting this email out after the majority of you have already knocked off work and some are already beginning to stream into our dining room, I can’t thank my lucky stars enough that I’ve spent the day asking people if they wouldn’t mind coming a half an hour before or after the time they’d hoped to join us. And in spite of it all- the frantic adjustments to reservations, the last-minute restaffing, the juggling of menu tastings and phone calls and emails- we’ve still managed to change the menu on this, the first Tuesday of the month, as we have for almost twenty-two years now,
and to put together a Saturday wine tasting,
and to start ordering the ingredients we need for the Valentine’s Day menu.
And in the end, all that happened was I caught a cold, just like those lab rats did, whether someone subjected them to fiercely cold temperatures or just moved their snack before they could snatch it up.
I’ll take it: a mere cold in exchange for feeling like we all might make a living this year? I’ll take three more colds. Four, even. And I’ll roll around in them like a dog in tall grass.
See you soon, everyone.