Sunday, December 11, 2005

Notes from hither, thither and yon

Yesterday, 'pup came into the city and we walked around my neighborhood, had killer garlic noodles (that will ensure that I, at least, won't get kissed until some time in 2006) at a Vietnamese place down the street and then sat in the Irish pub on the corner watching the 'wildlife' pass by the window and a bowling tournament replete with the worst hair styles for men circa 1987. I laughed so hard it hurt a couple times, I didn't think about anything but the immediate present for several hours and this vaguely familiar feeling formed into recognition and I realized that I was relaxing. It was nice.

It struck me that I've always got 80 things on my list; I've got a plan and an itinerary that I'm constantly amending - more accurately, adding to; I'm always a day late and a dollar short on some sort of self-imposed deadline that no one but me gives a random shit about, but that I'm inexplicably and passionately committed to; that I go until I drop and hit the ground running as soon as I've rested enough to get back up, or before, for that matter.

It's not a complaint nor is it something that makes me unhappy because not only does the work hard/play hard lifestyle have its merits and benefits but it also brings me a great deal of satisfaction. The industry that I'm in as well as the city where I reside demands that you bring your 'A' game, so this kind of drive is well suited, if not downright requisite. They will eat you alive, and pick their teeth your bones without a moment of hesitation or remorse if you don't and sometimes even when you do.

It's common knowledge that restaurant is intense and that this is the most intense season of the retail year; similar to a basic physics equation, that energy, that tension has to go somewhere and, pardon the vulgarity here, but since we don't fuck, we fight. As such, we verbally scrap like recalcitrant children almost every single night.
One of the things I've become especially adept at lately is biting back at work and though I've said to a friend that "it makes me want to cartoon punch everybody in the face", perversely, it also has its merits. For example, this 'response in kind' lets the boy's club in the kitchen know that I'm not soft. On some paleolithic level, it breeds respect in them, and I am therefore deemed worthy of keeping my spot by the camp fire for another night.

In spite of my inherent distaste for competition, I'd be painting an unfair picture of myself if I didn't admit to gaining a sense of satisfaction at being able to run with the pack and hold my own (truthfully, most guys can't cut it and being female makes it that much more unusual and, in some ways, that much more rewarding.) It's the truth in action of the phrase, "Living well is the best revenge." A quiet kiss-off to everything and everyone that's posed as an obstacle. Perhaps what is more important has been the acquisition of the skills to successfully navigate the slippery slope of 'doing as the Romans do' in the areas of the unsavory while maintaining my personal integrity in the process. No small task some days, and other days it's just plain exhausting, I'll tell you what.

So, as ever, it's a mixed bag: for every metric ton of bullshit, there really is a pony lurking about somewhere. And I'm hoping that the next pony that I find can tell me a thing or two about relaxing. Relaxing is some tasty goodness of which I could use a hearty helping.

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