OK, let’s give props where props are due: although I have long admired a few extremely worthy diarists (tequila mockingbird, geese aplenty, felber, and various friends of mine from grad school), the one that actually got me to put fingertips to keyboard was mimi smartypants.
Someone had directed me to her site a few months ago, but I guess it just didn’t take. This time, though, I’ve barely been able to wrench myself away from the computer until I’ve finished reading all of her archived entries. (This is where it pays off to be unemployed and largely idle…)
Speaking of being unemployed, I have to say that I have very strong doubts about re-entering the working world again after so many months of enjoying the company of my cats, and eschewing the company of my alarm clock. And although I have greatly enjoyed my decade-long career as a cook in various restaurants, I don’t exactly relish the prospect of spending another hot, sweaty summer in the trenches with surly people I barely know, who intentionally keep me at a distance because they want *me* to be the one who gets laid off in the fall, not them…
I used to advise people who had moved to a new city to get a part-time job at a restaurant as an instant, relatively painless way to acquire a shiny new circle of friends. Now that I’ve relocated to this beautiful seashore town, though, I can see the vast, gaping holes in my theory. Oh, sure, it worked just fine in the frozen north of New York State, where there is no seasonal economy to speak of. But here? It seems the only people who work year-round are teachers, hospital workers and lawyers. In all the restaurants I’ve worked at over the last two years (yes, that’s right, I’ve shuttled between about 6 or 7 in that time, just to make ends meet), the other cooks have been downright hostile to me, apparently fearing that my presence threatens their stake in the the zero-sum product of year-round work. and maybe they’re right.
But I’m sick of it. I’m sick of coming into a new place, trying to learn the subtle politics of the staff, at the same time as trying to assimilate a new, quirky, extensive menu. Sick of repeatedly trying to prove myself to a fresh group of surly, jealous cooks (jealous of their work status, not of my skills, I’m not that arrogant. I do fine as a cook, but I’m no Julia Child.) I’m *really* sick of sweating my *ass* off in some sweltering kitchen while happy, air-conditioned tourists are only a few feet away, demanding their baked, stuffed lobsters (a culinary abomination, if you ask me).
So. The upshot of this extended rant (which is really highly unlike me, honest — I’m generally a far more upbeat person) is that I am trying my damnedest to find another way of paying the bills. I am hopeful that this will involve freelance work of some nature, preferably involving words. I did a fair bit of proofreading and copyediting when I was in grad school for a college friend of mine who was a junior editor at a Major New York Publishing House, so I’m very earnestly brushing up on those skills, hoping to land a gig doing that.
Please God Please God Please.
Don’t make me go back in the kitchen this year. Honest. I’m too old for that nonsense now.