I’ve Been Changed for Good

I am a different cook than I used to be, because there’s no undercurrent lurking when I’m in the kitchen. I was focused and sharp. My mind never wandered. I only slightly messed up a few things, but they were tiny and standard for the first day. I didn’t cook anything wrong, there’s just two sets of dishes, one for the beer garden and one for the inside of the pub. A couple of times I had to re-plate, and that was it. It helped that everything was right in front of me because the prep cooks had taken care of most things, but I did chop tomatoes, lettuce, and onions. Even in the midst of incredible pressure, I was as calm as I’ve ever been. The chaos swirled around me and not inside of me…. although I have to wonder if part of it was the Klonopin. Not feeling the physical reactions to panic really helped me keep my shit together. But the other part was taking care of myself psychologically. I felt so much lighter not having to carry around this big emotional bag that had been dragging me down since 1990.

In fact, I made the kitchen manager laugh when he was prepping the griddle for toasting buns by spraying it with the industrial version of Pam.™ I said, “oh my God. That looks way too healthy.” In fact, I made him laugh a lot, which made me feel good, because I haven’t laughed this much in ages.

As I said in my most recent Facebook post:

I absolutely nailed the stage. #beastmode They have three other people to interview, but the kitchen manager was damn impressed and said so. If someone else gets the job, they beat me fair and square. I could not have been prouder of *myself.* Plus, my Spanish got a lot better, real quick.

Only some of the people in the kitchen were fluent in English, and I was so grateful that I knew enough Spanish to pick up even more. The funny part was asking César what different vegetables were in Spanish, and even he didn’t know some of them. We joked about speaking “Spanglish.” It was like this… I’ll write the conversation in English, but we had it in Spanish:

Me: How do you say this? (pointing to beets)
César: I don’t know.
Me: How do you say this? (pointing to carrots)
César: Zanahorias (but he pronounced it more like “cellerias”)
Me: So then, what’s celery?
César: I don’t know that, either.

And then we laughed… oh, how we laughed.

We danced well together, and for that, I am so grateful. It is the one thing about which I was truly worried- would I fit in well without incident? I think I did some things they don’t normally do which were extremely helpful, and that might have gotten me a few brownie points. Though I have to sit and wait for a few days, I know my efforts were solid. I might not have been Joe Gibbs, but I certainly wasn’t Steve Spurrier.

Everyone that signed my contract would have been proud. I made sure.

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