Oh My God

The past few days have been the most exhausting of my life. I had Sunday and Monday off, which I truly wish hadn’t happened. The only cure for muscles that sore is to keep going, and not having that level of activity for two whole days has rendered me into spaghetti. I go to work in two hours, and I hope to God I can still move afterward.

My cuts and burns still haven’t healed, so I’m not looking forward to wearing gloves in the kitchen, because here’s the thing. Sweat gets trapped under the latex so that the glove fills with water, and no matter what you put on a wound, whether it’s a Band-Aid or Superglue, floats off. I did not cut myself with a knife, but shredding carrots on a mandoline. It’s not bad, but it looks like a cat scratched my palm. The burn came from my workstation being up against a convection oven and my knuckles accidentally touched it for less than a second, but that’s all it took. A blister bubbled up immediately. I also bumped my elbow on it, but luckily the skin was tough enough that it just turned a little red and healed overnight. Why convection ovens aren’t cooler on the outside like regular ovens is beyond me. Sure would make being cornered against one easier….

It’s been a while since I was in a kitchen, made even harder by the fact that I’m not fluent in Spanish. I am learning, but I’ve taken it upon myself to listen to a Rosetta Stone course. It’s helpful that since I’ve studied Spanish before, I could skip to the more intermediate lessons. But not being fluent has led to some interesting conclusions…. like only being able to talk around the thing I need and not ask for it directly. I asked for a carrot peeler, or thought I did, and I was handed a mandoline. I needed it anyway, but still. At least I’m in total immersion unless I’m really having a problem and need to resort to English because I’ve worked myself into a corner and can’t get back out. Immersion is the only way. Truly. I learned more in Mexico than I ever did taking Spanish in school.

I have made friends, though. I am particularly close to the dishwasher, because she’s the closest to me in proximity as well. It came slowly, because she speaks no English and my Spanish is still questionable at best. But everything is made better by kindness. I asked her if she’d like an ice water. Hours later, she asked me if I’d like half a sandwich.

As a cook, my favorite thing about Spanish is that there’s only one letter difference between ice and heaven. When the kitchen itself becomes a convection oven, they’re truly the same thing.

I wish I had time to write more, and I will… but believe me that the reason I haven’t been pouring out my soul is that I’m just too tired to do so. When I come home, I generally put myself into a coma with Benedryl and ibuprofen because sleep is really the only cure for muscle soreness. I don’t even have time to watch movies or listen to podcasts, because I fall asleep roughly three minutes in. I did just drink two cups of very strong coffee, though, and I’m scheduled for a short shift today. Perhaps tonight I’ll actually get some real writing done because my brain might not be leaking out of my ear. If I feel industrious enough, it will be time for more Spanish lessons.

The last one I listened to was about holidays, and it reminded me so much of David Sedaris’ Jesus Shaves that I laughed out loud.

It feels so good to laugh, and to be tired from hard, hard work…. mentally and physically, because not only do I lift and cut and stoop and carry, I (try to) do it in two languages.


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