Week 10

It was the worst week yet. I really hope it was only because I was adjusting to my new school sched. Time-wise, logically, it shouldn’t be more difficult than when I was in Receiving; didn’t I manage full-time hours on a full-time school sched for seven months straight? I did drop down to part-time school for another nine weeks after that, but I guess what I didn’t have to deal with was driving. Not that I took it for granted then, but I’m appreciating it so much more now. It’s just no fun realizing that my driving time is taking out of my potential prep time, which is already cut in half just by classes themselves. And on top of that, I’ve been getting out early because it’s the first week! so here comes week 11, which is bound to present just as many difficulties if not more, because I’ll actually be getting out at the normal class end-times.

Wednesday and Thursday weren’t too bad, I suppose, compared to Friday and Saturday. I had to go in and prep on Friday in between class and the UC Asian Student Welcome [which is getting a rant-post of its own], and Saturday was just one of those days where every time things finally seemed like they were starting to look up, you’re somehow plunged back into the abyss. I thought I was used to the sarcasm by now, but I received some reprimands unnecessary comments that hurt loads more than any jab Brad or Nick ever threw; I always think of those two as being the sharpest I’ve dealt with. And up until this point, reprimands have been ones that haven’t made me want to clam up, but rather have made me want to do better simply for the sake of the one giving the reprimand if not for my own. They’ve been constructive, positive, and, I would say, effective. Then, all of a sudden, for the first time on Saturday, I felt myself curling up inside, trying to hide, become invisible, willing some black hole to open up in front of me and swallow me; anything to escape. I’ll be the first to admit when my mind isn’t where it needs to be, and when I’m scrambling to get it into the right place… but I don’t like admitting to a fault and feeling like I just threw the door wide open for others to rub it in. I don’t appreciate [supposedly] learning that I ought not advertise my vulnerability, instead of [constructively] learning that in my vulnerability, I can hope for others to have my back.

Ok, typing all that up made me think back to when Brad and I were still in that hate-frustrate phase, when I was afraid to ask him things because I felt like he had to make me feel how little I knew and how stupid I was regarding so-and-so. And then by the end of ‘the Receiving time,’ he was my favorite teacher and go-to for every question I had because I knew he’d really take the time to answer or demonstrate thoroughly, go figure. He definitely mellowed out =)

So, in retrospect, I suppose the unnecessarily… pointed… comments, and the subsequent wanting-to-disappear feeling wasn’t entirely new. It was just entirely new in this situation and under these circumstances. I guess I just have to get used to it again.

Steffy reminded me of something when we went out for coffee. If you’re really green and you mean to learn as much as you can, six months to a year is the ideal length of time to stay in any one place in this industry. I could leave anytime between December and July and it wouldn’t be strange at all. It’s a little comforting to know that, but it’s also a little… disquieting, in a way I can’t really articulate, even to myself. Maybe because the ‘norm’ challenges my ideas about what standards I mean to hold myself to, not because my standards are wrong, but because they’re almost rendered… unnecessary? I don’t know. More on that some other time when I figure it out, I guess.

This past week was a reminder that was Jared said [I thought] somewhat in jest is actually very true. It re-established those walls that I was so aware of before week 8, those lines, those boundaries, the ones that are keeping me from making friends other than Jason.

I really don’t know how I’d be able to deal without Jason around. He comes up with perfectly awesome constructive distractions at the best times, like breaking down tuna. Best times for me, mind; apparently not so much for others, but whatever. He presents them when I need them in a manner which suggests them to be entirely serendipitous.

This past week, I’ve been more conscious of the many little things that I don’t normally think twice about, but that, this past week, were the only things that I could find any heart to smile about… Amber’s general calm and cool demeanor… Matt scatting the bass line of Ice Ice Baby when he walks past and, “It’s almost as pretty as I am,” remarks… Doug occasionally asking how I’m doing… Jason’s nodding up or small smile from across the kitchen, or putting his fist out when I’m walking past… Garry’s random comments from an entirely unanticipated perspective, random questions… Anna’s quiet, supportive smiles…

I look forward to being walked out now. I don’t feel timid asking anymore, but I’ve a habit of looking it just because it seems to amuse them – ‘them’ being Matt, Garry, and Doug, who all take turns walking me out. When it began, I’d be in a hurry to get to the car just so that they could go back to whatever they were doing, but I’ve found they don’t mind a little smoke break and conversation, and occasionally we end up standing around outside talking for five or ten more minutes.

It’s so strange being so close to the FOH. I assume that it was mostly for class purposes that the Dining Room 2 and Cooking 10 classes were kept so separate during service, but it’s sooo different at work, and I love it. When I was in 3640, it just so happened that I knew all except one person in our corresponding 3610 class, so talking to them every chance I got and looking for them after class seemed only natural, but when I was in 3610, I knew Brad and Martha and Todd and Mark at the beginning of the term, and at the end of the term, I knew the faces of all the rest of the FOH, but no one else’s names. We occasionally exchanged brief remarks over the dishtank, but otherwise, I never really knew the FOH when I was in the BOH for 3610. By contrast – and I find it a little sad, though not so sad that I’d make a point of trying to change any of it – I find it easier and more natural to make and claim friends among the FOH at work than the BOH. As we’ve established, my only friend in the kitchen, it would seem, is Jason, and already is the sort of person I could mentally envision at the next potluck – in fact, I’ve already mentioned it, though I’ve no idea when I’ll get around to hosting it – and I’d invite half the FOH in a heartbeat if my house could hold that many people. But that’s just it. What of the kitchen? I simply wouldn’t dare.

There were two particularly funny/nice conversations that took place this past week which are well worth recording.

The first began with Jason asking what the origin of Halloween was, and I went into the whole druids and Samhain thing. Ricky Bobby showed up in the middle of it, and after we’d talked Celts and druids for a bit, I brought Merlin into the conversation, and C.S. Lewis’ suggestion that Merlin was a druid and what he represents in terms of natural/supernatural boundaries and magic and whatnot. From there, we moved into geographical location, North America, Europe, something about Anglo-Saxons, and finally – and what is really key here – the word Mesopotamia came into the conversation. Jason had left temporarily, and his next line came immediately upon his return.

Ricky Bobby: Woah, woah! I haven’t heard ‘Mesopotamia’ since fifth grade. DON’T SAY IT.
me: Mesopotamia-
Jason: Don’t say… what? Messy potatoes? What’s wrong with messy potatoes???

Sam and I just lost it. Neither of us could explain for several minutes for laughing so hard. Eventually, Jason did find out what Ricky Bobby really said, but not after him asking several times and saying aloud that he just ‘didn’t get it.’

That was the first thing. The second thing was me telling Jason my plan for my 21st birthday (the first person I told being Kuya Nick, because I came up with the plan literally hours before my hour-long phone convo with him the other day). In [less than] six months’ time, I shall be twenty-one earth-years old [though apparently I’ve six birthdays to celebrate prior to that in other-years], and instead of purchasing 21 shots of something something or another blah blah blah, I am currently compiling a list of 21 not-illegal-to-possess-but-illegal-to-carry [as  in there is no license that exists for them] weapons that I will be placing an order for prior to my 21st so as to receive them on my 21st.

Mother: So… you’re not going to buy stuff that’s going to kill you, you’re just going to buy stuff that kills other people?

Daddy: O? Ok.

I mean, c’mon. The liquor’s gone once its been drunk.

Said list currently includes… a balisong, throwing spikes, an opera spearhead, a grappling hook, naturally several stars, a kusari fundo, I want Kateri’s fans with hidden blades, maybe finally alien kamas, but I still can’t justify a katana. At any rate, I haven’t learned Do Sa yet, so.

The actual point is that telling Jason this plan led to stories of throwing stars in the basement. “Dude, I want to come over to your house and do that!”

It’s always nice discovering that someone is comfortable enough with you to invite themselves over to your house. Hey, I just did it with Martha on Friday.

Speaking of which, Martha is a lifesaver. Friday was absolutely terrible – I got up at 0706 instead of 0445 and was twenty minutes late to Adv Asian Cookery. When we got out hours early, I simply could not bring myself to go to Latin class, work, and back to school unshowered. I considered going home, realized I couldn’t legally manage it, and ended up calling Martha and begging to be allowed over for a shower. I simply do not know what else I would have tried to do. Fortunately, that was not a puzzle that I was left to try and unravel.

So there you have it, my terrible week 10. Week 11 begins tomorrow. Prayers would be appreciated.



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