…relatively. considering the degree of sanity you need in order to work there in the first place.
kitchen help, leaning on wall that separates kitchen and dishwashing area: „busy night, eh? i looove to see people hard at work!”
carmen, scrubbing pans: „i take it that you haven’t been hit with a pan by an eastern-european woman before?”
erik: „carmen, could you please pass me one of those containers?”
carmen: „sure” [hands him container]
erik: „thank you for your cooperation on this small but very important matter.”
carmen, at midnight/kitchen closing time, to a. [my personal favourite cook]: „you speak french just like me! your words just go into the air like they were suspended in a bubble…you know? like in cartoons?”(demonstrates with hands)
a. : „uh, so you did get that beer pitcher [the manager] sent to the back.”
carmen : „a., about your dirty shoes, just so you know: i’ve timed myself, and the nights when you’re not working it takes me 20 minutes less to sweep and mop the place.”
a., making sad face: „how can you say that to me, i thought you were my friend.”
carmen: „i am your friend, but definitely not a friend of your shoes.
carmen, to dishwasher/shiftmate: „so you want to take the trash up at the same time as the [used] oil? hmmm, and how exactly will you manage that in one go?”
d.: ” well, if we put the oil in a separate trolley and you come with me. come on, i’ll race you to the garbage bins!”
isaac: „so have you guys decided who’s doing the mopping tonight?”
d.: „i say let’s play rock- paper- scissors!”
our manager n. is greek ( „carmen! that faucet is dripping and in my country they don’t have enough water!”). so, he’s passing along the back of the kitchen, and someone drops/breaks a plate. noise, scramble to get the broom and dustpan etc.
n., completely deadpan: „this is an italian restaurant, not a greek restaurant!”
and n. is really awesome. he can do any kind of work in the restaurant better than the actual worker. talk about old school approach. he has the shiniest shoes ever – how do i know this? because he keeps climbing on stuff, i.e. broken dishwashing machine , to identify the leaking spot. also: he got up on the kitchen stove with me to demonstrate the cleaning of the stove with easy-off – he sat down on a milk crate, with an apron over his suit and a clean towel on his head, and got down to work. i am continually in awe of him.
erik and i sing all through the daytime shift. sometimes just humming, other times the situation requires for top-of-your voice bellowing. there’s the noise of the dishwashing machine, then the mixing of the various soups and sauces, blah. so we sing. we have diverging repertoires, but finally hit upon songs we both love ,and with lots of lyrics, so by now we can duet „ironic” and „torn” beginning to end. it’s a blast.
also erik has these quiz-type questions that he asks everybody who’s in sight at that moment – busspeople, hostesses, me. example of question: ” how do you accomplish greatness when nothing else will do?”