Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ode to My Stupidity

So, you ever have one of those days where you think, “I’m college educated, independent, a confident, able woman (or man) who owns my own home, runs a business, does things well, so why am I suddenly so dumb?” Well, that’s been my life for the last two weeks. Now I know I am hard on myself and that I am currently working with a vertical learning curve, but really, I’ve been making the kind of errors that, were I not so resilient would land me on the Darwin awards. Fact is, I’m lucky ‘cause I’m cute. Adorable, really. I don’t say that in arrogance, trust me, if I was arrogant, I’d think I was beautiful and we all know how I feel about that one. But the fact is, when I make a dumb mistake, I at least make a funny, big, glaringly dumb mistake that generally doesn’t hurt anyone or get anyone (myself included) fired. So now I’m in training and feeling very ill at ease and off balance because I just seem to be learning and sometimes I hit my saturation point where I just can’t take in any more information or for that matter, think apparently. Thus, dumb mistakes; and the other day I made a doozie. So I’m in the mess, not literally, it’s the name of the kitchen service on the ship, but don’t worry, the mess is coming. I am overwhelmed a bit from all the safety training that I am in, and a little freaked at my new level of responsibility for the lives and welfare of our guests because really, I’m an entertainer not a hero. But I’m doing my best to memorize the ship, the rules, the endless acronyms, the exits, the stats and on and on. And I am hitting saturation. So I take a break and head down to the mess to get myself a hot chocolate. I turn on the water, fill my cup and let go of the lever. Nothing happens. The water keeps coming. I burn my hand and water begins to splash over the side of the cup. I panic. Visions of the coffee machine flooding the decks race through my mind. The ensuing fire from where the water makes contact with some sort of flammable liquid they haven’t yet covered in HR but I know it is on board somewhere. Where are the fire extinguishers? Which ones would I use? Water, no that’s not right. CO2? Wait, what was the other? Oh, god, what to do? By now the coffee machine catch is half full. Time is running out. I need to act. I need to do something. I need…to get…help!!

“Help, I need help!” I go dashing into the kitchen begging for assistance from anyone in earshot. Rudolpho, working the return tray line, comes to my aid. I can’t verbalize what is happening but instead begin a series of unintelligible utterances and wild gesticulations as he follows me across the hall into the room where awaits my nemesis, seething with the growing pool of searing hot water.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know what to do. It won’t shut off. I flipped the lever and it won’t shut off.”

Calmly, confidently Rudolpho assesses the situation, unabashedly approaches the demon…and hits the button marked STOP. Wow. I am dumbfounded. Rudolpho turns to me and before I can speak, grins and says, “Don’t worry, we were all new once.” Utter grace. He has me sit for a moment to collect myself and then, chagrinned, I exit shyly. But ever since, whenever I come into the mess, I share a private smile with Rudolpho who still cannot quite keep from giggling at my sight. And now, I have a friend.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Bit of Fluff Before the Good Stuff!

So, this is an old post but darn it, I finally finished it and quite frankly, it’s still pertinent. I have too many things to catch you up on, loyal reader, because I’ve been preparing for a show which has occupied all of my disposable time and income but I shall get to that later. For now, I am going to relate an amusing tale apropos of nothing. It’s about my morning trip to the buck of the Star, that caffeinated haven where we pay homage and too much money to order for too long so we can feel satiated and important. Don’t misunderstand, I love it. I am a Chai freak and I look forward to the changing of the seasons just to see those wonderful fall pumpkin pastries return and the startlingly perfect shot of peppermint which drives away the winter doldrums in my hot chocolate. But additional to the joy of sensory overload and jittery bliss we all look forward to, one of the things we know we are paying extra for is exemplary service. It’s what they are known for. In fact I think Buckies may have invented the concept of the secret shopper, to which I say, well done, because bad customer service is a big pet peeve of mine. So on this particular day, I was quite startled to find myself in the land of the lost servers.

It started like any other day, better in fact because I actually was staying in the area, forgoing my usual hour plus commute and I had left a little earlier than usual so I thought I would stop and give myself a little caffeinated treat. I checked my GPS and lo, there was a store right on my way. So I pull in with days to spare, feeling quite cheeky about the whole thing, like I was treating myself to a night on the town. It’s the little things, you know?

I walk in the store, stand in the not particularly unreasonable line and place my order. As always, my card takes about seven swipes to read but at last, I am in the cue. I walk over to the drink counter to wait for my order and notice a rather large crowd has gathered so I turn back to take in fully the vision behind the counter. Here is what I see.
There are currently five employees in the store, four behind the counter and one in the kitchen area. One perky blonde woman who is attending the register, one slow but steady gentleman working at the drink list, and one woman who appears to not be stocking the pastry cabinet, but just moving the existing pasties around and another woman who just seems to be moving pitchers form one side of the work area to another. After a couple of minutes, the fifth person comes out of the kitchen, walks past the ever growing line at the register, walks over to the now very large crowd that has gathered at the drink counter, stops, shrugs and walks back into the kitchen.

The silent angst has now grown into a tangible rage but still no one says anything. I can take it no longer. Me being me, I had to say something. So I turn to the woman next to me, who is beginning to noticeably change color and I say, “does anyone else think this is weird? I mean, what are we looking at here?”

The response was immediate and profound. The woman next to me started talking about how she was running late and was just waiting on coffee. The man next to her began his story and all focus turned from angry mob mentality ganging up against the poor young man who was actually working to a sudden explosion of shared confused, bemused and ever ebbing collective frustration. I think I may have stopped a riot. Interesting. Sometimes it just doesn’t take much. I thanked the universe for this small gift of a sociology experiment, and went on my way. Happy for my moment off the grid, and of course now running late, but as that is my MO, I really was kind of ok with it! I never loved that job anyway.

I'm back

Dear readers, please forgive my long absence. So much has happened and now I am about to embark on the greatest adventure of my life. I am headed out to sea for the next five months, but do not despair my neglectful ways. I am bringing my laptop and I will attempt to post though it shall be but once a week since that is when I shall have internet access. In the meantime, here is a little teaser to all that I have done. I completed several shows and had a few innocent flirtations, some not so innocent relations and a life altering encounter which, truth to tell was so unexpected that I still don't know what to do with it. I have tread out the trenches, scaled the cliff side, slipped and regripped and have found myself not at the edge of a precipice but rather on a green and lush plateau at sunset. I have flown 18 feet above a cheering crowd of 400 people, performed for throngs of happy, hot and tired children and adults in modern and medieval garb and had an immensely and awkwardly fulfilling experience being killed not once but twice in the same show. But more than that, I have fallen in love; with myself, with life, and with the possibility of love. And I have learned from the unlikeliest of sources that I don’t have to be afraid because I’ve already experienced the worst heartache I could achieve. All these and more I shall tell you about, as well as my great adventure which awaits me. So please, dear reader, be patient and join me as I continue the adventure of this ever happier, ever more satisfied, and I think perhaps, a little bit beautiful single married girl.