It's like when I go to a restaurant and pick the weirdest menu item. Heather will tell you about the ugly scenario of when I ordered the Turkish Breakfast at a hip French bistro. I just want to try something different. Something different is what makes for a good story. It's why I agreed to dance for money that one night three years ago. I still tell that story. It's why we went to the red light district Amsterdam after eating dried mushrooms. I went to a foam party once. That was more of a mess than a good story.
Lately, I've found myself repeating the story of the 24-Yr-Old Ecuadorian Dishwasher. His age is not remarkable because he's younger than me. Holly beat me on that front. I think the age as part of his title just indicates his "strapping"-ness. The Ecuadorian part is only to show how very different he is from me, an Asian mix breed with Judaic origins from Texas with an accent that's a dead ringer for Californian. I suppose almost any word would indicate that a man is not like me. But Dishwasher, that's the kicker. Dishwasher is very different. Dishwasher is the weirdest menu item by far. Dishwasher is not of suburban upbringing. Dishwasher is not what you find in an office, at a desk, checking email every few minutes, bullshitting with coworkers. Dishwasher is not coiffed, does not go to rock shows, hasn't tried the hot brunch spot.
I noticed him on my first shift. He wasn't as friendly as the other kitchen staff, and he had a brooding about him that very much reminded me of the object of a brutal crush I had at my coffeeshop job in college. I could tell he was a smoker. He didn't really smile at me when we were introduced. But over the course of the last month, he's taken quite a shine to me. First it was his brother, the Just Slightly Younger than Me but Seemingly Much Older Chef. When we were introduced and he was told my name, he said: "Latina?" which rhymes with my name. Then, he pointed to himself and said, "Latino." Everyone laughed and laughed.
Then, over the course of the next few shifts, Older Chef called me "mi amour" and told me he needed "una novia." The Manager says I'm the new girl and that's why I'm getting this affection. Me, I'm all smiles. I'm taking this all in stride. I'm not shooting him down, but I'm not encouraging him either. It's all fun in the kitchen. If you can't take the heat, you know what to do. I only started to feel a nagging awkwardness when Dishwasher started to call me "mi amour," but I think the awkwardness was my first inkling that I was developing an attraction to him and felt guilty for preferring him over his brother.
Dishwasher asked me on another night whether I had "un novio." I deflected the question. Two weeks ago on a Saturday night, Dishwasher took it to the next level. "Tu Eres Una Chica Grande." I said what. I'm a big girl? He said he was big so he liked girls his size, essentially. He always chooses to unleash gems like these when he's standing very close to me, which isn't difficult to accomplish with a kitchen the size of a bathtub. I lost it, laughing much harder than was called for. The Manager stepped in, saw us canoodling, and said: "You can't have her. She's mine." This baffled me. I can understand him saying something along the lines of cut it out you two, this isn't a beauty parlor.
Last night, Dishwasher told me I looked "muy bonita." Yes, my friends, this is why I took Spanish for five years in high school. He said something after that, but too quickly, so I asked him to repeat but slowly. He said, "Tu...Eres...Muy...Bonita." And I said no the other thing you said I understand that part you speak too rapido. So he said: "TuEresMuyBonitaTuEresMuyBonitaTuEresMuyBonita." Did I mention that he's only 24? Later on he asked me if I drank a lot and I said what's a lot? and he said "mucho."
I have no idea how much English he understands or can speak. I think he's faking not comprendoing what I say half the time. Like when I said to him, flirtatiously, "you missed a spot," while he was cleaning the microwave. But then, just the other night, he asked me for change out of the register and said, "come to my house." I nearly knocked the whole drawer over.
Make all the jokes you want about how we both speak the international language of love. It's the same old story.