Monday, February 16, 2009

Me gusta nada

Last night was loco. I had to get to the restaurant by 230 for a
meeting with this consultant dude the owner hired to try and turn the
place profitable. The wait staff agreed to meet there an hour earlier
to order off the brunch menu. I had a huge curry udon soup, a
delicious lotus root tempura maki roll with avocado on top, and a nasu
shigiyaki which is eggplant sauteed with a miso paste. Yum! Then the
meeting started. It was a bunch of common sense stuff about service
but also a good refresher on how to serve wine and some interesting
facts about Japanese dining. For example, did you know that the best
way to enjoy sushi or sashimi is to eat your fish in order of lighter
to richer? Start with fluke, then move to your salmon and mackerel,
and finish with your tuna. It's good for digestion and for opening
your palate. I also learned that Japan has a Valentine's day too but
the gender roles are reversed. Apparently, the female is expected to
be the gift giver. This was my opportunity to share a little American
fun fact about our sadie Hawkins dances although I don't really know
how popular they really are other than for dramatic effect in
television shows about high school. We were slammed pretty much from
open to close so mr and the dishwasher didn't get much qt. He did have
at one point extend chivalry to me in the form of holding open the
freezer door while I scooped ice cream though, a favor I returned by
holding open the back door for him when he was getting the mop bucket,
to which he exclaimed, "que romantique!" tonight I worked with this
other Spanish speaking dude who has a much firmer grasp on English. It
was pretty slow since everyone blew their wad last night on their
loved ones so he and I shot the shit a little more than I usually get
the chance to chat with the kitchen staff. Dishwasher was nearby of
course and basically asked me to come to his house again this time en
espanol and the other guy asked me if I entiendo because he could tell
I could understand by the face I made. We joked around a bit and he
said he'd make me something special because he liked me. I said
everyone liked me. Soy muy popular. And dishwasher agreed but said
that I no gusta nada. That made me kind of sad suddenly because it's
kind of true. Anyway, dishwasher waited around for me to finish my ice
cream after my shift dinner even though he always gets off much
earlier than me but I said goodbye I'm tired see you next time. No
quiero ir a tu casa.

--
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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Story about How I Choose Adventures Solely for the Story

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.