… The More I Stay The Same

You would think that on a day in which the number of my paid hours didn’t exceed a half-dozen, I wouldn’t find myself so exhausted, but the truth of the matter is that I’ve been doing work stuff since I got home, as we’re looking down the barrel of another seismic shift in staffing levels at the restaurant. I don’t disagree with the move, as sales haven’t been what we would have liked them to be, and we’ve cut down the Front of House staff to be able to pull this off without losing too many people to frustrated attrition, but the Back of House has been generally protected up until now, with full staffing and full-time hours even during the fortnight of belt-tightening, and I worry that this move might cost us people will we need going into Halloween. It seems that I have become more conservative in staffing levels as I have gotten older. I used to be the bloody hatchet man, chopping away at “warm bodies” and never giving it a second thought, but perhaps I’ve just felt the effects of too many unexpected rushes to be willing to get caught again with my pants around my ankles (metaphorically speaking, obviously). The restaurant industry is a dangerous game, and even when you manage to get everything spot-on, it’s not a guarantee that you’ll still be open in a year. Statistically speaking, it’s almost certain that you won’t. Part of me would like to run and hide, get out of this and try to salvage what I can out of my career and unpaid writing.

There are only two problems with this: I still have to pay off my credit cards which supported me while I was on sabbatical earlier this year, and, sadly, I still kind of enjoy this work, and the logic puzzles which it provides. I’m finally getting enough data in that I can start running scenarios for failure in my head, and the more problems which I can troubleshoot now, the less likely I am to be blindsided by them in the future. There are countless ways in which this can end in failure, and only a handful which could be considered some variety of success. It’s my job to find the best path to the most attractive outcome, and find a way to get us there, whether or not that’s actually in my job description. All that time I spent as General Manager has forced me into this mindset, and even it means that someone else will get the glory, I will know what I have done, and that will have to do. It’s not like I am ever going to mention my successes in this industry when I get around to pounding out my bio for the jacket blurb. More than ever, my time away from Food Service has made me realize that I do not want this to become my career (never mind that I have been in this industry for nearly half my life, whereas I haven’t (to date) made more than $100 in writing sales). I mean, while I’m here, I’m going to keep giving it my all, but at the end of the day, I’m in it for the challenge, and, more importantly, the money to pay off my debt.

There is a possibility that I will wind up only working four days a week, which is actually okay with me. I know that it will push back my credit card payments, but it may also afford me the opportunity to keep working on my writing. If only I could somehow stumble into about $10,000 (to pay off the cards and medical bills which Flor and I have accumulated), then I wouldn’t have to worry about some sort of reduced schedule. I could be one of those part-timers whom I despise. I’m hoping that by March, I will have managed to pay off the majority of my debt, allowing me to consider taking steps to find some sort of balance between what pays the bills and what renews my soul. I suppose that there is still a chance that someone will read this blog (which I have just remembered that I will have to pay some fees towards in the beginning of December) and offer me a job writing things for them. I’m not going to hold my breath, but it never hurts to dream. As I may have mentioned a time or two before, I am bad at this whole “balance” thing. I wish it wasn’t so, but the fact is that I have kind of always been an “all-or-nothing” sort of fellow (from falling in love at the drop of a hat (rich, romantic aching, and drunken butterflies, etc.), to all of the other self-destructive behavior in which I have all too readily engaged), and it’s kind of ridiculous to imagine that I might start “adulting” right now. The more things change, the more I stay the same.

Maybe there’s still hope, though: I have started writing again, now that things have started falling into a rhythm (though not nearly as frequently as I might desire), and I’ve even managed to get some strings for my guitar (which I unearthed from deep within the pile of crap which resides before my closet), and started to play again. I’m still not any good, but at least I seem to have gotten a little better (from my years of not actually playing or anything), and I’ve even begun working on a “new” song, which is only 40% directly lifted from another song which I had written. I even use different chords and everything! There’s even a time change! That may not sound like much, but it’s pretty amazing for me. Death Trudge is making a comeback! Within the narrative which I’ve constructed that I might find meaning in my life, everything I’ve done has been for some sort of reason. I’m hoping that this time around, I get the chance to make some connection which allow me to pursue my dream of writing. It could be that I’m doing this so that when my brother-in-law finally gets around to opening his place, I’ll have the nuts and bolts of restaurant launching down to an art, but I really hope that it’s the writing thing.

Also, in other news: A good friend of mine unearthed some photography of mine from half a lifetime ago. She will be sending me the copies, and once I have them, I will share them with all of you. In the meantime, here is a photo of a photo which I took eighteen years ago:

Actually, this was one of my favorite photos from that era.
Actually, this was one of my favorite photos from that era.

Anyway, it’s very nearly my bedtime, and I have an exciting day at work tomorrow. Have a good evening, everyone!