To “The Bitter End”!

May 23, 2008 at 11:22 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | Leave a comment
The Road I’m Not Going To Travel…

  Little Josh, the turd with whom I work at the bank, is interested in buying the restaurant.  He alludes to it, thinking that I would be working for him.  He would be my boss.  Then I finally get what he means.  "Ohhh.  Nope."
  We talk about the restaurant.  I explain that I almost bought it four years ago, but the timing was bad.  It was right at the time I was buying my house, and Bunny and the Big L were considering buying a different restaurant.  But their deal fell through, so they couldn’t sell it to me.
  "Why don’t you buy it now?" young Josh asks.
  I have to be careful here, diplomatic.  I don’t want to dissuade a potential sucker.  I mean buyer.  I say to him, "Look, I like my job here.  I don’t see *anyone*.  If I get a phone call, it’s a wrong number.  If I see a customer, they’re lost.  I’ve been in the restaurant business for over 20 years.  You have no idea of the level of contempt I have for the general public."  I paused.  "But yeah, I’ll come to work for ya." 
  And an evil, maniacal laugh slips out.
  Suddenly his smile turned into a frown.  Well, as long as I can turn something upside down.
  Oh, crap.  Do I want to work with him, for him?  Ugh.  Do I want to continue to work there–with the summer coming up?  Double Ugh.  I see within my grasp the ability to have the ENTIRE WEEKEND off.  Do I want to give that up?  Ugh with a side of No Fuckin Way, Jose.
  What to do, what to do….

To "The Bitter End"
  Don’t say it with seriousness.  Not as a grim statement of resolve and determination.  Say like you’re making a toast!  "To the bitter end!"  "The Bitter End!"  Clink your glasses.
  I went into Scooters my second-to-last day.  Hmmm.  No Megan.  No Jamie.  Hell, I was hoping I could get one of the girls to lift their shirt for me.  The Dude’s last day was Monday, and Sean The Philosopher quit over a week ago.  Who’s left?  Me, Larry.  Blond Sean, and Alex.  And Scott, the Big L.
  I get there, and Alex is there.  Larry is on a run, and no girls.  Alex said, "Only the strong survive, huh dude?" and thereafter that song was stuck in my head.  Appropriate, I guess.  Motown fits the mood.  Larry stays till about 730, and Alex closes.  Both of them were dayshift.  We closed early, at 8 (actually about 745.)  Am I going to get in trouble?  Funny.
  It was a slow night.  Being close to being done, I had the opportunity to be rude to some customers…but I didn’t have it in me.  I was hoping ("Come on, be an asshole.  Give me an open!  Give me a reason!), but no one did.  Maybe I’m not the asshole I pretend to be.
  Or maybe I’m just tired.  I want it to be done, I want it over.  And as much as I feel it, I’m sure Scott feels it tenfold.  I quit being full time here over three years ago.  But for seven years, I worked full time, and he worked even more.  You pour your heart and soul into a place–you have big plans, big dreams, and your ambition drives you…until there’s nothing left but an empty shell.  You forsake family and friends.
  Some experts in the foodservice industry deny the existence of the phenomenon known as "burnout."  These experts must have never worked in a fucking restaurant.  It’s real, it exists, it’s there.  You can see it.  You can the dead look in the eyes and the apathy on the faces of people who would rather–honestly–be in Hell.  They know Hell is a bad place, eternal torment and damnation and suffering–but they look at their current situation and think, "Well, as long as there aren’t any customers, I’m there."
  I’ve had burnout a few times.  Scott is beyond burned out.  Owning a business–being responsible for EVERYTHING day in and day out–takes it’s toll.  I almost bought the stupid thing (avoided that noose), but afterwards I had a moment of clarity:  Any place where you have employees is going to be a headache.  Their problems become your problems.  I knew that as a manager; as an owner it’s worse.  If you’re going to own a business, it’s best to have a one-man operation.  Something you don’t have to depend on other people for.
  Like a gigolo.
  I felt like I was on the edge of civilization.  Like….this was soon to be consumed by an invading army, and people were running for the hills, but a very few stalwart and stubborn idiots chose to stay, and protect their homeland. 
  I felt like I was on a long-running sitcom, whose peak had long since passed, and coming up was the series finale.  The cast had changed so many times, hardly any of us that remained were from the first season.  Like a soap opera, people moved on, got married, died, had brain transplants, or were kidnapped by their evil twin and brainwashed by aliens.  We weren’t even up for an Emmy this season.
  I felt like I was losing friends and people I knew, and places familiar.  Like I was getting ready to follow a wagon train and never return.
  I felt like a place I had worked at and spent so much time at was closing, and ten years of my life was about to be erased.

  Raise a glass.  "To the Bitter End!"

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