Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Today's lesson: You will no longer have a social life

Today I walked Chuckle-Buck later in the day than I normally would. Didn't plan it that way, I just had a busy morning. After we hung our fourth and final left which put us back on our street and we were a few houses away from home, we met a very friendly neighbour when her little dog chose that particular moment to dart out and pee on the sidewalk. As our respective dogs were doing their thing, sniffing each other's junk, her and I chatted amicably for a good 20 minutes. She had been unloading groceries and was still holding a 24-pack of water bottles even as we chatted. She ended up setting the water down on the driveway after about 10 minutes when I shared that I am doing my apprenticeship and am training to be a Chef. Turns out her and her husband recently sold a downtown restaurant they had owned for about 10 years. My neighbour talked freely about the demands of any kitchen job and said they had sold the restaurant because they were no longer willing to sacrifice family time for the restaurant.

"You will have no social life," she continued. "Your friends are out partying on weekends and you have to be in the kitchen, working. After a while they'll stop calling you." I nod. I know all this. Whatever remains of social life I still had after moving to the suburbs have disappeared completely. I am working evenings and weekends, and when I do manage to get a couple of evenings off, I choose to spend them with my partner. Driving for an hour to meet with friends for a drink downtown requires too much of an effort these days. I just want to put my feet up, cuddle in front of the Tv, or read a book. I enjoy time with friends but these days they're going to have to come to me. I'll even offer them food -- as long as I don't have to go anywhere!

My neigbour also talked about the games and the drama going on in the kitchen. The server who doesn't like the busboy, or the chef who doesn't like the server, or the sous-chef who has a beef with the line-cook, none of these necessarily performance based. Just personality clashes. And... I know that too. She sugar-coated nothing, and I appreciated it more than I could tell her. In fact, I invited her for coffee. I hope she takes me up on it one day, I bet she can teach me a few things.

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