Holding the Line

Burning Man came and went again. I worked Point 1, the service entrance, and had a lot of time to enjoy the scenery and being outdoors.

When I returned, I was happy to find my restaurant job offer in San Francisco to be still valid. I started a few days after I got back.

To say I was nervous was an understatement. Walking into a long time dream felt overwhelming. Was this really happening?

I had good basic skills, but I was clearly a beginner. Thankfully I picked it up fast. I learned how to shuck Oysters, how to plate desserts and learned the lingo. Within a few weeks, I was moved from day shift to dinner shift, and started to learn the fryer position.

My hands became calloused and they developed a resistance to heat. I learned how to move better in the kitchen, how to expidite and work a little cleaner.

As the holidays approached the pace became maddening. It started to be too much. I was keeping up, but I hadn’t developed the stamina to do it day after day.

The work was draining in a way I didn’t expect. Struggling every night and dealing with the Chef’s fueled rants became demoralizing. Other cooks, including the sous chefs started to quit. My no stress lifestyle was at risk, so I took a step back.

I asked if I could go back to full time on the boat, and they said yes. So, I retreated back to my life on the water, surrounded by color and light. I wasn’t sure if that would be it for me in the kitchen. I was thankful to have a safety net.

I worked a few more months on the boat before finding another kitchen gig. But the stars didn’t quite align for me. I had a mental health trigger that put me in a wretched state. That, combined with a passive aggressive, cocained sous chef, made it impossible for me to work well. Thankfully I had my safety net to catch me once again.

Published by Clarisa

Traveler, Writer, Cook, Mariner, Veteran

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