Yesterday, I had a trial work shift at a fancy restaurant on the high street. I have never worked before. I arrived ten minutes early in a waistcoat and and a sense of spirit that was shattered faster than a femur at Alton Towers.
The manager gives me the tour. She points at different butters and relishes, saying words that sound attractive in French, but probably translates to English as something boring like horseradish or semen. Also, there are different kinds of mustards. In my family, we have ketchup. Even then, this comes with the terrifying commitment of having to precisely calculate how much ketchup you will be using with dinner. If you overestimate, my mother, sporting a thrifty clothes peg in her hair instead of a hairpin, will say something like “that tomato sauce costs more than my wine!” and then you have to scrape what you don’t use back into the bottle, whilst she solemnly sips Lidl Pinot out of a wine glass also fashioned out of clothes pegs.
The manager then takes me into the kitchen and tells me to start by drying a bunch of plates and knives and forks. Oh boy, they’ll be dry. You bet. Dryer than Oscar Wilde’s wit, just you wait, madam! There is a sad man washing up behind me. I start to ask him where things go and he doesn’t answer. Pablo The Chef explains that the man only speaks Portuguese, which confuses me because I thought Portuguese and Spanish were the same thing.
“Do you speak Portuguese?”- Pablo The Chef
“…no” – Me (the ellipses referring to me remembering a funny toy that my dad once brought back from Portugal, where if you bang it really hard on the floor it says “hasta la vista, baby”)
I dry things once, and then dry again, and then Man Who Only Speaks Portuguese hands me another tray of cutlery to do, but also inside the tray is a chicken leg and a bit of Oyster trails, and I begin to doubt his proficiency in the field of cleanliness. Pablo The Chef comes over and we have the following exchange
“Can I get you anything?” – Me, look at me go! I’m talking to someone, a person who works in the real world! Look at me! What repartee can I respond to the words that next come out of his mouth, get ready, brain! Here we go! Get thinking of stuff to say when its our turn, its coming up! Get warmed up neurons, we’ll need your services soon! Fuck me I’m glad I took my Omega Three tablets today!! Maybe we could ask where they come from, is it in Europe! I hope it is!!
“Yes. Do you have a gun?” – Pablo The Chef, perhaps practicing lines for one of the more serious youth crime focussed episodes of Dora the Explorer
“Hahaha! Ha?” – Me, wondering whether my £27k piece of paper BA would go to better use flossing bits of oyster out of cutlery.