Friday, October 22, 2010


In my previous life, Friday never meant that much to me. In fact, it actually meant I would be working harder than during the week days.

That's the life of a restaurant worker.

My very first job was in a restaurant at the age of 12. (Yes, 12.) I wanted to work so desperately. I always saw how hard my parents worked, my dad with his own business and my mom as a waitress, and I wanted that too. I wanted my own money and wanted to see what it was like, so my parents allowed me to try it out at a young age, probably thinking I would come running home screaming, "NEVER AGAIN!!!!1".

Lucky for them, I did like it and I did enjoy making my own money.

It was at this little place called Italian Villa and the year was 1988. I was a dishwasher for $5 an hour, cash. (Yes, a dishwasher. And no, I didn't have a dish washing machine, I actually washed the dishes by hand.)

Since it was an Italian restaurant, you can only imagine the red sauce and cheese on these disgusting plates. Plate after plate, stacked on top of one another, glued together by dried cheese and sauce. Good lord, I can still remember how I smelled after standing in that kitchen for 6-7 hours. I would come home soaking wet and so exhausted. It was awful...but somehow liberating.

Strangely enough, this is where my love for the restaurant business began. I worked in restaurants from that point on until I was 28, (except for a 4 year period from '92-'96 when I worked for Target). There was just something about the energy of a restaurant that I loved. I thrived on the chaos of a busy night. I lived for that adrenaline. This might all sound ridiculous but this is all true. The restaurant business can get in your blood.

My longest running restaurant gig was with a small 'mom and pop' called Luna's, here in Venice. I started Luna's in January of 1999. At that time, I was a social worker during the day and because a supplemental income was absolutely necessary, I sought out a high energy place where I could bank some cash.

And so I did.

For seven years I worked my ass off there, (dropping my daytime job rather quickly),...and loved every single second of it. It was there where I met my husband and some great friends, which was just an added bonus. I truly loved my job. Here I was, a 20-something with a four year Bachelor's degree, waiting on tables, making a lot of money.

I always was so embarrassed to say I was "just a waitress" when people would ask what I did for a living, like it was something to be ashamed of, but when I think back on it now, I don't fully understand why I felt that way.
-had kick ass hours of 4pm-11pm
-made between $600-$1000 a week, depending on how many shifts I worked
-had a flexible schedule
-got to meet new people everyday
-didn't have to take my work home with me
-wasn't micro managed

It was a damn good job. Sure, I had the old couple that would share their slice of pizza, water with multiple lemons, who ran my ass of demanding more napkins, and complaining about the crust being tough, and yes, I had the foreigners who claimed that they don't understand what 15-18% gratuity actually is because, "they don't practice that in their country" :::bullshit:::...but I loved my job.

And Fridays...oh, Fridays. They were BUSY. I lived for my Friday night shifts. An easy $200, at least. When the rest of my friends were saying "TGIF" because they had their weekend off, I was saying "TGIF" because I was about to make some good money and still sleep in on Saturday.

As my body slowly started to show signs of hating me because of the long hours on my feet (and inevitably, my knees), I gave in and looked for a "real" job.

So here I am, a little over 5 years into my career, no more weekends, making a much more comfortable salary, benefits, etc.... and would you believe that I miss my old definition of TGIF?

Call me crazy but the restaurant business found it's way into my soul. I will probably always miss it.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My love/hate relationship...

...with technology.

Remember how...
"Video killed the radio star"?
The Nintendo killed the Atari?
The cell phone killed the beeper?
The CD killed the cassette tape and then the ipod killed CDs?
The blog killed the written journal?

This post is dedicated to my love/hate relationship with technology and where it's bringing us as a society. I know this is beating a dead horse and this conversation has taken place many, many times at dinner tables around the country but it has really started to resonate with me lately.

Technology is killing our personal relationships.

Emailing, texting, IMing, Tweeting, Facebook-ing, and chat forums are all vehicles that we're using to cultivate and maintain relationships. This is fantastic in it's own right. Haven't heard from a friend in 10 years? Look them up on Facebook, stalk their pictures, pretend to care that it's their's fabulous! God knows that I LOVE me some internet time and even built some amazing friendships in chat forums with a group of girls that I call my FIFs.

I am just as guilty as the next person of using all of these vehicles to keep in touch. I even recognize the irony of this post being that I am typing it for the entire interwebs to see instead of handwriting it in my journal...oh wait, I don't even HAVE a journal anymore!
Point being, I do love technology. It's amazing...

However, I read an article today that the average cell phone user receives 347 text messages per month and only 204 phone calls. This made me sad for some reason. Why not just pick up the phone? I understand that it is much easier to text something to your husband or wife, such as, "I'm baking chicken tonight for dinner, is that ok?" (taken from a recent outgoing text to Dustin), or most things work related can be handled via email to cut back on the small talk... but what about emotionally charged issues that are being taken care of via texting and emailing?

That's where (some of) my issue is. It isn't right.

My feeling is that so many people are hiding behind keyboards these days. It is so much easier to type a Dear John letter or vent out a huge work gripe to your boss over an instantaneous email than to pick up the phone and say, "Let's talk", or better yet, "Let's meet for lunch so we can talk". Keyboards give you balls of steel, is what it comes down to.

The problem is that too much is lost in translation. What you're typing is the way that it is sounding in your head but the way it is being read can be totally different due to perception. I have been guilty of responding to emotionally charged emails myself, so I am being a bit of a hypocrite here, but it has backfired on me every.single.time. Maybe it's just that I don't know how to communicate effectively over a keyboard but it upsets me that I even have to try.

I miss the days when we all had to deal with conflict face to face or on the phone. You could hear the emotions. You could interject thoughts. You could respond to accusations with a voice instead of PUTTING THE CAPS ON FOR EMPHASIS.

Then there are obviously other issues with technology that are much more substantial concerns, such as all of the online bullying, sex-ting before the age of 16, cyber stalking, and sexual predators but I suppose none of those are hitting that close to home with me yet. I plan on just keeping Lily trapped in a bubble so they NEVER hit close to home.
I digress.

In summary, and for your ironic pleasure:
It just makes more sense.