Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Fool

I had a crush on a guy I had briefly dated, but never seemed to get over. We both contributed to the twisted un-relationship we had, him telling me, "It's not that I want to go out with you. I just don't want you to go out with anyone else." And me saying, "I just want you to ask me out so I can tell you no." Looks bizarre from a distance, but it was True Love while I was in it. Anyway, I said that to say this: The guy I liked had a roommate who was the most annoying, whiney and helpless thing I'd ever met. We'd all be out at the bars together and inevitably, the roommate had to go home because he felt dizzy, or didn't want to use the restrooms in the bar or spilled something on his shirt, etc. Of course, he couldn't drive himself home, so I'd wind up alone.

One night, we were all gonna have coffee after hours, and whiney-boy had too much beer (probably two of 'em) and was complaining that he couldn't walk. I didn't want to miss out on spending time with my crush, so I said, "Here, I'll carry you." I picked him up (he outweighed me by about 40 pounds) and took a few steps on the wet pavement and slipped. I went down - him on top of me - landing on my knee, turned sideways. I didn't know I'd fractured it at the time. I was too busy trying to calm him down, first because his neck hurt, then his back hurt, then his head hurt. Brother. We all went to coffee. I was limping a little, but I thought it would pass. I went home that night about 3:30 and woke up at 6:00 with my knee about twice normal size and every shade of purple imaginable. Right away, I called the hotel and told them I didn't think I'd be able to make it to work that night. (I had to use a bar stool for a walker to get around my apartment since I didn't own crutches. I think of that every time I hear Jeff Foxworthy's "You might be a redneck if ..." ) Turns out, I was in a full cast, non-weight-bearing for four months. Even after I got the cast off, I wound up working PBX for a couple of months because I couldn't put much weight on the knee. Twenty years later, I still have trouble with it.

One of the first gigs I got sidelining outside of the hotel after I was back on my feet was at Coors, working for ARA, a huge concessions conglomerate that handles convention centers and the like. I was told the job involved some "light cooking" and I said I thought I could handle that. 30 minutes into the shift, I called the food and beverage director of ARA and told her, "I will never, ever, ever and forever work for you again. Barbecued chicken for 300 people is NOT 'light cooking'! I don't even know how to make this for ONE person, let alone 300!" She asked me if I was walking out and I said I didn't do that. I'd finish the job I contracted for, but she was a liar, and she should be ashamed of herself. And she needed to tell me how to cook the damn chicken. In addition to preparing the chicken, I baked cookies and put together tossed salad and filled bowls with potato salad, set up the buffet (including the tables), bussed, broke everything down and washed the dishes (pans and serving stuff, since it was all paper plates). I was working with one other "waiter" who told me about some place he worked once where they had people who "didn't do nothin' but wash dishes all day." I don't think he got out much.

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