I Swear

Sunday, September 5, 2010

"Listen, you neglected prom night dumpster-baby..."

"Gosh, Garrett, don't mention your mom's sex life like that," replied Jackie in a dramatized huff.

"Oh please, she's a saint compared to your street walking mom. How is work in the skankiest alleys of Sacramento?" I shot back.

"Let's not confuse my mom with what you do on your own time off of work."

"Kids, don't make me come back there!" Elaine called out. She shook her head and didn't bother to look up from epic pile of figs she was slicing.

It took about, oh, a day before I was able to get myself comfortable in the kitchen and start bantering with the rest of the kitchen staff. The delay attributed to my having just started and I had to feel everyone out. Mainly, though, because my job working with children and families all day had finally trained me to zip up my sailor's mouth. Years of teaching my tongue to have a filter and all it took was twenty-four hours of flour, sugar, and backsass.

Elaine and Jackie, the pastry assistant, were more than encouraging in my blooming swearing streak. "In fact, you probably should be swearing more, otherwise you won't keep up with the rest of the kitchen," noted Elaine.

I had anticipated that I would have to enter the kitchen strong and stake out my place against the hazing. Enough reading of kitchen memoirs and hearing from occupational kitchen friends of mine who regaled me with epic stories of lewd conversations, immature practical jokes, and rampant harassment had given me enough time to mentally prepare myself. Still, I was surprised that pastry has the same sort of dialogue. To be honest, I imagined that the world of crostatas and cheesecake would be, well, sweeter. Something more filled with dainty rhetoric and innocent laughter. Not a world where the girl to my left is insinuating that I probably kept dead bodies in the trunk of my car with plans to sexually violate them.

However, the rest of the kitchen staff hasn't disappointed and my expectation have been fulfilled. Indeed, on day one another staff from the savory kitchen side, Dennis, slipped in behind me to whisper in my ear, "I fucking hate interns."

I smiled and didn't even both to look away from the pile of flatbread I was rolling. I let out a laugh that sounded more confident then I probably was, "Oh? And why is that?"

"They're fuckin' idiots man. What school did you come from anyways?"

"Social work," I stated as plainly as possible.

"What?" he was obviously not expecting this answer. Most interns probably said Le Cordon Bleu, or the local community college cooking program.

"I didn't come from a school. I work in social work, work as a food writer, and am currently finishing up my Master's," I huffed out. Probably a bit much, but the point was made: I was not your average intern and I want you to know it.

"Oh, man, you're the worst kind," he grumbled, but I could hear him suppress a smile without seeing it.

"That's what your mom said she thought about you at first. Sad thing she was right, isn't it?"

He pushed me on the shoulder, mumbling about the fucking interns while the rest of the pastry crew, and a few kitchen crew who overheard laughed. I mentioned something about finding out where he lived and murdering him in his sleep before getting back to work. Same old, same old.

It's a lot of fun actually, being able to verbally let lose like this. It's far more therapeutic than yoga, glasses of wine, or afternoon naps have ever been. The only thing I'm worried about now is eventually going back to the work place and bottling up again.

...Ah, fuck it. I'll worry about that bridge when I cross it.


  1. I love this post! I loved working in a busy kitchen too!! Yep..ya gotta be able to take it, and give it. Sounds like you did very well.

    They thought I was "too old" for the kitchen..so had to work twice as hard. lol!

    Best Wishes.

  2. So funny I blew tea out of my nose!! I just found your blog and am loving your sense of humor!! I'm a nurse and the same kind of banter can be found in surgery, but we add in fart jokes. I'm off to read more of your blog. Thanks for making me laugh!

  3. It's so fucking cute when you cuss.

  4. I used to work in the front of the house, but the language and mode of conversation is pretty much the same.
    When I became a nurse, one of the hardest things for me was remembering that it is no longer okay to tell my co-workers to f*** off. And no one here goes into detail about their sexual exploits and other shenanigans-mostly because they're boring and have no good stories.
    I was ready to leave the restaurant industry, but sometimes I miss that stuff.

  5. Very good depiction of our initial encounter. I still think you are without a doubt the single Worse intern that has ever entered the kitchen. Well maybe I was, but your a close second.. Good work man....


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