Thai Vegan

In the past year I’ve applied to/inquired about > 30 jobs. About half of these were in this one week in January when I decided I was a fuck up and tired of being a poor fauxdult.

I contacted all the post production video places, and all the new media things, and the one vegan restaurant that is still in business.

I got a job at Thai Vegan.

To get a job at Thai vegan, I reasoned, you have to be Thai and/or vegan. I was the staff vegan. Except the owner, he is THE Thai Vegan.

The owner of Thai Vegan is called “Pat.” This is his probably his namesake because when he sees you he pats you firmly on the back and asks: “How are you?”

When customers have parties he sets up a back room with karaoke, brings a big Sam’s Club ice cream cake, and sings them happy birthday. On karaoke days he and another server, Ladda, sing Thai pop songs beautifully.

Pat watches the servers on surveillance from the camper in the parking lot, one of his restaurants in Albuquerque, or somewhere on the road in his pearl white Escalade.

Every server is continually folding napkins, wiping menus, or pre-ripping straw wrappers for iced tea, and under-ordered Thai Iced Tea.

Every time I’ve ordered Thai iced tea – in my life – I’ve made the joke: “This is so Thai-iced-tea!” To extend the Australian accent in the bad-joke I say “This is soy-thai-ice-tea.” Noah and River came in to get soy-orange-chicken and an avocado-soy-bacon wrap (American/Thai/Vegan traditions) and Noah asked: IS THIS ACTUALLY SOY TAISTY?

My favorite menu items are the green curry and the papaya salad. Apparently the fake chicken is convincing, and Kampy, the manager, said I was a sinner for wanting to try all the novelty faux-meats.

Customers would point out that on some parts of the menu the soy-proteins are listed as fake, and in some places it just says “fish” or whatever. I would point out that the menu also says we serve both “broccoli” and “brocolli.” A popular dish is “P.E.T.” (punkin eggplant tofu) and I would assure customers that it was not a real pet, but one made of soy.

Kampy had a fun time informing me that I should work harder and move faster. In response I would drop trays of teacups and wink. In a week I got too efficient for these pointers so he started advising me on life insurance and how to build my credit. After that we talked about bro movies, Thai strip clubs, weed farming, and how working in a restaurant sucks.

Ladda and I also discussed our dis-taste for working in a restaurant, she said that as she got older she questioned her decisions more but also started to believe in destiny more. I brought up the idea of brain-wiring as biological psuedo-destiny. She said she just wanted to have a little land and raise vegetables. She asked me what I thought the meaning of life was and we agreed that being happy was all we could really strive for.

I had a dream where I was walking from college to my job in slight drizzle and stopped in a coffee shop on the way. I ordered a rose water tea from the shop and commented that the jazz they were playing was next-level. I was invited to the back room and listened to the music while lying on the clean white floor. One of the grad-student-musician-baristas came into the room and I said: “I love this music.” He replied: “I know.”

Thai Vegan hired a girl who came in with no restaurant experience, who had never tasted Thai food, and who didn’t know what “vegan” meant. Kampy had her taste some of the food and then teased her for a few weeks about how it probably gave her diarrhea. Later the new girl’s cousin, who had never had a job outside of babysitting, got hired. Pat told the new hires to smile more, and to consider wearing lipstick to work. I wondered why I worked there and not in an experimental jazz cafe run by graduate students.

Pat asked me to become the manager but instead I quit.

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