Feather and I went to see Tanya Tanaq. Very good. Viscerally avant garde. They re-scored “Nanook of the North,” shifting the Colonialist angle of the original film. Tanya talked about how how her people have always eaten meat to survive and critiqued PETA etc. for stripping Inuit seal-hunting rights. After the show, Feather asked me what I thought about all the pro-meat talk. I said: “She is right and I am right and everyone else is wrong.”
I was invited to be the chef for Rodney Mullen’s birthday party. I floated a few pixels outside myself throughout the process of developing and shopping for a menu with his girlfriend. I sipped Gerolsteiner as the ingredients chopped and assembled themselves. When Rodney came in he gave me a hug and said he had lost the same tooth. “I haven’t yet learned how to not fall down” I said, referencing his autobiography.
I have been thinking, there are 3 things I would love to do again in the near future:
1: Make out
2: Quit my job
3: Leave Santa Fe
To work at Geronimo is to interface with several superiors, who urge conflicting simultaneous tasks, and then yell at you for not attending to their task at a given moment. Both me and a peer who has been in fine dining for 15 years, but who is also new at Geronimo, were yelled at an condescended to by most everyone around us. At the end of the night we remarked that this system is odd and inefficient, both considering quitting as soon as possible.
On Tuesday night one of the senior waiters grabbed the appetizer plates I was carrying into the kitchen and yelled at me to do the other pressing work at hand. I went back to my section and noted that nothing needed to be done at that moment, making me appear flustered, which the manager picked up on.
Table 55’s entrees didn’t get fired by the waiter who took their plates from me, which got me in more trouble. When I cleared table 51’s appetizers, and tried to fire their entrees, I was yelled at by the kitchen because their entrees were not yet in the system. Everyone mistook this for my not understanding table numbers.
I was pulled into the office and told that this was unacceptable and that I had to memorize the table numbers. I didn’t make excuses. Instead I thanked the manager for her feedback, complimented the elegant job she did, and quit.
One down, two to go!
The slain body of a black man lay on the white marble floor of a department store. He was wearing a light blue button down and grey trousers – professional attire. When we showed up for our shifts police sent us away. “Did the cops kill him?” I asked.
That evening at Geronimo, Lynn (former boss) showed up (her and the guests she was entertaining being 1% and all, a $50 entree would pair best with a $30 glass of wine). I was glad I had emailed her to let her know I was still in town. She said she would be getting a new dog. “A lab?” I asked. Yes, a black lab.
I still feel worker-loyalty to Lynn, but also, I love her and she cares about me, so I made sure to show that I appreciate her. I was explaining my visa situation, then kissing her and her husband (who is also kind to me and interested in my future) on the cheek as they waited for the valet.
My timing at new-job became un-synced. The white East Coast woman, who wore the work of a plastic surgeon with her leopard print top, yelled “do I have the wrong skin color or something? Can I get some service here?” Just then some cops drove by and shot her.
Geronimo last night: NDN Market, 220 tops, lots of people dropping glasses, staring into Aloha and saying “fuck” under their breaths, etc.
The other back waiter in my section blamed me for being too slow, and therefore making him feel stressed, which caused him to rush, which caused him to slam into someone who was running a plate of lobster, which caused the lobster to fall onto a $40 plate as it broke in the middle of a pathway, which caused the kitchen to yell at him, which caused him to (constructively) scorn me in harsh whispers for the duration of the evening.
He kept pulling me aside to tell me I needed to move faster. I apologized for causing slack, asking what I could prioritize to make my work more efficient. Then I would go back to what I was doing, because I do understand what is priority, and that is being at ease and communicating with people so that they feel understood. Whenever I saw him I looked him in the eyes and smiled. He smiled back.
At the end of the evening he talked me through how I could improve, which I appreciated because what he said was accurate and helpful. I am slower than people who have been doing this longer. I don’t take it personally.
My captain said I had done an “awesome job,” and 3 of the tables asked how many years I had worked there, one of them commenting that I was one of the best servers they’d had. This is probably because I was observing their experience rather than thinking “it has been x time, I should clear their unfinished plates.” Also I make fucking great jokes and I’m real pretentious.
I held the entree plates, bread and butter plates, individual sauce dishes and various silverware of table 43 with my left hand. As I de-crumbed the table with my right hand they asked where I had worked before, I said “Santa Fe Dry Goods… SITE Santa Fe, KIT Brain Research Lab… They asked about my career plans and I mentioned grad school, feeling thankful for their interest and for the fact that I’ve been doing 100 bicep curls twice a week (it was easily 25 pounds of quality table settings). Once in the refuge of the kitchen I eased the weight onto my freshly laundered, white, French-cuffed, slave-cotton Brook’s Brothers shirt.
I wouldn’t say that I did an “awesome job” but this tactic of aiding my improvement provides confidence, while the negative feedback I received will spur momentum (just hopefully not into other human bodies carrying hot plates).
My mom usually knows how I feel better than I do. “You seem depressed lately” she said “Oh, that’s what that feeling I’ve been feeling is!”
Before, Italian visa issues were an opportunity to work on improving my skills before heading off to Fabrica. I was supposed to be there in June, and for the 2 months following that I was patient and optimistic. It was nice to not have a job and to work on my projects and skills toward my own interests. It was like an accidental summer vacation. I just lived off of a travel-points credit card and figured, when my visa issues were resolved, I would use my $700 a month to pay off this debt and build my credit further.
When Monica, the administrator at Fabrica, said she would be on vacation for the month of August I tried to arrange a phone call between her and the head of the Italian consulate in LA.
The problem with the visa has been that the consulate says Fabrica needs to provide some official paperwork from Regione Veneto and Fabrica says “No we don’t.”
The other American, who was on trial the week after I was, has actually been there since June. The Italian consulate in New York didn’t have a problem with the paperwork Fabrica provided (nor did the Chinese, the Iraqi, the Australian, etc.) Anyway, the head of the Italian consulate in LA was on vacation.
I took this as an opportunity to get a job so that I could pay off my debt from living, surprise my mom with as much money as I could ($500-$1000, depending on how good of a job I got/how much longer after August I would be here), and to buy a pair of recycled acetate, Zeiss-lensed round sunglasses once in Italy.
I looked for a job, I found a job, and heaven knows I’m miserable now.
Before, Italian visa issues were an opportunity to improve myself and my skills. Now, I am working a service job and watching as the months are cut off from my residency. A year with a paid month off is now a nine-month (or less) residency with less time to develop those projects I had been imagining for the past 3 years that I’ve wanted this residency.
The part of my optimism that cracked is leaking out a viscous fluid and it is drying bitter.
This is a great opportunity to get bitter and depressed. Ha ha ha ha ha.
Okay, I’m done. Thanks for letting me get that out, dear blog.
At age 17, I was devastated to have been rejected by the Bali Art Project and determined I would work as hard as possible and travel to Indonesia by myself. When the friends who had gotten into the project were abroad, there was a party with basically everyone else I knew. They said I couldn’t come to the party if I didn’t do acid. I stopped by with the intention of dropping off a mix CD for a crush who was graduating, as this would be my last chance to see her. Naturally, I felt unwelcome. Waiting for her to arrive I was served tea, which Chris B. had sweetened with 2-cubes of LSD-infused sugar. I had what one might call a “bad trip.”
Looking in the mirror, I noticed that I was a deer. I was something amorphous. I wasn’t real. I didn’t have a self. Whatever there was was bad: all existence. Everything and everyone had dissolved into an unevenly distributed field of malevolent intention.
I found my best friend, Kristen, to be an exception. She wasn’t evil. She was chaotic neutral. When she (drugged out) asked how I (drugged out) felt I said: “Meddle in the middle of a nettle meadow.”
Morgan came to the party with a synthesizer. I gave her the mix I made. I found refuge in her synth, not that I had ever used one, or knew how to use one. “Music is the only thing that makes sense” I said (repeatedly) and went into the synth for a few hours, until I felt capable of riding my bike home at 5am.
As I pedaled the sun rose, and those were the same thing. Everything was one thing and perfect and bad and good. “Chains-and-brain-cycles-bicycles, music myself a melody, meddle-in-the-middle-of-a-nettle-meadow…” I thought to myself. The perfection of my rounded leg-patterns was so soft and nothing. I reached my arms up and giggled hard over a unilateral field of everything that there has ever been. Red and blue.
5:30-6:00 I slept, all gleaming in the bed someone made.
6:00 o clock dad woke me up, time to build cabinets for a jewelry store on the plaza with a violent nail-gun. Every huge sound brought me closer to the idea of pastries, which we had, at 10:00, when we were done. I was so thankful for sweetness and something to hold onto.
I got to the last day of my gardening job at the St. Francis Hotel late. No one noticed. I poured illuminated purple water onto the plants from the center of my headache. From a second story window, I spotted my former bestie Serrana (she was the one who broke up with me), preparing for her shift at Atomic Cafe. I waved to her and she asked how I was, I said “I am bad!” Smiling. I whispered that I was on acid but she didn’t hear me, because I was whispering.
My boss told me I had done an amazing job, asked if I wanted to come back next summer. “Maybe!” I said “I am going to be in Indonesia most of next summer though!” We shook hands, his hands were calloused.
In retrospect, I was a white teen who had responded to a spanish craigslist posting for manual labor at a hotel, and everyone found this charming. I just thought I was clever for getting a job through knowing some Spanish and writing a cover letter expressing my knowledge of, and interest in gardening.
I was walking down West St. Francis, planning to nap before my third job of the day, when my dad drove by and picked me up. I had forgotten? Had he planned to pick me up? He didn’t drive us home. I tried to say anything. We went to those government buildings and walked through some hallways. Then we got to a space with fluorescent lighting and he got the paperwork we needed to tell everyone that I have never been inoculated, so it would be up to the rest of the population to protect me from smallpox, etc.
In the distracted way that dad and I wandered around the booths at high school registration we ended up avoiding some field trip fees, and later I recalled this, while on field trips. “Good thing I was slipped acid” I thought “we saved like $30.”
By the time registration was over and we had driven the 25 minutes back home it was time for me to change into my uniform and ride my bike back uphill on West San Fransico, to my fine dining job at Amavi. I poured illuminated purple water into the crystal glasses of guests and wondered if liquids would appear this way from here on out. A food runner asked me what I had been up to:
I was pleased that I found the right word for the feeling I was having.
I rode my bike back downhill-home at midnight. My leaving-happiness was layered intricately with exhaustion, wrapped around a juicy, unreasonable work ethic. The cold late summer night let me be the starry sky, which was the same thing as the motion of my legs, and everything else.
I am glad I was stupid and had the best work ethic in the world for low-stakes and low-gains. Any amount of reason would have led me to stay in bed for the entire day. “I got food poisoning” say, or simply “I don’t feel well, I can’t come in today.” Even “I was slipped acid and am still on acid and I have not slept” would have sufficed. But instead I did my best through a challenging situation and know in myself that I am strong. Though I don’t actually have a self – I learned that day.
On facebook, the #1stsevenjobs has been trending.
How many jobs have I had? I have been working officially and paying taxes since it has been legal to do so. ¼ or so of all paychecks are eaten up by the man, for war and for meat subsidies I suppose, and a little welfare. Much of our taxes go into things to which I am morally opposed.
A timeline of my labor essentially highlights class stasis within advanced capitalism. I bet I am forgetting jobs here and there. The thing about jobs is that they are boring and I have had a few of them. This could be something more cohesive, but for now it’s a list and a few thoughts.
1: Age 6: Housesitting the neighbor’s cat/garden while they were in Austria. I wasn’t good at using the front-door key and ended up turning it with my teeth. I made $84 and was so proud. I’ve had many housesitting gigs since then but those are too many to count.
2: Age 8: Painting rooms in Hotel Santa Fe with my mom. We had avocado sandwiches on the scaffolding, on sourdough bread with sprouts and dijon mustard. This solidified my understanding that nothing is better than lunch.
3: Age 12-14: House cleaning, plaster repair, and painting with my dad over the summer. The drugged out former tenants sold us a champagne-colored Mazda sedan for $1, which would officially be my 1st car (Pikachu), though it overheated to the point of no return on my first ride, driving Noah home from school. In the car was $12 worth of loose change, which my dad used to buy coffee and tea for us at Ohori’s throughout the job. Also on that job, my dad had me clean windows using newspaper. Once the newspaper box was open with .50 cents he took out a stack of 20 or more papers, reasoning that it was better not to take too many of the free newspaper so that those would be left for others.
4: Age 14: Selling burritos out of a basket to office workers near the plaza (dad gave me seed money for ingredients, woke me up, and did most of the work making the burritos). That tortilla dough raised enough for a ticket to Oaxaca.
5: Age 15: Ad sales, Sustainable Santa Fe Guide, paid on commission, made $106 in an entire summer of 20+ hour work weeks.
6: Age 16: Bali Art Sale – I organized/ran pop-up shops of Indonesian imports for this enchanting and gregarious woman, Darcy, (who recently came back into my life as the best neighbor ever) while she was out of the country.
7-10: Ages 16-17: Gardener at St. Francis Hotel, gardener at Monte del Sol, construction labor for Qi-Gong teacher, Busser/barista at Amavi restaurant. At this time, I was devastated to have been rejected from the Bali Art Project, and determined I would work as much as possible and go to Indonesia by myself. (I didn’t, I ended up using what I had saved for community college and eventual emergency dentistry). I did the practices Mark Mikow had taught me while working – breathing in all the energy around me and transforming it into light/love. (Now that I’m on job 23 or so I’m doing the same thing).
11: Ages 17-19: Farmer’s market – waking up at 5 for minimum wage, often after illegally drinking at some of the first parties I was invited to and showing up after 2 hours of sleep. (I was the star employee).
12: Age 19: Ohori’s – barista. I ended up being fired so the manager could hire some friends. A friend I made there, Dave Mcp., was also fired after like 3 years or something.
13: Ages 19-20: Yoberri – I worked at a frozen yogurt shop to romanticize for myself the cultural climate and location where my parents met, when my mom was manager at “Eat Your Heart Out” yogurt, in Ventura CA. I also became manager at my yogurt shop. I talked left wing politics with the first owners, and tried to convince them to create a vegan option (nope, I’ll never understand how people for whom morality is a big talking point, who have dogs and love hiking, don’t think critically about speciesism). When the original owners sold the shop to some Jewish people from Mexico, I talked with them about religion and music. They told me to keep the yogurt recipe secret – like the name of god?
14: Age 20: Mills Cognition Lab: Self-designed music/cognition/memory experiment – The professor said my methods were solid and it could get published if I re-did the experiment with a larger sample size, but for some reason I didn’t? Maybe if I had I would be on the way to a PhD in cognitive science.
15: Age 20: Palmer Lab, UC Berkely, student researcher, (unpaid, or rather, I paid to be going to school, or rather, my mom and I are both now paying for that time when I got to work at the Palmer Lab).
16: Age 21: KIT Macquarie Brain Research Lab: I wanted this position so much, and I was so happy I got it. (Unpaid). Here I also had the opportunity to design my own music cognition experiment but didn’t have enough time to pass ethics. Maybe if I had insisted on an extra semester abroad I would have catapulted into a PhD in neuroscience research…
17: Age 21: Macquarie Music Cognition Lab – this was on a volunteer basis, I didn’t think of the possibility to ask for school credit until just now…
18: Age 22: Mama Pacha: because I wrote a good cover letter, was vegan, and had taken some cooking classes for fun, I became the assistant chef at a raw vegan restaurant, which I would argue was the best restaurant in Santa Fe during the minimal time it was in business. I loved my boss. Here’s an old post about this job.
19: Age 22: SITE Santa Fe: I graduated college and wrote a good cover letter to get this one. Santa Fe minimum wage + a complimentary education in contemporary art, and the opportunity to rub elbows with idol art babes. I also developed curricula and taught art classes for at risk/imprisoned youth. I got in trouble for giving one of my students my contact when she asked. Not as much trouble as those kids were in though! Another time, a girl said “I want to be like you, I want to go to college, but heroine is addictive.” Her boyfriend had just died of a heroine overdose. We sang along to pop radio together, she did Ariana Grande’s parts and I sang the Weeknd’s verse.
20: Age 23: Thai Vegan: I wasn’t making enough money to survive at SITE, so I took a second job as a waiter at Thai Vegan. With tips, I made about $12 an hour, $2 more than I was making at SITE. I was promoted to manager after a few weeks and promptly quit.
21: Age 24: Personal chef for SCUBA on their mobile art gallery tour. I fed the four of us on the road + gallery-goers across the nation pretty fucking gourmet fare with the help of Crocket’s EBT and a the dull-knives of others across the country – until Chris and Crocket bought me a good knife in China town. Since I was technically laid off between SITE shows at the time, I qualified for EBT and spent about half an hour on hold with the office each day, they sent me the card but I never got any money from the man, man.
22: Ages 24-26 Santa Fe Dry Goods After being hired to do sales on the high-end retail floor I was pulled for the web-team where I made more than minimum wage for the first time. I built the SEO of the ecommerce store until we were the first results for 80% of our designers, along with serving champagne for special events etc. I left because I was awarded a residency/scholarship in interaction design at Fabrica, and also into Aalto university in Finland. Then I had visa issues for longer than personal finances could stand and got a restaurant job…
23: Age 26 Geronimo: I wrote a good cover letter, highlighted the serving experience I’ve had across jobs. I dearly hope that this will be my last service industry job. Working in fine dining is reminding me of life at age 17. Like I’ve said before, we’re all just the groundwater, supporting the 1%. Where’s your beautiful smile?
I did a bad nap and was having a day. In the night, after work, I was like someone who was sleepy and disenchanted, but I had FOMO, like always, and went to Shayla’s birthday party.
This time FOMO was worth it! Every1 was fun and wanted to chat about noise and pop and dance together on the living room floor. The cooler was full of La Croix! There were dogs. I made friends with a girl from Providence and invited her to the Big Metal Industrial Sculpture for prosecco. Cole and I made puns and Max asked me to DJ. Ysidro and I threw our phones around “thank god they’re broken.” Shayla thanked me for coming, I said I had missed her/the crew. C is back in town and as I left we hugged in a way that communicated we would be making out later. Looking forward to that.
I feel clever when I wake up early. I like to be doing something before the pace of everyone around catches up with me, from 9-5 routines on the road to those I live with. Maybe it’s because I’m a sneaky person, or because I am easily distracted.
If I get a head start, go to the the gym before others are awake, drink coffee and listen to music, go into a project,… I feel I’ve won the day. Then, when it’s 3pm, I am so sleepy I can’t do anything other than listen to an Italian lesson and take a nap.
Either mom or Noah will come home from respective jobs serving the 1% and that will wake me up. I’ll put on my work costume (-$120 from 1st paycheck for tie + cufflinks, -$140 for slave-cotton-French-cuffs + pack-ass-charcoal-slacks), walk to work (gravel on the dirt road prematurely ageing my vegan oxfords), and set tables in a trance before the baristas come in and brew coffee. As I fold napkins I drink some of the coffee.
Then I spend 6+ hours walking around an old adobe house (1756) pouring ice water into cups so that it may be dumped into the sink; using silver tongs to place bread onto plates so that I may de-crumb the tables onto said plates; scooping butter into the bin with a broken rubber spatula; scooping sauce into the bin with a broken rubber spatula; scooping cuts of corpses of select creatures, marinated for 24 hours in a special sauce, seared by the expert hands of chefs for whom english is a second language, into the bin with a broken rubber spatula. Silverware is actually silverware. It goes into the murky water.
I have one of the most coveted restaurant jobs in Santa Fe because I write a good cover letter, I am a fast learner, and I am a hard worker. My good attitude is only marred (in my thoughts, in my diary, on my blog) by criticisms of a system built on animal brethren’s bloodied tribe, by my internal dialogue about how almost all labor, by most people I know, including myself, goes into serving and making more money for the 1%.
It’s not trickle down, it’s trickle-up. We’re the ground water.