Five to nine

Have a drink.

January 18, 2005

Five to one and one to Nine

The afterhours service industry includes as an important part foodservice. Especially in bigger cities when there's enough people around late night to merit keeping a restaurant open 24 hours. In L.A. one of these establishments is "el taurino" restaurant. Taurino means Taurine, or bull-related, and is associated with the bull-sports upon which I have reflected before. The inside looks like the walls of my own room on steroids. Wall to wall memorabilia of bulls spanning three continents and four decades. It is one of the busiest restaurants in L.A. Of course, it is owned and operated by Mexicans, and to a lesser extent central americans. There's a cultural aspect of latin americans which Americans would consider retro or passe, which is a sincere gratitude for work. Grateful to be employed and employers grateful for loyal employees. In a country with relatively low unemployment rates for the past 7 decades, we have come to take work for granted. Not these people, they are loyal and well rewarded. The jobs are all full-time, and there's 3 shifts, the first being the one with most seniority. Everyone with a day job here started at the graveyard and moved on up with years of skilled service. To thank them for a job well done, a party was had by the owner for all his fulltimers AND their families. Think of it as the standard office party with Bone-in racks of rib-eye and salmon pastries. I was hired to tend the dry bar (there were after all, tons of children, all of which by the way, received a gift from the owner) and generally help with the catering of the affair.
At first, it was a little weird, serving people in an establishment where every single one of your guests knows your surrounding work-space better than you do, but they were all very nice and very gracious and appreciative. This made my job for the night a breeze and a joy.
I noticed a few trends among the workers here. First of all, you could tell who the first shifters were easily, they were a little older and had more expensive shoes. Some were kinda tacky, as will happen to Mexicans as they move on up a little, but in general, nice shoes.
I don't know what else to say. I started this post a long time ago (dec. 22nd), and I keep reading it to figure out what I am missing. The heart? the point? the apex or climax of this now dated diatribe about mexicans who work. After all this ruminating, I am still at a loss for ending words. I think about finishing the essay, and i get performance anxiety, butterflies in my stomach and a little apprehensive. I imagine finding just the right words, and I get a sense of elation, and I start looking forward to the moment it actually happens. Then I remember, what this feeling is! I've had it once before. I fell in love with this gig. Absolutely in love. It represented so many of the things and Ideals which i truly value and wish I possessed. Honesty, loyalty and reciprocation, hospitality, service, bloodlust, gratitude, work, effort, reward, enterprise, upward mobility, the Mexican way, the American dream. I'll never find the right words to convey what i think or feel about this one job, in this one restaurant, now long past; as you know by now, I'm just not that good.


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