Tuesday, June 30, 2009

first half/second half

today is the last day of june. the final day of the first half of the year. what can i say about these past 6 months? in some ways, it seems like just yesterday that i moved to philadelphia. at the same time it has been a long droning period of struggle with unemployment and lack of direction. and now, all of that is over. this is a new beginning. the rest of the year is ahead of me...

after less than 2 weeks at my new job i received my discount card--20% off everything in the store! i'm starting to get paid too as the anchor slowly drops in the deep ocean of debt and neglected adult responsibilities. soon it will stick and i will be able to move forward, beyond merely catching up.

and i exhale, thinking about tomorrow's opening day of a certain chocolate-themed restaurant chain at 15th and walnut that i will not be working. tomorrow is the first day of the second half of the year. it's my day off and i plan on making the most of it, to start this new era.

Friday, June 19, 2009

double week

yesterday i did a double shift. at essene i felt at home with the smell of natural and organic food and tattooed, smiling co-workers. then over to mb for my final training for a job i will never actually work. leaving the building i confessed to the one person that i liked from the barista crew that it was my last night and that i found another job. this morning i called the bar manager and gave him the bad news. he was surprisingly peppy and just told me to bring my uniform back, which i did after my second training shift at essene. what a strange week. the summer is now about to begin.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

ephemeral choco-pops

i called my new boss at the natural food store this morning to see how long my training would last tomorrow. if i was finished before 5:00 i could get paid for at least one more training behind the bar at max brenner before telling them to kiss off. sure enough, he doesn't want me to be there too long on my first day. so after coming in at 11:00 tomorrow morning i should be out by 3:00 or so with plenty of time to breathe, eat, and make it over to 1500 walnut street.

tonight i showed up there at the suggested 15 minutes earlier than scheduled. it started raining before i arrived so i was a little wet after locking up my bike and walking into the building. i said hi to the bar manager, who looked at my wet long sleeve striped shirt and informed me that i was supposed to be wearing my uniform. i reassured him that it was in my bag and that i would go change into hit. walking to the bathroom i exhaled and felt the relief of the temporary nature of this ridiculous situation.

i joined my fellow choco-men and women after punching in and spent the next 4 hours learning how things work behind the chocolate bar. we did get to taste some of the hot chocolates which was nice, but the whole experience was pretty surreal for me. knowing that i really don't need to absorb any of this information, that it's all pretty meaningless, i vaguely paid attention just to prevent boredom.

all 9 of us trainees cleaned and closed up the whole thing, bumping into each other and squirming for direction from the trainers brought in from the union square restaurant in new york. by quarter to 9:00 we were done. before we left the general manager had us meet him in the basement office where he handed each of us paychecks for our 2 hour orientation we had to sit through last month. a whopping $12.05!

it was still raining outside when i was reunited with my bike. this week can't be over soon enough.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

sandwich-maker vs. "chocoman"

okay. so, i went to the first training at max brenner last night and it was pretty ridiculous. fortunately i will be getting paid for the 3 hours that i endured. max himself (the mystical chocolatier/cult-leader) graced us with his presence, sharing with us the story of how this all came to be--his ascent from an aspiring romance novelist in israel to the ceo of an international restaurant group. surely, if he had touched all of our foreheads we would have collapsed to the floor. instead we all just sat there, all 150 of us who were hired to work at this brand new center city establishment, obediently listening to every word. laughing at every joke.

there's really too much to say about what happened last night. the main headline is: because of a "gas issue" mb will not be opening for business until july 1st. however, they calmly reassured us that they would keep us busy until then with various trainings and even make it fun for us! whoopee.

i received my uniform before leaving at 8:00 pm: 2 medium-sized brown t-shirts with a drawing of max's head on the left arm and the phrase: "chocolate is good for you" in big colorful letters on the back; a brown apron with one pocket and "100% pure max" scrawled at a dramatic angle across it; and finally, a brown beanie (which one of my fellow baristas pointed out, "is not fashionable and, rather, resembles a horseshoe crab") which ties in the back and features the word "chocoman" on the front. of course, the female-identified barista's hats are labeled "chocowoman." fucking hell.

in addition to the opening day being delayed until "july one," they granted us with today off, along with saturday and sunday to celebrate father's day weekend. this is all good news.

the experience actually wasn't terrible, but it did make me desire the natural food store job even more. this morning, after finishing up a coffee date with local radical historian dan berger, i received a voicemail message from the kitchen manager that had interviewed me yesterday afternoon: "we want to bring you on."(!!!)

i called back and chatted with him for a minute and he asked me to come in thursday to start training. great! the whole cafe is vegan, the people seem really cool, and the only weird thing is that i am expected to bring my own knife to cut the sandwiches....but no uniform! just can't wear open-toed shoes or tank tops. no problem.

SO. i'm still gonna go in for another day of training at mb tomorrow since i'll get paid for it. i mean, what do i have to lose? then on thursday i'll give the bar manager the bad news and my address to mail the check. word. looks like things are gonna work out okay this summer afterall!

Monday, June 15, 2009

early summer job chronicles (continued)

it's unusual that the middle of a month could contain so much upheaval, moments of transition and starting over. today is the 15th and over the past few days the world has been turned upside down and shaken up; mostly for the best.

on friday night lv's roommate and bf ollie began to move out of their 2 bedroom apartment. the living room was filled with boxes filled with (most of the) kitchen items and all the large furniture ready to be moved across town the following day, along with her amazing dog marmalade and cat, estelle.

late that night a car parked across the street from my house (where my least-friendly housemate had moved out of for the summer the day before) containing 3 good friends that i missed a lot. it was so great to see liz, david, and michelle again. l & d were on their way to new orleans where they are moving for liz to begin her librarian career. they picked up michelle in nyc on their way to philly and at 2:30 am they all settled into my bedroom to sleep after a long day of travel.

also, last week i applied for a job at a local natural/organic grocery store that's near south street. they had posted an ad on craigslist the day before for a sandwich-maker and i figured that if they hired me it would be vastly superior to the corporate chocolate culture of m*x brenner that i would begin training for this week.

and that brings me to today. i just had an interview for that job and it went really well. if they call me back in a couple days offering it to me than i can kiss the bald man goodbye forever. although tonight i am going in to begin my week of training. luckily i will get paid for it and i have this plan to finish the training but not work when the restaurant opens for business next week. crossing my fingers!

stay tuned...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

a new, new beginning

from this moment on we will remind ourselves of the things that are good for us and pursue them with wild abandon. they are our fuel, our lifeline. the other shit, those pesky (and yes, alluring) speedbumps on our road to happiness will be rejected and ignored. from now on. let's remind each other of this. let's talk more often. the only thing that can really hold us back now is our own self-doubt. a new summer is on the horizon and anything--everything--is possible.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

into the atmosphere

i feel like i've been thinking about a lot of stuff lately, but i'm not really sure what to write about. in this moment of transition and upheaval i remain in the same place i've been since january, struggling for direction and inspiration. i'm in this weird in between point though where i'm still looking for a job but have this weird one that will be starting soon. i had another interview with prometheus last week where the entire staff collective asked me questions. so intense. i think it went pretty well, but we'll see what they decide later this week...

i wouldn't have been able to sustain myself here this long without lv's love and support. she has just been so amazing. and now she has been laid off from her full-time job and is battling the bureaucracies of unemployment offices, her dysfunctional agency, and the non-profit job-hunting complex. i hope to support her through all of this. we're gonna make it, together.