Notes Can Be Broken

Age is a state of mind, or so I thought until 57 years kicked me in the ass this week. Work has always been physical, I credit on the job activity with keeping me healthy, it never occurred to me I could be broken.

The enormity of off site catering is difficult to explain. We can’t run to a shelf for equipment, everything we need is loaded into a truck, loaded out when we’re done. On arrival rented tables, chairs, glassware, ice, plates, cutlery and ovens wait for distribution. Roll out tables, set them and place chairs. Build bars, kitchen and buffets. Four hours of hard labour under our belts before the first guest arrives if we’re lucky, a frenzied hour and a half if we’re in deep shit. We build, adapt and improvise spectacular parties without complaint. Guests remember the meal and libations, nobody cares about logistics.

Funny thing is, my job is to ensure guests don’t care about logistics. I’m a Swiss Army Knife – sturdy, reliable, a tool for any situation. My strokes come from putting clients at ease and comradely moments when staff exhale silent acknowledgement of our work ethic. Before today thoughts of reaching physical limits capable of breaking me down were inconceivable.Now I face a sobering truth, Notes can be broken.

Seven day chronology of a shattered Notes – Last Friday was day one, a 300 person plated dinner under a tent on a sports field. Day two ran sixteen and a half hours, 265 guests on a rural estate for a quarter of a million dollar wedding. Fitbit equipped staff recorded walking over 25 kilometers back and forth from kitchen to party tents.At least the valets got golf carts, my staff operated on stoic determination.I don’t remember driving home at 5 am but won’t soon forget catatonic day 3 unable to get out of bed. Day four demanded 13 hours, the first 8 humping lunch deliveries all over town followed by a 250 guest reception. Day five’s plated dinner came with stairs, mere mortals might cry, we laughed at the irony. Yesterday was day six, 700 guests at an animation studio. 12 themed food stations spread over 4 floors. Routine day seven dawned without adrenaline, driving to work I wondered what was wrong with me. Denial stalled inevitable until a few hours ago when processing realities of the next two days off erupted in spontaneous tears.

Solace kindly reminded me how many staff half my age were broken this week. Thank you solace, point taken. Come Monday morning glue on  shattered edges will dry. My job is like childbirth – forget the pain and look forward to doing it again.


Tight and Perky

Ours is a tight and perky world. It isn’t Tight or Perky’s fault, they can’t help youthful perfection. So much to do; billboards to adorn, bars, restaurants, shops, reception desks to fill, ad campaigns, endorsements – Tight and Perky are the face of society, specimens of flawless perfection,  Tight and Perky need only twinkle a forced smile to cement their place in line. Theirs is a world of fabulous illusion – asses tight, breasts perky – opportunities are limitless.

Feigning innocence, never completely admitting it was Tight and Perky that landed the job, overlooked mistakes, shrugged off utter incompetence, or “made an exception this time” – all symptoms of the lofty pedestal society erects for the young and fabulous. Looking around, finding themselves surrounded with nothing but Tight and Perky, the illusion grows until fabulous is reality. Young, hip, connected, trending – Tight and Perky live in a bubble mistakenly taken for the future.

Eventually Tight falls and Perky sags. fortunately most have long since realized other merits. Education, career,family, and life experience equal contributors towards capable, intelligent and insightful people. People able to prioritize, rationalize, conceptualize, sympathize, and any other “ize” you can think of. Confident, well rounded individuals whose longing for tight and perky evaporates if it means losing all they have learned. People of depth; unwilling to play the charades of tight and perky youth.

The trouble is – Tight and Perky are trending. Monopolizing just as they always have. For every one that withers another stands to take its place, society demands perfection. Image sells, substance without youthful packaging is a liability. Ours is a tight and perky world.

I wish I could witness the moment each and every one of the image driven nincompoops responsible for Tight and Perky over merit, felt the first sting of rejection. That holy crap moment, complete with sickening churns of the stomach when they fully understood their image was frowned upon. I want to be in their heads when protests of  “I can do this better than anyone else” or “I’ve earned this” erupt, having to listen as carefully worded kiss offs sweep them under the rug. I want to hear them scream “ours is not a tight and perky world”.