4:51 PM, Tuesday, September 13th, 2011:
So Jon The Trumpeter decided he couldn't take care of a puppy and sold little Walter (who I never even had a chance to introduce to you guys -- trust me, it would've broken your heart) to a loving home. Then he erased all the "I GOT A NEW PUPPY!" statuses and pictures on his facebook. He was understandably embarrassed and was like, "let's just pretend that didn't happen."
I chuckled a bit to myself because, as you all know, it is the antithesis of how I operate. I tend to go out of my way to show the egg on my face and most certainly never erase things. I highlight them and make full length features out of them. Mistakes are the essence of who you are. And in a respect? Getting that puppy before he fully understood what it meant, was the essence of who he was. To me? Sharing that with others is how you grow. In my experience, if you hide it... it's just a matter of time before you go down that path again. But again, and I really do mean this, TO ME that is true. I'm clearly over-analyzing a situation (for the purposes of my own story in this entry) and I've found that for several people? They absolutely SHOULD erase some shit. They should put some things away forever and never touch them again because they cannot deal with the process of processing. That process breaks them down to a ball of insecurities that keeps them from even functioning. I watched that first hand a few years back with Donna and I still feel the pangs of guilt for being the catalyst for her opening up her past. She could not face it.
Thankfully, my whole life (and this project) is facing my issues in public and learning from them. It's why I can whistle while I wash dishes at a diner for some extra bucks. It's a pretty interesting story that is full of things most people would hide. So let's jump right in. :-)
So I was having breakfast at my favorite diner, The Hungry Fox, near my house in the valley. The Thai waitresses make this place (Suzy is there during the week, see her and say Hi), and it's standard fare diner food (with incredible homemade jams for your toast). I noticed a "Help Wanted" sign and asked Suzy about it. They needed someone for only one day a week, Monday, and I thought... ya know what? That would be a cool thing to do one day a week. I dig the pace of serving at a restaurant, grew up with restaurants my entire life (Greek family, duh) and there's something about a REAL hard-working, low-paying job that makes you INCREDIBLY hungry for career stuff. Every "shit" job has simmered for about 6 months before I lose my mind and somehow make shit happen (CBS, Comedy Central all came while I was at those type of jobs). I also like Suzy and would enjoy running around with her while hustlin' food and talking to people.... so I asked her who I should talk to.
She looked at me like I was insane.
"It's $8 an hour, you don't want this job."
"That's more than I made last Monday, why not."
Finally by the end of the meal she realized I was serious, and gave me the owner's phone number. I called, and he told me to come in the following Monday (yesterday) and I did.
It was for a dishwashing position. For fuck's sake. I thought it was for serving, and the owner and Suzy kinda giggled because they knew there was no way I was doing that. I would probably be the only non-mexican dishwasher in the entire state. Except... I wanted to do it. I don't care, I need to make a few bucks, I'm not afraid of hardwork - and it's only ONE DAY A WEEK. You know? Like, every workday is a Friday when you work one day a week. I am not above washing dishes all day for $60. So I told them I'd take it. And truthfully? They were kinda fucked at that moment. Already 2 hours behind on dishes and at 9am, people were streaming in. Then lunch? Whew. The owner still looked at me like I was insane, "Are you sure you want to do this?", and I threw on an apron and was ready to go.
(btw, did you know "apron" used to actually be a "napron", but it was misspoken so often it became an "apron" by moving the "n" to the "a"? Yup, that's why you read The Journey)
So I get going and start the routine. Truth be told? I kind of love this type of work and would honestly do it for free to help. It feels like a big video game to me. I want to knock that shit out as fast and as clean as possible and help keep that restaurant churnin' out the meals. I just dig being part of a team and am honestly THIRSTY for it since so much of what I do is by myself...
Of course my mind was everywhere. It isn't lost on me that I'm actually washing dishes because I do indeed need to bring in more money and my career is absolutely nowhere. Thinking of Talya, who comes from clearly a different socio-econiomic background, filled my head. That guilt from 2000 and dumpster diving with my then fiancee Jess watching me in the car came up again. You're suddenly back in a world you knew you'd never be again, and you're 10 years older. I imagined her perspective and thought of an old song. Grabbed my camera, and voila... a strange sub-minute art film:
It was originally a shitty song after my break-up with Burgundie in '97 where I sarcastically redid a love song I wrote for her, "Baby it's You". I now thought of it from Talya's perspective looking at the man she's handing the rest of her life too who is washing dishes to make some bucks. Her father would flip the fuck out. HA.
Of course, I've shown a million times over that I'm capable of more, but the opportunity arised, and I took it. Is it a lack of pride? I guess by some people's definition, but I honestly, sincerely, don't believe I'm above ANY type of work. I never have, and always do everything as fast as I possibly can 'cause I want to be the best goddamn dish-washer that place has ever seen. It's not a lack of pride, in fact it's the opposite. If I can make the statement "I can do anything..." doesn't that also include things I don't necessarily want to do, that I'm over-qualified for, that I'm underpaid for? Doesn't that also take mental toughness? To not have the attitude that I'm above the work? How many people can do that? And whistle and SING while they're doing it?
So I whistled, I caught the restaurant up by the end of the day with only a quick 15 minute break to scarf down some food and by the end? I was actually happy. I felt NEEDED. I felt useful. I helped a team, and I honestly couldn't wait until the following week where I got to feel that way again...
...except they would hear NONE of that. When I said I'd take the job at the end of the day the owner laughed in my face. "No, no, you're too good, etc.". "I really don't mind, man", "No, no..." I couldn't convince him. He thanked me for helping them in an emergency, was impressed with how fast I moved, barely stopping for a moment, but even the mention of me doing it again was taken as if I was actually performing a comedy routine...
...and today I'm actually really bummed about it. You know, I thought about if I had a baby at home and was working to take care of that baby... and how proud I'd be that I was contributing - but honestly? No one would ever hire me. I mean, I get it in the business world. They do one google search, assume you're far more famous than you actually are and figure you'll leave, and you never get past the interview. It's happened several times before and in fact, I think I burned the last place I worked so bad they'll never hire someone in the industry ever again (even though I gave them well more than 30 days and left because of their business practices more than the Comedy Central gig). Ugh.
Yesterday, the day I became a dishwasher and lost even that job by the end. I sure know how to procrastinate this Sundance Film Festival edit of my movie, don't I?