These complicated social relations…

Me and my partner in crime (Bov) worked together serving hot food. While she went for break I worked with Ru. It is so hot in there… I felt jealous of Bov getting out of there for a few minutes, so I started moaning to the manager, that I want to swap with someone. I’ll kill you, he said, making strangling gesture with his hands, smiling. Then he said I can go on the till, but then again Bov was back, so I didn’t want to go. I just like working with her. I like working with Bov, I said. Ru heard that. And you don’t like with me?! What’s wrong with me?!, she got angry with me. I didn’t reply.

I didn’t mean it THAT way. I don’t mind Ru. It’s just she is on my neutral side. Bov is on my positive side, I actually like her. She is my friend, I consider her my friend. We are connected by our experience, we helped each other. When our ex-manager was harassing and bullying us – all of us – we stood up to him together. We go out, shop and have fun together.

And about Ru… If there is a chance she can take someone’s words against herself, she will. If there is a chance she can get offended, she will, It is her against the world. She told me this, she didn’t greet me, etc. I am wondering what made her that way. What life she had? Or it is just working here for over 15 years, in an atmosphere of bitching?

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Pain in the…

Bang, bang, he shot me down,
Bang bang, I hit the ground…

It’s about 1pm, middle of the lunch, busy, people storming canteen from every direction, asking, demanding, chatting, calling, noisy. To put it bluntly – a fire in the brothel. Chef J. is beating a world record in the speed of cooking. He is standing by the fryer. I am in front of him, asking for more vegetables, cause they just finished on the hot counter. Behind his back Daniela and Susana are bothering him for more chips. He’s surrounded. And he’s surrounded by ladies. He can’t stand the tension anymore.

Suddenly, he grabs one of the pots and BOOOOM, how he banged in on the metal table! All three of us jumped! I felt stabbing pain deep in my left ear and I must say I’ve got a shock for a moment! Even now, I can still feel a little pricking n my ear…

A little rectification

I know one more thing that differs me from all these fast-paced people. In my last post I wrote about confidence. Today, just now, I thought of something else that I only mentioned briefly and that is equally important. You simply need to know where the fuck you are going! Without knowing that, you are a lost arrow. A bullet that was shot and missed. You can’t go fast, right to your destination if you don’t know where that is. You will be getting lost on the way, going forward and backwards, turning where you shouldn’t turn. You will end up in a labyrinth of guts, and eventually you will find yourself in a deep, dark rectum.

Mea Culpa

I feel everybody speeding pass me, taking over, just driving on the speed lane of the road.

I see it happening more and more. I feel I am left behind.

I also don’t see them to be much smarter than me. They are simply average.

I see only one difference. Confidence. Self-confidence.

I can see they don’t  tend to over analyse things like I do, trying to plan every step, to predict every trouble that can arise, every consequence possible. They just drive, go ahead, don’t  ask all the time “What if I won’t make it?”, What if I fail?”, “What if I don’t like it?”.

I am standing in the same place for years now. I came to London, got my first job in catering and I stayed. Of course I’ve changed places – physically – but idea stayed the same. Catering. I earn more, true. But I am still a caterer. I can afford to go on nice holiday. When they are over, I go back to catering. I feel like there is nothing else I could do, I can’t see what else is there, like I was cursed and made to die as a catering assistant. I hate this job.

Facebook doesn’t help. I can all the time see people who moved on. I can see people going away, excelling at my workplace. They just do their courses and move on. Cristiane. Slavek, Moham, now supervisor J. Painfully I realise that the only thing that keeps me where I am is Me Myself and I. My indecisiveness. My fear. My 30 years old “I-don’t-know-what-I-want-to-be-and-who-I-want-to-be-and-who-I-am-now-and-where-I’m-going”. Restless, uncertain, undecided, scared, frustrated, sick, miserable and just simply undoubtedly unhappy I am, tossing.

8 hours

480 minutes

28 800 seconds..

I hate each and every single one of them.

Photo

How much is the new spine?

I will give you three examples, three evidences for my thesis.

First.

I twisted my knee, it swell, but I still came to work. I thought I was doing them a favour. It is always one pair of hands more. It is always a trouble when someone goes of sick. Limping, I was slowly wiping tables. Can you do it faster?! – is what I heard instead of “Thank you”. That was long time ago. Now I call off sick it I have sore toe.

Second.

One of my colleagues, friend even, was sick for few months. Did anyone at work call her, asked how she was doing? She lives alone. Did anyone try to find out if she is all right, if she needs anything? There is some sort of special service for such situations – if a staff member is off sick for a long time, they can visit them at home just to find out how they doing, help out. It is especially useful for people living on their own. Unfortunately, no one was interested to find out. Luckily, Bev has a big family.

Third.

About two weeks ago, during lunch, at the peak, a woman collapsed on the floor in convulsions right in front of the hot counter. I didn’t see the exact moment as I was kneeling to get something out of the cupboard. I only heard a loud thump, only a body hitting the floor can make a thump that loud. She banged her head on the floor. I guess out of all places you can collapse at, hospital is the best one. Canteen was full of doctors and nurses, so she got help very fast, immediately. She was laying on the floor, convulsions ceased, medical staff around her, in the meantime someone has brought a stretcher. Did they tell us to stop serving – at least for five minutes – to help doctors do their job? Nope, they call a security lady who blocked the way, so people didn’t wander around where the lady was laying on the floor. This way, please – security female was directing people. After the poor woman was taken out, floor was washed and disinfected, we kept serving. I was a little bit shaken, I’ve never seen anything like this. A colleague working with me, who saw the whole situation, had to sit down to cool off. Maybe it was epilepsy, maybe a seizure, maybe a stroke. We are catering staff, we don’t know. Maybe she could die on that floor in front of us. Maybe stopping the service would be just nice, respectful, reasonable thing to do? If she died would the body be simply carried away, floor disinfected, service uninterrupted? Is it all about money?

At the end, comes my thesis:

They simply don’t give a damn about anything but money. We could also just die there, they would get the sweeper, swept us off and carry on. We are good as long as we are of any use. When we get sick, no one cares, we become a hindrance. Sick, maybe even dying customers? why would they care when facing money loss? Or maybe I am just being dramatic?

I write it inspired by yesterdays accident. Supervisor M., carrying some coffee cups was walking the corridor, along the doors to fridges and one freezer. She slipped, fell on her butt, hitting her tailbone. She wasn’t able to stand by herself, someone had to bring the office chair and sat her on it. Again, no better place to fall over then hospital. She was sent to A&E, where instead of getting some actual help, she got paracetamol and a bunch of leaflets about back injuries.

This is a subject for a separate story. In my country a patient in such situations would be examined, X-rayed, not like in UK just interviewed and sent home, after being given and information “If you start feeling any tingling in your legs, come back to us“.

After she was back from A&E – actually, she was pushed on a special armchair with wheels used by porters, she went home, one of her siblings came to pick her up. She wasn’t even able to get up to put her coat on.

Why did this accident happen? It happen because door to the freezer had been leaking. It has been leaking since months! They’ve tried to fix it without much result. Months! How much time do you need to fix the door? After so many months they could have order a new one! But then… You would have to care… Especially of how much money it would cost.

Bad, bad catering assistant!

OMG! It is probably unprofessional and maybe even rude what I’ve just done. But, to my excuse, I’ve had enough… 8hrs in that place is enough.

Thursdays are always the worst days. On Wednesdays there is everybody on duty. Everybody. All three supervisors, all permanent staff, all zero hours staff. At 6.30 am supervisor and one staff member start shift, then at 7am someone comes, next person, second supervisor at 8am, and one staff member at 9am, plus two part time girls from 10am to 3pm.. Late shift starts at 11.30. At this time there is a third supervisor coming and two other staff members. Another part-time girl starts at 3pm. Day is running smoothly and easy. Unfortunately after that, comes thursday. Usually it is two people less – there is no one starting at 10am, and no one at 3pm. This turns Thursdays into a nightmare. It reminds me The Old Days, before the New Company took over, when we used to run like headless chickens, between tills, coffee machine and cleaning.

Today is also thursday. Busy as always plus some hospitality to prepare and deliver. I am not sure who was making the list we use to prepare but apparently we forgot about one customer and they never got coffee and stuff they paid for. They were clever though and nicked coffee that I delivered to a different customer who then called complaining: Where is our coffee? After it was all sorted, lunch started:

I got this feeling that they’re gonna break down the door
I got this feeling they they’re gonna come back for more*

Here we are getting to the point. I started at 6.30, so I finish at 14.30. So was J. 14.30 came and passed and no one came to take over. J. finished serving one customer, turned around and walked off. Making hot chocolate, I shouted to her to call someone. I finished making the hot chocolate, no one came. So what did I do? I turned around and walked off. I walked off leaving a line of about 8 – 10 people dumbstruck. Are you kidding me?! Are you serious?! – I heard them asking. I replied Yes, I am, but I am going to call someone. So I did. I don’t know if anyone came there, and how long it took because I’ve disappeared in the thin air.

Why didn’t I wait? You see, I didn’t wait because first and foremost it wasn’t the first time – I remember plenty of times, waiting, calling and no one came. I ended up stranded there for 15 minutes. Second reason – they are such excellent time keepers. If I am late to work 10 minutes they tell me off, they keep tracking my break time, we all have to clock-in and out when we go, so we can’t be even a minute too long. Otherwise – they tell us off. Third reason – no on was controlling this place today. Manager nowhere to be seen, one supervisor busy, the other supervisor was J. who walked off first.

*Quote comes from The Killers’ song Tranquillize.

On my limit. Wall.

I hardly control myself. Hardly. Millimeters separate me from being unpleasant, rude. Sometimes I even brush against it… For example: two situations. First – a customer came to the till to pay for chips. He said he paid for the rest of the stuff he had and showed me a receipt from a card machine. And then I said: This receipt doesn’t show what you paid for anyway. It just came out. Ooh, ok – was his reply. He pissed me off, I’ve lost it. He kept shoving me that bloody receipt like I was questioning his version, like I didn’t believe him. And to be honest, I didn’t give a shit at that moment if he paid or he didn’t. It is non of my business to check him. Second situation: a guy was buying an Americano, black. I made him a fresh one, I never use old shots of coffee. Fresh coffee made so-called crema on the surface – a sign of freshness, it goes off after a minute or two. He saw the coffee and with a reluctance in his voice he asked why it had such a color, he didn’t want with milk, he wanted black, why is it so light in color?!  J. helped me a little bit here. But still, I got pissed off. He’s not happy with a fresh coffee. Like he never had a coffee before. Or like he got a fresh one for the first time in his life…

Air conditioning is not working. Always around 6pm it goes off. Fumes from boiling oil hover all over the restaurant, I look around and it is like I was looking through a fog. Everything is milky. I breathe it in and out for one hour, till I get a pounding headache, till everything around me spins and I have to escape for few minutes to the changing room, to wet my face, my neck my arms with water to cool off.

Feeling like that, how the fuck can I keep smiling to these idiots, when everything is always wrong? This is the worst thing about this job. It doesn’t matter how hard you work (I can’t work any harder), how much you give off yourself, how many extra miles you walk with no water, exhausted, crawling – it doesn’t make a difference. Everybody is still unhappy. Managers. Supervisors, colleagues, customers. You tear your guts out and still, nothing is right, everything is wrong. All blissful energy is sucked out and wasted. Good energy, glittering, glowing energy. I am drowning in a river of toxic waste.