Sunday, August 24, 2003

my big fat Greek catering job

Whoa. Last night I worked a party for an exceptionally wealthy Greek-American family who live in a conservative California town. They had just finished building a new pavilion in their compound, and were breaking it in with a birthday/anniversary celebration.

Everything--and I mean everything--had been covered in blue-and-white striped fabric. Walls, chairs, tables. The floral arrangements on the dining tables were great masses of blue hydrangea, quietly burning black at the edges from the little votive candles. Each place setting had a little Greek flag standing at it. We served Greek food, natch, and there was a troupe doing traditional Greek dances after dinner--my favorite part by far. There was also a tap-dancer, and some famous New York pianist I'd never heard of mauling the Great American Songbook, and a cake shaped like the Parthenon.


I am of serveral minds about catering. I've been at it pretty much full time for four years, and my enjoyment has seriously waned of late. I have grown to hate being thought of as 'the help', particularly by snotty entertainers who have to have all the waiters cleared out before they do their sound check. I am heartily tired of handling things that have been in other people's mouths. My back hurts. I'm in the highest position I can achieve within my company, on the track I'm on, and I don't see anywhere I'd like to go. Yet sometimes--like a few moments last night where my guests were being really sweet to me and really enjoying their meal (we have great cooks)--I remember how good it feels to make a wonderful experience for people.

But this has got to stop. It is time. I want my weekends back. I want health insurance. I need to focus on and sell more writing. I would like to be able to spend time with friends that work those strange and exotic day jobs. I would like to be able to spend a Saturday with someone I'm seeing and not have to rush off, crumb knife and wine key clattering in the pocket of my outsized tux pants.

It's been so long since I held down a regular job, though. I don't know if I'm even capable of it. Two nights ago I went out with a group of friends, including Mask, who like me is an INFP. Mask works for himself, but he used to be some kind of management dude. He told me Friday as we were heading to dinner that a consultant who deals with organizational psych once told him that INFPs should not work for other people if they can help it, or work for companies which they don't own. Which makes perfect sense to me. Also, both of my parents have been small business owners, which makes me more statistically likely to be an entrepeneur myself...I just need to pull my stuff together and learn how to handle paperwork, marketing myself, and so on. I want people to find me and offer me fabulous work, but I'm getting the picture that it doesn't work that way.

The grace note: yesterday PRobot drove me to the BART station so I could meet my ride to the job, and in the car we started barking and howling like dogs. All the way down Market Street. The windows were open. No, it wasn't exactly a heavy, intimate, intellectual conversation.

But it was some damn good howling.