You can feel it in the air. Stress. As volatile as gasoline doused or an angry lover. Emotion which crawls up my body slow, burrowing, making a home in the pores of my skin.
here we go, yo.
Roller coaster lifts, creeks upward, only to let us all go after its crescendo.
are you in or out?
The lists grow, the people wring hands, take up smoking, drink coffee for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tempers simmer or boil or sear or steam a soft hot burning shadow. Pressure tightening like a happy python.
do you know who you are?
Friends fall away, phone-calls go unanswered, home fridges empty, significant others take a seat on the shelf next to bills and laundry. Demands get begged, purveyors wish you could lose their numbers, cooks hear a shortness in our voices we can barely control.
are you strong enough?
What seemed important a few weeks ago is no longer. Sleep is merely a replay of the day before or the day to come. Numbers get crunched, staff learns new words, tastes new foods, and we are expected to know that we all know the same amount: absolutely nothing.
suit up or shove off.
People get a talking to. Egos get spanked. Hard. We nip attitudes in the bud, with our fists. Communicating language is clipped, succinct. Deadlines come and go. We attempt to reign in the chaos but it grows evermore out of our gripping hands, like slippery fish. T's get dotted and I's get crossed. People disappear, never even attempting to collect their checks.
pinch yourself. where are you?
Press gets written. Writers spin the facts into market-y speak and the question in the end is: will we be able to do it?
how does it feel to stand there naked in front of everyone?
Recipes are tested over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. Mouths get tired of eating the same thing, with a few slight changes, again and again and again. Training staff is both a glorious gift inspiring gospel choruses from all of Harlem, and a burden like carrying boulders up hills, only to release them at the top, walk down and start over.
everyone is a critic.
Computers break. Printers get sick. People lie. The dishes never come from UPS. Sales Reps make promises they can't keep. Bookkeepers lose checks. Employees hand in social security cards belonging to someone else.
are you a leader or a follower?
Designers spell copy wrong. Freezers short out and everything melts. Ventilation systems stop breathing. Handy-men quit. Coolers warm. Fruit goes out of season. Menus change. And the phone never stops ringing.
I wouldn't trade it in for anything.
Find me with tears of joy in my small hands.
The challenge is just what the doctor ordered.