Sometimes in this life you need to recognize when the higher powers are throwing lemons at you and saying ‘Come on! Juice me! Make lemonade!’
So on this one particular day I am making my way down the street on my way home after getting little work flyering during the week and having just paid my last rent check for a week. I have ten dollars burning a hole in my wallet and this is literally all I have to my name. That and the eighty one cents that I have in my bank account that I probably can’t withdraw. The plans are wandering through the brain…. “What exactly can I get in Chinatown for ten dollars that will feed me for three and a half days until I get paid? Mmmm…. 5 for $1 rice vermicelli noodles, Mr. Noodles, maybe even splurge and get a banana….. a person does need some vitamins.”
As I ponder these things I walk past a restaurant which has in the window ‘dishwasher for tonight needed’. “Oh hell yes!” I think to myself and I walk inside. “Hi! You need a dishwasher?”
“Yes. Are you a dishwasher?” he responds.
“I can be. What is the going rate?” I say.
“Ten bucks an hour for 8 hours. Maybe more. It is our closing night before we do renovations” he tells me.
“Feed me and you have yourself a deal.” I said.
‘Done! You can start now”.
So before I know it I am hustled up to the back of this kitchen and decked out in aprons and other fun things that are ‘chef like’ that are way too over-sized for me. Then I am shown around the kitchen. “Here is your hose to wash things off, here is your dishwasher, here is your bucket with a cloth, start washing walls”. Argh, shitful…. anyway. That is when the fun started and Alberto says “What would you like to eat?”.
So I tell him “I will eat whatever”. So my new best friend Alberto comes back with this salad with balsamic vinegar soaked strawberries and prosciutto that tastes more like heaven than any salad I have ever had in my life. I ate like a woman possessed who hadn’t been fed in about ten years and got back to cleaning some dishes. Then Roberto says to me ‘before it gets busy, maybe I can make you some food?’ Ummmm…. hell yeah you can make me some food! So then I wind up with a pasta covered in parmesan and olive oil with prawns and garlic. Amazing!
So then the real work began. And it was flat out. It was such a busy night that I struggled to keep up with things, but what made it all the more fun was that I got to listen to flamenco music playing live from just outside of the kitchen and it was incredibly uplifting. I was floating on air given that several hours earlier my options were Mr Noodles, Mr Noodles and more Mr Noodles. So I washed and danced in a state of merriment and before I knew it, it was getting on towards close time. Things were winding down. They had some desert left over from the night. Hello caramel flan!! I will have two of you thank you!
What is even better is that at the end of the night they had food in the fridge that they were going to throw out as they were closing for the renovations. Like a mad woman hoarder I am stuffing sliced oranges, tiramisu, chopped vegetables, half a prosciutto leg and whatever else I could get my hands on into multiple shopping bags. I must have looked like the biggest scab of a homeless person ever. If I felt that I could have carried more I probably would have stuffed another flan in my bra! But needless to say I finished up my night of washing, thanked them kindly for everything and headed home at 2am with my $80 cash in my wallet and my bags of goodies.
It is funny to think of how quickly the tides can turn in some situations. Eight hours ago I was walking down the street contemplating Mr Noodles flavours, and at 2am, I am happier than a pig in shit trotting down the street with all of my food and money with a flamenco music band dancing around in my head shaking my booty. Most of the patrons on the street probably thought I was drunk I was so goddamn ecstatic. Life couldn’t have been better! And neither could my stomach!