Monday, April 9, 2012

Another Month, Another Moley!I

  If you read the post on the roof dragon, then you know about the Moleskine journal round robin. If you haven't read that post, well there it is, right below this one. Check it out. I'll wait. In the meantime, I'll upload the latest image...

The theme for the moley that arrived next is Around the World Under the Sea. It only just occurred to me as I'm writing this that I took the moley to the bottom of a river, not necessarily the sea. The East River in particular. When I mentioned my idea to the moley's owner, she didn't object, so I'm assuming it's okay that I deviated slightly.

Why the East River? Well, most people are familiar with the famous waterway, the divide between Brooklyn and Manhattan, as a place to make something disappear....forever. I have always wanted to take up scuba diving and go exploring this particularly dubious stretch.

But that's not only reason I went in this direction. I have my own little story of a contribution to the debris down there, somewhere slightly south of the Brooklyn Bridge, nearer to South Street Seaport than Brooklyn. While I was an art student, I worked many jobs. One of the most lucrative jobs I landed, a server for fine dining catering, was through a coworker of yet another job. He only asked me to fill in because I was the only female he knew who was available to work that weekend. Typically, they had an all male staff. That is, until the lawsuit claiming that was discriminatory. Therefore, they had to have at least one female per shift. I ran up to 37th St. and bought my first tuxedo, with both a black and a white jacket, and I was ready to go.

The company had a main function room above their restaurant, Gianni's, at the water's edge in South Street Seaport with a terrace overlooking the river. They also had two cruise ships that would swing around lower Manhattan while people had fundraisers, weddings, corporate parties, whatever. It was all quite lovely. And way out of my league. The guys I worked with knew that, but it was me or not working, so they didn't push me overboard or off the balcony first chance they had, fortunately. But I was so clueless - french service, really? For anyone who doesn't know what that is, it's a style of serving food where the food is on the server's tray and served onto the plate sitting in front of the guest. Over the shoulder and lap of their best suit. Or designer dress. So, for example, I had a heavy silver tray of 9 filet mignons, 9 salmon steaks, baby potatoes and asparagus with two sauces in silver gravy boats balanced on my left hand, while my right held a large serving spoon and fork like disconnected tongs, plus a small gravy spoon gripped with my pinky. Very tricky. Five courses this way, including SOUP! Tricky hardly covers it, now that I think about it.

One balmy summer evening, there was a wedding, white jackets required. The ceremony was taking place on the hurricane deck and we were all sent up with our silver trays of champagne flutes to standby and be ready for a toast immediately following 'you may kiss the bride'. There we were, lined up on either side, all straight-faced and formal when a speed boat passed nearby. The waves from the wake caused a stir of unsteadiness and the waiter next to me lost his genuine silver tray full of crystal flutes over the side. Just as the catering captain rounded the corner. He quickly dropped his hands while the rest of us tried not to laugh. The boss saw him, the lone server sans tray, and promptly asked why he hadn't gotten it, yet. He played dumb and promptly departed. It worked.

Overall, I think my total time spent there was all of maybe six weekends. Perhaps I was replaced by another woman taller and more experienced. It was enough to make the tuxedo pay for itself and not be bummed about having a relatively cheap tuxedo I'd probably never wear again.

But I bet that tray is still down there...

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