For this Friday I’ve included a photo from each job location–New York, Arizona, and Alabama. Have a good weekend! Hope to have some new video up next week…
One of the interesting aspects of restaurant work is the hierarchies between various kitchen employees. Waiters are upper-class: they receive the most tips and actually don’t serve all that much food. The folks who do the serving are called “runners”; they bring out the food and do a lot of the heavy lifting. Runners are middle-class, as they make a decent amount of tips and generally have been at the job for some time. Delivery workers are lower-middle class. Delivery could suck, especially when having to bike in the rain and snow, but at least we receive tips. Dishwashers are at the bottom. I think we went through four dishwashers while I was at the restaurant, who all made just above minimum wage and never saw any tips. They also have, by far, the hardest and least pleasant work, spending hours in very humid conditions and covered in leftovers. If I were a restaurant manager, I would create a special tip line for the dishwashers.
Although this isn’t exactly the best photo I’ve ever taken, if you look closely you can see that the lettuce cutters are swinging their arms around. One of the favorite parts of my day was our morning exercise routine. First of all: who knew that farm workers did calisthenics? It was really fun on the drive to work to pass so many crews of men and women warming up in the fields. The calisthenics also gave us a chance to gossip and complain about whatever there was to complain about. In this photo, the man with the hairnet is leading the group. After arms swings, we usually moved into squats.
I was lucky to arrive in Alabama and get hooked up with a cheap place to stay within the week. This was to be my home for two months. Coming from New York City, it actually felt quite large. One of the best aspects of living in it was that I had no TV, or radio, or internet. For the first few days I was totally bored, but eventually my brain started slowing down. By the end, I found that I loved the feeling of being totally disconnected from the rest of the world. I would wake up, make coffee, and drink the coffee without doing anything else but drinking coffee. I also watched a number of flies get caught in spider webs, and spiders wrap those flies up into web cocoons, and finally sink their spider teeth–if that’s what spiders have–into the flies. One of the less pleasurable aspects was the lack of a fridge, which meant that I ate a lot of Clif Bars and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.