So here’s the setup: Basically I was underemployed going on unemployed. I had three jobs, but two of them ended due to seasonal issues (Yay for my Travel and Tourism degree! >_>) and the third was a mere 12-16 hours a week. Since I was nowhere near making my bills I put in my notice so I could job-search full time.
Right off the bat I applied for and was hired on full time for a dishwashing position at an Indian food restaurant. A more tactful person would probably leave the name of it out but fuck it the place was the Taj Mahal in Halifax close to the Westin Hotel. I was to work five evenings a week, 8 hours a night. The pay was bad but that was to be expected really. The owner of the place mentioned that he had a lot of people take the job and leave after a single shift. He said so in a bragging manner. That should’ve set off some red flags but I was too busy being relieved that I finally had full time work for the first time in half a year.
Showing up for my first shift I could only find a single server who was getting ready for the evening. It took me awhile to find him even after walking around both levels of the restaurant. The upper level had a small room behind the bar with a small mattress with pillows and sheets. Weird.
After meeting the gentleman who was setting up, he led me to one of two kitchens that I would be cleaning. One of the two kitchens that I would be expected to keep clean. By myself. On separate floors with no way to move between them without moving through the dining areas. Oh jeez.
There was a mess but they were short-staffed with regards to dishwashers before I was hired so I was ready for that. Then the cooks came in. I like to think I don’t generally have a problem with cultural/language differences and the like but when you need to work directly with a staff being able to communicate with people would be pretty neat.
It was about this time that I realized that the dish pit was nowhere near as warm as it should be. Asking one of the servers I learned that the hot water tank for the building is extremely small/poorly made and it runs out quickly. So basically I was expected to sanitize everything with cold water. Awesome.
Now I will say this: The cooking was good at being stereotypically Indian. Unfortunately so were the hygienic practices of the people preparing it (Note: I’m not saying that stereotypes are true outside outside of this one specific incident!). At this point I couldn’t help but notice that the entire side of one of the fridges was covered in Food Safety Regulation notices.
The other dishwasher employee came in later to check up on me. I won’t get too much into it but basically the only person I could communicate with in the entire kitchen was a little . . . Off-kilter. When I asked him how I was supposed to sanitize anything while pressed for time with no hot water he responded by hastily scrubbing a few pans by hand and tossing them aside.
Falling behind and disgusted with the poor sanitation of the place I walked off before the end of my shift, crossing off all of my shifts on the wall and writing on it that I quit. Depressed and feeling like a failure in life I began the walk/bus ride home.
Walking down the sidewalk with my head hung something caught the corner of my eye. Looking up I saw what was the most oddly inspiring thing I had ever seen in my life.
An older man was standing outside of a cafe with an electric guitar. He had headphones plugged into it and was calmly playing it, cigar(ette?) dangling out of his mouth as gentle snowflakes fell down in a poetic manner. He just looked so . . . Peaceful. Like he was doing what he truly wanted to do and nothing else.
It made one of the worst nights of my life slightly less shitty.
P.S. I never did get paid for the hours I worked there.
P.S.S: The place burned down sometime in late ’09/early ’10 if memory serves me correctly. Hopefully in rebuilding they at least fixed the hot water thing.
Adam sent me this picture of his dog. I’ll let it speak for itself ha ha. Thanks man!