Spin the Globe with Justin Butner

A world citizen may provide value to society by using knowledge acquired across cultural contexts.

Day One of Kitchen Work

[NOTE: This was all written when it happened, but that was April 19. I am back in Adelaide currently.]

Sitting down to write this is a conscious effort. The sitting part isn’t. That is coming pretty natural right now. But the writing isn’t really coming at all.

My brain is off. Kickstarting it has been marginally successful. It is hard to do when you don’t have something to help. I’m by myself so I don’t have conversation to engage in. My ears are still somewhat blocked up from the flight (yes, 30 hours later) so I am half deaf. That has made meeting people and hearing names pretty hard. It has also made getting instructions at work fun. And I’m tired.

Today is allegedly representative of my new daily routine from now until I leave here.

Wake up at six. This is a time I have not consciously woken up in quite some time. Then again, I haven’t really had a full time job in quite some time either, so I suppose there’s no surprises there.

Get to the breakfast buffet before seven. Load up on whatever I want. This is going to end up being a concern. The spreads of food they put out here are pretty damn good. Dinner last night involved multiple types of steak and ribs. Breakfast had everything from oatmeal and cereal to fruit to eggs and meats. Lunch was salads and sandwich bar. Dinner tonight was again an array of things I wanted to try. They even have an ice cream selection. I’m going to need to find time to work out if I want to eat everything that looks good. And since it is free, it is going to be that much harder to eat in moderation.

From seven to about nine clean up the cafeteria. Wipe tables, sweep, refill things.

Tea break.

Finish cleaning, stocking, and setting up food stations for lunch. Refill bread and fruit bowls, etc.

Eat lunch.

Rock a couple hours of washing dishes, putting away clean dishes, and washing up the pots and serving trays.

Two hour break. Today I spent it checking email, sleeping, and then sleeping some more. I’m hoping that this was more because I’m adjusting to my first day and not because I am that tired. If this continues I will be spending almost all of my time either working or sleeping, with no real time to blog, work on photography, read, or do anything that might enrich my life somehow or be considered a hobby.

Back to work at 3:30 to clean the cafeteria again, restock again, and set up for dinner food service.

Eat dinner.

Then I finish off the shift with about three hours of spraying, scrubbing, rinsing, and putting away. Rinsing plates and putting them through the dishwasher is repetitive but simple. It is also the work you think of when you think about what might go on behind the scenes in a restaurant kitchen. Dealing with the pots and trays is where the real work is. I spent three hours straight spraying grease off of trays, soaking them, scrubbing them, rinsing them, then putting them away. My hands turned to prunes. I lost some skin to tray edges. I didn’t stop moving the whole time.

I don’t mind the work. Actually the in-kitchen portions of it are quite fine. They aren’t easy, but I’m happy to have work. I’m less a fan of wiping down tables, but that is more because the height of the tables and my bending leave me with a sore back. The bigger thing I noticed is that I didn’t really talk to people the whole time. It just became this task that kept going. My brain wasn’t even really working on other things. I was fully in the moment. I was paying attention. But focusing on scrubbing baked-on food remnants doesn’t really engage my thinking the way I’m used to. And so my brain is functionally off right now. I’m staring at a screen, knowing that I want to accomplish things, but lacking much drive to actually take them on.

As I keep going I expect that this will change. The daily routine will become more of a background and my brain will move on to other things. But regardless, I don’t mind the work. I am where I want to be right now. And though my contract is only for a week, I’m hoping that they will want me to stay longer.

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This entry was posted on April 30, 2012 by in Australia, South Australia (Adelaide).

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