Last night, at the restaurant where I work, the apoplectic sous chef was wearing glasses. I’ve never seen him wear glasses. He is, like nearly every chef I’ve worked with, arrogant, sensitive, volatile, and occasionally charming. As the expeditor, he wields more power with his orders and insults than even the executive chef, who stood last night fingering braised rabbit meat from the bone in a sort of Sunday haze, exhausted and focused. The sous chef’s glasses were disorienting; they made him look like the sort of man I find attractive on the street: bookish, faggy, articulate. I resisted the urge to comment; complimenting a chef on his eyewear would be like laying my head down on his cutting board, pointing to my neck.
The braised rabbit didn’t look as gruesome as I thought it would. “I wanted to make rabbit for a friend,” the night manager told me, “but when I saw it in the case at the market, it looked like my skinned cat. I couldn’t do it.” I’m thinking, again, of becoming a vegetarian. But I haven’t managed to really convert in the ten years since I considered it in the first place.
I made $14 in tips last night. I probably paid more in taxes for my hours than I earned in actual income. One of my tables, a tourist couple from the Netherlands, stuffed two dollars into my hand, saying, “That’s for you. Put it toward your first trip to Europe.”