Today was one of the longest of my days at L'Etoile. We only did 32 covers and I was smooth running all day, but when I explain what happened to me yesterday, hopefully it will all make sense.
Tuesday, I came in to work a day shift. Scott the pastry cook was covering my shift on the line because my bosses wanted me to inventory the whole restaurant, and Graze while I was at it. It is the end of the month and that is how things go. Usually, each cook inventories his/her own food and the sous chefs cover every thing else... but hey, they've got Mikey the intern who does anything they tell him to with a smile on his face and a pep in his step. "Mikey you're working like nine days next week. You might just wanna bring a sleeping bag and sleep in dry storage." When I laughed and responded "Ok I can do that." Not fully knowing whether Pete was joking or not, my bossestold me I'm no fun and they want me to seem like I'm suffering or something. So instead I got to count and weigh every single food item in house for two large restaurants. This task included shivering in our walk in freezer for ten minute intervals until I started to feel hypothermia set in and decided to start weighing the baking goods. Then I'd go back in the freezer and eventually, my socks were frozen to my feet and my fingers were completely numb. And when Pete came upstairs around 6 and said ,"Oh thanks Mikey, we were going to have the porter inventory the freezer, you can go whenever" I felt like ripping my own hair out.
I set out for my new favorite pizza joint, Pizza di Roma, for a quick slice, then started my bike ride home. I was five blocks away from home when it happened. I was riding my bike along East Washington in the designated bike lane, when some ass hole decided to cut in front of me and turn right while I was going through an intersection. It was still broad day light but I don't think he saw me and I swerved to try and avoid him, I skidded along my left side and he knicked my front tire in the process. I guess I didn't yell loud enough or make enough contact with his car, because he drove off like nothing happened. I quickly jumped up, pissed beyond belief, only to realize that he was out of sight. I looked down at my left leg and it was bleeding. A lady in a mini van pulled over and checked on me. I thanked her, and jumped on my bike. By the time I got home The blood from my knee was half way down my shin, and I realized then that my foot was scraped up and my right hand was scraped too. I wasn;t in any real pain so I just kind of shrugged it off. My bike was fine, and I had escaped with a few cuts and bruises, no biggy. No need to call the cops. It was pointless.
But after I rode across town to visit my friend Mary and I was on my way home, my knee started to hurt, and so did my hip a little. I knew this hip pain, as it has been my Achilles heel for about 4 years now. I call it goalkeeper's hip, because after all these years of diving and throwing myself in harms way, landing akwardly time after time after fully extending myself horizontally 5 feet off the ground, my pelvis has given up. It's rotated at like a 40 degree angle and any kind of sudden stress to either hip will cause it to pop, But I know how to deal with it, I do these little stretches that ease the muscle back into place and within a few days all is good. I went to bed hoping all would be well.
I woke up, however, feeling like I had been runover by a train. I had a headache, my hip was aching, my knee was slightly swolen, and my foot was pounding. I popped a tylenol extra strength, iced down my knee, did my stretches, and set out for work. I got to work and Chris the chef at Graze said "Holy shit Mikey you alright." I was noticeably limping. I told him what happened, he laughed and asked what kind of car it was. I said it was a silver camry. He said "Oh shit my brother in law drives a silver camry. Im gonna call my wife." Turns out it wasn't his brother in law. Pete saw me limping and asked the same question. He asked me if I needed to go home. I looked him in the eye and said, "No sir, I'm fine." He pulled me aside and said, "Mikey, don't be a fucking hero, if you need to go, go." I said I was good and went back to setting up my station. Pete yelled from across the kitchen. "Hey Mikey, Aaron's sick again with an upset stomach, I can't to tell his ass you came in after getting hit by a car. Intern's got balls!"
I hobbled my way around the kitchen, news of my exploits spread all over the building, and even Graze servers were coming up to check on me. I couldn;t really bend over to get into my low boy easily, and going up the stairs was rough, but I managed to get everything done with relative ease. Service was rough, after being on my feet for five hours, my left leg started to tighten up, and I did everything I could to keep it loose. I eventually developed more of a limp as the day went on, and the scab on my knee opened up towards the end of service. Weinstein noticed that I was bleeding through my chef pants. I did what a cook would do, as soon as my board was clear of tickets I ran upstairs to the changing room with a box of plastic wrap. I padded my knee with paper towels and wrapped it in plastic. Then changed into a new pair of pants.
I came back down and finished the night. I rode home, and sat down on the couch. My whole body aches. I don't even want to get up to turn a fan on.
Tomorrow will be rough too, but I've just got to make it through Saturday. Saturday night Anna is coming up from Chicago to pick me up. Were heading straight back to Chicago to her new apartment and I'll stay until Monday night. We're going to a cubs game. I really could care less about baseball or the cubs for that matter, but I have been craving a hot dog for about three months, and I know I'll get a damn good one or five at Wrigley. Only I would pay twenty bucks for a ticket to stand in line and pay 5 bucks for a hot dog and a coke, when I could buy twelve of each for the same price at home. Hey, it's all about the setting.
Tune in Monday when I rant about how no one should ever put ketchup on a hot dog. Hopefully I'll be walking straight by then.
P.S. this made me feel a hell of a lot better when I got home. Just watch it. You will probably only kind of regret it.