Friday, June 09, 2006

olivia and the goldie locks

Today we had a staff meeting at the 647. We usually have these about once or twice a year, to whip the new staff into shape, and to just generally make sure that we're all on the same page about how we do things here in Andyland. Staff meetings at 647 can be recognized by the following things:

  • Some manner of food or treats, compliments of Andy. Today they were pastries from flour, the place where I go every day for coffee and they were delicious. I had a full-fat scone, thank you very much. And I even took half of one with me after the meeting, for the road.
  • Some manner of race, which is intended to be a team-building activity, and usually entails running down West Brookline Street while balancing an egg on a spoon. Usually I am too tentative about this, speed-walk down the street instead of running for fear of breaking my egg, and talk all the while about how non-competitive I am, how I always lose the egg race and most other races because I have asthma, and how I don't know why I even participate in the stupid egg race anyway. I usually finish LAST or next to last, second only to, say, the cook who broke his foot and is on crutches, with a lovely, uncracked egg and confirmed suspicions that when it comes o all things competitive, I am a LOSER. Today, however, I had to hold hands with fellow waiter, Chewy, while balancing my egg. Chewy shared neither my fear of getting egg all over my new ballet shoes, nor my distaste for competition, and he made me run with my egg. And guess what? We WON...well, kind of. We got second place. First place was nabbed by the lightening fast pair of Tsering (the 60 year old Tibetan man who makes momos for us, who still has a bullet in his leg from the time he was chased out of Tibet by the Chinese Army) and Alex (a Brazilian prep-cook/busser, who has an equally insane immigration story, I'm sure.) But still. We were the first front-of-the-house team to complete the race. Yay, us!
  • A run down of policies that I now know by heart, most of which end in the phrase "or don't work here." e.g. "Know the menu...or don't work here"; "be on time...or don't work here." You know, standard HR sort of stuff.

Today, they presented me and my co-workers Alexander and Tanis with flowers. Why? Because we've all worked at 647 for almost 5 years. It was a token of appreciation and thanks, and totally made my day. I've rarely gotten flowers "just because," and have never gotten flowers at all from a boss, much less "just because" flowers from a boss. Shucks.

A surprise guest of today's meeting was Olivia (who is pictured here) the amazing, gorgeous ten-month-old baby of Tanis. Olivia was dressed up all in pink: pink camouflage shirt, pink hat, pink cotton pants (not unlike the short pink Victoria's Secret sweatpants I'm wearing as I write this.)

Olivia was way into me when I was first saying hello to her, as most babies are. I think this is because I wear jangly, shiny jewelry and open my eyes real wide and smile as big as I can, and they like that. After just a few seconds, though, she started looking all above and around my head, like she was looking past me, with this pensive look on her little face. Whatever she was looking at, she was considering it very deeply.

"Blonde hair, baby, that's what that is!" Tanis says to Olivia.

"What? Really? Is she actually looking at my hair like that???" I am appalled. Now she is frowning, as though she doesn't know what to make of it all. Then she glances quickly back at my eyes, and breaks out into a big baby grin. Presumably this is because I am opening my eyes really big at her.

"Yeah," said Tanis.

"Oh my god, is she scared of it? I know it's really...voluminous today." My hair is in fact, enormous, a real tribute to my Jersey roots. Thank you 2 weeks of frizz-inducing rainy weather.

"No," said Tanis , bouncing beautiful Olivia on her hip. "She's just not used to seeing it that often." Which is true: Tanis's hair is brown, and Adam, her husband, rocks a Bruce Willis-sexy, shaved head.

An hour or so later, Tanis hands Olivia to Auntie Kitty while she cleans up the mess Olivia made by throwing bits of the aforementioned pastries from Flour all over the floor. Immediately the baby wraps her apricot-sized fists firmly around a chunk of hair on each side of my face and tugs. In fact, before I know it she is all tangled up, but tugging ever so gently, so we're cool.

Now I know why so many moms rock short hair.

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