"I am having the worst day!" Amy announced a few weeks ago as she walked into Toro at the start of our Sunday evening shift. Amy is my brilliant blonde friend. She is a doctor, currently going for her Ph.D. at Harvard, and writing a dissertation on an obscure congenital heart defect. Someday she will be a cardiothoracic surgeon (say that five times fast.) But Amy also grew up working in restaurants: her dad is a chef, her parents own a very well respected joint in Park City, UT, she knows tons about food, speaks French and Spanish, and is totally kick-ass at everything she does for us at Toro. And presumably elsewhere in her life. And miraculously, the girl doesn't really complain, despite the fact that she works five DAYS a week as a doctor and five NIGHTS a week as a hostess/backwaiter/waitress.
"What happened? What's wrong?" I asked.
"Well, they say it's bad luck to go into the lab on Sunday, but I have so much work to do, I figured I'd go in for a few hours before coming into Toro today. Boy was that a mistake! Everything I was trying to do kept going wrong! Then right before I was supposed to leave to come here, I dropped this heart that I've been working on for months on the floor. Now it's ruined!"
"You dropped...your heart?" I asked.
"Yes! I am so pissed at myself! I dropped it in the jar we were keeping it in, so there was glass everywhere and it was just a mess!"
"Glass? Like shards of glass all over? And the heart..."
"Yes, there were pieces of it sticking out of the heart and everything, and it was a total pain in the ass to clean up. And I don't know what I'm going to tell my boss tomorrow!"
"Wait a sec. A heart? Like, a human heart?'
"Yeah, now it's ruined."
"So, you literally broke someone's heart today?"
"Yeah," Amy laughed. "I guess I did."
"How interesting," I said. I thought for a second about how different Amy's other life is from her restaurant job. Working in a hospital, a real doctor, where all of your mistakes have material consequences--beyond just having a customers get pissed off at you and complain to your manager that you're a terrible waitress.
"So, what are you going to do now? Can you get a new heart?" I asked.
"Well, yeah, I'm gonna have to!"
"How interesting. Are hearts expensive?" I asked, suddenly fascinated by the esoteric turn our conversation was taking. "I mean, can you actually put a price on someone's heart? How much does a human a heart cost?"
"About $700-$800." Amy replied. It was a rhetorical question...but, there was my answer.
"Seriously?" I said. "That's it? A human heart only costs $700?" It just seemed so...unromantic, I guess. Way to steal the thunder out of every love song ever written.
"No, no," Amy explained. "This heart was pretty messed up. It had all kinds of stuff wrong with it, it's not like it was a healthy heart."
"Oh," I said. "Okay. So an unhealthy heart, $700. I wonder how much a healthy one costs."
"I don't know, " Amy said. "Probably more."
"And now that heart is totally broken."
"I know! I don't know what I'm going to do!" Amy cried.
I didn't know what to say. "I'm sorry, babe," I said and gave her a hug. "You're a heart-breaker, I guess."