For the first time since God knows when, I completed a brief, for-pay writing project yesterday. I wish it didn’t matter, but during those couple of hours dedicated to the task, I made as much money as over a day-and-a half at the cheese shop. Brain pays more than brawn, my husband says. I know. Shoot me—I love working with food.
You would think after six months (as of today—happy anniversary to me) of employment in a gourmet food/cheese shop, I’d have gained some serious poundage, but no. Standing on my feet for eight hours at a stretch, leaning into food cases to pull out heavy ceramic dishes, lifting bulky prosciuttos onto the meat slicer—well, these things build flexibility and muscle folks—two things I lacked prior to August 2010.
The occasional aches and pains I still feel are worth it too, because the exquisite product that comes from the kitchen and the cheese case makes for happy customers. I can’t tell you how many times over the course of a day, I offer a sample and watch, grinning, as a patron’s eyes roll back in delight. There is something guttural and rewarding about pleasing a person in this elemental way. Nonetheless, if you told me two-plus years ago that I’d be standing behind a counter offering tastes of carrot hummus or mushroom pasta; I’d have wrinkled my brow. Really?
Though come to think of it, perhaps not.
Like most folks, back when I slogged cement feet through my corporate 9-5, I’d get weary of the pressure and routine of life and daydream about what I’d do “if only.” Never mind that I’ve never worked in one, my romanticized image included rising before dawn to load breads and muffins into a bakery oven. “If only” included departing that job mid-morning to take classes and write.
Substitute the bakery for a cheese/food shop, and I’m kind-of, sort-of, there. The class part comes next month when I start a six-week a fiction writing workshop our town library scored on a grant.
I'll admit however, that nowhere in my daydream did I comprehend the added benefit of the stamina achieved via lifting and washing cast-iron pots and pans. Good food and a work out. Who could ask for anything more?