There's a saying for those of us who are familiar with working in restaurants: being "in the weeds". I think of that sometimes, of us like tiny insects or small animals, trying desperately to get some perspective, poking our little antennae or our heads up into the world. But we can't see, we're in the weeds.
A seasoned pro of the industry doesn't often get in the weeds. We know the steps to take; we know how to stay on track. We know the cycles of a restaurant, its rhythms and cadences, its crescendos, and we mentally steal ourselves towards those possibilities. That being said, sometimes, it all falls grandly apart, or you are short on staff, or everything breaks at once-- or, for me, these might all happen at the same time. But a veteran will say it out loud, knowing the only way to get out of the weeds is to admit you are in them, to ask for help in getting out. Even if it's just a simple statement, "Gimme a minute, I'm in the weeds." An experienced industry-ite knows that sometimes just acknowledging your situation gets you out. Someone with experience knows that the great thing about being in the weeds is that if you keep moving along at a steady pace, it's bound to clear in just a few minutes. The weeds don't last long, but they sure can rattle you if you don't understand what's on the other side or that soon you'll emerge to see it.
But when you're stuck, when everything is going fantastically wrong around you-- for whatever reason-- and when you know that people are relying on you, that people might be angry at you, that people might not understand, it becomes even more difficult to extend your neck up and hold your head high and find some damn perspective.
Every time I think I conquer this phenomenom, my circumstances push me just a little farther until being in the weeds has a whole new meaning. And it takes a while each time to realize that this too, shall pass. I've decided these days, to do my best to just clearcut through the underbelly of the problem. It might be a bit unorthodox, but perspective comes with time.
In terms of the restaurant-world weeds, sometimes you get an unexpected hero in the story, someone who just inserts themselves into the field with you. And for the person who helped us the other night, here's your haiku... Thank you.
Thursday, It Came Quickly; Weeds Haiku Renga #26
The frenzy comes fast
As glasses start piling up:
I prepare more drinks.
I move through the room
Gliding quickly past tables
Almost out of breath.
Insert the hero
Who smiles, sweeping in to
Help us get it done.