It’s early Saturday morning, the kids are asleep, and I’m typing away at the table.
I’m writing a scene in my memoir where Brian and I return by boat to our off-the-grid resort after two open water dives that’ll go toward our diver certification and we find the private bay full of yachts and the beach swarming with people. We had given all of our staff, except the gardener and the carpenter, the day off and left my visiting parents and our two young children on the beach, alone, a few hours earlier. It’s 4:00, almost quitting time for our staff, which means either Brian or I (it will be I) will have to take them by boat to the village south of us so they can go home. Some, if not all the yachties, will come to dinner but we don’t know how many yet because the evening’s menu needs to be conjured and offered to each visitor. Brian jumps off the dive boat into waist deep water, rush-wades to shore, struggles out of his wetsuit and jogs to the restaurant, barefoot, shirtless, swim trunks dripping, to assess the kitchen contents.
As I write, Brian, my husband, sits down across the table from me. He checks email. His phone rings, and from his conversation, which I’m trying to ignore because this is my writing time, I find out, and he finds out, ten menu items were eighty-sixed (restaurant speak for “they ran out of”) the night before at the new restaurant. Even though he’s the head chef and boss, he wasn’t there because this is the second restaurant and there’s a third on the way and he can’t be everywhere at once. Brian wants to know last night’s sales. Was it super busy, is that why they ran out of so many things? Did it happen early or late in the evening. He calls his prep manager, he texts the front end manager.
Silently, I realize the scene I’m writing is basically playing out before me in real life. Of course the details are different. We’re in a closed up house while a Fall storm surges outside, not on a Caribbean beach, but his stress level is the same and he’s got a problem involving a restaurant he runs that needs immediate attention.
I stop to think about it. It feels poignant, it means something. But what?
He hears from the front end manager. They were super busy, she says, the patio was open on an unseasonably warm night which added twelve more tables. The items weren’t 86′d till late.
He exhales. He’s upset customers may have been disappointed but it’s fixable. He’ll schedule another kitchen employee to work fridays and they’ll increase pars (restaurant speak for “they’ll prep more food”).
I take a shower and it comes to me. I figure out what that coincidental moment meant. And it isn’t poignant after all. It just is.
Meaningful work is hard.
What’s meaningful to one person won’t be meaningful to everyone, but I do know that work that is chosen with intention and followed through will rarely be a cakewalk. If it were, it would lose it’s meaning. When would it feel good? When would it be fulfilling?
I continue typing, revising. He’s moved on to his next task. And we’re savoring these moments of quiet to do our work.
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