On Thursday of last week, we left the bake shop and headed for the classroom to study Hospitality and Restaurant Management. This is another of the courses designed and offered by the NRA (That's the National Restaurant Association - not the National Rifle Association [which should not be confused with the American Honky Tonk Bar Association]). The course, with a textbook of over 240 pages and only four days to cover it in, is far from exciting. I've been nodding off since day one, and another certification hangs in the balance. The online exam for said certificate is tomorrow afternoon, and here I sit blogging instead of studying.
The highlights of the last few days have been breaks and lunches, for it's during these times that my real education begins. It's during these times that I hear comments like, "Yeah, I'm kind of a bong connoisseur" and "Man, that blunt I smoked this morning didn't help. Just made me tired." The bong comment didn't really surprise me. It was spoken by a younger person who frequently discusses not remembering what happened the night before. The sleep inducing blunt comment did catch me a little off guard though. It was spoken by someone older and came at me while I was dining on a peaceful lunch of MexiDip & Chips. Sure, I probably shouldn't have been surprised considering the fact that I have on more than one occasion thought the guy returned from breaks smelling as though he had found the school's stash of cooking wines, but my mind didn't immediately grasp the blunt comment. I was thinking Blunt (as in James Blunt and You're Beautiful [and it's parody - my cubicle, my cubicle]) or a blunt object (as in Mrs. Peacock in the study with a candlestick). When it dawned on me what he said, I thought I'd try to mask the incredulous look and go with it. So I said with some semblance of a straight face something along the lines of "A blunt. What is that? Marijuana?" I honestly didn't know. He told me that it could have been marijuana among other things, and the conversation changed shortly thereafter.
I share such outtakes to help reinforce an earlier post discussing the completely new to me culture that I experience on a daily basis. Between the discussions of drugs, alcohol and the incessant profanity that would, as the saying goes, make a sailor blush with shame (Mississippi Squirrel Revival, anyone?), I sometimes feel as though I've inadvertently staggered onto a reality television show. Stay tuned, folks, to see how the conservative church boy reacts when a student uses 18 four letter words in one sentence! And one more related thing... A student got sent home last week, because she (yes, a very lady like female) threatened another student (a male) with a knife (I will cut you). If I ran the sous, er zoo, Lizzie Borden would have been expelled, and the instigator suspended for a day or two, but I don't, and she reported back to school the next morning. Thankfully this did not take place in my class. Culinary (not pastry) students were involved, but this just goes to show what a different environment I now reside in.
To my knowledge we never had associates threaten peers back in the corporate world. I had an awesome team of individuals to work with, and I don't say that just because they minded their manners (or because some of them read this blog). They rocked (my world, you know you did, and everything I own I give), and while I understand and am okay with this huge life change, I can't help thinking fondly of the past every morning when I race down the highway and glance up to see the 1215, 1400 and 1437 buildings. I stopped by the Memorial location of the corporation today to deliver a few leftover tarts as a surprise for a friend who just took a job there. It may have been the chef costume or the elapsed time, but the security guard acted like he didn't know me. It was like I was a bother to him, and somehow I think it bothered me more than it should have.
Please don't take this walk down memory lane or cry for yesterday (yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away) as a slam to my classmates. They are good people, good people who like illegal substances in some cases, but good people nonetheless, and I usually enjoy their company. Aside from the knife wielding crazies down the hall, I don't think any of them are excessively malicious. It's just that I'm still adjusting to the less than professional atmosphere. A kitchen is a far cry from a conference room or cubicle.
But moving on. With the start of the new course comes the final grades of our last course. The previous course was Classical Pastry, and pictures of the class projects were posted a few days ago. Though I was able to maintain an A, my percentage dropped from the Introduction to Baking course. I think the biggest reason was that I bombed a quiz in the middle of the pastry course. It may be rationalizing, but I think the reason I bombed the quiz was because I overslept on the day of the review, missed it and earned a tardy (immediate loss of points) at the same time. The score of the quiz was something like a 62%, and I was devastated but not surprised. I hadn't prepared for it and deserved the low grade. Luckily the quiz scores made up only 10% of the final grade, and I actually studied for the final exam.
I hadn't shared the tardy in any blogs for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that it happened on the insane week of three cakes and during the 12 day break from blogging. The second reason is that I've been irritated at my lack of discipline in the mornings. I'm a night owl and I like to sleep, and this makes for terrible mornings (I don't wanna get [pronounced git] up, baby, let's turn off the phone). When I was younger I tried to condition my body to function on very little sleep. I thought I could be a completed project producing machine if I worked more and slept less. Now that I'm older I still wish I could consistently make it on four hours of sleep a night, but I know that such a feat isn't realistic. I was contemplating all of this while rushing to class this morning, and a classic Joan Jett song came to mind, so I dedicated the tune to my bed, cranked up the volume and put the pedal to the metal (I hate myself for loving you, can't break free from the things that you do...).
Right now my aforementioned thirty something need for sleep is showing, so I'll stop the rambling for now.
Oh. One more thing. (Do you say PS on blogs? What's the rule?) I'll be doing some happy grubbing myself in June when the first 24-hour restaurant in town opens. While it's just an IHOP, it's less than five minutes from the house, will be open all night and will likely spur further development! Did I mention that it will be open around the clock? Wi-fi is also available in the area. I could sit and blog (or stalk people on Facebook) over pancakes at any time.
Happy Grubbing indeed.