Friday, April 16, 2010

People are Like Tea Bags....

People are like tea bags; you never know how strong they are until you drunk them in hot water.

Everyone has a few of those moments in their lives. You get thrown into a situation where you must be successful in something you have never tried or have never succeeded in before. The pressure's on, and everyone reacts differently to pressure. Pressure is a funny thing, it causes some people to break, but others to break records. Although we all react differently to pressure and experience different outcomes in it's presence, we all experience the same physiological response to it. If our bodies are all reacting in the same way to pressure, then the only difference is mental. I like to think that this mental barrier that lets the pressure get the best of us can be broken down, and we can be taught how to use pressure to make us better.

Today I had a under pressure have to succeed moment. I spent the entire day, from 11am-6pm at work. During the day time, the only staff working is a waitress and the cook. Today that waitress was me and the cook was the owner of the restaurant. After running around like a chicken with it's head cut off for about two hours straight during an insanely huge lunch rush, the boss man decided to take 25 minutes while it was quiet-ish to run out to pick up his car from the garage where it was being fixed. As he walked out the door, he asked "you'll be ok makin' pizzas while I'm gone right?" I'm not sure how he didn't notice the blood drain from my face and my eyes get giant as I nodded yes despite not actually being convinced of that fact. But he seemed content with my little feeble nod and headed out the door and took off out of the parking lot. Meanwhile I am trying to cheerily tell myself that the phone won't ring while he's gone anyways so it doesn't even matter.

Of course the phone rings. Of course it rings more than once. Of course I have to make 4 pizzas.

I have never made a pizza by myself before. I had been shown how once, and I have helped make them before, but never had I completed the entire process on my own. I know it's not a big deal, but when you have a phone ringing, and tables to wait on in the dining room, trying to figure out how to make a pizza can definitely bring on the fight or flight response. The first order was a large pizza and a large garlic fingers. The trickiest of them all because it involves the most dough twirling and spinning and stretching. I took my time and actually started getting the hang of it and made a somewhat normal looking pizza crust. The crust was a little uneven-thicker in some spots than others but overall I was pretty excited about my first attempt. Topping the pizza was no biggie, I had done that lots before. I finished the first large pizza. It took me about twice as long as normal because the crust part was tricky, but I took a second to admire my handy work as I lifted the pizza pan into the oven. Apparently I was admiring it a little too much because I didn't manage to lift it all the way into the oven; instead of placing it onto the conveyor belt, I caught the lip of it rather forcefully and all the toppings except the pepperoni, which were glued in place by the pizza sauce, exploded everywhere. I stood with the pizza pan in my hand staring at all the toppings all over the floor.


My first instinct was to look around to make sure no one from the Smitty's kitchen saw me. By this time I had felt like I had been working on this stupid pizza for about 20 minutes. I could imagine the boss man walking in to a crustless pizza on the floor and me covered in flour attempting to successfully construct a large pizza. I quickly re-topped the pizza, carefully put it actually on the conveyor belt of the oven and then hurriedly whipped up the garlic fingers (which aren't nearly as complicated) and then swept up my mess as quickly as possible so that no one would find out.

Phew! While those were in the oven, I took an order for two more small pizzas and made those without any major incidents. It did take me a while to stretch the dough enough and make adequate crusts though. But practice makes perfect right? Luckily I was almost done the two small pizzas when the boss man came back...just in time to admire my superior pizza making skills! I'm not sure he was too impressed, he looked a little skeptically at my lame, wonky, unevenly crusted pizzas I was topping but he didn't say anything or try to fix them. I assume this means he considered them good enough to serve, although it's also possible they were simply beyond fixing and he was just pretending not to notice.

When the pizzas came out of the oven, they looked, for the most part, normal. There is no way they would have ever won any "prettiest pizza of the world" awards, but I felt really proud of myself anyways. I kind of wanted to show my pizza to everyone in the restaurant and be like "see this pizza? I made this all by myself!" Unfortunately it got shoved into a box instead before anyone but me could acknowledge my impressive skills.

Despite my pizza's slightly wonky and spastic appearance, and despite the almost entire pizza that fell on the floor, I learned today that I make a pretty bad-ass pizza. It made me think about all the things that people just assume they can't do without even trying. Or the many times I've tried something once or twice and then given up in frustration. I wonder if there is a way to trick your brain into thinking that you are in a similar situation, one in which you have no other choice but to succeed. Instead of trying to train your brain to perform despite of pressure, could you somehow harness the will power, the courage and the strength that sometimes accompanies the fight or flight response that enables us to do things beyond our own capacities? You hear stories about people who have miraculously been able to lift thousand pound boulders off themselves in order to save their lives or lives of others etc. There must be some part of the brain that makes that possible. The question is, how do we access it in order to use it to our benefit?

This is completely off topic but related to work. My boss man calls me Kayleen. In fact, he called me that about 20 times today. I am tempted to start bringing in a mug with my name on it to work to drink out of. Maybe a Kaylynne key chain that I can leave lying around on the counter. If I had a cubicle I would fill it with things that said my name on it just because that's what they do on tv. But my name is actually written in like a million places in the restaurant; on the schedule, on the sign in/out sheet every shift I work etc. I think he is actually just saying my name wrong. Maybe I should start spelling it phonetically from now on. But isn't it already?

1 comment:

  1. I challenge you to a pizza off... from scratch, make your own dough, toppings are wild....