the good desk
Wednesday, May 24 2000
Ever since I started working at this Santa Monica dot com back in early April, I've been sitting at a cramped, tiny desk in what amounts to a hallway. Several different boss-type people have suggested other places for me to sit, and I've always had an attitude of "when I get around to it." But I've been so busy at work that I'd never actually gotten around to moving from my humble little spot in the hallway. Well, today one of the big honchos suggested that I move to the place once occupied by another big honcho who recently worked here. It's a secluded place with a big window, several comfortable chairs, and very little traffic, none of which passes behind me. In this new place, I'd have privacy, a window, and plenty of storage. I figured that this was an opportunity that I'd be remiss not to act on. So this afternoon I made the move. You can't imagine how much nicer this is. The best thing of all is the privacy. I've never had a situation before where I haven't had to worry about what's on my screen. In terms of trying to do my own stuff and surf the sites I like while at work, playing games of subterfuge has always been the norm.
Various people in my department came over to check out my new digs soon after I moved in. I don't know how envious they actually were, but they jokingly claimed to be very much so.
Surreal dramas were being played out in my neighborhood as I walked Sophie around the block this evening. For starters, there was this guy parked in front of my house for a long time talking into his cell phone. It turned out that he was talking to a young woman in an apartment across the street. She emerged eventually, a gangly angular figure wearing a long flowing purple skirt. They sat together in the car for a while after that, leaving the door open wide and talking to each other with hushed hostility. Meanwhile, a sweaty guy in a beat up old yellowish brown Japanese car was backing slowly and chaotically northward on Amherst Avenue, proceeding at an average rate of less than a mile an hour. He backed sideways into a big red SUV at one point, but his large rubber bumpers cushioned the impact enough that the only evidence of the collision was the shriek of the big victim's tires as it was pushed sideways across the asphalt.
For dinner, Kim and I cruised around the business districts to the west and the south and finally settled on Sabor on Pico just inside Santa Monica. It's a Latin/Southern restaurant, with cuisine ranging from Caribbean to Mexican to Soul. Kim ordered the filet mignon, which (oddly enough) came with a side of Chile Rellenos. I ordered the Creole Pasta.
Interestingly, not only did Kim decide to move us from our assigned table to one further away from the main path to the kitchen, but both of us also had to switch chairs; somehow we got stuck with backs that tilted uncomfortably forward.
The restaurant was overworked and understaffed, and it took a long time for our food to arrive. The staff kept us happy by bringing us lots of bread, which was flavored wonderfully with trace amounts of thyme, a trick I used to use when I was a co-op bread baker in Harkness, Oberlin, Ohio, USA in the late 80s.
My food was excellent. I've never before had such spicy food brought out to me without my having to specifically ask for it to be that way. Kim's luck wasn't anywhere near as good. Her filet mignon was seared and overcooked on the outside and a bloody lump of raw cow inside, sort of like a lump of fried icecream. She sent it back, though the foolish host tried to argue with her about it. "Madame, let me assure you that that is a very fine cut..." The moral here is that when a restaurant is understaffed, it's best not to order food that requires careful cooking procedures. Like any other business, an overworked business cuts corners. Cutting corners with Kim's filet mignon never results in five star restaurant reviews in Randomly Ever After. On the other hand, less demanding dishes that depend on the strength of the sauces (like my Creole Pasta) are likely to turn out good no matter how understaffed the restaurant might be.
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