Friday, December 9, 2011

You think you can see crazy.

Thing is, crazy's not always invisibles crawling all over you. Crazy's the edge that eccentric guy has on the markets; crazy's that weird little quirk hobbling your otherwise brilliant physics professor.

Crazy's come a long way since the Victorian sanitarium.

And yet, hovered over by a creature whose demeanor flutters between charming host and sociopath, I think I, for the first time in a long time, can just see crazy. Six foot three of it, leaning in close to my face, breaking promises and implying, always just barely implying, threats.

I came here because Starbucks MoonDollars wouldn't transfer me to the city. I found a cafe: new, independent and hiring, and I thought getting away my old place in the corporate toolbox would be rewarding. I wasn't prepared for the Crazy.

Crazy is running a crepes operation, with crepes in its goddamn name, when you can only make two crapes at a time, at roughly four minutes per crepe.
Crazy is reading negative Yelp reviews every single morning, sometimes twice a day, and still missing the point of them entirely.
Crazy is firing your training coordinator and your manager, then being angry your staff seems shoddily trained.
Crazy is seeing that your kitchen has consistency problems and firing the head of your kitchen, thinking you can run it all yourself.

But the craziest of crazy is, when Yelp complains about slow service, choosing to--rather than buying more crepe griddles or perhaps hiring more support staff--place yourself in the midst of your cooking line and micromanage the living hell out of your employees for six to nine hours at a time.

When your shift, a self-admitted night person, requests to open with the bakers at 4 AM just so he can avoid you for 5 hours, perhaps you've crossed a line.

When your customers complain on yelp--ahh, yelp again--about the "manager" yelling at and criticizing employees in front of customers kindly, perhaps you would like to avoid looking crazy. Perhaps leaning in well past the point of appropriateness, well past the point where spittle flying from your mouth is merely felt and not tasted by your underlings might be a wise idea.

We'll never know, because I worked for a crazy person.

"People on Yelp are saying they don't like how I yell at you," he said one day.

We, as a group, chuckled nervously. My crepe rollers and baristas looked with hope towards me, as though I could offer some kind of explanation, respite, or perhaps physical protection. But I had bills to pay, so I just chuckled some more. Then his eyes were nanometers from my own, and I could smell the weird spilling past his lips. You can't cover up weird, which has a smell all its own. My co-shift was a girl who chugged peppermint extract like water and believed floride to be a government plot and she was intensely sane compared to our beloved owner who now breathed angry bull breaths directly into my eyes, nose, and mouth.

"So you need to smile while I talk to you. Otherwise they'll think I'm yelling at you. And I'm not yelling at you." He gave me a look that said I can kill you, I can grind you up and serve you in our crepes and no one will ever believe you, just talk back peon, just talk back and smiled. "Am I? Am I yelling at you?"

We agreed he certainly wasn't yelling at us. Then he smiled in a manner which showed all his teeth, nodded, and strolled out to his luxury SUV.

Crazy people aren't supposed to have luxury cars.

Who is this mysterious new source of handwriting?! Who could it BE?! Perhaps China's gloriously superior economy has invented ghostwriters for travel postcards. Well it's over, then, eh? Finally those Capitalist pigs will pay for their crimes, eh?...what's that? The Cold War's over and Austin Powers references are so 1999? Well, never mind, then.

Last thought: suddenly the handwriting is far neater. Prettier, even. I wonder if that has something to do with writing kanji. I hope we find out!

But seriously if any of you know the name of this crepe restaurant I'm talking about, don't go there, the owner is probably a future batman villain.

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