Monday, October 17, 2011


One summer, my mother and I were driving home to our summer cabin in Montana late one night. As we we driving down a two lane, two way, country road, a red fox ran in front of our truck. As the fox reached a critical point he realized that he was in danger's way and had a decision to make. He could either turn back or continue going. Sadly, he made the wrong decision. In his fear he had made a bad decision and had decided that turning and running back from where he came would save his life. And as a consequence, he sacrificed his life. My mother and I bothed gasped as we saw the look of terror in his eyes and heard/felt the subsequent bump under the car. If only he had kept running forward he would've made it safely to his destination.

Red foxes are quite intelligent, not to mention they are adorable to boot. There's a reason why people say, clever as a fox (do they actually say that or have I just had one too many glasses of wine tonight). Even in the movie, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, the fox is able to outsmart three cunning, determined human beings. And so I have decided that like the fox who met his sad end on that country road in Montana, I, too, am a fox in the headlights.

Deer are stupid. Deer die in front of cars all the time. Deer procreate at such a level to make up for their stupidity and for the fact that smarter predatory animals (like the fox, though fox obviously don't eat deer for size reason) kill and eat them all the time. So while I may resemble a deer in the headlights for the majority of my day at work, the truth is that what is really going on is a fox in the headlights scenario.

I am so terrified and so pressured to be quick to react that I often make the wrong decision making me look quite stupid and resulting in Alberique's judgment and reprimanding. As our car came barreling down on the fox he began to panic, to second guess his natural feelings of just going forward, and as a result he turned around and lost his life. Luckily for me my life isn't on the line, though it may feel like that sometimes, but instead just my sense of pride, self worth, and Alberique's confidence in me as a worker.

As much as he may be trying to push me to be better, faster, stronger (like Daft Punk's, Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger) he is truly doing the opposite. Someone continually coming up behind me and surprising me with a "Vite! Vite! Vite!" or a "Que tous fait?" doesn't exactly help me work at my best. The stress to be fast and good are just too much to handle and my brain spins around aimlessly like the Wheel of Fortune wheel, landing purposelessly on whatever decision it lands on. And so today when Alberique asked me to cut the foccacia pizza for the personell lunch and to be "tres vite" while doing it, all I heard was "cut," "personell," and "grill" which is cooling rack. So I put the pizza on a grill and went to cut it and then he made the crazy symbol at me (turning a finger around his noggin) and told me to get a cutting board. I was so flustered and so worried I would make a mistake that I couldn't even think for myself. And this was just for the rest of the crew's lunch! Imagine how I must feel when it's something important.

The worst, by far, is when Alberique does this when I'm already at my limit. The other day I was boxing up macarons and I was honestly going as quickly as my mind and hands would go and he kept saying, "plus vite! plus plus VITE!" If I knew how to say, "I'm only human!" in french I would. Instead I just said, "oui, oui!"

So today when I got a whole days worth of this I was already at my tipping point. Then he gave me the simple task of segmenting oranges and what I thought would be the same for clementines. But since there was a communication error I later realized that he just wanted me to peel the clementines not segment them. When Alberique came and saw what I was doing he acted as if I had just killed someone. "No! No! NO!" Then he berated me and made me feel like a "special" child. When is he going to realize that my inability to understand everything he says isn't personal or because I'm not trying? As much as its frustrating and exhausting for him it's even more so for me!!!

So when I apologized with a "Pardon," for fucking up only one of the fifteen clementines and not understanding him and then he responded with a mocking "parrrdoooon" I turned beet red and officially decided that I am on a quest to find another internship. Even if I was able to do things here I don't think I would enjoy it. The atmosphere is so negative, so rushed, so horrific. I've worked in kitchens before where they expect perfection and are more than willing to bitch at you if they don't get it. I've worked in kitchens before where they want you to work as quickly as possible and aren't afraid to call you out when you dilly dally. But I have never worked somewhere so negative and so unwelcoming. My previous bosses understood that the first few times you do something it's more important to focus on the "perfect" aspect than the "fast" one. If you try and do the later before the previous things just go badly. But at my patisserie now they want them both and they want them now and they aren't worried about making you feel like a piece of shit they inconveniently stepped in on their journey to telling you these things.

So when I got home today I was grumpy. But then again, I'm almost always grumpy. My poor roommates have to put up with me being rude and short and I must say they take it all in stride. Apparently they have accepted that this is who I am and it's nothing personal. But truth be told I absolutely hate that! I don't want people to assume I'm a grumpy asshole and so that when I am one they aren't offended. I want people to expect the best of me because I know that's who I a really am. Not the pain in the ass, impatient, no good time, no laughing bitch I've been recently. Honestly, I swear I'm a good time!!!

But much more important things happened today than the disappointment I had in myself for being an ass, or the disappointment Alberique had in me because I'm apparently just not good enough. Today Elze officially moved out! How sad! The unplanned star of my blog is no longer sharing a bed with me! I must say, I know I'm going to miss the smoking, the bitching, and most of all the lady-like snoring in the middle of the night. Elze is one of my favorite people in the world and this entire trip to France is more than worth it for the fact I met her alone! She's like my Jiminy Cricket of happiness. I am so afraid of her thinking I'm a depressing loser that I force myself to do things and then, in turn, actually enjoy myself and become less of a depressing loser!

She is, of course, crashing here tonight since she couldn't fully move in today. And I am thinking (hoping) that she will never fulling move out. I can see her using her expensive Saint Germain apartment as costly storage for all her shit while she spends her nights at my place. And since I'm not exactly sharing my bed with exciting foreign strangers, I don't mind sharing it with a well known South African bestie.

I just hope that we both make so much damn money from our future, no doubtedly successful, bakeries that we will be able to fly half way across the world and see each other. She really is incredible and while she is trying to lure me to South Africa with promises of safari and cute baby elephants all I really need for an excuse is her!


  1. I love that you are making such wonderful friends. It does make it worth it!