reading this which will reveal that he is not simply "a boss" or "an employer". He once put his million dollar baby business in my hands and I flew it beautifully until the alcohol began to fly me. The wonder is that when he had to rescue his business from me and stop rescuing me, he didn't stop caring about me. Or stop valuing my skills. He's reached out to me twice now in my sobriety with semi-employment and (now) employment. Eagerly, without reservations. "I'm sober," I reassured him yesterday. "I knew you would be."
Everything comes at a price, right? The cost of my ticket was the death of Rudy, an elegant gentleman probably in his 80s. He thought I was wonderful. He never had to say so with words. He simply behaved as if he did. In my more recent visits for business meetings, he'd jump up from his desk and come outside to greet me when I arrived. "Les, you look so good!" And he'd try to feed me. Tall, aristocratic, silver-haired and tan of skin, he was somebody in this town in his day and time. To my knowledge, he only ever worked two jobs here. He was a "keeper" in the fine dining rooms of certain establishments. He took care of the needs of the individual members of the Rat Pack and others. He had the stories to tell about it. He knew which forks to set where and he knew about presentation of food and other important requests: "Quality, quantity and presentation, Les. That's all that's needed." I would add "and discretion." I'm sure Rudy had more stories he didn't tell. In the movie Casino, he played a version of himself and his few peers here. I need to rent that movie today. But those aren't the best things about Rudy.
|Image intended for |
illustrative purposes only.
So Monday morning, I will slide my ass into Rudy's chair with some trepidation. I will be grateful to drive the streets I know to the little business plaza, to pass under the stucco canopy into the small world where all the denizens work in some way for David and/or George and so we are all somehow kin. Each such person is a few degrees left or right of the center of the road in some way and I do well in that kind of world. I'll work fewer hours and fewer days than before and I won't run A1 Carpet Care again. My pay will be what once it was, my alcoholism and precancerous condition accommodated as long as I do not pick up a bottle, and I can remain with my AA home group, traveling back across the city each evening with plenty of time. I'll be downstairs doing some vestige of Rudy's work. Since Rudy largely appeared to me to simply lend some grace to a quirky place, I'm not sure precisely what my duties will be, but I feel up to whatever they are. I imagine some computer and graphics magic will be expected of me, some original ideas and energy and some ability to snap at nasty people who require such. Rudy probably never said an unkind word to any human being, but I can do that. I'm going right where I am supposed to be. I am reminded of something I've learned in AA. When I feel jumbly, I need to not start making decisions and taking action. I need to stop, listen and breathe. The answers will be revealed to me. 379 days of no employment. But no more.
Something that charmed me: I'm busy. Distracted busy because I'm lining up wardrobe and desk necessities and the beautiful things with which I surround myself when I work. I've only got a couple of days, after all. And my hair needs to be colored, and . . . WTF? Why is this presenting itself to me? I'd Googled and there - on Google's splash page - was a little playable TV with I Love Lucy snippets. The lovable redhead would be 100 years old today. Someday I must write about my unnatural connection with Lucy. She loomed large in my small landscape of life. When she died, I was on a business trip and saw the morning news. I fell apart even more alarmingly than one might expect, though it was - after all - Lucy and Leslie. I later learned I had been pregnant and therefore, extra emotional, when I lost it there in the San Jose Hyatt . . . "Lucy, you've got some 'splainin' to do!"