May 13, 2009 § Leave a comment
So I’ve had it in my mind the last week or so that killing myself at the gym would give me the much needed sense of accomplishment I was lacking. As tiring as it was, I did find that overexerting myself in workouts made me feel better about simply sitting around and looking for jobs online for the rest of the day. Yesterday, I decided to try out the new personal trainer bike, which featured a full blown training video system with customized trainer and workouts. I completed the half hour course, which was absolutely exhausting, and trudged over to work on my weights. As I was pausing between sets a trainer ran up and asked me if I wanted to join his strength training class. I let him know about my knee surgery but said I would love to try it out. Bad choice! The class was phenomenal and I got one of best workouts I’ve had in a long time. However, the workout was too good! By the 20th minute of our leg exercises my already fatigued legs completely gave out mid-lunge. Yes, embarrassing, but I was more worried about how I was going to walk home much less go into work! My worries turned out to be correct as I woke this morning with quite possibly the most excruciating pain I’ve ever experienced shooting through every possible muscle in my lower body. I considered dosing myself with some ibuprofen in order to last the training session at work but decided against it.
I headed down to the restaurant at around 3:30 p.m. and the returning stress masked the resistance of my leg muscles to every movement. Though the sky was a bit cloudy, there were a large number of people reclining on the sofas of the restaurant. I walked up and down the harbor for a while, scanning the restaurant for people I recognized from the previous meeting. At one of the bars I spotted a guy from the interview group training as a bartender. I went down to ask him where we were meeting and he directed me to a spot further down the boat. I found my group nestled in a cove lining the outer wall of the kitchen. Rather than sitting in silence for twenty minutes, I was invited to a conversation by a Swedish girl who addressed me in English. I used the opportunity to get to know the group a bit and answer the questions they had about me. My nerves subsided quite a bit with the opportunity to communicate with the group and not simply sit and attempt to understand the conversation.
A young blonde woman arrived and began leading us on a tour of the restaurant. I was finding it really hard to understand her and grew more and more anxious about the important information I was missing through the language barrier. I tried to follow her gestures and applied my previous restaurant knowledge to this new, unfamiliar location. She led us over to a sort of computer system, one which was far less developed than what I was used to. I noted at this point that I was possibly the shortest member of the group as I struggled to see what she was explaining. Two members of the group went up and entered certain information on the system and then she asked for another member to try it out. The group parted and I found myself out in the open. I made my way up and could feel the stress burning through my skin. She said something and all I could manage to make out was the beginning of a number. I kept trying to pick-up what she was saying and was eventually rescued by a whisper from a girl from the group who stood to my right. I felt so out of place, especially since I’m normally good with computers and a quick learner.
We moved on to the beverage part of the kitchen. There was a full room of refrigerators containing every kind of glassware you could imagine and beer and wine bottles. The trainer demonstrated some act of inserting a key card into a part of the machine that enabled you to retrieve the required drink from the tap. The Swedish girl in the group leaned down to me, asked if I understood what was going on and explained it when I shook my head. We were led back to the beginning of the kitchen area. Our trainer began filling pint glasses with water and setting up 11 glasses on trays the size of a 52 inch T.V. We took turns lifting the trays and laughed at the impossibility of successfully lifting them much less being able to deliver drinks. This began the first step of our humiliating task. After gathering the energy to lift the overweight, oversized trays to our shoulders the trainer had us follow her around the entire restaurant. As we did our best to keep the trays above our shoulders while maneuvering around the unfamiliar boat all the occupants turned to watch us. I regretted not having taken the ibuprofen as my legs screamed for rest and my shoulder threatened to give out from the weight of the tray. We stopped for a break at the bar in the lounge area and the surrounding guests clapped and laughed as one of the girls spilled several of her glasses. Our trip continued back to the other end of the boat and then up a set of stairs that led to a bar area that had been transformed to look like an island: twenty foot palm trees, fake grass floor covering and bamboo fence along all the banisters. The trainer explained a bit more about the job, all of which I understood none of, and then pulled out a schedule book. The Swedish girl leaned down to tell me we were going to tell the trainer when we could work. I signed up for every day available, included May 17th, Norway’s National Independence Day and largest celebration of the year.
We finished up by returning the trays with glasses to the kitchen and picking up our uniforms from a ship docked to the side of the boat. By then the stress had subsided quite a bit and we joked around while trying on the different sizes of jackets and t-shirts. I had befriended the girls in the groups as they had helped me understand the trainer and I had helped a bit with their serving techniques. It turned out that the trainer was Swedish, which fully justified my complete inability to understand what she was saying. After exchanging numbers with one of the girls we said our goodbyes and headed home. I definitely felt more settled as I was leaving, but I have yet to survive a full shift so this feeling will be short-lived. All I can do before tomorrow is study the menu and hope for the best!