I work for a catering company. The owner is Russian. He is round and short. He does not smile. He is intimidating. And then he speaks and he is even more intimidating. There are rumors that he is involved in some sort of Russian Mafia. One of the senior staff members told me “He is shady as fuck.” He explains to me that there is money that vanishes. There are other rumors that the owner had to move because his house got shot at with machine guns. None of the company vans are marked with the company name. They are old with chipped white paint. I wonder how he deals with the pressures of being wanted dead and running a company. I don’t think I could deal with such pressures.
I wake up at 5 am and dress in a black dress shirt and slacks. I wear a black tie as well. Aaron tied the knot for me the first time. I have not untied it since. I am afraid I would not be able to retie it. I pick up food at the warehouse and then I drive it to fancy office buildings. Sometimes I need to take the freight elevator because my black tie is not classy enough. When this happens, I tell myself, “That’s alright. I don’t want to be part of this corporate America. I am not meant to be stuck in an office high rise making more money than I know what to do with. I am meant to be free.” But defensiveness stems from insecurities. There is a part of me that wouldn’t mind having a view of the entire Orange County area and do some kind of marketing for some brand I don’t necessarily care about. Once my inner dialogue about ‘what happiness means to me’ ends, I drive back to the warehouse with a signed invoice. I bring the invoice to the office. I joke with my supervisors. I get a sense of satisfaction because I am good at my simple job and my supervisors seem to like me.
This is a side note. A lesson in making assumptions. After a few weeks of this, they had me train a very quiet young man. Probably not yet 20. He was small and his face was boyish with big blue eyes and dirty blonde hair and acne still covering his cheeks. His silence made me uncomfortable. He spent a lot of time on his phone, texting. I wondered who he was texting at 6 in the morning. At the end of the day I thought to myself what a boring person. I try not to judge too quickly, but I was almost angry at this boy for not laughing at my jokes or engaging in my conversation. I bring in the signed invoice and my supervisor asked how he was. “Painfully quiet.” I responded. He laughed a big laugh. He said “I know right? You would never think he was once in the circus.” Turns out this young man, his name Aaron, used to ride his motorcycle in The Globe of Death. A suspended hollow sphere with up to seven motorcyclists risking their lives at once. Who would have thought?
After delivering food to fancy offices, I go home. Home is actually Aaron’s house. A different Aaron. My Aaron. He does not ride motorcycles. I play with Penny the boxer outside on the patio. Out there, I listen to podcasts or music and write or read. I nourish my creative self. Then I sit at the kitchen bar and watch Aaron make us dinner. I chop asparagus or mushrooms or chicken or onions. Sometimes we eat on the same patio I associate with creativity. We sip on wine or beer and listen to the wind chimes and pat Penny’s head. We then clean together and then watch something together. We then go to bed early and cuddle or have sex.
The next morning I wake up and do the same thing.
I would call it the summer of good food and love making. That’s a bit romantic. The summer of finding the beauty in routine. The summer of being seduced by views from tall glass buildings and wealth. The summer of shady Russians and Creative Patios. The summer of boxers and domesticity. I guess any of those would do.