Friday, September 3, 2010

The Dishwasher

Petikan dari buku Dishwasher oleh Pete Jordan (himpunan kisah dari zine Dishwasher). Bukan, aku belum lagi berjaya memiliki buku yang amat king of rare ini. Ini petikan yang terjumpa di internet. 

Sedikit nota pasal Pete Jordan dan zine Dishwasher: Pada tahun 1992, Pete Jordan, seorang punk rocker, a legendand my hero, telah membuat keputusan untuk mengembara ke semua 50 negeri dalam Amerika Syarikat. Berbekalkan kewangan yang amat sikit serta semangat dan keazaman yang tinggi, Jordan menyara hidup sepanjang pengembaraannya sebagai seorang pembasuh pinggan di setiap tempat yang dia singgah, restoren, hotel, hospital, kem perkhemahan dan sebagainya. Pada masa yang sama dia menulis zine Dishwasher, menceritakan segala pengalamannya di setiap tempat yang dia singgah dan setiap manusia yang dia jumpa. 

Pada pertengahan 1990-an, Pete Jordan telah dijemput David Letterman untuk muncul dalam rancangannya, Jordan telah menghantar rakannya Jess Hilliard untuk menyamar sebagai dirinya dan memperdaya seluruh Amerika. A true punk indeed.


        A bead of sweat rolled from my forehead, down my nose and into the greasy orange sink water. I wiped my face with my apron, lifted my baseball cap to cool my head and sighed. As I picked at the food dregs that had coagulated from the sink water onto my arm hairs, I surveyed my domain—the dishpit. It was a mess. The counters were covered with the remains of what, not long before, had been meals. But the dishmachine stood empty. No dirty dishes were in sight. No one yelled: “More plates!” or “Silver! We need silverware!” For the first time in hours, a calm settled over my dishroom. Having successfully beaten back the bulk of the dinner rush, I was caught up and it felt good.


        Time for another go-round. On my way to the waitress station, I grabbed an empty bus tub and twirled it on my middle finger—a trick I’d perfected while working at a bagel shop in New Mexico. I lowered the spinning tub from my finger to my cap—a new trick I’d yet to perfect. The tub sputtered from my head and plummeted into the full bus tub that awaited me. A couple plates smashed to the floor.


        The crash rang throughout the restaurant and was followed by a shocked hush from employees and customers alike. I, too, observed the moment of silence for the departed plates. But I wasn’t sad to see them go. If dishes had to break—and they did have to—then it was best to break the dirty ones rather than the plates I’d already worked to clean.


        In some Illinois cemetery, Josephine Cochrane was spinning in her grave. She was the 1880s socialite who’d grown fed up by her servants breaking her precious china as they washed it by hand. Cochrane presumed that by reducing the handling, there’d be far less breakage. So she invented the motorized dishwashing machine. Her contraption became an instant hit with large restaurants and hotels in Chicago. Even the machine I was using at this place—a Hobart—was a direct descendent of Cochrane’s. But now, more than a century since the introduction of her innovation, human dishwashers—particularly this one—were just as cavalier about dish breakage as they’d been back in Cochrane’s day.


        As I looked down at the wreckage at my feet, the boss-guy charged around the corner wide-eyed with his hand clutched to his chest as if he’d been shot.


        “Plates fell,” I said.


        “Again?” he sighed. “Try to be more careful, Dave.”


        Six weeks earlier, when a fellow dish dog had tipped me off about this gig—an Austrian-themed inn at a ski area in Vermont’s Green Mountains that came complete with room and board—I was immediately intrigued. I’d pictured myself isolated in the mountains and hibernating through the winter at this job while getting caught up with my reading, saving up some money and crossing yet another American state off my list. When I called about the job from Wisconsin, the boss-guy assumed that if I wanted to come all that way to dish in a ski area, then I must’ve been a ski nut.

        “No,” I told him. “Actually I don’t ski.”

        That made him suspicious. He then asked, “Do you have long hair?”

        “Not anymore,” I said.

        “Okay,” he said. “If you can get here by next week, the job’s yours.”

        I rode the bus most of the way and hitchhiked the rest and when I arrived, the boss was no longer suspicious. I was willing to dish and that was enough for him. In fact, he gave so little thought to me that by the second day, he started calling me by the wrong name.

        “And Dave, clean it up,” he said, looking at the broken plates on the floor.


        I’d never bothered to correct him.


        “All right,” I said.


        When he turned and walked back to the dining room, I kicked the debris under the counter and headed back to the dishpit with the full bus tub.


        While unloading the dirty dishes, I mined for treasure in the Bus Tub Buffet. The first find was fool’s gold—a half-eaten schnitzel. I couldn’t blame the diner who’d left the second half uneaten. It was the place’s specialty, but it wasn’t very special. I snobbishly passed on it as well and continued excavating.


        I unearthed more dishes and then struck pay dirt: some garlic bread and remnants of crème brulée. I smeared the crème brulée on the garlic bread and scarfed it down. Scrumptious, said my taste buds. Queasy, countered my stomach. The gut had a point. Bus Tub Buffet? More like Bus Tub Roulette: you win some, you lose some. So far I was losing.


        As I was guzzling water from the tap, the call went up in the adjacent kitchen: “Wine o’clock! Wine o’clock!”


        I looked at the clock. Indeed, it was already wine o’clock.


            Dick, one of the cooks, entered the dishpit with a grin on his face and a jar in each hand. He handed me a jar and held up the other in a toast.


        “Wine o’clock,” he said.


        “Wine o’clock,” I repeated.


        We clinked jars and then downed their cooking sherry contents. Wine o’clock was eight o’clock—an hour before closing time and an occasion observed by the cooks with rounds of sherry. Closing time—nine o’clock—was celebrated in a similar fashion except with shouts of


        “Five o’clock! Five o’clock!” and the consumption of Five O’Clock brand vodka.


j or ji said...

Selamat HAri Ghayo!

Anonymous said...

Ada jumpa ebook ni. Nak cari buku memang susah la.