Today was my first time on first shift. That means waking up at 3 AM and starting work at 3:45, and let me tell you even for a morning person like moi . . . that's hard!! Even for me if I'm up at 3 AM on a Wednesday it's usually because I had a REALLY good night on Tuesday. Breakfast was extra complicated so it took all of our staff to get it going. When I finally got my break to eat around 6 AM I was shocked to see the breakfast line was HUGE! I was very glad to know that I could just go up and have a plate made for me. I'm starting to get to know some of my fellow food service workers better. Matty from LA is hilarious. Abby from San Francisco has the best costumes. Though Mary and her husband David really knocked my socks off with their matching Dark Side of the Moon jammies!!! AMAZING! (Pic coming soon!) The camp in Paso Robles is very well situated by that I mean Starbucks is just a 5 minute walk away! (Just FYI, I'm not some crazy Starbuck's supporter, but they are nationwide and pretty much universally have good coffee. PLUS their labor practices are actually quite enlightened, health care and dental care for their employees.)
That night we wound up in Santa Maria, which had a particularly beautiful camp location. Complete with jungle gyms and a mini pirate ship next to a dry man-made pond. Once we got in to camp I ate a bit and decided it was time for a workout. Unlike the riders who are burning up to thousands of calories a day, food service roadies are relatively sedentary, so a workout was in order. After my workout Sergey was once again giving a yoga training. This time we were working on sun salutation A. I really need to add yoga to my workout schedule. (Thanks Sergey!!)
By the time my dinner shift rolled around I was completely exhausted. This was not a good sign, but I couldn't let my fellow food service roadies down by any means. So I trudged off to serve dinner. This time it was fish tacos and steak fajitas, which as usual were delish! As I started to work on the line I was really dragging and feeling more and more crabby. Every once in a while a rider would express his/her gratitude which would temporarily take some of the crankiness out of me. However as the night wore on and the food line got really long the riders started to get very cranky and hungry themselves which meant there was trouble brewing. After a short stint handing out the tortillas, they decided to put me on plates and wristband check, since I'm such a stickler for checking the wristbands. As usual the VAST majority of the riders either already had their wristbands visible or were only to happy to hike up their sleeves to show me their "wrist bling" as I'd taken to calling it. There were the usual rare kvetchers who found pulling up their sleeves too much to do and let me know how stupid I/we were for even requiring such a thing. I'd grown used to it and had a few standard replies to diffuse the situation. Usually along the lines of, yeah I know it seems silly, but it's what they tell me I have to do. Tonight though I was having none of it . . . I was hungry, I was tired, I'd been up since 3 AM. My blood sugar was crashed. They say the riders have a breakdown on the 3rd day and that roadies have their breakdown on the 4th day. Well here I was right on time on the night of the 4th day. One particular rider was really giving me a hard time about the wrist check and the fact that I wouldn't let her reuse her plate. (It's California health code, when going through a food line you are required to take a new plate . . . it's to prevent cross contamination.) After a very heated exchange I found myself contemplating cutting her with one of the biodegradable knives which we hand out as silverware. At that moment Betsy, a fellow food service roadie, came up behind me and offered to relieve me and give me a break. "No I don't need one," I snarled. At that moment the Karen working next to me in line looked at me and said: "I think you really do." And I realized she was right. I let Betsy take over, got myself a snack and sat down and rested. Whew! If it weren't for my fellow roadies I might have said something I regretted!
Honestly when I was warned that we would have breakdowns, I didn't really think that much of it. Generally I'm an even keel kind of person, but this experience is asking a lot of me physically and mentally. I'm not saying this in a bad way, because it's not. I'm having without a doubt the time of my life! By the time I'd staggered off to my tent that night I'd already felt bad about the exchange with the rider. As much as I was tired and exhausted, so was she, so were we all. I was told the 5th day of the ride would be a healing day, and we would all be more bonded happier in our exhaustion, and I fell asleep that night thinking it was most likely true!