Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Shopkeeping

To prepare for a catering event, the day always starts at what is affectionately referred to as "the shop." It's a place of raw majesty, of stuff that produces beauty and fosters love, memories, family and friendship. It's a place of magic.

You'd have to look beyond the rows of sliver chafers or past the stacks of bowls. You'd have to peer beyond a pile of linen bags and give the unruly shelves of plasticware and utensils a cursory glance. But if you just sat in bewildered awe and thought how anything beautiful could come out of what seems like a warehouse of empty dishes, stacks of laundry, and rows of food, a warm place would form in your heart too and "the shop" would nestle right in.

Recently we moved the shop. The old one was getting cramped and dingy. We needed a bigger, newer, fresher start. Thus started the arduous process of packing away enough stuff to put on a superparty for half of Provo and hauling it across town. When we got to our new location I saw a room large enough to contain the possibility of all we just packed into bins and shoved into vans. The shelves were straight and tidy. The floor was recently power washed and free of clutter. It was like one giant clean slate.

Soon the busy hands of half a dozen workers moved the mounds of equipment and absolutely littered the floor with plastic bins Tetrised full of dishes and various other odds and ends. Though we were able to shelf much of the equipment that initial moving day, the shop remained in absolute disarray for weeks after.

I have a confession. I'm slightly (okay, maybe more than slightly) OCD and have been accused on a number of occasions as being a "neat freak." I maintain that there are far worse things to be accused of. Because of this lesser known quirk, if you will, every time I set foot in the shop and would see disorganized piles and hodgepodge mounds of stuff I would feel a tickle start crawling up my throat and soon realize that I was losing air. This was proceeded only slightly by a motley army of hives that march up and down my arms and legs and just the thought of sorting through it all to find a pewter punch bowl or slotted spoon or possibly a bag of croƻtons would cause me to walk directly to a bin of forks and proceed to find one with the right sharpness to penetrate my frontal lobe. Seriously the pain was second only to the anguish of trying to work in such jumbled mess.

So yesterday OlderAndWiserToo and PseudoSister and I finally donned our dingies and set to work scrubbing, scouring, shelfing, scooting, sorting, and straightening the shop. Today I worked a wedding reception and felt like doing Tour Jetes, Fouettes and split leaps down the clean aisles and cartwheels between the perfect rows of everything. It was beautiful. It was magical. The shop is reborn. And now my frontal lobe doesn't have to take so much abuse.

1 comment:

Gritty Pretty said...

hey ardently,
if you ever want to share that ocd please send some my way. i love it that you're exceedingly neat. but i remember that one time you saw my unorganized e-mail inbox and i saw your tidy inbox and...wow, what a contrast.
xo!

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