Thursday, April 3, 2008

When in Rome

I started another job last week, waitressing at a new restaurant that has just opened here in the valley. I've been a server before; I worked at a place in Kansas City for a couple of years. I did it because we lived on the farm and The Kid was a toddler with no contact whatsoever with other young'uns. You know how city kids look at cows and point and say, "Look, look a COW!" Yeah…my kid did that too, but she pointed at children, and she called them by her first name, which made for a very embarrassing morning at an Old Country Buffet but that story is not printable so you'll have to ask me about it some day if we ever meet face to face.

So I waitresses at a Sports Bar which was located across the street from a pre-school/daycare center. I dropped The Kid off in the morning so she could be around other kids and be a little less socially retarded when she entered Kindergarten. It worked okay, I guess. I was a little worried people would think she was raised by wolves. At least she started acting less like a dog, which she did a lot before I stuck her in the class.

Where the hell was I?

New job. So last week I started and it was our "soft opening." That means we were open for a little over a week and no one knew we were there. But it's okay, it gave the owners a chance to work out the glitches in the computer system and other things because it's all brand new, and this is their first restaurant.

Today was our official "Grand Opening". Ribbon cutting, free food, raffle prizes, chamber of commerce, the whole enchilada. Knowing what the banquet room looked like when I left yesterday I arrived about 15 minutes early because I figured there was some stuff to do to make the place look extra super-de-dooper spiffy.

I entered in the middle of the blessing. How did I know this? Because the entire family was gathered around a little tent thingy and they were repeating after the priest and there was incense burning…and the owner's fiancĂ© told me (quietly) to take off my shoes.

I look around and everyone has their head covered. The devout men are wearing turbans, the owners, who do not follow their religion as strictly, had a kind of a do-rag thing going on, and the women all had either a dupetta or the Palau of their Sari's covering their heads.

Oh, did I forget to mention I work at an Indian restaurant?

The owners are Sikh. I'm about as WASP as you can get, without the "P" part. I'm not a member of any organized religion. In fact, I'm not even a Christian, but that's superfluous. I do, however, respect the beliefs held by others, so when I saw that everyone had their head covered I whipped the top of my Jerzees Hoodie over mine and tried to scrunch my shoulders down into it. The Priest invited me to sit next to the owner's fiancé (I guess that what he did, I was just going by his motions and body language. I don't speak Punjabi.) So I got to sit in while the rest of the blessing took place. The owner's fiance got me a beautiful red head scarf to wear instead of my hoodie hood. They put some stuff in my hand that looked like cookie dough I think it was like a rue made with chicken fat. It tasted yucky, but that's okay, the whole thing was very cool.

I don't think, when blessing are involved, that you have to understand the language to get the gist of what's going on. A blessing is a blessing. All people around the world seek the same things: success, prosperity, everyone to have a good time, eat good food, and be healthy. They want joy and laughter, safety and security, love, and happiness. It doesn't matter what religion it is, it's all the same and it's all good. The Carriage Barn has meetings twice a year, and each one is opened with a Mormon blessing. They all boil down to "Thanks for the job, be safe, make money, play nice." and as Bill and Ted said "Be excellent to each other".

They opened a Hindu Temple dedicated to the Elephant-like God Sri Ganesha in South Jordan a few years ago. The Kid and I have been there twice. Once we got blessed by the Priest, got the yellow spice on our forehead and was handed some stuff we call "Indian Trail Mix" for lack of knowing the proper term. It was nice. We felt peaceful. Plus people gave us goofy looks for the rest of the afternoon, and in our family that ranks as a bonus, confusing people. It's kind of like a hobby. Random acts of confusion.

We didn't care, we were blessed.

And you know what? We are.

1 comment:

Skeeter Demon said...

I'm with you: a blessing is a blessing, and I'll take them whenever they're offered. No downside. Was just reading your "when in Rome" entry to Mom. Tried to find your entry on My Space where you listed the 31 layers of clothing for winter driving. Best of luck with the new gig!