Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Community Service Day Three: Kitchen

The Kitchen

"I need 4 volunteers in the kitchen," announced the overweight cop who was married to a person that he met from "the orient." (He was in the army before being downgraded.)

My arm shot up despite the fact that I was tired and cold from biking from my cousin's place in only a tshirt at 6:30am. And I was selected. Score. I was done with orange and tired of staring at the man's belly, curious about how his buttons stayed attached.

The person who oversaw the four of us in the kitchen was this generous Indian guy. I asked him for scissors so that I could cut something and he had to unlock this secure glass case that hung against the wall in an office. This is where they kept the knives and other kitchen utensils to avoid stabbings.

He was being friendly and I told him that I'm trying to get through this and he this to me in his Indian accent. "You know, people need crises in their lives so that they can change and grow... if we never experienced any crises then why be better? Crisis opens a lot of opportunities."



This is what I did:
-scrub grease
-wipe the counters
-move giant carts that contained "tv dinner" like food for the inmates
-mop the floors

The most work I've done in the kitchen my entire life. I began to appreciate what it takes to keep things clean and thrived on the variety of activities.

They fed us well: While the clothing folders got inmate tv dinners, we got what they served to the cops: orange chicken, fried rice and egg drop soup. God, this is what I call community service!


In the kitchen we had many breaks and many conversations. There was a lot of amusing hypocrisy, but I got to know my fellow DUI convicts.

1. 23 years old culinary school graduate. Got fired because DUI complications, but found a job at a new restaurant. He was a chef at google, but quit because of the hours and management. He told me he was having a terrible year especially with corrupt cops.

2. 30 years old college drop out, multiple offender. He was 2 weeks away from completing his 3 year probation, but he was caught with an ounce of alcohol in his system. It was enough for them to take him in. Married and has two kids, admitted that if his wife found out what he was doing in Mexico with some waitresses he met she would leave him. He frequently commented that he was making "good money" as a project manager.

3. 19 years old tall guy who was going to the UK for his undergrad. Talked a lot about how he LOVED Spanish girls and Spanish culture especially after asking this random question: "If you were sentenced 30 years would you be desperate enough to have butt sex with another prisoner?" It got really awkward and everyone threw in their macho man answer, "NO dude, I'd shoot myself before it'd come to that."

I should have answered, "if they were hot and would make out with me.... do you know that the prostate is the male 'g-spot?'" But I gave my straight answer, "HELL NO!!" I wasn't there to make people feel awkward.. though there were a couple of bad boy hotties that I wanted to get to know... oo handcuff me.

Personality Assessments and and horoscope...
My cousin's husband told me that people who take these tests and read horoscopes are looking for something... as a result that take the information as something so accurate and to the T when it's obviously just generic.

We are clouded when we are in search, failing to realize that what's important is the action that is taken after being aware. "You feel lonely," so do something about it.

The idea is to continue to move
My cousin's husband who is pursuing his PhD has motivated me to move. "What I'm glad is that you are on the move... you aren't just staying still... moving forward is very important." If only he knew how many naps I take and how stagnant I feel, but no more.

He told me he went to Australia for a year to work and travel and to find himself when he was 26 years old. I'm not finding myself here, so why don't I go somewhere else.

I am 80% sure I'm going to Vietnam for 3 months. What's holding me back?


dannie said...

you should go! i think leaving what you are familiar with would be good for anybody. I really want to get out of the bay area for a bit too...

yay for cop food. see any cute cops? lol

Tofu said...

i have a friend volunteering at a program in vietnam right now who's really enjoying it. if you come to vietnam, don't forget to make a pit stop in japan heheh.