Aggression gets a pretty bad rap. After all isn’t aggression an ingredient to several helpful revolutions? Isn’t aggression sometimes the fuel behind an action? At the end of my shift today at Ma Peche today I was pulled aside and asked to be more aggressive in my work. Of course it should noted that I was not prepared for my job today. I stayed out incredibly late last night and had more than one whiskey/cider combinations to ride home in a cab and smoke weed with one of the servers at Ma Peche.
It is a weird time right now. I’m enjoying working at a restaurant. I like the people I work with and I like the people I work for. All the while, of course, there is this fear that my work will fade and I will no longer like working there. Or perhaps I’m simply happy and this makes me uncomfortable because when you’re suffering sometimes your needs are more clear. Sometimes your need becomes to simply end your suffering.
So at the end of my shift our food expo pulled me aside and asked me to be more aggressive. Which of course I met with anger. How dare he ask me to be more aggressive? Doesn’t he know who I am? I am the condoner of anti-aggression. Then I took a short walk to the west side to the 52nd Street Project where I’ve started to volunteer once a week. It was on that walk where I realized that aggression has been a friend of mine.
“Want you to work like it’s done something to you.”
Did it do something to me? Is this job doing something to me? This could also explain why many kitchen environments are hectic angry wastelands with gourmet ingredients and skill. Since my first day working as a food runner I’ve been asked to be more aggressive. A request that terrifies me. The kitchen atmosphere in general scares me on some level. All the yelling! And then the panic attacks fueled by thoughts of:
Isn’t aggression the root of all evil? Isn’t aggression the fuel of Hitler? Are you asking me to be like Hitler? If I exhibit aggression, will that also mean my eyeballs will fall out? Surely there is some terrible consequence of aggression.
Between you and me I often fantasize about being more of an aggressive person. No. That’s not completely true. I often fantasize about being mean. I often fantasize about how terrific it would feel to push innocent women over simply for wearing six inch heels. I often fantasize about wonderful it would feel to take an old pregnant man’s seat on the subway. I often fantasize about not calling a guy first. About giving them the cold shoulder. I often fantasize about going to a restaurant, ordering to my hearts content and then sending it all back because it “reacted poorly with my current diet.” Or any other ridiculous command I have fallen victim to over and over again in my years in the service, hospitality, Nanning, home care, odds and end career. It feels weird to write that I’ve had a career in the food industry but I suppose I have. Its been about ten years and I have certainly held many jobs at bars, TGI Fridays, brunch spots, French restaurants and now this sort of new wave expensive restaurant that’s demanding I be more aggressive.
Then I started to think about healthy examples of aggression. Like confidence. “Be more aggressive.” “Be aggressive. Be be aggressive.” It was a chant I use to fantasize about saying to a good-looking football player but never one I thought to exhibit for myself.
Be aggressive. Be be aggressive.
Coming forward to say what you want when you want it. Isn’t that a form of aggression? Isn’t that being aggressive? I thought back to the times I’ve done that and was met with positive response after positive response. Especially with dating. Most especially with any goal. Say what you want when you want it. And then do what you can do to ensure you achieve that.
Another lesson I learned from one of my many side jobs this week was to “meet someone where they were at.” I’m typing up transcriptions for a series of interviews with dieticians and you’d be surprised the shit a dietician has to deal with. Obviously I can’t give you any details but there are people giving advice everywhere from a homeless man with diabetes and no set diet to an anorexic girl whose mother is a negative influence upon her. When breaking apart their technique for creating a nutrition care plan, they almost always say to meet the patient where they’re at. So this is where I’m at. Running low on aggression.