Bringing Home the Bacon

Posted in Monthly at 2:39 pm by Pasha

As a not-so-legal worker in the United Kingdom, I have nearly done it all, short of being a London call-girl.

Over the past five months I have been employed in some pretty interesting ways. That is, if you can call taking part in surveys and writing bibliographies “employment.”

The two main jobs I have held include being an “Assistant Manager” at a pet boutique and spa and a “Sandwich Chef” at a mom and pop type eatery. While both seem über-glamorous, they truly translate into cashier and fast food worker.

In the beginning, my employment at Waggin’ Tails, was actually stimulating. I was writing press releases, initiating marketing campaigns and working from home. It was ideal.

But when the Chelsea store opened on 1 November, I found myself in another role. I sat for endless hours behind the counter while reruns of friends tormented me on the flat screen. Sure, every blue moon we would get a customer. One even spent almost £ 1,000 on a random Saturday … but that’s what it was, random.

Obviously, it wasn’t much of a surprise when my flaky boss broke the news that she couldn’t afford to keep me on staff after the holidays. I went over in my head the zillion marketing schemes I had suggested. She should have kept putting out new press releases, had January sales on items she claimed to expensive to discount, allowed me to hand out fliers from the door and she should have at least capitalized a little on the Chelsea Football Club that was only a block away.

But alas, you can’t teach a boutique boss working class tricks. So on I went to become a Sandwich Chef at Ensalata.

Since there isn’t much I won’t do for a few quids, it doesn’t bother me that at the end of each day, I heat water in the microwave (bad plumbing) and mop the floors. Instead of wearing the fashionable kits that I donned at Waggin’ Tails, I am wearing a too-big white worker button-up and a long black apron.

There is, however, a great deal of satisfaction that comes along with these lower wages, harder work, more hours and hideous uniforms. I am able to use my creativity, and for that, I am grateful.

Along with my “Chef” title is the “Stateside Special”, a sandwich that I create each week and sell to the constant stream of bankers and traders that pack the shop from noon till two. Even though I get many plan old chicken, cheese and bacon orders, a cult following for the Stateside Special is already underway.

I broke in the timid lunch diners with an always-loved California Club – turkey, ham, bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato, on cranberry-wheat bread. It was bigger than The Beatles! I followed it up with a twisted Reuben Sandwich: made with pastrami, turkey, Swiss, slaw and special sauce on rye bread.

The same men keep coming back for more, not at all deterred by the artery-clogging, shirt-staining, sloppy sandwich. I had one for lunch the other day. And, yes, it was heart-stopping satisfaction!

Along the way I have done little side jobs here and there for a little income boost The most memorable of them all was the “What Women Really Want” sex documentary.

After a previous screening session, I was chosen to candidly answer questions about what I prefer in the bedroom. I suppose they chose the right candidates based on bashfulness, of which I totally lack.

On taping day I went to the set, which was in a little actor’s studio by the Euston tube station. I munched on fruit and crisps and enjoyed a cup of apple juice while the lighting was perfected. They rigged me with a microphone and fiddled with the sofa cushions. When the set was ready, the prying questions began.

A very sweet female producer asked me simple questions about topics ranging from kissing and massage to tantric and kama sutra sex. I gave honest answers as the documentary was for an all too worthy cause. Once spliced and edited, it would be posted to a members-only website for men who want to learn how to be better lovers.

It left me with the giggles. I wasn’t sure if at the end I was flushed with embarrassment or if the confessional room lights were just that hot. But one thing was sure, I was £50 (nearly $100) richer and in just under an hour!

In the end work is work, no matter which country you do it in. I am proud to be an employable individual, whether it is hawking overpriced cashmere dog sweaters, slicing salami, squawking about my sex life, or even the monotony of writing a bibliography.

There is always an honest way to make a buck, a quid, and hopefully, even a colon.


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