Friday, September 07, 2012

the worst pizza dream ever

Last night, I had my worst pizza dream ever.

It's not news to anyone who knows me that I worked at Little Caesars pizza for a long, long, long time...9.5 years or thereabout...which is admittedly a shocking number. I can still recite all the pizza topping requirements. I could still probably walk in to a location and do the job faster than anyone else in the store. I in fact still regularly dream of the place. These dreams now only happen every so often nowadays, but even just a couple years ago, I would have a Little Caesars dream about every month.

Generally, these dreams inevitably involve me coming in and rescuing a down-on-its-luck location...not unlike my real role in the company, where I was a bit of a traveling enforcer, sent from location to location to whip stores into shape. In these dreams, though, I am the pizza equivalent of superman. I do the work of ten people. I fire, hire, train, all in a heartbeat. I inspire everyone to work at 100% efficiency. Stores that were unrepentant hellholes just moments before my arrival become the epitome of pizza perfection within mere minutes.

Last night, I had another Little Caesar dream...but it was horribly wrong. I came into a very busy store. Because of my vast experience, I was hired directly into the management level. When I started my shift, however, I noticed all kinds of products that didn't exist during my previous tenure. There were these weird puffy pizza/sandwich-like things, for a start. But no one told me how to make any of them.

Then they asked me to work ovens. It was okay at first, but more weird products started coming out of the oven. 2" round pizzas. Baked salads. Weird pudding-like baby foods. As I have no idea such products even existed, I similarly have no idea what to do with them. The guy who's working ovens with me didn't really try to help me out...he just keeps saying "stack the things." So whatever I can't figure out how to package--which is quickly becoming everything--just gets thrown on the table.
My "helper" on ovens, though, just isn't that good. Turns out, he can barely keep up with the flow with a competent helper who actually knows the job. With me, we just get further and further in the weeds. Plus the oven, somehow, gets more and more full. Soon, there's no room to even put the pizzas on the table. I start stacking food on the floor. Stuff comes out of the oven faster than I can grab it. Pretty soon, food is falling out, piling on the floor, flinging against the walls, splattering on my legs. I howl in pain from the sauce burns.

Then I wake up and think of the Coen brothers.

It's also no surprise to anyone who knows me that I love The Big Lebowski. This goes back to its release, when the ads were so weird, I had to see the film. I dragged my dad to see it with me, which was hard, because he kept asking what it was about and I couldn't tell him anything. By the time we left the theater, both our sides were hurting from laughing so hard. My first year up in Ohio, me and a friend of mine tried to watch it many different weekends. Somehow, we always ended up at the bowling alley instead. We did, however, keep quoting the movie throughout our personal bowling/drinking binge.

One of the real gems of the film (there are many) is Steve Buschemi's character Donnie. Donnie doesn't do all that much in the film other than bowl and be silly comic relief. And when he bowls, Donnie is, as he says himself, "on fire." Strike after strike after strike. Right up, however, until he throws a split. Immediately thereafter, the main characters get into a fight with a band of roving nihilist musicians...and then Donnie has a heart attack...and then dies.

Everything is going well...right up until the point it isn't.

This is what I thought upon waking from my pizza dream.

Admittedly, it's been a rough week for me. I've come to the uncomfortable realization that my life has reached a kind of sad milestone in that I don't really have any close friends. Oh, sure, there are a lot of people who would gladly hang out with me. The only problem? They seem to live everywhere except where I am...literally scattered everywhere from Romania to California, Florida to Wisconsin, all points in between. There are more people in Kansas City who want to hang out with me on a weekly basis than there are here in Bowling Green.

Sure, I have some friends. There are people with whom I spend time. But if I'm to be honest, I'm the guy you call when you want to go to the Farmers Market...or if you want to watch a wrestling pay per view...or something like that. I'm more used to hearing about what people I know did on a weekend than actually being invited along. And this all hit me hard this week.

Honestly, while the antidepressants are helping me remain somewhat even, the main things promoting any form of stability are my wonderful family and my awesome band. But I'm still more fragile than I'd like to admit. Part of my issue this week is my band practice got cancelled, so I was sans my normal cathartic noise release.

So maybe my funk is just temporary. Maybe I'm exaggerating my lack of close friends in the area. Maybe I'm seeing social isolation where none really exists. Maybe my friends in the area are just themselves overcome by events. Maybe this weekend, everything will turn out just fine.

But then I think of the horrible pizza dream when the rest of them have been triumphant. Then I think of Donnie's one spare after a film full of strikes. I think of the consequences for him.

I can't help but wonder.


Anonymous said...

Why not just try color-coding something this weekend? Just for laughs?

Anonymous said...

That's the shittiest dream I've heard in a long time. It's over the line.mark it zero--oak

PS: on phone; can't type more now, but pulling for you