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  No pictures with smartass captions this time.

  Today is my birthday.  What do I have planned today?  Maybe I’ll sleep until noon, lazily roll out of bed and play video games all day.  Or maybe I’ll lounge by the pool and enjoy the sun in some of this 88 degree weather we’ve been having lately.  I know!  I’ll take that Anthony Bourdain book I’ve been reading out there with me.  Perhaps, if I get a little thirsty, I’ll pick some of those citrus fruits that have ripened very nicely off of that tree outside our door and make some fresh orangeade.  Hell, maybe I’ll splurge a little and pour a healthy dose of Stoli vodka in there… kind of ease into a mellow buzz by afternoon while I bake in the sun.

  That ain’t gonna happen.

  Instead, I’m up at 6 am vacuuming, washing dishes, calling to find an apartment in Maryland and having my third cigarette by 6:30.  The Phoenix apartment managers are coming today to evaluate whether or not I get my cleaning deposit back… and that’s money in the gas tank.

  Things are hectic now.  Tomorrow is Vess’ last day of school, which is a week earlier than it was supposed to be.  Being the nerd that she is, she passed 8 of her ASE tests.  This resulted in a peach of a job just outside of Baltimore.  The only problem is, they want her there yesterday.  This has led to hasty packing and frantic calling to Maryland apartment complexes in a mad scramble.  Best case scenario: We’ll be out of here by the end of the week.  If somehow the stars all align, I’ll be amazed.

  My job prospects at the moment aren’t as promising, but things are looking up.

  There is a French culinary school near (well, relatively near) where we’ll be living.  It wasn’t my first choice, but it is considered to be in the top ten of the country.  Assuming I can even get in, it’s a 12-18 month course with an extensive extern program that will give me the experience I very much need.  It’s not CIA, but it is a step in the right direction.

  Speaking of getting a year older, culinary school and Anthony Bourdain, I read this yesterday in one of his books (I’m currently reading my fourth one authored by him).

  “How old are you?

  Nobody will tell you this, but I will:

  If you’re thirty-two years old and considering a career in professional kitchens?  If you’re wondering if, perhaps, you are too old?

  Let me answer that question for you:

  Yes.  You are too old.”

  This really hit home when I read this.  It was like a square-on kick to the balls.  Et tu, Anthony?  After having so many people question my decision for a career change at my age, and YOU have to pile on too?  I needed that like another hole in the head.  Then again, I would expect nothing less from someone with his experience and brutal honesty.  But then I read the next sentence:

  “If you’re planning on spending big bucks to go to culinary school at your age, you’d better be doing it for love – a love, by the way, that will be, almost without a doubt, unreciprocated.”

  This was bittersweet, but it gave me hope.  I AM doing this because I love food – not just eating it, but everything about it.  I love the way it smells up a house.  I love the way it gets quiet in a room when dinner is served because no one can be bothered to talk when they are truly enjoying a meal.  I love how a perfectly cooked slab of pork will make you forget, if only for a second, that the power bill is overdue and you have negative dollars in the bank.  Most of my fondest memories of family and friends have somehow revolved around food – either eating it or talking about it.  I want to know as many techniques as possible.  I want to know how food works; why it behaves the way it does.  It’s like a drug, and it leaves me always wanting more.  Art is great, but there’s only a limited amount of people who you can talk about it with.  Food is universal.

  I guess, in my case, the encouraging story will have to come from Alton Brown.  He was in his thirties when he went from being a cinematographer for an REM video to culinary freshman, later to turn his education into a successful career.  This is the exception, rather than the rule – but us old fogies take inspiration where we can get it.

  Gotta go febreze the curtains now.


5 responses to “Crunch

  1. kumikuhr ⋅

    Happy birthday mate 🙂 and top congratulations to Vess!!! Hope things pan out (pun intended) for you both in Baltimore — a place I only know from the TV series The Wire…

  2. rogin ⋅

    cute commercial – looking forward to seeing yous

  3. Don’t give up on your dream. In the end, happiness IS all that really matters. Happy belated birthday!

  4. Woodie ⋅

    Finding a way to do that you love for a living is priceless, it will certainly extend your life expectancy to more than compensate for a “late start”. Besideds that, your perspective on life a young one, another reason to ignore the naysayers. Each success will be that much sweeter! I’m excited for y’all on this new leg of your adventure.

  5. PC ⋅

    Never give up Dave…after all I started my own company at 51…go for it.

    Glad you are going to be outside Baltimore…what area?

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