If you have ever worked in a restaurant you probably have heard of being in the weeds. I don’t know if this expression extends very far beyond the restaurant world, so to explain, being In The Weeds is when you are super duper busy and have more than you can handle.
When I was out on my externship from Culinary School, I worked the line at a restaurant for a summer. Even thought I arrived as early as I could for my shift every afternoon, I found myself In The Weeds before service even started most days. I had to stock out my station before we got busy, and there was never enough time. It made me panic and stress, and I hated it. I would get myself so worked up. By the time the sous chef was heading up to the dining room for the service meeting, I would be frantically fine dicing jicama and roasting tomatillos while imploringly looking to him. I’d say in a desparate sob, “I’m in the weeds!” He’d laugh at me, and head out to his meeting. He’d sip the latest glass pours with the servers, and I would be in the kitchen having an aneurism. I was not a fan of his.
Somehow, I would always get ready though, and if I couldn’t for some reason, the rest of the team would pitch in to help out. [Thank you guys.] Even still I hated that feeling.
Hold that thought. I’m going to circle back to the weeds in a sec, but first, I have a little aside here. If you’re a woman you probably know what I mean when I say that the size of the purse will determine what you carry. If you go out to a fancy event you may take a teeny tiny clutch with a lipgloss, your phone and a credit card in it. But usually you have your regular purse with more in it? If you have a smallish purse you fill it with the things that you need. But if you have a big purse you still fill it up? For me, if my purse is big, I put all sorts of stuff in there that I wouldn’t be able to if the purse was smaller. Like for example right now, I have a medium size purse, and I have a set of earbuds and a collapsible shopping bag in there. If I had a smaller purse, they sure wouldn’t be in it. They wouldn’t make the cut.
So anywhoo, the parable of the size of the purse, what does that have to do with being in the weeds? Well here’s the thing. I think there are a lot of things that are like the size of the purse. Like for me, my time is like that. If I have time, I will cram something in there. I will intentionally get myself into the weeds.
I give credit to my parents for instilling that drive in me. They are both lunatics like that. My Did is the worst. (Best?) He will have ten minutes to get out the door to be somewhere, and he will do twenty minutes of activities, chores, (whatever!!!) before leaving.
On my first day of culinary school, the head chef spoke to the new students. He welcomed us all there, in our whites and shiny shoes. The one thing I really remember from that speech was that he said we should expect to come upon challenge after challenge. But we should always be pushing the bar out ahead of us. We should constantly be redefining what we think is possible. To a budding culinary student these are amazingly powerful words and I took them to heart immediately. They immediately rung true.
So I guess that’s how I have found myself here in the weeds. I have a big purse, and I have filled it right up, and it is my own damn fault.
But I am okay with that. Really. I am now beginning to realize the important things are the things you should fill up your time with, and ditch the things that aren’t important. Because no matter what, I am going to be in the weeds, my purse is ALWAYS going to be stuffed full. Its in my DNA. But I have the choice to be there in the weeds, and I have the choice of what goes into my purse.
I’M IN THE WEEDS and I’m (mostly) okay with that. There are some things that I am just going to have to let slide for a minute or two or just plain wait till I can get to them. It’s not that my expectations are lower than they were when I was a twenty-two year old culinary student. In fact I think they are higher, and they are certainly pushed further than I could have guessed. It is just that I now know that I can’t freak out about dicing jicama. There are certain things, though urgent, that really aren’t that worthy of getting all super upset about. As one chef in school reminded us one day, “We’re just moving food here people.” There are more important things.
Do you always fill up your purse?
Have you heard the expression “In the Weeds” used outside the restaurant world?
Do you always fill your time up no matter what?
More Thursday Things