09 September 2007

Chinese Takeout: All good things must come to an end

Everything is different but it's all the same to him.
Everything is nothing like it was.
Before she came
Before she stayed
And went away ...
- "Johnny" by October Project

They tell me that nothing will change. I will still come to work at the same hours, do all of the same things, and get the same pay. Everything will be exactly the same.

Except that the people I work for won't be there anymore. The reason I go there at all will be gone.

It's basically impossible to both run a highly successful Chinese takeout and have a family. She's due in February. They've bought a seafood wholesale market on the other side of town, which will be less work for them. Next Saturday will be the last time I work with them. I'm unspeakably happy for them. I just didn't expect it would end so soon.

I've started the process of extricating myself from the takeout. I'll break in the new manager and teach him why it was as successful as it was. I'll hope he doesn't change anything that has been working so well, and I'll hope that all our customers, half of whom come to see her, will understand. And then by the end of the year, I too will be gone. Because I can't do for him what I did for them, when the takeout is just a takeout.


Megadeus said...

Wow. First your landlady and now your Chinese Takeout manager.

I suppose that's the way things go. People drift in and out of our lives and we just have to make the most of the time we spend together before we drift apart.

MWT said...

Yep. I'd just expected things to last longer than they did. But they'll still be in town, and I can visit them at their new business, and I'll still be able to see the new bun once it's out of the oven.

Jim Wright said...

Don't you hate it when things change? I mean we all claim we like change, but the truth is we don't. Not really, and especially not when it involves food. At least that's how it is for me.

I love, unique, small, family run restaurants. I love the way they smell and the fact that things are kind of worn and lived in. I hate it when the menu changes. I define a city by the restaurants I know.

MWT said...

Hi Jim! Nice to see you visiting my blog! :)

You sound like my father about food. He'd find something he liked and that was the end of it, he'd eat that and stop looking at anything else.

I like change just fine when I'm the one that's instigating the change. Not so much when change is thrust upon me. That's probably the key difference for most people right there.

In the grand scheme of things, most Chinese takeouts are pretty much the same (and for some reason, at least here in the southeastern U.S., there is always a nail salon next door). But the family that ran mine were very special. I miss them already.

The food will probably stay the same, at least for a while. Two of the cooks are staying around. Not sure who else is coming in besides the new manager guy, and I can't say I'm exactly filled with confidence about him. So far I've not seen him do anything besides hover and get in the way.

Jim Wright said...

I like your blog, MWT. What's the Blog name mean?

I'm like you, I enjoy exploring new foods, especially ethnic foods. But I also get attached to special places. Not so much because the food is good (even though it usual is), but because I enjoy the people. The more different the better, and I like small places. There's a place in Anchorage called the Whitespot Cafe, it's a hole in the wall and the owner is the meanest little Korean woman you've ever met - but she makes the best halibut sandwich I've ever had. I can't eat much in the way of tomatoes, and I don't care for Mexican food especially, but I'll try just about anything at least once, as long as I don't have to stand in line. I hate that, I'll go somewhere else if there is a line.

MWT said...

Thanks for liking my blog. That made my day yesterday. :) As for the blog name, short answer is that "Siram" is the name of one of my fictional planets. Long answer sounds like a good future post topic. ;)

And yep, I'll try anything at least once. The most recent "definitely an acquired taste" thing was sea urchin sushi. That stuff is hardcore. o.O

Mexican food is awesome when it's authentic. I got spoiled one time with a heavenly restaurant in Long Beach, CA, and ever since then no other restaurant has come anywhere close. The places that all have the same menu (where #8 is always "one tamale, one enchilada, beans and rice")? Those are analogous to Chinese takeouts.

Your story of Whitespot Cafe reminds me of a little diner in Morehead City, NC, which served "Lebanese lunch." It was basically just a normal "American food" diner, but the owners were Lebanese, and their grandmother would make lunch once a week. "Lebanese lunch" was whatever she decided to make. It was always delicious.

Jim Wright said...

I love Lebanese food, especially authentic Lebanese food. The Lebanese themselves I have mixed feelings about, I was in Beirut during the civil war and a number of them tried to kill me. But, hey, I understand Lebanon is a pretty nice place these days. I'd like to see it now. In general though, I like most Middle Eastern cuisine, I've been most everywhere over there. Best I had was pigeon pie in Morocco and lamb swarma at a private home in Bahrain.

Like I said, I can take or leave Mexican food, unless it's a California burrito from the Burrito Palace on Nimitz Ave in Point Loma, San Diego, California. Those are incredible.

I'm a big fan of Korean, Chinese, and Japanese foods. Thai as well. Spanish, Greek, German, and especially Dutch food I will definitely go out of my way for. And I have a special place in my heart for authentic Irish food.

MWT said...

There seem to be far fewer good restaurants of various European cuisines, so I've not had as much chance to try those. Greek and Irish I like, that much I know. What I'd really like to see, though, is more Sub-Saharan African restaurants. Their curries beat Indian any day.