Thursday, July 30, 2009

Unexpected Reminders

This evening I was reaching into the little thrown pot where I keep my bobby pins and my fingers fumbled against something with sharp edges and I drew it out to see what it was...
It was my name pin from my six month stint working as a receptionist at The Hillcrest Country Club, an exclusively Jewish country club in Los Angeles and second home to some of the wealthiest and most powerful movers and shakers in said city.
You can just barely make out my name in the above picture....

The Hillcrest was also my own private hell for that half-year.

Before I started working for myself I was a receptionist-by-day-musician-by-night. Before I entered Purgatory at the Hillcrest gates I was the concierge at a fantastic members-only dining establishment call 'The Regency Club'. 
Some of my fondest memories of that city are in the hallowed halls of that place: communal dinners with the mostly French waitstaff and my complete adoration for the Chef...
one night they made me a chocolate souffle and set me up in a private dining room lit by candles to enjoy it toute seule, the lights of Los Angeles twinkling outside the 15th story windows.....oh it was delicious, and like family.

My hours were sporadic and the pay was low, so I had to look for something more stable.
Enter the Hillcrest. I worked 40 hours a week and dreaded every second of it, except for the blessing of spending time with my amazing immediate co-workers.

The higher-ups were in a very strange position of having the members control their employ and so they were rigid, scared and unbearable... it was a very strange perfume indeed that wafted out of those formidable wooden doors!

I met tons of celebrities, handed Sidney Poitier his golf hat that he'd left the day before (swoontastic!) and ate some serious five star cuisine, but we were treated so poorly by certain members that I pretty much left in tears at least one day per week.

Eventually I made some choices and took a few big leaps of faith and found myself at Electronic Arts where I spent three years and would meet my future husband, and the job switch was a complete relief in so very many ways.

I look back on situations like those at The Hillcrest, where I had few choices and lived paycheck-to-paycheck.... where my very soul felt like a python was closing in for the death squeeze and I wonder at the benevolence of the universe and the spectacular change that only a few years can bring.

This world is truly a place of great mystery and grand twists of fate: where we are now is only a nanosecond in time: each minute a new possibility blooms!

A toast - to blessings and the opportunity to count them in every nook and cranny - even the bobby pin jar.


Runs4fun said...

Hear, Hear!
Allison, it is so very obvious where your Sunny nick-name comes from. You radiate a positive attitude and find the glow in some of the darker shadows of your life.

It is a very attractive quality.

May it stay with you, bless you and keep you---all the years of your life.


Nancy*McKay said...

...stepping stones...sweet lady...the stepping stones...of life...

radcow said...

aw Allisunny... Thanks for sharing your story... I resonates with me deeply right now as after 5 years of freedom and self employment, I suddenly find myslef washing dishes by night these days (I got denied at the US/Canada Border just after the wedding) so I had to scramble to find some kind of security, and now that the reality has set in, I am shocked at how easily I had forgotten what hell on earth was...up to my elbows in sludge and filth in sweltering weather... I am trying hard to remind myself in my belief that "everything happens for a reason" and consider the fact that pressure makes diamonds...just look at you now ... Would you have appreciated your growth as much had you not had to go through all that?...

Ann from Montana said...

Beautiful and I love Nancy McKay's "summary" - stepping stones!

There is a kind of life therapy thing along the same line - looking at your life "backwards" to the "bad thing" that led to the "good thing". As I get older and have more experiences it helps in the difficult times to remember that they will probably be those "stepping stones" to a good thing and to, in fact, treasure them as future "unexpected reminders".

Thank you for reminding me!

susie said...

Thank you, I needed to hear that today.

westbyron said...

oh, that so brings back memories of my own guided tours through hell. Good lessons, all.

Char said...

Love this post! Thanks for the reminder that "Everything" does happen for a reason.

Sunny Rising Leather said...

Heath: many, many thanks... you make me blush :)

Nancy: isn't it amazing when you look back to see where you've come from? Stepping stones indeed!

Iris my love: My faith is strong that you'll be on your feet soon: there must be something you'll take away from it that is of great value....if there is anything I can do please just ask. Until then you'll be firmly rooted in my best thoughts.

Ann: thank you for being here and always having something profound and beautiful to add to the comment section. You are a treasure.

Susie: I often need the things in your blog, too: the humor, poignancy and wit :) Hope all is well.

Jessie: 'Guided tour through hell' - oh that made me chuckle - that's exactly what it feels like: that Goodness we are indeed guided, though :)

Char:Indeed, everything really does :) Thanks for your kind spirit :)