Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Of all the Micro Breweries, in all the world, I had to walk into this one

Gravitate Towards Jupiter, Downtown Berkeley, CA
Once upon a time, I walked into a bar/restaurant in downtown Berkeley, and handed in a resume. Just back from the obligatory, post-college-world tour, I was broke, over-educated, and inexperienced in any line of work other than serving food. I needed a job and my friend Joanna had taken me to Jupiter on my first night living in Berkeley. Of course I fell in love with the ambiance, who wouldn't love an old barn, with wooden beams running throughout and a beautiful brick courtyard with Christmas lights year round? And the pizza and beer were good, so good that I thought, wouldn't it be nice to get this for free during my shift rather than have to pay for it once a week? So in that moment where my resume passed from my hand to that of the manager on duty, Eryn Blackwelder, magic happened, and I proceeded down a path.

There are those exact moments in time where you can trace back how your life would have been different if that moment hadn't have happened. Like you can almost see fate unfolding. I didn't know at the time how much would change just from that little job as a food runner and a hostess. Maybe you've had a job like this, or an experience with a group of people with whom you did a play or were on a team together. It doesn't matter what brought you together with these people, it's the fact that once you met up on that path in life, you realized, they would always be there, sometimes visible, sometimes not, but forever with you.

It might sound extreme to speak of a restaurant job in such dramatic tones, but working at Jupiter really did change my life. I went there the other night to celebrate a friend's last shift. I haven't worked there for four years, and I don't know many front of the house employees anymore. The kitchen staff hasn't changed much and we all said hello. Back when I was managing there, I used to love hanging out in the prep kitchen, me practicing Spanish, some of the guys practicing English. I've never worked in another restaurant where the kitchen staff and the front of house staff interacted so much. That was probably due to Eleanor Alderman acting as the translator and always making sure that the language gap was bridged. That was just one of the ways in which Jupiter was unique. But, back to the other night.

Tim Henry and I met at Jupiter. We were co-workers, who then became roommates, and evolved from that to be best friends, keeping in touch even though he has been living on the other side of the world for the past year. We went in to say goodbye to Joesph Scheppers, one of the truly great people that exists in this world. You won't meet very many people who are as funny, kind, smart, and enjoyable as Joe Scheppers. If you know him, in any capacity, consider yourself lucky. He's about to move down to LA LA land, a dream he's talked about since I met him, smoking a cigarette in the breezeway at Jupiter, his first night as a doorman.

So many young souls work in restaurants while they nurture their dreams. Biding their time, saving money, making connections, and drinking, drinking a lot. I think drinking a lot is almost inherently necessary to have big dreams. Dreams of being famous artists, actors and musicians, of living in far off places, of starting your own business. It's difficult to believe in these dreams in a sober state of mind in this world of can'ts and won'ts. So we drank at Jupiter, night after night, year after year, we went from co-workers, to friends, to roommates, to lovers, to boyfriends and girlfriends, mentors, gurus, guidance counselors, to husbands and wives and parents. It really was, and in some ways still is, a family. And while there are some Jupiter folks that continue to be friends in the flesh, friends like Tim Henry, Joe Scheppers, Evan Becchetti, Sarah Newman, Ben Wiklund, there are the countless others that show up on my Facebook feed or I hear about through the grapevine,  and I realize, so many of the people I am connected too, came out of the old barn.

So maybe we now live in Colorado, and Sweden, and Dubai, and France, and Hawaii, and Indonesia and where ever else we moved on to, but we are still a family. I think sometimes how I really could still call upon this huge network of people for so many things if I needed to. How we went through hell and back together on those Blue Grass Nights, those Cal game days, those sold out concerts at The Greek, and SantaCon. If you've only ever eaten there, you might not know, that part of why the beer tastes so good, is because we cried while serving it to you, but we usually did it with a smile, because we knew a quarter time was waiting at the end of the bar for us.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, BABY!Awesome story Liz, so amazing how thing like that happens, huh?
    I don't know if I ever told anyone, but I truly enjoyed shutting down that SantaCon back in 07'.
    Hahaha! Yup :D