Friday, September 14, 2018

#68 The 2nd Avenue Extension - part 1

I'm not quit sure what made me think of it, or why the memory popped into my head. I was just walking down the street, letting random thoughts percolate, when the memory of the 2nd Avenue Extension stood up and planted itself in my mind.

It was the 1980's, and the dad of one of our....(were we a band? No, more than that - a gang? No, less than that - a marauding fraternity of creative and irreverent teenagers? Yes, that)...decided to go into the restaurant business. Surprisingly, he hired the bunch of us to spend the Summer remodeling the trash-heap of an abandoned restaurant he had just purchased.

Here is the Cast of Characters; Myself, 19 years old, experienced at being hired (and quickly quitting) restaurant jobs; Smitty, singer ('yeller,' more accurately) of the band Mr. Epp and The Calculations (look it up); Darren (to be fair, the person I call 'Darren' is still alive and kicking, but under a different identity, and I can only hope that the context of the story allows for the use of 'Darren'); Todd, Darren's brother, and bass player for Epp (Darren, who taught me how to be a drummer, became the band's drummer after I briefly was); Paul Morey, Darren and Todd's dad, and the owner of this whole misguided venture; Mark Arm (look up the band Mudhoney); Craig Joyce (quiet, soft spoken, but the one friend we all felt was truly brilliant); Tom Wolf (not the famous writer); along with girlfriends, hangers-on, and other occasional helpers.

Mr. Morey was a sucessful hair stylist with his own salon in the heart of Seattle's Pioneer Square.

One day, out of the blue, he announced that he was opening a restaurant.

More shockingly, he told us that we were all hired, as a group (a mistake, and we all knew it), to spend the summer remodeling, so the place could open in September.

Then he made the announcement that should have instantly doomed the whole enterprise. "Peter is giong to be the Manager."

I liked this idea, or, my ego did, but the rest of the group unanimously voiced their disapproval.

"The decision has been made," Mr. Morey said. "Peter is in charge."

To this day, I have no idea how any 'remodeling' was actually accomplished. I do not remember doing any actual work.

My entire memory from this Summer centers around destruction and breaking things.

We would show up for 'work,' as a group, at any random time of day, look at the 'to do' list Mr. Morey had for us, and then do absolutely nothing. Usually we would go downstairs to the dark, dank basement of the place and start breaking things.

I clearly remember one day when we spent a good two hours throwing weirdly shaped light bulbs at a brick wall, because we could not get over the funny sound they made when they popped.

Somehow, by the end of Summer, the restaurant had miraculously actually become remodeled. It was some sort of hocus pocus that had happened. Maybe Mr. Morey secretly brought in actual contractors to finish the job.

The restaurant opened on time in September. How? It was a true miracle.

And, true to his word, Mr. Morey made me Manager. All my friends quit, though. They were all going back to classes for the Fall, and had no interest in working in an actual restaurant...or they had no interest in working in a place where I was the boss.

My tenure as Manager didn't last long. I didn't know what I was doing. I couldn't be othered to count money. It didn't take long for Mr. Morey to recognize my lack of experience, and he quickly hired someone else, demoting me to Assistant Manager.

The restaurant seemed to function great for a while, and I worked there for the next several months.

Those next several months, though, saw a whole new cast of characters; Ron the Manager, Big Dave, Little Dave, and Bob... the reason The 2nd Avenue Extension will have a Part 2...

Stay tuned for Part 2 in October...
-Peter Wick
September 14, 2018