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Day 28: Career Woman

There is a woman at my restaurant. Great is her power. Strong is her authority. You should see her work. She is straightforward. She’s fast. She’s smart. She’s patient. She’s brutal, if need be. That’s right: she’s Cap’n Pizza. She heads up the old ship Dough-Zion.

She’s good at everything. She runs that ship real tight. Super tight. Any problem – be it a people problem, supply problem, cleanliness problem or math problem – sticks out to her. She isn’t pretentious about resolution. She isn’t overbearing. She just corrects and moves on.

Some nights ago, I filled the yellow mop bucket with hot water. Steam billowed out as I hit the top of the wave wall. I twisted the cap off a bottle of degreaser. I poured in the typical amount. Splish splosh went the mop. I twisted it in the strainer and pressed down. I pull the lever to strain it, then repeated the other way. The mop came out and the floor grease battle began.

Things were starting to sparkle. The aroma of cleanliness started to replace the aroma of shoe gunk, pizza sauce and that stuff that settles into grout lines.

I finished two thirds of the store. I passed Cap’n on the last leg.  She’s nice. She doesn’t require us to salute as we pass. I just kept my head down and my mop moving.

“What do you use to clean the floor?” she said.

I looked up. Her face was scrunched. Her gaze passed from the front of the store to where I stood several times.

I explained the degreaser I used.

She disappeared back into the supply room. Again, there was no pretense. No overbearance. I was not in the least bit afraid that I had upset her. But I knew to ask.

“What should I use, Cap’n?”

She stepped back out of the supply closet. “I use these,” she said, holding up a small pouch. “Two of them. They’re in a box on the shelf in here. They seem to do a better job on the floor.”

‘I use these’, she had said. Not, use these. Not, company policy requires we use these. There was nothing robotic about her instruction. There never has been. She just corrects me and moves on.

I couldn’t help myself. I asked her this past Saturday, “How long have you been doing this?”

“Twenty-five years,” she said.

Twenty-five years. A quarter of a century. She’d ran pizza stores since I was in kindergarten at least. She had raised at least one daughter and built a home with hard-working husband by perfecting the craft that is Pizza.

I saw a coworker was listening. She was one of the customer facing staff. Her eyes were wide and her mouth was open. She seemed more blown away than I felt.

“Eh, Coworker? What do you think? Two more decades and you’ll be running stores just like Cap’n! Eh? Eh?” I said.

Coworker chuckled out an awkward sound that said, “I really don’t think so!” The phone rang, pulling her away from the conversation. It’s a shame. All I felt for Cap’n was respect.

My hat is off to all you career women out there. My mother is my favorite one of your rank. You do great things. You raise your families, improve the world and support your homes by working. You do it well, sometimes for fun, sometimes out of necessity, and sometimes against your will.

Some of you run tight ships like Cap’n. Some of you drive ships. Some of you even build ships. The point is, you are awesome. You are exemplary. You are intense. Without women like you who are willing to hire people like me, I wouldn’t be getting out of debt like crazy.



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