Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Color Code

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How many of you can recall the literature you read in high school?  That you were required to read, that is? 

Those lines have blurred for me over the years.  I have trouble remembering which reading was required by high school teachers, which reading I did for my own enjoyment, and which reading I did later on in college.  And then I get further mixed up because I was an English teacher for over a decade, after all.  And that’s more books!

Naturally, I recall Romeo and Juliet in 9th grade.  I want to say Lord of the Flies is in there somewhere, but I also taught that book.  The Great Gatsby, I can’t remember if that was high school or college.  I know I did Macbeth and Hamlet in high school, along with Grapes of Wrath, Cold Sassy Tree, 1984, and Brave New World.

Ah, Brave New World.  Who else remembers that one?  Aldous Huxley did dystopian long before it became the in-thing (i.e. Hunger Games and Divergent).  Society was organized into castes: Alphas, Beta, Deltas, Gammas, Epsilons (am I missing one?) and all castes were recognizable to each other by the colors they wore.  Alphas wore gray, Betas were mulberry, maybe?, Epsilons wore black.  And the castes did not mix.  They pretty much stayed to themselves.

A weird book and not altogether a happy one (although, are any dystopians happy enders?).

I think of Huxley today as I reflect upon the similar phenomenon going on at the hotel I am employed by...it’s just not nearly as odious as Brave New World’s version.  With a lavish resort such this one, there are several different types of jobs and departments needed to insure that the place runs smoothly.  It’s taken me a few days, and I still don’t have it all worked out, but as far as I can discern:

Black-and-white checked pants/white chef coats: Foodservice Staff (which would include yours truly)

Striped dresses/aprons/and caps: Housekeeping

Red blazers: Front Desk/Reservations

Red coats with tails/red caps: Bellhops (are they still called that?  My Victorian hotelspeak is rusty)

White tuxedo jackets/black bowties: Waitstaff

Black dinner jackets/black bowties: Head Servers, Maitre’d

Hunter green work pants and jackets: Maintenance or Groundskeeping

Teal green coats with tails: No Idea...this is still under investigation

See, unlike Brave New World, though, no group here is better or worse than the others.  And that’s the thing about the hospitality field...there is no one-man show.  There is only a network of interconnected and interdependent people and departments.  What would be point of having great chefs if there’s nobody to serve their food?  Who cares about the marvelous Front Desk staff if the landscaping of the whole place has been neglected?

You see what I’m saying, Aldous Huxley?  You see it, bro?

Anyway, that’s today thought.  The inspiration theme song of the day was Irene Cara’s “Fame - What a Feeling” from the movie “Flashdance.  And while I do not foresee myself dancing provocatively in the kitchen, it was a great pump-up song for a day of making chicken nachos.  Because I’m gonna live forever...

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