Walking in tonight, I saw..nothing. Nothing is bad. Nothing means I am going to spend the night slamming through the rack, cursing the whole time.
I sneak around through the walk in to deposit my water bottle, and stop dead in my tracks at the sight of racks full of dough slowly proofing. VERY slowly proofing. Many, many racks. All waiting for me. I think at some point i start drooling on myself, as suddenly my brain is empty and panic grips my stomach. I've forgotten what to do. And there's so much of it.
I do the perfunctory rounds, saying hi, flexing my muscles, relaying stories of my doctors visits and the Teutonic Terror. And then, breathe held, enter the oven room. D and W have been doing the early bake, and empty and partially filled racks are strewn everywhere. Rolls that should have been baked hours ago..sitting. Waiting. For ME. I start to set my bake up, rolling racks to and fro, trying to push the proof time as much as I can, counting rolls and calculating temperatures in my head so I can see which trays I can consolidate so everything gets baked before 3 am.
W keeps wandering by and opening my oven. Checking. I don't often work with him, but he makes me feel like a tiny child with pee soaked pants. Apparently before becoming a baker he was in the Coast Guard and pulled dead bodies out of the water. I can see that. Really. I find a note from H stuck to my oven mitt, welcoming me back. I gather it has been a rough two weeks. The recent hire, who was supposed to be trained on rack, seems to not like it. And I'm the only one who knows how to do it. I strut around in my mind for a few minutes, because I am macho and the only rack baker. Then I realize..heeeeeeeey..I'M THE ONLY ONE! NOT FAIR!!!
So the night goes on..I have bits of rosemary down the front of my bra, flour up my nose, semolina stuck to the back of my pants, and I smell so sour I could probably make my own starter. But it all gets done. Nothing gets burned, nothing has overproofed. And my leg..though very sore, has not buckled.
I toast myself with a warm beer and a cigarette out on the loading dock, and head out into the morning in search of a cab.