As you all know, it's been a very long time, a very strange time for all of us. Two years since my father passed, two years I've been wearing these masks, two years since anything has been "normal." But we have learned a lot in this time warp. I myself have also learned a lot about what it means to run a small, almost at times a seemingly unknown pizza restaurant and mobile catering company. Somehow, we have survived, resting on our Laurel district's unending support for what we do. We certainly couldn't have done it without our community, which has kept us in business throughout this pandemic.
Tonight I sit here, pouring over our new website's design, on the eve of our first catering of 2022. A small party of 40-50 people will happen tomorrow and we'll be providing all the pizzas and salads for those in attendance. I am rusty to say the least, and am having a bit of anxiety about this. I've done this hundreds of times over the last 11+ years, but tomorrow feels different. I see it as a sign of things almost returning to how it was before COVID. We know more now, a lot of folks have chosen to get the vaccines, people aren't dying as much as a result, and folks are more willing to have gatherings again. It's a good feeling for sure, but the pandemic has put a major damper on our ability to hire new staff, and we certainly can't do the quantity of events we were able to do in the past. I'm running ads, but nobody is answering them. I'm not sure what it really is, as i sit here and hear rapid gunfire in the distance night after night, sirens blaring, helicopters overhead circling with spotlights, tracking who knows what on the streets below our house, and near the shop. Perhaps people are just really over it, fed up, tension is everywhere, and the lid's about to blow here in East Oakland.
Can we really ever return to normal? What if normal was never really what it seemed, and was broken long before the pandemic ever even existed? I have definitely taken several steps back from the first 10 years in this business, and have said to myself, how much is it worth it, to work, every day, chasing a dragon I'll never catch? As I slowly bring our pizza machine back on line, I need to ask myself every day, is this worth it? At what cost to my own sanity? I still love the thrill of the unknown, driving out to someone's house or place of business, wondering what kind of obstacles we may face in order to serve our best efforts to those that are still willing to pay for that kind of service.
And pay we will, now that everything costs more than it should, and certainly more than it used to. A near-full tank of diesel just this week cost me $147 and I still had a quarter tank in the van before I filled up. I finally found a local gas station that would let me get more than $50 at a time on a fill-up, so I let it go all the ay till it gave me no more. I got my $.20 per gallon savings from my "rewards" and was like, hell yeah, fill'er up. Who knows what next week will fetch for a gallon as the potential World war 3 rages on between Ukraine and Russia, let alone the price of flour on the global market. Yet, people are calling, asking about catering, private events, and I'm sending out the quotes in hopes that someone will say yes to this new reality.