Friday’s blog a private peek, right?
Thanks for popping in. Friday afternoon, been spinning plates all week, trying to keep the good ship Clarity afloat from a safe distance – and together with a few good people, we are actually managing to make ends meet. One day at a time is the only way forward.
Grace sent me an article she read in the New York Times yesterday, written by a Manhattan restaurant owner. It was a long article, but it drew me in. Totally. She already had me with the title:
My Restaurant Was My Life for 20 Years. Does the World Need It Anymore?
I read it slowly, soaked it up word by word, one paragraph at a time. The restaurant? Prune, in the East Village. The owner? Gabrielle Hamilton.
Hardcore. She comes from the Restaurant Business, or Hospitality Industry as we call it nowadays; I come from the Craft Industry. Completely different sectors, but I empathized with this woman 100%. All her dreams and aspirations. All her hard work, dedication, gritty attitude. I totally got her.
I understood how she said that running a business had become harder and harder. How competition was diluting the market beyond recognition. How the cost of running a business had crept up year on year, but the return hadn’t crept up at the same pace. That one had to wonder how many restaurants were on their knees and worn out BEFORE they were forced to close their doors because of the pandemic.
As I read the article, and felt her sadness, I was also filled with genuine gratitude. Not the kind of “we’re lucky to be alive” gratitude. Of course we’re lucky to be alive.
I’m talking about the gutty reality that we at Clarity are lucky to be still allowed to trade, to still be permitted to keep our virtual business doors open. If we had a shop front, we’d be shut. That’s the bare bones of it.
I’m going to sit in the garden later, with a cold drink, and I’m going to read the article again. I need to. I need to get a proper grasp of what has happened in other business peoples’ worlds. People who, just like me, have worked their arses off all their lives – and the whole lot just collapsed in a heap, virtually overnight.
That is the real world. So am I grateful? Oh God, yes. I am. Worn out, worried, apprehensive, fearful. All of those, too. But grateful first.
If you have time, read this article. Brilliantly written, too. It’s a fine piece of prose, and it puts the plight of hundreds of thousands of businesses all over the world in real time perspective.
So this weekend, I want to take a step back and stop pedalling like a loony tune, to keep the proverbial head above water. Time to sit with this lady in her empty restaurant, help her move the tables and chairs back and forth, and reflect on the way forward.
Stay safe. Have a good weekend.
Love and Hugs,