One photo a day until I meet Jonathan Harris

18th March

I could say a lot of bad things about my boss, but here are two good things: his crêpe au sucre and his chocolat chaud.

Its funny how life works out. When I was about ten years old our family took a trip to Tasmania. Late one evening, walking through the streets of a town whose name I can't remember, we passed a restaurant. I stopped to examine one of the items on the dessert menu which intrigued me. Baffled by what appeared to be a glaring oxymoron and curious about the culinary reality it might translate into, I appealed to the greater wisdom of my mother.

"Hey mum, what's a 'sweet creep'?"

"A what?" she replied in surprise, and instants later was beside herself laughing as she realised what I was talking about.

It's a story that still causes her great amusement, and even today in our family, a meal at any establishment that serves sweet crêpes will not be complete without a full re-telling of the tale.

So here I find myself more than 20 years later working in a restaurant that specialises in just that kind of dessert. Although sweet creeps aren't on the menu, the owner (and my aforementioned boss) might best be described as one*.

My first week of work at his restaurant passed by in utter disbelief that someone could treat an employee with so little respect. I tried to justify his blustering tirades and his tyrannical temperament with information gleaned about his personal life: that he had recently given up smoking, that he wasn't sleeping at night due to chronic back-pain and that he was incredibly stressed out because business had been so slow in the midst of the financial crisis. Each time however, these excuses never seemed to be quite enough to account the sheer scale of his hair-trigger temper and wild mood swings.

A former employee who one day passed by the restaurant confirmed to me that this kind of behaviour was nothing new. Consoled that I was not the only one to have been the subject of his fierce outbursts, I was desperate to understand her perspective on the situation.

"If you know he can be so disagreeable," I asked, "why on earth did you come back here?"

"Well," she said pensively, as if trying to grasp the enormity of the paradox in her head, "despite all of that, he's kind of nice in a way".

She could have easily said "sweet" and surprisingly I would have to agree. His fondness for cinema classics, his sentimental taste in music, his boyish passion for Harley Davidson motorcycles and the way he abhors any kind of cruelty to animals all add up to a certain charm. Its as if these traits somehow soften the bluster of an otherwise insupportable megalomaniac. They seem to leave you thinking "well, deep down, I know he means well."

All conjectures aside however, the concrete evidence of the 'sweet' in this creep is on the table in front of me: the very tasty fringe benefit of working for a walking oxymoron and the reason why I asked him for a job in the first place. I can say all I want about his sour temper, but there is no denying his hot chocolate and sweet crêpe are amongst the best in town.

* If 'creep' seems inaccurate or outmoded, I leave to the readers discretion substitution of an alternative descriptive beginning with 'c'.