Hi my name is Maddog and I’ll be your server today…

Hi my name is Maddog and I’ll be your server today.

I read a post this morning that’s had me a little pissed off all day. In the post the person was discussing bad service and whether to leave a tip or not. Before I start, I should probably say that I was a waiter for more than 8 years at a number of different restaurants. I have worked fine dining, chain restaurants, and even a diner. I’ve probably seen it all. But it’s a rare occasion when I don’t tip 15% or more when leaving a restaurant.

In U.S. News and World Report about 10 years ago it listed waiting tables as one of the most stressful jobs you could have. Anyone who’s ever waited tables would surely agree. First you have to deal with the public and their food and the lists of ways they want to be treated. Second, you are dealing with a back of house staff that can be temperamental to say the least. And then there’s always management and they are all over the place in ability. Then, when it’s all said and done you have to hope that the people you are waiting on leave you money on the table because 3.35 an hour ain’t gonna pay the bills.

So what about bad service. I have to admit there are people out there who shouldn’t be doing the job. But there are also teachers, doctors, scientist, reporters and you name it who shouldn’t be doing their jobs as well. As expected they ruin it for the rest of us. But I also know that everyone’s definition of bad service differs. I don’t like it when my empty plates are left on the table. A response to the post this morning said they didn’t like having to wait more than 2 minutes to be greeted initially. I once upset a man very badly because I removed his wife’s plate and he wasn’t finished eating yet. This was a sling hash sort of place and we weren’t following fine dining standards. Before we even get to the table we are at a disadvantage because I have no idea what you are looking for in service. So I try and do them all, and hope for the best.

So what’s bad service. I don’t know. For me it depends on the restaurant. If it’s fine dining I expect one thing. If it’s the Bennigan’s down the street I expect something totally different. What I don’t expect is to be treated like a king, and yet I have waited on those people who expect just that. I do know is that it’s not always my fault. Do you want to know why I didn’t get to your table in two minutes. I was in the basement getting ice for the whole restaurant. Do you want to know why your drinks from the bar took 10 minutes. The bartender was having a smoke break. Why didn’t I bring your side of honey mustard dressing and mayonnaise? The kitchen guy hates me because I’m a “fag” and won’t give me anything I ask for until I get a manager. You think I’m making this stuff up but it’s all stuff that’s happened to me.

And then, when it’s all said and done you get to decide how much money I make. I sit in the kitchen hoping that you are generous because rent is due. I hope that even though your table of 8 ran me in circles the entire time you were sitting there you take pity and leave 15% of the $400 bill you ran up. I hope that you understand the reason your food took 60 minutes to get to your table wasn’t my fault and there was nothing I could do about it. I also hope that you understand that I asked the busser three times to swing by your table and remove the dirty dishes because I was too busy dealing with the party of 8. And I sit in the kitchen and I hope.

I’d love to say that most of the time I was taken care of, but there are too many stories that go in the other direction. I once waited on 40 sorority girls with another waiter and together we made $4.00. I had a party of 12 once leave me an $8.00 tip in change. I’ve had other tables where things went so wrong in the kitchen they got more than $100 in free food and they left me nothing. My favorite part of this is that at the end of the night I get to tip out .02% of my sales to the bartender, .015% of my sales to the bussers, .01% percent to the food runner and claim 8% of my sales to the government for taxes. So for every table that stiffed me or left me less than .04% it cost me to wait on them.

So what do you do about bad service? Here’s what I do. I try to put myself in the place of the server. My favorite comment is maybe their dog died. Or even worse a relative. Or their boyfriend had broken up with them. Or their car died on the way to work and it’s going to cost $1500 to fix. Why is that my problem? The truth is it isn’t. And as the poster this morning said “that is what we go out to eat for, service, NOT dealing with someone’s emotional home life and problems.” It’s true you don’t. But the minute you entire the outside world you are faced with the world’s problems. I like to think of myself as human and understanding. I don’t know what’s going on in their life and I don’t want to know. What I do know is that waiting tables is the one of the few jobs where someone else gets to decide whether you pay your rent or not. And if the person tipping can have the tiniest bit of sympathy and compassion it might in a small way make the persons day.

All of the things mentioned in the above paragraph have happened to me. I have had to work after being called and told my grandmother had died. I’ve had to work, when my boyfriend called me and told me on the restaurant’s phone that he was leaving and wouldn’t be there when I got home. How would you feel the next time you went to work and your boss told you that you were working today for 80% of your normal salary because you just weren’t yourself. The post this morning insisted that he’d be sent home without pay. But most jobs, with humans for bosses would understand, and if you were sent home it wouldn’t be without pay. Most restaurant jobs don’t have sick pay, or leave, or any other kind of support. It’s either work or not get paid.

Which brings me to the end of the meal. It’s tip time. Not leaving a tip is always an option. But I beg to differ with the post that it’ll teach the waiter a lesson to be better next time. Truth is you’ll be written off as another idiot who doesn’t know better. And there are far more idiots out there than people teaching lessons. If you don’t think the service was up to par speak to the manager. A decent manager won’t fire the waiter they’ll try and find out what was going on. Or even better speak to the waiter. Tell them you weren’t satisfied. The thing to remember is waiter’s have long memories. And we remember that you don’t tip. And next time you come in, you’ll be pointed out to everyone in the restaurant. You’ll get service but it won’t be award winning. And no one’s going to go out of their way for you. There entire goal will be to get you in and get you out so you don’t take up anymore of their time than you have to.

I don’t remember the last time I didn’t tip, and I eat out practically every day. The truth is it’s usually only a couple of dollars. If I eventually got my food, and it’s what I ordered and no one was rude to me, I’m happy. Life’s too short to get all bent out of shape because you weren’t waited on in two minutes. Or that there are 8 empty glasses on the table. Or that no one has taken away my empty plates. With all that’s going on in the middle east, and here at home these are luxury problems. And is it really going to hurt to leave 15 or 20 percent on the table. Who know you maybe helping pay for the education of the person who will cure AIDS. Or be the next president. And maybe they’re just a little stressed from school and your 8 dollars will make their day. Who knows. I’ve seen a lot less make someone happy.

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There is nothing sweeter than getting on the "A" t…

There is nothing sweeter than getting on the “A” train headed up town to Albany, as my friends like to say, at midnight and discovering that it’s making express stops. There is nothing worse than getting on the “A” train headed up town, to Albany as my friends like to say, at midnight and discovering that all “A” trains stop at 168 and you’ll have to take a shuttle the rest of the way home. The joys of being at the mercy of someone else to get where you’re going.

Speaking of the trains. I can’t for the life of me figure out what barn some of the people who ride the train were raised in. In the past week, I have watched more people throw their garbage on the floor of the train as if some little fairy is going to swoop down and pick it up. Tonight on the way home there was a 2″ pile of sunflower seeds on the floor. Would you do this at home? Do you really think that someone cleans up after you?

My other NYC pet peeve which is not really all that New York specific is: Why do people not realize they should get their wallets out of their purses/backpacks/pockets before they get to the register. I waited at least 10 minutes today for a woman to find her purse, get the bills out, scrounge for the correct change, realize she didn’t have it, look for another bill, and then get her change. MY GOD, it’s money. Most of us start using it at around 7 or 8. These things should not be that difficult. Just get the money out and pay. It’s a simple one, two, three.

Now I feel better.

It seems that weight loss is the issue of the day….

It seems that weight loss is the issue of the day. I read at least 4 or 5 blogs today that dealt with losing weight. I did my part today. According to a rough guesstimate on Mapquest I walked about 5 miles. My goal isn’t to bore anyone with my talk of walking it’s just that I’m tired of being fat and it’s one of several things I know that I can do about it, and since I write about my life here, you’ll just have to listen.

I have no idea what my weight was when I moved to NYC. I had banned myself from the scale several months ago, and now that I am doing something about it I don’t have my scale with me. It’s conveniently still in San Diego. So instead of focusing on weight loss, I’m trying to focus on what I can do every day. I don’t have the money for a gym membership at the moment and so walking it is. For the past two weeks, and even while I was in Maine, I have made a point of trying to get at least a little walking in every day. I get off the subway many stops before I need to, or I walk several stops before I get on, and once I am down in the heart of the city I don’t use the trains at all. I walk everywhere I need to be.

I can tell that I have lost weight. My clothes don’t fit as tight and well trust me you can just tell. It would help to know how much, but I am trying not to focus on that at the moment. It’s one step at a time…literally. And so I…
Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Tho’ your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone.

Sorry, got lost in my gayness there for a moment. Nothing like a little Carousel to pick you up and push you over the edge. But I am certainly thankful that I am not doing this alone. Weight loss without support can be a difficult thing to do. So for everybody out there pulling for me…Thanks.

Thanks for the feedback and support concerning D.L…

Thanks for the feedback and support concerning D.L.C. I appreciate what everyone had to say. If anyone has any advice on how to proceed I would greatly appreciate it. What really sucks these days is how much time I spend thinking about it. I argued with him for at least two hours today…in my head. If I could just let this play out the way it does in my head I would leave him speechless and wondering what the fuck he did by breaking up with me. But unfortunately, I don’t argue well in real life so we’ll have to see how it goes.

As I mentioned a few posts ago, I have been walking my ass off lately. My best guess is that I walked about 5 miles today. I took the subway to Battery Park and then explored the Financial District. I checked out South Street Seaport, Battery Park, and Wall Street. I lived near the Seaport in 2001 so I walked by my old apartment and was amazed and how much it had changed. From Lower Manhattan I walked north along Broadway and West Broadway to Greenwich Village and then continued north to The Empire State Building at 34th Street.

I kind of felt like a tourist today. I had my camera and snapped pictures of things that caught my interest and just wandered along. I had originally planned to ride the Staten Island Ferry since it’s free and anything free right now is exactly in my price range, but the crowds were insane. I think I’ll wait until after school starts and some of these people have gone away.


The whole point of all this walking is to lose weight. I gained a lot of weight after D.L.C. dumped me and I am ready to get rid of it. Unfortunately, I can’t afford a gym membership until I become a little more professionally stable, thus the walking. It’s free and with the heat we’ve been experiencing it shouldn’t take long to sweat my ass off. At least that’s the plan. Now if I could only lose the weight before I run into you know who.

Something I’ve been wanting to write about, actual…

Something I’ve been wanting to write about, actually needing to write about since I got to NYC is D.L.C. I’ve mentioned him in a couple of other posts but mostly as my ex. That he is. We broke up on August 2, 2004. Now most of you are thinking enough already get over him and move on. Well there are some extenuating circumstances as to why it’s still an issue.

When I left to go to San Diego to start graduate school, I asked D.L.C. to come with me. He was done with his course work at Columbia and could have easily gotten a job there for the three years I was going to be there. He chose to stay in New York. So 3 years ago today, I started up the U-Haul and started my journey cross country. I got settled in California and we began our long distance relationship. It was obvious from the start I was going to put more work into making sure it lasted. I called often. I sent cards. I sent care packages. I was lucky if the conversations lasted more than a few minutes, but I knew he was busy with his dissertation and so let it ride.

Then Thanksgiving was approaching. I couldn’t come back to NYC because of a school project. Actually 90% of the students in my program were required to be there that weekend. So of course I asked D.L.C. to come west. He thanked me but told me there was no way. He had to get work done on his dissertation. This was a conversation I was tiring of. He was constantly scheduling time to work and then someone would call with a better offer and he would put aside his writing. So when he said no about Thanksgiving I was a little pissed. Finally I said ok. Stay home. But please, please spend your time writing. Obviously I wouldn’t be writing about this if that’s what he had done. Nope. He spent the entire weekend out with friends. If I remember correctly we barely spoke all weekend because of his busy social calendar. I was more than a little angry.

I figured this could all wait to Christmas and we could discuss it. Well, I mentioned in this post about D.L.C.’s reaction when I got to his place on Christmas break. It wasn’t exactly the welcome I was expecting but I got thru it. We spent the break together which ended with my appendix bursting and me spending 8 days in the hospital. So we never really got to discuss my anger over Thanksgiving.

There’s more to discuss but I am going to fast forward. Summer is coming and it’s time to make plans for what I am going to do. D.L.C. tells me I am welcome home for 2 weeks and that is all. Once again it’s about his dissertation. I don’t take this news well. As it turns out I am going to spend about 2 weeks upstate so we agree on two weeks before and two weeks after and then I am to head back to San Diego. I am not happy about this but I don’t know what else to do.

So I spend my two weeks here, my two weeks upstate and my final two weeks back in NYC. We decided the last morning I was here, August 2nd, (I have an 11:00 flight) that we would get up early, get breakfast I would come back finish packing, shower and leave at 9 a.m. When I wake up it’s well past the time we were supposed to get up. It’s almost 8:15 and the car will be picking me up in 45 minutes. He’s sitting at his desk reading something on line. I ask him why he didn’t wake me and he just sits there. Finally he gets up, gets me a cup of coffee and sits down on the couch next to the bed. He just sits there staring at me. I ask what’s up and he just sits there. Finally he says that he can’t do this anymore. He proceeds to break up with me. He tells me it’s because of the weight issues and that he doesn’t want to be a part of it anymore. It’s now 8:35 and I have 25 minutes to shower and pack. I get up and go to the bathroom. I am stunned. I would never have guessed this. I take a quick shower in which I begin to cry. I cry until I am done. I won’t let him see it. I get dressed and come out of the bathroom. I finish packing.

About that time, the phone rings and it’s the car. It’s now 8:55. I get my bags together. Ask him to mail the things that won’t fit. And we go down stairs. We hug goodbye at the curb. I get into the car and leave New York.

August 2, 2004. I haven’t seen D.L.C. since that morning. I have to admit I haven’t wanted to. We talked for a while after the break-up. I tried to be nice, but on one occasion he backed me into a corner and it was the last time I was really civil to him. I haven’t talked to him in well over a year. I don’t have much to say. I think he’s an ass. I think he’s a coward. It takes a small man to actually break-up with someone 25 minutes before they have to leave your apartment for four months.

Now the problem: I am back in New York. He still lives in Chelsea, I assume. We haven’t seen each other in almost two years. And I am terrified that I am going to run into him. I don’t know how I am going to react. Will I be civil? Will I punch him in the face. I know that’s what will happen if he makes a comment about my weight. I hate that I have given him such power, and yet every time I feel strong and venture into his neighborhood I feel my pulse speed up and I get anxious.

I know I should take the high road. Be the bigger man. But I just get so angry. One because of how he did it, and two because “I had gained weight”. It’s not like I was obese. It’s not like it was out of control. When I make a commitment to someone it’s not something I do lightly. I take it very seriously. I accept you warts and all. And if something’s not working, you talk about it. You don’t just walk out.

I’ll stop here. I’m sorry this post is so long, but sometimes you gotta say what you gotta say. Unfortunately because my social outings take place in that area, I have to deal with this daily. And I know it’s only a matter of time before we run into each other and I have to choose how I am going to deal with this. I hope when the time comes I have the strength to be polite and just move on.

Went to dinner tonight with a friend of mine and f…

Went to dinner tonight with a friend of mine and four of his friends. I didn’t know the other guys but since I’m new again in New York, I thought it would be a good chance to meet new people. All four of the guys were nice although I think one of them might be certifiabley insane. But it was a first impression and most often for me those turn out to be far from reasonable. So I’ll hold off on judgment too soon.

At one point during dinner the discussion turned to cell phones and students who use them in class. Two of the people at the table were teachers and they both told stories of calling students out who used their phones. All of us thought this was reasonable, thinking time and place for everything. Then one of the teacher’s phone rings. And he answers it. And has a conversation at the dinner table. Time and place, hmmm.

Perhaps it is just me, but unless it’s of absolute importance I never answer my phone during these types of gatherings. That’s the reason we have voice mail. The person calls, they leave a message, we return it later. I thought it was as inappropriate to answer the phone during dinner as it is in class. And if it truly is an emergency, then apologize before you take the call, or after. Or at least explain that it’s a call you have to take.

Not two minutes later someone else at the table answered their phone. Am I completely over-reacting?

I signed my lease. I didn’t know it but C.Z. had …

I signed my lease. I didn’t know it but C.Z. had arranged for it a two year lease. So now I am really stuck here. It wasn’t as stressful as I thought it would be. I did it without much thought at all. I signed and initialed where I was asked to and that was that. Now it’s done. We move next weekend. I mean I take my two suitcases from this apartment to the new apartment. My actual belongings won’t be here until mid -October when I return from San Diego after doing the two shows.

Now that the lease is signed I really have to get on the ball looking for work. I have lived in this little dream world for the past two months that the money I have in the bank will last forever. In truth it’s dwindling fast. I am not even sure if I have the money to actually move my stuff east. I am going to have to do some serious investigating and checking to see what’s what. I do have some retirement money that’s been put away for years that I could dip into, but I am trying not to do that.

So tomorrow, I need to get out of bed at a reasonable time and start sending out some emails to contacts I have in the city looking for work. It’s really just about getting my name out there. People have to know that I am here, that I am good, that I am reliable and the rest will take care of itself. Right now, no one knows I am here (except you guys…and you’re not hiring) and that’s a problem. It truly could be worse. I could have no one to contact which was the case when I moved here the first time. That’s why I went almost 5 years without designing anything. And although I had a real job making more money than I had ever made in my life and was finally able to go to restaurants based on reputation not on menu price, and I was able to travel to Europe 5 times in two years, and see Broadway shows, I was also the most miserable I had ever been. I hated going to work. Hated everything about it. On another day I’ll tell the story of how I got myself fired for the severance package. It’s very funny.

I’ll of course keep you posted on the progress. And just to let you know. I have walked about 3 to 4 miles each of the last two days. I can already feel the weight starting to fall off. So at least something is going right.

Stole this off this guy’s blog tonight. But it w…

Stole this off this guy’s blog tonight. But it was fun and I thought I would share it with you. All round cute gay guy. That means I’m never getting laid.

You scored as The all-round cute gay guy. YOu are a cute guy who
many would die to be with……….lucky!!

The all-round cute gay guy

70%

A Big Bear

50%

Raging Queer

40%

Straight Acting

40%

S + M guy

20%

Straight

20%

Straight Queer Basher

0%

What type of Gay are YOU?
created with QuizFarm.com

In about 30 minutes I am going with C.Z. to sign t…

In about 30 minutes I am going with C.Z. to sign the lease on our new apartment. And suddenly I am scared to death. What if I can’t do it? What if I can’t make a go of it in New York? Maybe I should have stayed in San Diego where people already know me and I didn’t have to work so hard. Maybe I shouldn’t have given up on getting a teaching job. If I sign the lease I am stuck here. And it’s a two year lease at that, so I’ll be really stuck here. Oh God!!! What have I done?

I have been feeling these feelings since last Friday. I haven’t said anything about them because I thought if I ignored them they would go away. In fact they haven’t, they have only gotten worse. I have spent the last week being almost paralyzed by fear that I am going to fail miserably in New York. That no one will want to hire me and that I’ll end up temping or waiting tables again to make ends meet. I have to admit, it would be a fate worse than death. Not to mention all those student loans I have to pay back on an education that is clearly now going to be worthless.

AAAAHHHHH!!!

I am not like this often. But when I am, it’s awful. I can’t think straight. (No jokes please) I just want the answers and I want all the work to be done and people to be calling me asking me to design for them. That’s all I want. Oh, yeah and to be paid. A livable wage. When I made the decision to go into theatrical design I knew that I would never be rich but I was convinced I could make a living. Now I am not so sure.

What’s funny is that I am good at what I do. I don’t know if I am the best, but I am surely better than average. It’s just a difficult profession to break into. And there’s no one holding my hand telling me how to do it. It also doesn’t help that I have discovered I am more of an introvert than an extrovert. I always thought it was the opposite. But as I get older I realize that’s not the case and in fact I have a difficult time talking to people I don’t know. So getting up the nerve to call people and ask them for job is a bit frightening.

The phone just rang. It’s C.Z. Gotta go. Will blog more on this later. By the time I get back, I’ll be the proud renter of an uptown apartment.

I took the easy way out last night. I saw the pol…

I took the easy way out last night. I saw the politics test on a couple of blogs I read and stole it from them. It’s not that I didn’t have good intentions, it’s just that I went to a Project Runway viewing party. I actually went to see some friends I hadn’t spent time with in forever. They are people I went to school with who graduated before me. So I got on the train and headed to their apartment in Brooklyn and watched the show.

I hadn’t expected to like the show. But it sucks you in. One minute you are a civilian, the next minute you’re wishing the bitch that can’t draw would just shut up and help. You’re suddenly picking someone to root for. And yelling at the TV and everyone is talking. And then it’s over and your sorry that Malan, the undertaker is gone from the show because he was so creepy he was funny. And I didn’t think his dress was nearly as ugly as Vincent’s. And now I have to wait until next week to find out what happens next.

The real problem here isn’t that I liked the show. It was more that I was in the middle of Brooklyn and had about an hour plus on the subway to get home. Which involved switching trains, and having to pee. So let’s just say it took more than 2 hours to get home last night. It was almost 1:30 by the time I was home and I was more than a little tipsy. So writing was a little difficult…so I cheated. And now I feel bad. What to do, what to do.

So I am apologizing to anyone who has shown up here today to read something, and I promise I’ll try not to let this happen often. Here’s a middle of the day post to make up for it.