Aloha!

Yippee!  The weekend is over.  That means I get a day off.  Hurray for me.  Now I just have to get my ass out of bed before 3:00 p.m. so I can do everything I want to do.

Since last week I’ve started taking Monday’s off.  I needed one day a week that I was sure to have off, so that I could make plans with friends, schedule appointments and just know that it was my day.  I picked Monday because it’s the slowest day of the week in the restaurant business.  I did not want to give up a day where I could actually make money.  So for the next several months I will always have Monday off.

I was talking to my friend Todd today on the phone.  We were playing catch up with each other because we had not talked in the last week or so.  During the conversation, I came to the realization that I should go to Hawaii.  Don’t get too excited, it’s not that extreme.  My friend Lee is there as I’ve mentioned in a couple of posts.  He’s there until the end of March.  He’s extended an invitation to me and said that I could stay with him.  My thought is:  When will I ever have the chance to go to Hawaii and not have to pay for a place to sleep?  My guess, never.  So I’ve started pricing tickets.  It’s only about 600 bucks for a round trip ticket.  I would fly to San Diego and have a couple of day to play there.  Then I would go on to Hawaii and would be there for five or six days.  Then I would fly back to San Diego and have another couple of days there and then fly home.  All told I would be gone around 10 days.  Not so bad and it would be fun as hell.  So tonight before I go to bed I’m going to call Lee and see if this is really something I can do.  Then I’m going to call my friend Lou because he travels for business and may be able to give me the trip to California with airline miles.  And then I’m going to break out the credit card, book a ticket and start packing.  I can hardly wait.

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A meme.

I haven’t done a meme in a while. So I stole this from Ur-Spo. At Spo-Reflections.

1. What is in the back seat of your car right now? I don’t have a backseat. Or a car for that matter.

2. When was the last time you threw up? I don’t remember the last time I threw up. I’m sure it had something to do with drinking though.

3. What’s your favorite curse word? Probably Fuck.

4. Name 3 people who made you smile today? Christa, Paul, and Chuck.

5. What were you doing at 8 a.m. this morning? I was fast asleep.

6. What were you doing 30 minutes ago? Reading blogs and chatting with my friend Kyle online.

7. Where were you born? Paris, Kentucky

8. Have you ever been to a strip club? Yes. It was the Gaity, a male strip club in NYC.

9. What is the last thing you said aloud? “Thank you” to the guy at the deli down the street.

10. What is the best ice cream flavor? It’s crazy. But my favorite is vanilla.

11. What was the last thing you had to drink? I’m drinking a Diet Coke right now.

12. What are you wearing right now? A plaid button down and boxer shorts.

13. What was the last thing you ate? Cashews that I bought at the newstand before I got on the train to come home.

14. Have you bought any new clothes this week? No.

15. Where were you last? At work, waiting tables and then on the subway.

16. What’s the last sporting event you watched? There was football on at work, but I don’t even know who was playing. Nor could I care.

17. Who won? As I said, I don’t care.

18. Who is the last person you sent a comment/message while blogging? Mike over at MikeSays.

19. Ever go camping? Not in a VERY long time.

20. Where do you live? Manhattan, In New York City.

21. What song are you listening to? There is no music playing right now. My roommate is asleep and I try to be as quiet as possible.

22. Do you tan? Yes, I get very tan if I’m in the sun a lot.

23. Do you drink your soda from a straw? No. I can’t crunch the ice that way.

24. What did your last text message say? The last one I received said, “tomorrow indian on sixth street at 8:00pm okay? The last one I sent said, “Who is this?”

25. Who’s your best friends? Michelle and Todd

26. What are you doing tomorrow? I’m working at 5:00, and sleeping till noon.

27. Where is your mom right now? Asleep, in Lexington Kentucky.

28. Look to your right, what do you see? The door to my roommate’s room.

29. What color is your watch? It’s a plastic, black Times sports watch.

30/ What do you think of when you think of where you live? I wished we had a Starbucks across the street and a Duane Reade down the block and a real grocery store next door.

31. Ever ridden on a roller coaster? Yes, and I love them.

32. What is your birthstone? Diamond

33. Do you go in at a fast-food place or just hit the drive through? I would almost always drive thru.

34. What is your favorite number? I don’t really have one, but probably 12.

35. Do you have a dog? No, I’m not home enough to have a dog.

36. Last person you talked to on the phone? My friend Ryan, who sent the text message about Indian food last night, so we would know what corner to meet on.

37. Have you met anyone famous? Bob Hope in 1983 at around 3 a.m. walking around the streets of NYC.

38. Any plans today? My day is almost over. I’ll be asleep in 20 minutes.

39. How many states have you lived in? Seven, Kenucky, Kansas, Georgia, Alabama, Ohio, New York, California

40. Ever go to college? I’ve attended a total of four colleges, and have three degrees.

41. Where are you right now? In the office part of my living room.

42. Biggest annoyance in your life right now? Having to wait tables.

43. Are you struggling to forgive someone right now? No, I’m pretty okay with most people right now.

44. Are you allergic to anything? I’m allergic to the world. I took allergy shots for almost four years when I was in high school and college. I’m severely allergic to cats. I’m also allergic to citrus fruits and citrus fruit products. Makes drinking orange juice, which I love very difficult.

45. Favorite pair of shoes? My birkenstock sandals. I love them, but they need to be replaced.

Maddog’s Friday Night…

I had dinner with my friend Ryan tonight along with his girlfriend.  I like Ryan a lot.  I don’t think I like the girlfriend.  She’s a bit of a stick in the mud.  But I suppose she balances out his wild and crazy side.  We had Indian food, which I love but don’t eat very often.  In NYC, on 6th Street there are about a million Indian restaurants all in a row.  The biggest question is which one do you choose.  There’s actually an urban legend that there is one big kitchen that provides the food for all of them.  The food was good, at least mine was.  It wasn’t too spicy which I like.  I’m a bit of a pussy when it comes to spicy food.

After dinner we wandered around the East Village and then popped into a little bar to have another beer.  It was quiet and cozy and I think it was called The Scratch Bar.  It was a nice place just to hang out and have a beer.  We sat there and chatted about life, the arts, the state of America and then called it a night.  They were on their way to a birthday party.  They invited me a long but the idea of spending the evening with people I didn’t know didn’t appeal to me.

I then headed for the subway.  I entertained the idea of trying to get into some trouble.  But by the time the subway came I was just tired.  So I hopped on the train and headed home.

Now I should get to bed.  I was up until 7:00 a.m. this morning and a good night’s sleep is sounding wonderful right now.

Super-Secret Bars

Uh, oh!  I missed a night of blogging.  I’m  terribly sorry.  I’ll try to make up a day next week.

Tonight I did something I never do.  I went out with co-workers after work.  It’s really not so much of a big deal except that I don’t like most of them and I end up spending more money than I want.  Tonight was an exception in that I actually liked everyone who came out with us.  What was not an exception was how much money I spent.  I only went out planning to have two beers and then head home.  It’s now 6:40 and clearly that was not the case.

We started out at an Irish pub a few blocks from work.  It’s a nice small little place that a lot of restaurant folk near us frequents.  Unfortunately, because it’s the law they must close at 4:00 a.m.  Oh, no!!!  What are a bunch of alcoholics to do.  That’s not much of a question, since one of the bartenders at our restaurant works at a bar that does a super- secret after hours bar.  To get into this bar you must call ahead to let them know that you are coming, and then when you get there you must know the super-secret knock because the bar looks as if it’s closed and then only if the bartender recognizes you are you allowed in.  At this point it’s just like the old days.  You can smoke and drink and party just like it’s 1999.  It’s nice that they let us drink but I could do without the smoking.  But a girl can’t complain when people are breaking the law to let you party.

Work was good tonight considering it was slow.  We are definitely in the middle of the slow season.  We were hardly on a wait at all, and my cocktail tables were part of the host’s rotation all night, and you know that’s not usually the case.  All the same I made okay money.  It wasn’t great but I’m not complaining.  Of course the highlight of the evening was the lady who was drunk beyond all reason who passed out standing up and collapsed to the floor.  Within minutes, the manager, police, and paramedics were there trying to figure out what to do with her.  Finally they wrapped her up in a chair and carted her off to the ambulance where we think she was taken away.  She was way too old to be as drunk as she was.

And now my friends it’s 6:49 a.m. and I must go to bed.  Have a great weekend.

Sunday night in NYC…

Where has my weekend gone.  I blinked and my two days off evaporated right in front of me.  Damn.

I slept in again today.  I had the worst night’s sleep last night that I’ve had in weeks.  I took forever to fall asleep and then I kept waking up.  I was always in the middle of dream that took me seconds/minutes to figure out what was going on.  Then I would look at the clock and be upset that I was awake.  It was the wee hours of the morning before I got to sleep for good.  And then once again I slept through my alarm.  It was 3:00 p.m. before I got out of bed.  The only good thing about that was that I forgot to put water in the coffee pot last night so my coffee had yet to brew.  So I was still able to have fresh coffee when I got up.

The one productive thing I did today was to take down the Christmas tree.  I started around 4:00 and by the time my roommate got home around 6:00, all the decorations and lights were off the tree.  With his help we got the tree outside and the then we spent the next hour or so cleaning up and putting the decorations in boxes and getting the boxes put away.  I suspect that we’ll be finding needles around the apartment for the next couple of months.

After the tree we both ate dinner and then settled in to watch the primary results.  My roommate is a much more die hard political junkie than I am, so when I say we settled in to watch, we did.  The TV was on MSNBC all night as we waited to see who was going to win the Democratic side of the primary.  It was an interesting night listening to the commentators discuss Hillary.  It’s pretty clear they don’t like her.  I suppose they’ll like her even less now that she won New Hampshire.  It will be interesting to see what the next couple of weeks bring as far as the election is concerned.

My Day Off…

I finally got to bed at 5:30 this morning.  A wee bit later than I had intended.  More importantly I had wanted to get up somewhat early so that I could enjoy my day off.  I knew however, that if I didn’t get at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep I would not be happy, so I set my alarm for noon.  I was awakened at 10:30 by my friend Ryan calling to make plans for Friday.  I was a little annoyed.  I know, I know, I should have turned the ringer off, but I forgot.  It took me almost 30 minutes to get back to sleep and then I promptly slept right through my alarm and didn’t get out of bed until almost 3:00.  So much for enjoying my day off.

I did manage to get to the bank, take my laundry to get it done and to get my hair cut.  Those things had to get done today.  I did not however get to the post office to pick up the Christmas present my mother sent me.  Nor did I make it to the movies.  These things will have to wait until tomorrow.

The evening ended with me having dinner with my friend Caleb.  He’s a friend from grad school.  We haven’t always been on best terms.  In fact during my last year of grad school he annoyed me a lot.  Since we’ve both graduated the relationship has changed and we get along great.  We had dinner at an Italian restaurant in Chelsea.  I ate pasta which I’ve been trying to avoid, and I had wine which I’ve also been trying to avoid.  Whoops.  I just decided it was my day off and I deserved to treat myself to a dinner that was 50% off at my restaurant or delivered from the diner down the street.  And I really don’t feel guilty about it.  I’ll be good tomorrow.  If I manager to get to bed so that I can get out of bed at a reasonable time.

My roommate and I take down the Christmas tree tomorrow night.  It’s thoroughly dead.  And has turned a truly beautiful shade of brownish green.  It’s my least favorite part of the holidays.  If only someone would come do this for me.  Alas.

My weekend starts tomorrow…

It’s been a very interesting evening.

It started out at my restaurant.  The slow season is upon us.  Now that the holidays are over, no one is in the city.  It’s amazing how different things are from last week.  This means that we are much slower at work.  We were barely on a wait at all tonight and they cut the first round of waiters at 8:00.  This was good because it meant more money for the rest of us.

By 10:30 the restaurant was a ghost town.  Well for us anyway.  There were still a lot of people there but not nearly as many as we are used to.  By 11:30 it really was deserted.  I convince the manager to let the only other cocktail server go home.  He was wary but relented.  No sooner was he off the floor that we got a little rush.  By midnight I had six tables going, one of which was a six top.  I think this had something to do with the fact that no one else wanted tables and they all wanted to go home.  This was great for me, I was busy, and I was making money so I didn’t care.  It did mean that I didn’t get off till late.  The six top didn’t order their food until almost 12:30 and by the time they got it, ate, did shots of tequila, had me bring out the birthday cake, it was almost 1:45.  I didn’t mind so much though because they had a 300 dollar tab and the gratuity was included.

At around 11:00 or so a fellow server cornered me in the kitchen wanting to know where I lived.  I don’t know how she knew it but she knew that we lived near each other.  And why is this important.  Well it meant that we could share a cab home rather than riding the subway.  The subway can take almost an hour fifteen door to door and a cab is about 20 minutes at night.  It costs, however, almost 30 bucks to cab it home.  So only on a couple of occasions have I splurged to get home that way.  It’s not so bad though when it’s only 15 bucks.  So Mandy waited around for me and we took a cab home together.

I’d only been home a couple of minutes when I got a text message from my friend Lee.  Lee is my friend I mentioned a couple of posts ago who is going to Hawaii for three months.  He left today and as it turned out due to unseen circumstances had a 12 hour layover in San Diego.  He was texting me to tell me how awful the city was and that they were on their way back to the airport to try and sleep.  I immediately picked up the phone and called him.  There was no way I was going to let a friend of mine sleep on the airport floor when I knew a million people in the city they could stay with.  I hung up the phone and within just about 10 minutes had arranged a place for them to stay.  My friend Angie is house sitting so her bedroom was empty.  They could stay there.  So I called Lee back to tell him the good news.  It turned out not to be good news.  The friend he is traveling with is a bit neurotic and refused to change their plans.  He was only willing to go back to the airport and sleep.  I hope they are comfortable in the plastic chairs.  I had done as much as I could.

Of course in all of my excitement to find them a place to stay, I managed to wake up my roommate.  I hadn’t realized I was talking as loudly as I was, until he came out of his room in his robe.  He wasn’t angry, but I probably wouldn’t have felt as bad if he had been.  We chatted for a few minutes and he went back to bed and I lowered my volume.  As he said though, it was really strange because most nights he’s not even aware that I’ve come in.  And god knows I never hear him in the morning.  I sent him an email apologizing, and will probably apologize about a million times more tomorrow night.

After Chuck went back to bed, I called my friend Angie back to tell I didn’t need her apartment after all.  We talked for almost 90 minutes.  We hadn’t had a real conversation since last February and it was nice to catch up.  I told her that I thought it was amazing that I could call her up after almost a year and tell her that I needed a place for my friends to stay and that she would let them stay with her.  I think that speaks volumes of the kind of person she is.  We chatted about a million things tonight.  But probably the most significant was that she has in the past three months come out of the closet.  She has come to terms with the fact that she is gay and has since started seeing someone.  It didn’t surprise me, but I’m glad she is finally realizing that she is gay.  She seems to be adjusting to it well.  The whole conversation went there because we were talking about the Presidential Elections and who she supported.  And then I mentioned their stances on gay issues, which led to her telling me.  I’m glad that she trusted me enough to discuss it with me.

And now it’s 4:24 and I’m not in bed yet, which sucks because I wanted to be up early tomorrow.  I have a million things I want to do like go to the movies, get my hairs cut, go to the bank.  Now it will be 3 p.m. before I even leave the apartment.  Oh, well what can you do.

Have a great week guys.

A Day In The Life of a Waiter

 A couple of weeks after I started working at the restaurant, a fellow server asked me if I’d change sections with him.  I was new and didn’t know any better so I said yes.  Well to be honest with you, the reason I said yes was because it was in the main dining room and I wouldn’t have to go up and down stairs.  We were very busy that night and I made (I’m so tired as I write this that I just spelled “made” m-a-i-d.  Perhaps I should go to bed?) a small fortune.

The particular section that I was in, is considered the “cocktail” section.  What this means is that the people I’m waiting on sit at high top, cocktail tables.  They are offered the same menu and the same service as the rest of the restaurant.  This section is not, however, part of the host’s rotation.  The customers either seat themselves, or I go into the lobby and tell a group of people that they can skip the wait list (sometimes over two hours long) and come sit down immediately.  Most people agree to do this, although occasionally people don’t want to sit at the high tables.

This system works okay, especially when we are busy.  The tables are constantly filled and often people sit down to be waited on before the leaving patrons have put their coats on.  What this means is that the tables tend to turn a lot faster and you can get people in and out the door pretty quickly.  When we are on a wait, only people who are eating can sit at these tables.  If you are in just to drink, then you should sit at the counter (also part of the section) or at the bar.  This insane pace means that you work a lot harder and faster than most of the other servers but you also make more money than they do.

After that first night, I went to the server manager and told her that she could schedule me in cocktails anytime she wanted.  I loved the pace and more than anything I loved the money.  She took this to heart and now I’m only scheduled in the cocktail section.  This makes me very happy because I make more money, and it make the managers happy because I do a good job.  You would think that everyone would want to work in these sections based on the sales numbers and the tips you make.  But it’s far from the truth.  There really are only about 10 servers who will work there.  For most, the pace is just to fast and you have to work way to hard.  And this is what I love.  At any given moment I have 7 to 10 checks open, getting people what they want.  I also discovered that if I tip the bartenders well at the end of the night, they’ll make my drinks first.  So if you order a drink from me, it will be on your table in three to four minutes.  So I work hard and make a lot of money.

And so why am I telling you all of this.  Well as I mentioned, if no one sits down immediately at one of my tables I go into the lobby and find people to fill the chairs.  A couple of nights ago, I pulled four women out of the group and gave them a table.  They were a hoot.  One of them was from New Orleans and the rest of them were from Nashville.  They gave me a hard time, and I gave them one right back.  We spent the hour they were with me doing a lot of laughing.  At one point I walked up to the table and they said, “Can we ask you a question?” I said, “Sure”.  ” Why did you pick us, out of all the people in the lobby, to come sit at your table?”  I took a deep breath and said, “I can’t tell you.”  The laughed but were persistent.  Finally I said, “It’s because as I walked by you, you were speaking English without an accent.”

What followed was a lot of questions about my answer.  I explained to them that we get a lot of foreign tourists, and although most know to tip, a lot either just don’t do it, or aren’t aware they are supposed to.  Either way, I’ll take my chances with an American table any day.  The question I have is:  “Is it wrong to think this way.”  I was talking to a couple of waiters the other night at a bar, and the discussion turned to people who tip.  And the consensus of the group was that the minute you start waiting tables it makes you think in ways that you don’t always approve of.

There are certain groups of people who tend to not tip well.  I realize it’s a generalization but when you work in a restaurant long enough you see the consistency enough to realize that the stereotypes don’t create themselves.  People who order their steaks well done don’t tip as well as people who order them medium rare.  Smokers tip better than non-smokers.  Anyone who uses 1000 island dressing isn’t going to tip well.  If they order Long Island Teas they don’t tip as well as if they order Dewars on the rocks.  Anyone who orders a Strawberry Daiquiris isn’t going to tip well.  If they use their AAA discount they are going to leave 10% or less.  If they get something for free they won’t tip as well as if they didn’t.  Lesbians don’t tip as well as gay men.  Black people don’t tip as well as white people.  Foreigners don’t tip as well as Americans.   People from the south don’t tip as well as northerners.  Baptists don’t tip as well as Jews.  The Irish don’t tip as well as the Londoners.

I could go on.  I have been in the restaurant business off and on since 1987 and all of these generalizations still hold true.  And what that means, is that I walk into the lobby and I make decisions about who I want to sit in my section based on what people look like.  How they speak.  What they are wearing.  How they are behaving.  All because at the end of the hour they spend with me, I want them to leave the most amount of money possible.  And I hate that I do this.  I hate that I’m reduced to this.  But then again I need to pay my rent.

So what are your thoughts on this.  I’d love to hear what you guys think.

This just in…

I generally set the alarm and get up at noon when I work the night before. It allows me to get somewhere between 7 and 9 hours of sleep. I also set the coffee maker to make my coffee at noon, so by the time I actually get out of bed, pee, weigh myself, and wake up, the coffee is done. At this point I usually take my coffee to my computer, and check email. I check my “real” email account and I check my “Maddog” email account. This usually takes about 3 or 4 minutes. I don’t actually write emails, I just check them. If I have to respond to something I wait till my second or third cup of coffee. After the email, I move to the couch and turn on the TV. It’s always on Channel 1 when I get up, because my roommate has watched that channel before he goes to work to find out the weather and how things are with the subways. It’s called New York One and it’s New York City News, all day, everyday. I watch it for the same reasons. They do the weather every 10 minutes on the “ones” and give the local news. I usually only watch for 15 minutes or so before I change the TV to CNN Headline News. This way I can get a brief glimpse of the local news before I move on to the national news.

So this morning I followed this routine. I got up, I peed, I weighed myself, I got coffee, I checked email, I moved to the sofa, I turned on the TV, I watched NY1, I changed the channel, and what would you know they were just starting a story about the Iowa Caucuses. This was great. Since I worked last night and hadn’t really heard much about how they went. I got to see exactly 7 seconds of the story before it was interrupted by “BREAKING NEWS.” Oh no, theres’ been an explosion, or a terrorist attack, or winter weather, or something serious. I stayed planted on the sofa waiting to hear what the NEWS was:

And it was:

Are you ready:

Britney Spears has had a nervous breakdown, had a three hour standoff with police and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital.

And this story interrupted news about the election of the President of the United States of America, one of the most important things we’ll be dealing with over the next several months. Am I the only one who thinks this is insane. Britney Spears is not breaking news. At this point in her career she’s not news at all. She’s a washed up has been, who’s cracked out on a new substance everyday.

Someone out there, very soon needs to realize that these stories should not take precedent over the real news. Of course the news channels would actually have to start reporting the real news for that to work anyway. Grandpa buying a new truck with quarters is not news. Amy Fisher promoting her sex tape for six figures is not news. A family being forced to pay their dead relatives cell phone bill is not news. On CNN today there was no mention of the war in Iraq. There was no mention of the war in Afghanistan. There was no mention of the search for Osama Bin Laden. There was no mention of the Middle East at all. In fact, if you were to have looked at CNN.com or FoxNews.com at 4:01 a.m. there’s not a single mention of the war or Iraq on the front page of their website. I realize it’s nice to have some of the fluff to keep us from wanting to kill ourselves. But let’s not kid ourselves. There’s a hell of a lot of other stuff going on out there we as a public need to know about. Would it be so hard to actually report some real news once in a while?

I’ll get off my soap box now. Have a great weekend everyone.

A Cold Night at Work

I’m home a little later than I planned to be.  It’s 4:14 as I type this.  I should be in bed by now.  Of course, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to be better about blogging so here I am.  I actually got off work about 30 minutes earlier than usual.  This is entirely due to the luck of not getting any tables during the last 45 minutes or so before we closed.  This is a good thing if you want to get out early.  It’s a bad thing if you are trying to make money.  I didn’t mind so much tonight.  I was a little tired and it had been slow all night and I was ready to go.

There was a party after work tonight at a bar up the street from my restaurant.  My friend Lee who I’ve known since 1991 and also works with me at my restaurant was having a going away party..  Lee’s the reason I have the job in the first place.  The first time I was hired he pulled strings to get me in the door.  So since we are a corporate restaurant we have many, many locations.  And one of the perks of working there is that you can transfer to other locations.  So Lee and a couple of other employees decided that since we are entering the slow season why not go someplace else and work.  So three of them leave for Hawaii on Sunday to wait tables there for 3 months.  At the end of the three months they’ll come back to NYC with their jobs intact.  Not such a bad idea if you ask me.  So there was a going away party for  the three of them tonight.  I was only there about 90 minutes or so.  I would have stayed longer but I wasn’t drinking.  And drunk people are only fun, when you are one of them.  Besides as I pointed out to Lee, I don’t like most of the people I work with at work.  I really don’t like them outside of work.

And thus I’m home at 3:30 a.m. and not 2:00 a.m.

It was an okay evening at the restaurant.  As I mentioned we were a little slow.  We were on a wait, but the pace was dreadful.  The night dragged on and on.  I did wait on a really nice table of ladies from Tennessee and Louisiana.  They were quite funny, although the didn’t much care for the bartender making their drinks.

I also waited on a table of four gay guys.  This was much more interesting.  I didn’t realize they were gay when they sat down.  In fact, even after it became apparent, only one of them really seemed gay.  They were kind of reserved and had attitudes more like rednecks than anything.  (They were from North Carolina.)  At first they weren’t very friendly and didn’t have much to say.  And then I made a comment about something and they began asking questions about the city.  This led to a discussion about the subway.  They were very intrigued by it, and wanted to know where they could take it to, with out getting lost.  I suggested they get on the “A” train at 42nd Street going uptown to 125th Street and then come back.  It’s about a 15 minute ride and you get the whole experience.  So as I was finishing suggesting this, the cute one says to me, “What do you know about the night life here.”  To which I responded.  “What do you mean.”  To which he said, “Well like if we wanted to go to bar tonight what’s a good bar to go to.”  By this time I’ve figured out where the conversation is going, but I just go with it.   I said, “Well what kind of bar are you looking for?”  At this point there is dead silence.  And they all look at each other.  And there is more silence.  And finally the cute one whispers, “A gay bar.”  I almost laughed out loud at how cute they were being.  As it turned out only two of them were old enough to get into a bar.  However I suggested they go to The Ritz, which is just up the street.  They don’t card at the door and if they walked in all bundled up from the cold and headed straight to the back room as if they were there all the time, perhaps no one would say anything.  I think this made them nervous even thinking about it, but they said they’d give it a try.  I gave them the check and they tipped a little less than 20% and were on their way.  I hope they had fun.