Sucky Saturday

Ugh.

Ugh.

Ugh.

I knew better than to say what a wonderful evening I had last night.  I knew that I was destined to have just the opposite tonight.  And how did the evening pan out?

It sucked.

The kitchen was a mess.  All three dining rooms were open tonight which means that if every seat in the place was occupied there were more than 850 people eating.  Our kitchen, which has a hard time putting out that much food on a good night when only two of the dining rooms are open, crashed about 10 minutes into the evening and I don’t think they recovered until we closed.  I had a bacon cheeseburger that took over 30 minutes to hit the table.  And it only got through the system because I finally got a manager involved.  I had a four top whose food (a salad, a veggie burger, and a club) took 45 minutes to get to the table.  Of course the best part of their meal was their desserts taking just as long.  I finally had to get three managers involved to get their desserts on the table.  The manager eventually talked to them (and I never like it when a manager has to visit my tables) and he took 20% off the bill.  They tipped me 20% on the reduced total.  So the kitchen caused me about 15 dollars.

All night long the food took forever.

And the bar was even worse.

I eventually started timing my tickets and at one point it took 15 minutes to get a Bud draft.  I had a two top (the same ones who waited 30 minutes for the cheeseburger) who cancelled their beer from me and went to the bar to get their own.  This because it took forever to open those two bottle of Corona and hand them to me.  And the service bartender (the person who only makes drinks for the servers) seemed to get worse as the evening progressed.  Even after most of the restaurant had been closed I was still having to wait for drinks.

And so eventually I stopped even trying to do a good job.

I can keep my tables  happy if the kitchen is fucked up.  It happens so often that I know what to say, what to do, and went to get concerned.  And one of my common lines is that I’ll keep your drinks full, we’ll have a good time and you won’t even mind that you’ve waited so long for your food.  But this only works if I can keep their drinks full.  And tonight I couldn’t.

So instead of running to the lobby to get people to sit in my section, I left the chairs empty.  If someone came along and wanted to sit there.  Fine.  But I wasn’t going to actively search for people who were just going to end up pissed at me.  I didn’t protect my barstools.  I didn’t tell people not to order from the bar.  I just didn’t care.  And the night lasted about 16 hours.  And as I said, it only got worse as the evening progressed.

At the end of the night I’d sold about 500 bucks less than I should have tonight.  And if I’d had to guess I would have said that I made less than 10% of my sales.  And the best part?  I just didn’t give a fuck.  I just wanted the night to be over.  I wanted everyone to go away.  I wanted to come home, eat dinner, go to bed and pretend the night had never happened.

As it turned out I did okay.  At one point during the evening I stopped counting the money given to me to pay checks.  If someone handed me cash, I just put the money into my pocket and never bothered to count it.  I suppose I could be shorted that way, but like I said I didn’t even care.  I knew from looking that my credit card tips sucked.  But I guess the cash tips were better than I thought.  I actually made my goal and I would have guessed that I was going to be way short of that.   I have no idea how it happened.  I know that no one tipped me extra tonight.  At least if they did I didn’t notice.

We’ll just call it lucky.

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Why did Helen Keller wear tight jeans?

I had a great night tonight.  One of those nights that can’t even compare to other great nights.  I only got two bad tips all night.  One table left me a dollar on 40.00.  And four frat boys left me 5 on 60.00.  Of course just about everyone else left me 30+%.  So I didn’t mind the couple of crappy tips I got.

We are about to hit sad September.  In the restaurant business especially in NYC January is the slowest month of the year.  September is the second slowest month of the year.  What this means is that instead of having 40 servers on every night we’ll have 20.  And instead of getting five shifts a week we’ll get four.  If the managers like you.  There are a couple of people who were bitching tonight because they only have two shifts next week.  I think perhaps they might look at the writing on the wall.

My schedule next week is so so.  I’m off Thursday and Friday which are busy nights.  But I did get four shifts and I truly buy into the idea that unless its a very unusual night you can always make money.  I’ll try not to eat these words next week.

Speaking of the four frat boys who left a shitty tip.

They ended their visit by asking where they should go to drink after they left my restaurant.  This has become an immediate red flag.  Almost every time someone asks me that question they leave a crappy tip.  And each time I tell myself that this table will be different.  Of course tonight after I told the boys where they should go drink I went to the wait station and said to a couple of people that when they pay their bill I bet I get less than ten percent.

And so I dropped the check and processed their credit card, dropped it off at the counter and told them to have a good time drinking.  After they left I picked up the credit card receipt and saw that on a 60 dollar table they left me five bucks.

And as I walked back toward the wait station, I looked up and two girls sitting at the counter we looking at me grinning.  So I walked over to them and they didn’t even say anything they just had this look on their faces.  And so I said, is it that obvious.  And one of them says, “How bad was it?”  And so I show them the credit card receipt.  She laughs but in a I’m on your side sort of way.  And so we start talking.  Seems that one of them is a bartender at the Macaroni Grill in California and we started talking about waiting.  I explained my theory of how people who ask where to go for more drinks don’t tip.  And she shared stories of bartending.

And I don’t know how we got on the subject but she told me about a co-worker that gets by with saying just about anything he wants to a table.  And they just laugh with him and think that he’s kidding.

And I realized that’s what I do.  I have complete control of the situation and I tend to say whatever pops into my head at the time and there’s always that moment when I pray that the joke lands where I want it to.

There was a perfect example of this tonight.  My second table of the evening was four guys in the mid forties who sat themselves and were just drinking.  I took their order and got their drinks.  And at some point the male to female transgendered girl that I work with walked by.   When I went back to the table though they asked about her.  I played it off and they said that my restaurant must really hire alternative types.  And I explained that they actually like people who are a little edgy and aren’t just going to be order takers.

And then one of them asked me what my story was.

And here’s my approach to my sexuality at work.  If someone asks me if I’m gay I’m not going to lie.  And a couple of times I’ve had other waiters out me to my tables unknowingly.  But I believe it’s my job to be whomever my table wants me to be.  So if I’m waiting on four middle aged women from Nebraska and they want me to flirt then I’ll do it.  If I’m waiting on four gay men from Iowa then I’ll be whomever they want to think I am.  I play a role.  And for each table it’s different.  And I believe that’s part of my job.

So when the guy asked me what my story was I said, “Well that depends on what you want it to be?”  He said huh?  And I went on and said it depends on what you are proposing.  If you want to pay me,  I’ll be happy to spend the rest of the evening with you.  If you have enough money I’ll blow off the rest of my shift and leave now.  Of course if the woman sitting at the next table offers first you’ll be SOL.  His friends thought this was hysterical.  And this began an hour long game of flirting with each other…although I don’t think he was gay.  At one point I asked him if he was going to tell me where he was staying and at which hotel so I could drop by later.  And he told me that he couldn’t have company because they were all sharing a room.  And I replied by saying that it sounded like more fun than I was expecting.  And this went on till they left.  And when the left they all shook my hand and told me to have a great night.  And I still don’t know if they knew I was gay.  I’m pretty sure they were straight…oh and I forgot, I had an entire conversation about baseball with them and how the Yankees were doing, how the Mets were doing, who was in first place, how the new stadiums were going, ticket prices, the Red Sox and how I hadn’t followed the Dodgers since I was 12.  I think this really confused them.  This is why watching New York 1 the local news channel is a great idea before work.

And this was actually quite tame for what I sometimes say to my tables.  There are a couple of stories that I tell, that my co-workers are amazed didn’t get me fired.  And I assure them that the table was laughing harder than I was at the comment.

I hope you can tell that I had a great night.

My four men also spent a good deal of time tonight telling me dirty jokes.  The first one they told was actually kind of funny.  Most of the rest were kind of lame and I told them as much.  And I shared with them my three favorite jokes of all time.  Which I will now share with you.  Just remember they are just jokes.  And more than a little off color.

What do you say to a woman with two black eyes?  Nothing you’ve already told her twice.

Why did Helen Keller wear tight jeans?  So you could read her lips.

And what do you get when you stab a baby with an ice pick?  I don’t know about you but I get an erection.

By the time they left they might have even been a little scared of me.  These jokes are awful and disgusting to say the least and I think that’s why I find them funny.   Feel free to share them with your friends and loved ones.

Oh, the four guys from L.A.  left me 30% on their 175.00 dollar tab.  So they must not have minded too much about the jokes, or the flirting, or the other things that popped out of my mouth tonight.

And it didn’t hurt that they were cute.

I’m Annoyed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m annoyed.

I’ve been annoyed all day.

It only got worse as the day got longer.

Of course watching Barack Obama give his acceptance speech tonight helped cheer me up.  But it still didn’t alleviate the fact that I’d been annoyed all day.

It started with not being able to wake up this morning.  My alarm was set for7:45 a.m.  I wanted to snooze it a couple of times and get up a little after 8:00 a.m.  And it went off as planned and I snoozed it.  And snoozed it.  And snoozed.  And snoozed it.  And I finally rolled over and looked at the clock and it was 9:30 a.m.  This gave me exactly 30 minutes to get up, get in the shower, drink my pot of coffee, get dressed, drop off my laundry and be at the subway by 10:00.  Needless to say that didn’t happen.  I swiped my card to enter the subway at 10:27 a.m.

I do have to admit that as I was walking down the stairs the train came but I was still asleep since I hadn’t gotten to have any caffeine, so I barely noticed.

The reason I was up so early was because I had a check up scheduled for my ankle.  It’s been four months since I broke it and my doctor wanted to x-ray it and make sure there were still no problems.

Since the train came just as I was walking down the stairs I got to my appointment about 15 minutes early.  I wanted to get there 30 minutes early because the last time I had to have x-rays done they took almost 45 minutes and I got put way back in the line to see the doctor and it took forever.

As I was walking down the street I left my mother a message saying that I was just about to go into the doctor’s office, that I would call her afterwards to let her know how it went.  Exactly three seconds after I sat down in the office guess who calls?  My mother.  And she says in her message that she thought she’d be able to get me, that it had only been 15 minutes and she didn’t understand why I wasn’t answering.

When I walked into the office there were no other patients to be seen.  Last time there had to be 30.  Maybe it’s because it’s a holiday weekend?  Who knows?  It took about 15 minutes to get processed, have the x-rays taken and check in with my doctor’s receptionist.  I was told to take a seat and they would be with me in a couple of minutes.

And I waited and waited and waited.  Almost an hour and a half.  FINALLY they called my name and put me into an exam room.  And I waited.  And I waited.  And I waited.  And after about 20 more minutes the doctor finally came into see me.

Of course while I was waiting, I text my friend Curtis to tell him I’m still at the doctor’s and will call him as soon as I can.  I also tell him that I can’t talk on the phone since I’m at the doctor.  (Before you say it, I should have just said fuck it after waiting so long, but I HATE bad cell phone etiquette.)  And what does Curtis do?  He calls me right back.  And so I text him again saying I can’t talk, text me or wait till I’m out of the appointment.  And what does he do?  He calls me right back.

And then in comes the doctor.  It was not her fault that she was behind.  They had left the door open when the put me in my room and I could tell by the conversation that the people she was talking to were idiots.  She apologized profusely and after all that waiting, took three minutes to tell me that everything looked great.  If it doesn’t hurt, feel free to do what ever you want, and that she would recommend coming back in a year for a follow up x-ray just to confirm that the final healing process was okay.  Two hours for a three minute conversation.

And so I make my appointment for April 23rd and I leave.  And I call Curtis and I tell him I’m finished.  He’s at Barnes and Noble in Union Square which is about five blocks from where I am so I tell him I’ll meet him there.  And I head that way.  And about a block into my walk I come upon a family of five foriegn tourists who are trying to figure out where the hell they are.  And they are blocking the ENTIRE fucking sidewalk.  And I try to get by and they just stand there.  And I say excuse me.  And they just stand there.  So finally I push my way through them and I don’t know what he said but I’m sure it was fuck you in some language I didn’t know.

And so then I go to B&N and head up to the third floor to meet Curtis.  And I get on the escalator to start up and at the top a kid about 10, steps off the escalator and stops.  Just stops.  And it’s not like I could just pretend I wasn’t on the step behind him.  Or that I could stop the steps from moving.  And it’s not like I had three hours to plan my attack.  So he stopped.  And I didn’t.  And he ended up on the floor.  And I apologized profusely but I think his mother who was behind me thought I was an ass.

So I meet Curtis and I buy a copy of Waiter Rant the new book written by a guy who’s been a waiter for years and blogged about it and now his blog has been turned into a book.  I wonder who’ll play him in the movie.  Maybe I should take this thing more seriously.

So Curtis and I are off to lunch and I suggest Coffee Shop.

This is the review of the restaurant that I found on line:

Even though it carries a high risk of poor service and unpleasant encounters with attitudinal (but often pretty) people, The Coffee Shop sometimes seems unavoidable. When it comes to the Union Square area, this loungey pseudo-diner’s varied, inexpensive menu and sidewalk seating make it one of the best casual options in the neighborhood. There’s hardly ever a seat at the bar, which serves up surprisingly good drinks (including milkshakes and mojitos); and there’s usually a wait for a table at peak times, so plan to hang out on the corner of 16th and Union Square for a bit if you go. — Christina Nunez

And now I remember why I haven’t been there in years.  You’d think with the attitude these fuckers had that we were expected to buy 5 million dollar bottles of vodka and pay extra for the lap dances.  And from the way the host was dressed I think she had to leave right after her shift to go to Cheetahs to dance.  Her dress couldn’t have been any tighter, and I’m no fashion Diva but come on, if you are going to wear a dress that tight make sure it fits you properly.  She had a great body, but the dress was cut all wrong and she came off looking like a “ho” from down at the piers.

And her attitude sucked.  First off there were two parties of two that walked in at the same time.  The two of us and two ladies.  And they kept insisting that we were a party of four.  And I said no.  There are just two of us.  And she would look at the four of us and say, no there are four of you.  And then the proverbial light bulb came on and she figured out what we were talking about.  And then without saying another word she picks up four menus and walks away.  We sort of follow.  And she leads us through the large airy light dining room down a small hallway through another bright airy dining room to another dining room that was dark and crowed.  And she sat the four of us at two tables that were so close to each other that we might as well have said we were together.  And so Curtis asks if we can just sit at one of the empty tables in the airy bright part of the dining room.  And with the most attitude she can muster she says NO.  NOT RIGHT NOW.  and walks away.  So we sit.  Sort of.  Curtis has his carry on bag, his laptop, and his backpack with him and there’s no where to put this stuff and sit at the table.  So he goes up to a server and asks if we can move to the open bar table.  And she looks at us like we have three heads.  So he repeats the question.  And she sort of shrugs and walks away.

At this point I’m ready to leave and I keep thinking to myself, now I remember why I’ve only been here one time.  So we say fuck it, and take our stuff to the bar table.  The chairs are incredible uncomfortable but we are sitting right in the open window and it’s nice.  And the waiter is cute so that helps.  And we order our food.  And it comes.  And I ask the food runner to bring me some mayonnaise and he never returns.  And then finally after three years the waiter comes and checks on us and I ask him for mayonnaise and by the time he returns with it I’ve finished my lunch.

We finish lunch and Curtis pays the bill, and I make sure he tips well.  You know how karma is.  And we head toward 8th Avenue to put him on the train.

And I get him on the train and I check my phone and see that my roommate has called.  So I check my message and it says to call him as soon as I can.  And so I do.  And it seems…

I’ll tell you the whole story.  It will have been two weeks ago this weekend I rearranged our living area/dining room/my office area.  I put my desk in my bedroom, opened up the dining room and repositioned the chair in the living room.  To do this I had to downsize some things.  And since I was downsizing I decided to downsize a lot.  So over the last week or so I’ve been making a piles of things in the living room to get rid of.  About 100 books, several boxes of Christmas lights, and then an assortment of other things many of which were new and had never been out of their box.  And just like last time I did this, I had Curtis help me move them downstairs to the lobby last night.  And I assumed just like last time that the fairies would come and take the stuff away.

And well it seems that one of the boxes that I used had my name and address on it and someone saw it and called our management office and complained.  And they in turn called Chuck.  And Chuck called me.  And now I had to go home and move all the stuff out of the lobby.

And I hate getting into trouble.  I always have.  It ruins my day.  So much so that the people at work know that if they have to tell me to stop doing something or to do things differently that they should wait till the end of my shift so I don’t get all down and shit.  So I talked to Chuck.  And I’m supposed to go have drinks with a friend from grad school and now I’m pissed.  So I call my friend and cancel and I head home and on the way home, I get more and more pissed.

It’s not like we live in a fucking 5th Avenue apartment.  They paint the graffiti off the walls daily.  The exhaust fumes from the deli downstairs fills the apartment with the smell of grease.  Most of the tenants don’t speak English and from the look of most of the apartments I’ve seen glimpses of, they haven’t been updated since Nixon was in office.  At least half the neighbors from our floor down, store their personal garbage outside their doors instead of taking it outside and on too many occasions to count I’ve had to wade through cigarette smoke in the hallway to get to my apartment.  At night you can hear the pit bulls trying to kill each other downstairs and at one point tonight we couldn’t even hear the TV for the music being thumped by the car on our street.  Their have been at least two major fights on our street since we moved in that involved kids with baseball bats trying to kill each other.   And I know my roommate has had to call about the noise outside a couple of times and that’s not counting the number of times we’ve had to tell the teenager next door to chill with the music.

We live in Washington Heights.  And we love it.  We love our apartment.  And we just signed a new two year lease so we are going to be here at least through 2010.  And it’s by far the best NYC apartment I’ve ever had.  It’s decorated nicely as you guys have gotten to see on a couple of occasions and I enjoy spending time here.  And we rarely have any trouble and the things mentioned above happen in every neighborhood north of the park.  And in some places south of the park.  It’s the experience of living in NYC and you expect it and you deal with it.  And if you have a problem with something you don’t call the fucking management company.  You come knock on my door tell me that you wish I wouldn’t put my stuff in the lobby and deal with it that way.

But no–you call.  And we are told that it all has to be disposed of today.  And so this afternoon, I boxed up 3 boxes of books, two boxes of christmas decorations (some lights still in their boxes)  some brand new picture frames, brand new clothes and shit loads of other perfectly usable stuff and throw it in the garbage.  And before you suggest I donate it, we are too far uptown for most of the people I know to come get it and it would have taken weeks to get it all downtown one trip at a time.  And last time like I said everything dissappeared within a few hours.

So I’m annoyed.  And as I told my roommate, I’d be willing to bet it was one of our new “American” neighbors.  And if you know our super, American = White.

But I guess we’ll just have to accept the gentrification of our building.  Of course I wouldn’t mind if they’d get us a doorman.  And a concierge service.  And people to walk our dogs.  And someone to call for a car for us.  And someone to take my laundry to the cleaners.   Someone to sign for my packages.  And someone to screen my visitors so my trick from last Sunday can’t just drop by.  You know.  If things could be just like a 5th Avenue apartment.  Of course we’d have to pay four times the rent we pay right now.  And if we are going to pay that much why don’t we just move to 5th Avenue.  And then we’ll know exactly what kind of neighbors we have.

Did I mention I’m annoyed.

Go Obama.!!!

Sunrise. Sunset.

I have a small vacation planned for September. The second weekend a good friend of mine in Maine is having a commitment ceremony. She’s been together with her girlfriend for almost ten years. Whenever I am there we pretend that we are boyfriends. She’s a little on the butch side. In fact when I got the email to “save the date” I sent back a response saying that I was pissed as hell that she had been seeing someone else on the side, a woman no less, and they were now getting married. How dare she cheat on me. She and her girlfriend thought it was a hoot. So I’m flying up on Thursday and will be back on Monday. I feel a little guilty because I need to make money, but what can you do?

I did find a some fun little wedding gifts for them.

There is a store in NYC called Fishs Eddy. To my knowledge there is only one location and that’s on Broadway around 18th street. Basically they sell dishware. All sorts of dishware. And it’s all arranged so that it looks like you’ve come into an antique store. It’s all things dish ware. They have fun stuff and then they also have nicer everyday waress. I don’t stop in often because everytime I do I buy something. It’s hard not to. The last time I was there I bought cobalt blue champagne flutes. The time before that was bud vases. So I stopped in about a week ago and found the following items.

The picture below is a mug with two girls getting married. They are saying “We do”

Below is a bowl from the “Dirty Dish” collection. They are being discontinued so I was able to pick up two place settings cheap.

And I think these are my favorites. They are pole dancing girls…on glassware.

Needless to say they both have very good sense of humors. So I think they’ll like them. I was able to have everything shipped to my friend Michelle’s house so it’s already there and waiting.

So I am looking forward to going, although I do worry about missing work for five days. But what can you do. As I say, it’s only money. There’s lots more where that came from. I find that when I don’t worry about it so much I do much better. For the last three weeks I balance my checkbook daily and do a tally of the amount that I still have to make for the month to start getting caught up. I’d actually be setting pretty if I hadn’t given up the four shifts I given up this month. It’s just hard to maintain that five day a week nine to ten hour days for too long. As of right now I’m only a couple of hundred dollars short for the month and that shouldn’t be too hard to make. Of course as soon as I make that I’ll have to start worrying about next month’s bills.

I realize that I’ve started whining when I all I set out to do was tell you about the wedding. So I’ll stop here. Have a great week everyone.

And as a wedding present to everyone, stop by Hallmark.com and thank them for beginning to sell same sex wedding cards.  I’m sure they’d like to know they are making the right decision and that the backlash will not be nearly as great as the support.

I’m MadDog Tired

I’m having one of those “I’m too old for this crap” moments.  I’m exhausted.  Around 10:30 tonight I hit a wall and I didn’t think the evening was ever going to end.  The next three hours took at least two days to pass.  And of course, as I became aware of this, I started looking at my watch and the more I looked at my watch the slower time passed.  I didn’t think 1:15 was ever going to get there.  It also didn’t help that we didn’t get the usual late night pop.  Usually round 11:30/12:00 we start getting the after theatre crowd in for drinks as well as large groups of people that stop in for drinks.  On a good night I can sell almost 400 bucks in the last two hours I’m at work.  But of course, since tonight was the slowest night ever, there was no last minute rush and the time passed even more slowly.

And why am I  too old for this?

Tonight was my fourth shift in a row.  I’ve worked 36 hours in four days.  And I have a 9/10 hour day in front of me tomorrow.  When the shift started tonight I thought I was going to die.  I’m completely wiped out.  I need to sleep for about three weeks to catch up.  We actually talk about how hard shifts are at work and how hard it is to do more than three in a row.  The business is so intense and for me so busy that it’s like running a 10K race everyday for five days.  Perhaps if I were 22 or 50 pounds lighter it wouldn’t be so bad.  But I’m not, so I have to deal with the reality that if I have to work five days straight the last two are going to be rough.  Last Sunday I gave away my shift because I just couldn’t do it.  I used the excuse that my ankle was bothering me and I couldn’t work.  At least that’s what I told myself.  But my ankle has just about completely stopped hurting so I no longer have that excuse.  And if I force myself to work the next six days I’ll be able to start paying back the debt I inucurred while I was dealing with my broken ankle.  So I have to do it.  I just have to tell myself that it’s only for now and try to make the best of it.

The Good, The Bad and the…

Have I mentioned lately that I love my job.  I actually enjoy going to work and making money.  I enjoy the energy of the place.  The pace, the excitement, the fun of waiting tables.  It’s sometimes unfortunate that I like my job so much because it’s not forcing me to find more theatre work, but that’s not even the issue right now.

On that note, I had a very interesting night.  For two reasons.  One is kind of interesting in a good light, the other is kind of interesting and appalling in another light.

I’ll tell the good story first.  I’ll also let you know that both the couples I’m about to discuss were sitting next to each other at my counter at exactly the same time.  It really demonstrates a lot about the people I deal with.

Couple number one was a young attractive couple.  American.  Very nice, nothing that would have made me even take notice of them except for the couple they were sitting next to.  When the evil couple I will talk about later left, my nice young couple wanted the whole story about what was going on, since they only started paying attention when the evil couple began screaming at the manager.  And I told them the story.  And they too were appalled.  And we laughed over it.  And somehow in the course of the conversation I discovered that they were locals.  And the first question I ask any locals is why the fuck are you eating here.  And they replied that they wanted nachos and they thought they could get them here.  And what do you know.  We had nachos.

And the conversation continued.  My question was followed by their question of why the fuck do you work at this restaurant.  And I gave my stock answer.  It’s busy.  It’s busy.  It’s busy.  And I’ll never run into any of my friends here, and no one minds if I take off to go do other work.  And I told them that I was a lighting designer for theatre and opera.  I told them that I designed around the country and had just returned from doing three shows in Oklahoma.    I then told them that I had just gotten an email asking about doing two operas in the midwest next spring.  And they asked me if I’d ever heard of the Des Moines Opera Company.  And I told them that I had.  And I asked them if they were from Iowa.  And they said that they were.

And here’s the fun part.  I asked them if they were familiar with the little school that I taught at in Spring 07.  Not only had they heard of it, the girl had gone there.  And then we started playing the do you know game.  And she was amazed that I knew all of these people she knew.  And then by chance she asked if I knew this guy named Mike who had just done an internship in the theatre department.  And then she was completely shocked to find out that not only did I know him, but that I had been his boss this summer while he worked for me in Oklahoma.  Turns out that they are best friends and that he’d told her all about me, the summer and the drama of the whole thing.

So here was this random meeting of two people who happen to be good friends of a friend of mine from Iowa.  And this just proves that the world is too small.

At this point you should get a beer or a shot of tequila because you’ll never believe the crap that I’m about to tell you.

Just before I sat the above couple in my section I sat a foreign couple.  I did my thing, dropped them off at their seats and then went on to check on everyone else.  And then I came back to the table, said hello, and asked them if they’d like something to drink.

I know I’ve said this before, but our drink menu does not have prices listed on it.  And as I’ve said before I’ve never gone in a restaurant that has prices listed on their drink menus.  I’m not sure why this, but it seems to be the rule not the exception.  And it’s impossible to know all the prices.  We have close to fifty drinks on our drink menu and I’m barely able to remember what’s in them, let alone how much they cost.  And I always explain this to people by explaining that I just push a button and the computer does the rest.  And that if they’d like to understand better what I’m talking about, they should let me have their cell phone and I’ll pull up some random persons name and see if they know the phone number.  And every single time the understand what I’m talking about.  If they speak English that is.

So I say hello and ask what I can get the couple to drink.  Their first comment is that there are no prices in the drink menu.  They seem to speak English fine although it’s clear that they are foreign.  I tell them about the prices, the range that they run from.  And then they ask how much a bottle of wine is.  I have worked at this restaurant for a year and in that time I’ve sold three bottle of wine.  We don’t sell many bottles of wine  and so there was no way in hell I was going to know the price.  So I explain that they start around 35.00 and go up to about 50.00.  And then they ask how much the glasses are.  I explain that they start around 8.50 and go up to about 12.00.  And then they ask which one is the cheapest.  You should never say this to your waiter.  It raises all kinds of red flags about who they are dealing with and what the rest of the meal is going to be like.

So I’ve told the couple all about the wines that I can and tell them that if they let me know specifically what wine they are talking about I can tell them the price.  And I go away.  And I do my thing and eventually make my way back to the couple to see if they are ready to order.  And they are.  They order two orders of grilled salmon.  I ask if they’d like wine and they say no, they’ll just get water.  And I go away put the order into the computer and go do my thing.  And I go and seat another table, check on yet another table, run some drinks to someone else and as I’m passing by the counter the man is turning around from the bar with two glasses of wine.

And this pisses me off.  And I tell him as much.  I explain that I’m their waiter and that if they need something, no matter what it is, they are to get it from me, not the bar.  I’m stern about this.  And the man begins to shout at me.  He’s screaming that I didn’t come back to answer his questions about the wine and that I wasn’t helpful because I didn’t know the prices and that it was his right to go to the bar to get his drinks.  And I respond by saying that’s fine, I’ll go get the manager.

And so I explain to the manager about what’s happened and then I explain that I WILL NOT BE YELLED AT, BY ANYONE.  And that the couple needs to be moved to another table.  So the manager goes to visit the couple and stops me a few minutes later to tell me that it was a misunderstanding and that it wouldn’t happen again.  By now I’m pissed, I know that I’m not going to get a tip from them, so I’ve decided they’ll get my most crappy service, which is still miles above what some of my co-workers give.

And so I’m running around waiting on my tables doing my thing, and then I’m called over by the evil couple and the man proceeds to say the following to me.

“I’m about to go get two more glasses of wine at the bar, do you need me to call your mommy?”

OH, NO HE DIDN’T!

I don’t even give him the pleasure of a response.  I leave the bar, go the office and tell the manager (a different one this time) that I’m done with them and that I’ll not wait on them any longer.  They are welcome to sit there but I will not offer them any service.  I’m told that if they say anything else disparaging to me, they’ll be asked to leave.  And so I for the most part ignore them.  And then when there was no way I could ignore them any more the asshole calls me over to tell me that he’d like a to go box for his meal.  And then points to the miniscule speck of salmon left on his plate and then begins to laugh.  Once again I walk away without any remarks, I go to the office and tell the manager that table 65 needs their check and that under no circumstances am I delivering it to them, or having any other interactions with them.  So I’m standing at the other end of the counter when Matt drops the check off.  And I see the couple waving their arms and shouting at him.  And he takes the money from them and walks away.  When he brings me the money he tells me that they were pissed off that I hadn’t brought the check to them.  I guess they wanted to see if they could annoy me any more than they had.

And all of this is witnessed by the fun couple sitting next to the evil couple.  And as soon as the spawns of satan left, they asked to see Matt so they could give their side of the story.

I’m still pissed as I type this.  I know I responded to the assholes just as I should have.  I didn’t provoke them.  I didn’t engage them.  I didn’t give them the pleasure of a response.  And I think the thing that pisses me off the most is that the managers didn’t do more to stop the situation.  In their defense though, each time I brought the situation to their attention it was a different manager.  So none of them were completely aware of what had happened before.

I argued with these people in my head all the way home.  Saying all the things that I wish I’d said in the moment.  And yet I said none of them.  And if I had to do over again, I would still say none of them.  I like my job and I won’t risk being fired by arguing with a customer and engaging in some sort of debate.  But there is a limit to what I’m willing to tolerate and this was too much.  These people were rude and out of line.  And they should have been asked to leave the restaurant.  And if such a thing were to happen again, I would be more diligent about getting the managers to at least move the assholes to a new table.

On his way out tonight one of the managers complimented me on my cool head.  He said if it were him, he would have punched the guy and then come to get the manager.  I told him the same thing I told the nice couple.  I don’t allow my mother to yell or raise her voice with me.  I’m sure as hell not going to allow if from some asshole stranger.  I don’t care how important they are, or how much money they have, or if it costs me my job.  I have limits and these people crossed them tonight.

Things that piss the waiter off…

I’m not a someone who thinks children should be seen and not heard.  And I understand that parents need to take their children to restaurants when they are vacationing.  But in the last couple of days I’ve seen some things that annoy the fuck out of me.

First.

Yesterday there was a party of 10 having dinner.  At the table were at least four kids under the age of six.  And what was the problem here.  There were four DVD players placed on the table to keep the kids entertained during dinner.  HUH?  How about you put down your vodka tonic and actually engage your children in conversation.  Even a five year old likes to be paid attention to.  Or perhaps you can play a game with them.  Or find other ways to keep them busy.  The DVD players are parents in a box.  It substitutes the need to have genuine contact with each other.  If you don’t want to talk to your children why don’t you put them up for adoption.  There are thousands of families out there right now who would love to have children they could cuddle, and love and share their lives with.

Second.

Under no circumstances should you think it’s okay to put your three year old up on the bar.  What kind of example do you think your setting.  Of course in ten years you’ll be wondering why he’s drinking and where he’s getting it from.  God forbid you actually set a good example for your child.  And no I don’t think it’s wrong for parents to drink, but have some class.  Get a table.  And don’t look surprised or pissed off when the bartender tells you that junior can’t be at the bar.  It’s the law!!!  And it’s not okay for you to park your kids at my counter while you drink and enjoy yourself at the bar.  Once again, if you don’t want to spend time with your kids leave them at home.  You’d be surprised how many times I’ve seen a lone child sitting at the counter bored out of his mind while his parents drink at the bar.  Oh, and by the way.  It’s real classy when you park your baby carriage at the bar while you tie one on.  I’m just saying.

Third.

I’m sure someone, somewhere is amused when you let your children run wild in the restaurant.  But I’m not one of them.  Nor is anyone else I work with.  A couple of nights ago there was a party of six with two kids under the age of four seated right next to the wait station.  At one point we were taking bets on who the lucky waiter was going to be that stepped on one of the kids.  They were allowed to run all over the place.   At one point the parents didn’t even know where one of the kids was because she’d wondered into another part of the restaurant.  You may not believe this, but a waiter carrying a tray with twelve drinks on it, isn’t watching the floor for munchkins.  And believe me when I say that you are going to have a hard time proving negligence when the waiter trips over your child and breaks it’s leg.  In fact, if the waiter breaks his own leg I’m hoping that you have one hell of an insurance policy on your head.  Cause if it’s me, you’re going to need it.  And while I’m on the subject, it’s also not okay to let your children sleep on the floor.  A couple of nights ago, I almost stepped on a little girl who was stretched out in the path to the bar while her parents entertained themselves.

And Fourth…

Don’t look offended, or out of sorts or put out when someone, like me tells you that you need to control your children.  It’s your job to take care of them.  And that includes keeping them out of harms way.  And you may not realize this but a restaurant is a very dangerous place.  There’s a reason I only have house plants.  I don’t have to entertain them, they don’t get in the way, and if my roommate forgets to water them, no one calls ACS on us.  If you have decided to have children and even if you haven’t when you agree to care for them you get the whole package.  Not just the parts that you want.

And to end.  Children should not be given too many choices.  I dated a second grade school teacher once and he believed that children should only be given two choices.  Red or blue.  Sprite or Coke.  Chicken or a burger.  When you read the entire children’s menu to a four year old it causes over load on their brain and it short circuits and I’m left standing there while you try to figure out why little Johnny has started to cry and suddenly won’t even talk anymore.

And I’m not expert but you can treat your child like an adult as much as you want but until they are about 27 they need some guidance and discipline and love and attention.  So don’t make me tell you again.

Seasons of Love…

Sorry about the lack of posts this week.

I’ll give the quick explanation of why.

First my friend Curtis was in town and we spent time talking and when he’s around it’s hard to get the privacy to write.

And then on Monday I slept all day. Till 3:00 p.m. And then I worked on the apartment. Last week I completely changed the configuration of the furniture in the living room/dining room. I opened up the space and I think when it’s all said and done Chuck and I will like the new look better. To do this though I had to get rid of about 300 books, which I’m okay with. If I haven’t read the book in the last 10 years I’m probably not going to read it now. I also had to figure out where the stuff like photos etc were going to live. I got a lot of this done over the weekend but it was still a wreck on Monday. In fact Lidia the cleaning lady came on Monday morning and I was afraid that she would run screaming from the house. But she managed to clean around the mess. As of right now everything has a home although there is still a pile of stuff in the living room that just needs to be taken downstairs for the neighbors to sort through.

On Monday night I met up with some people from work and had drinks. One of my favorite people from work who quit while I was on my break was at the bar and I spent most of the night talking to her. It was great to catch up…and it was really nice when her boyfriend showed up. He’s beautiful and I joke with him about how I’d be a much better catch than she is.

And then last night I had a date. Well sort of. My very favorite person at work is Suzy. She’s 24 and I think has a wonderful heart, and is a great person and I just love her. When I met her, her hair was blue so I quickly nicknamed her Smurfette. It stuck. Now everyone calls her that, even though her hair is no longer blue. She’s been to dinner at my house at least twice and on her first visit she shared the story of how she went to jail for cocaine possession during her younger years. She’s not proud of this but I love that she’s not ashamed of it either. She made a stupid mistake, got caught and faced her punishment.

So I was scheduled off on Tuesday and I wanted to do something social. At first I approached Suzy to see if she would like to have lunch with me. I really wanted to find a little sidewalk cafe and eat a nice meal and drink wine and watch the people go by. Suzy said that would be great but I should come to Brooklyn to do it so I could see her new apartment. Then we could go to Park Slope which has lots of little restaurants.

And this was the plan until I saw an a story on TV about the musical Rent closing. I’ve seen the show many times. On tour and in New York. I love the story and the music although I think the movie sucked. When the show moved to Off- Broadway, the concern of Jonathon Larson the composer was that the people the show was about wouldn’t be able to afford to see the show. So the 20 dollar ticket lottery was born. At 5:30 the box office starts taking names on index cards. And then at 6:00 they put all the names into a bucket and then pull out names for people to buy 20 dollar tickets. The catch with the tickets is that they are for the first two rows of the theatre. So you get front row tickets for 20 bucks. I’ve done the lottery a number of times. I’ve won the tickets a couple of times and I haven’t gotten tickets many times.

So I suggested to Suzy that perhaps we should try and get tickets. You’d have thought that I’d just offered the chance of a lifetime. She was beyond excited. Turns out that she’s never seen a Broadway play. In fact she couldn’t tell me the last time she saw a real play. She’d also heard a lot about Rent and thought she would really like it. So we agreed to try and win tickets and see what happened.

She met me at Jimmy’s Corner Bar at 4:30. Jimmy’s is my new favorite bar. It’s a DIVE but a double bourbon and coke is only 8.00. At my restaurant it’s 8.50 for a regular bourbon and coke. So it’s cheap, the atmosphere is fun and everyone that works there is really nice. So Suzy met me there and we had a couple of drinks while we waited to go put our name into the lottery. At 5:45 we headed to the theatre. As we made our way down the block it was insane. There was a line half way down the block of people just waiting to put their names on a card. In all there was about 200 people. Normally it’s about 75 and most of those people get tickets. So we put our name in the bucket and waited. I told Suzy that it was not likely that we would get tickets and she told me that if we didn’t win she’d still like to go to the show and we’d just buy a pair of seats. And I said okay.

And so the drawing started. It involves a man yelling out the rules. If your name is called…wave or yell so that he knows that you are there. Then move to the lobby to wait to purchase the ticket. Only one person from the party should move to the line. If your name is found in the bucket more than once you will be disqualified. And then they start drawing names. The first couple of names draw applause. You’d think you were winning something huge by the way the people are behaving. And well long story short about 2/3 through the names they call my name. YIPPEE!!! Suzy was jumping up and down. So I got in line and about 20 minutes later we had two front row tickets for Rent.

At this point we had about 90 minutes to kill so we went up the street to a pub and had a couple of more drinks and some munchies to get us through the show.

And then we headed to the theatre. I have to admit that I loved being with someone that had never seen a Broadway show. I take theatre for granted and I never think that there are tons of people out there who just don’t go see shows. I wanted the experience to be perfect for her. So I made sure she had the tickets to keep. I got her a program. At intermission I even bought her the souvenir program.

And she loved every minute of the show. At intermission she thought the show was over. I told her the best parts were yet to come. And then Act 2 started and with in a couple of minutes she was crying. She cried at least two or three more times before the show was over. And she clapped the loudest at curtain call. And when it was all said and done I think I have a convert. She’s already talking about what show we should see next. And we even discussed going back next Monday to do the lottery again. You can’t beat 20 dollar tickets for a Broadway show.

After the show we headed to Carmine’s for dinner. It’s this great Italian restaurant in Times Square that’s a little bit touristy but has great food. The portions are huge. We had one appetizer and one entree and there was still about three meals that were packed up for us to take home. About half way through dinner Suzy looked at me and said, it’s a shame you aren’t straight cause I would so be your girlfriend.

And it really was a date. It’s the closest thing I’ve come to something romantic in a long time. I had a great time. I spent more money than I should have, but that just means I’ll work and extra shift this week and it will all work out fine. How often do you get to make someone feel special.

And that my friends was my weekend.

A Quick Update

A quick update about why there are so many videos on my blog today.  When I tried to insert the vides YouTube was having issues and wouldn’t post them.  I tried to do this more than a week ago and now suddenly they are all there in the same day at the same time.  So although yes I was probably tired when I posted them, I wasn’t drunk.