Dinner With Friends…

We are still having issues with the Internet.  And I didn’t have the energy or the strength last night to fight with it to post an entry.  I do know that the new modem is here and it’s out of the box, but my roommate was in bed when I got home so I don’t know if it’s working or what needs to be done to make it work.  I know that I can’t wait till we can tell Time Warner to go fuck themselves.

I still have a bunch of things to blog about, but I thought I would go with what’s fresh.

I had dinner with my friend Ryan and his girlfriend tonight.  Ryan is a friend from grad school.  We hit it off because I teased him constantly about coming to happy hour and drinking and he almost never said yes.  And then the four or five times he did come we would talk to the wee hours of the morning.  We chatted mostly about the state of the theatre and we both agreed that we really didn’t have any urge to be a part of the mainstream.  He more so than me.   These conversations lent themselves to talking about the kind of projects that we would like to work on, who we would like to work with etc.

I graduated a year ahead of him but we emailed occasionally and stayed in touch.  When he graduated last year he moved to NYC.  Since then we have a hung out a few times.  At first it was mostly drinks here and there and coffee.  He’s an actor/temp and I’m a designer/waiter so our schedules are hard to coincide but we manage every couple of months.  And in the meantime we leave voice mails keeping the other abreast of what’s going on.  For example I got a text last week letting me know that the Law and Order episode he filmed last fall was finally being broadcast so I knew to DVR it.  (That’s why I DVR’d every episode of L&O last Wednesday because I wasn’t sure which one it was.)

And so tonight I had dinner with Ryan and his girlfriend.  I might also mention at this point that Ryan wants me to get him hired at the restaurant that I work at because he makes such lousy money temping.

So here’s the problem:

They tip like Canadians.

Every single time we have gone out I have had to leave the tip for all of us.  That’s if they put enough money in for the bill at all.  That’s the other thing that rubs me the wrong way.  The divide the bill down to the penny and then calculate how much they owe.  Tonight our bill for three came to ninety-one dollars and some change.  I did the math in my head rounding up and figured out that I owed 47.00 plus tax and tip.  I had two margaritas and that’s why my bill was so expensive.  They then figured out between them that their total was 40.00 plus tax and tip.  I’d be okay with this if it was true.  But it wasn’t.  My entrée was 18.00 so I counted it as 20.00.  My two margaritas were 16.00 so I counted it as 20.00.  My Diet Coke was 1.50 so I counted it as 2.00.  And my third of the nachos was three dollars so I counted it as 5.00.  That total coming to 47.00.  Now in case you weren’t paying attention on all four occasions I counted my total as at least fifty cents more than I owed and some times four dollars more than I owed.  So I was a little stunned when they decided what their total was going to be.   I was even more stunned when they handed me 45.00  to cover their share of the bill.  That barely covers the tax let alone the tip.  And this guy wants to be a waiter.  I don’t know where.

I didn’t say anything.  I pocketed the money they gave me, whipped out my debit card and paid the tab.  I left more than 20% because although the service wasn’t personal they were very attentive.

The first time Ryan and I went out to eat we split the 40.00 check in half.  He gave me 20.00 and got up to go to the bathroom.  I of course paid the check and included the tip.  The last time we went out to eat he and his girlfriend decided that a 10% tip was okay since it was just Indian food and they didn’t like the service or the food.

So I’m left trying to decide how to deal with this.  I like Ryan, and I like hanging out with him, but I don’t like having to pick up the slack and I like even less the idea that he’s not tipping across the board.  Any one who’s read my blog for more than ten minutes knows how I feel about people who don’t tip.  On the train ride home tonight I was completely ready to just tell him to go fuck himself.  But that’s probably not the answer.  I’m probably going to have to have dinner with him again and point out that he’s not paying his share and explain to him that if he’s not willing to do so, then I can’t hang out with him anymore.

But that seems to adult like.  And you know that I don’t like being an adult.  No really.  I don’t

A Day In The Life…

Sorry about no post for the last two days.  On Sunday I didn’t get home until almost 3 a.m. and had to be back at work at 10 a.m. so I cut my losses and went straight to bed.  I had an entire post figured out in my head last night but the Internet connection at my house was completely fucked so I bagged it and went to bed.  Let’s hope it last for 30 minutes or so so I can get this posted.

Last night I was all prepared for ranting, but I think I’ll save it for a night when I’m a little more angry.  Tonight I’m about as chilled as I ever get.

I had a great day today.  I slept until almost 2 p.m.   I set my alarm to get up at 11 a.m. but slept through it.  I might still be asleep if my friend Jeff hadn’t called to say hi.  I didn’t take the call but it did wake me.  I got up and made coffee and started my day.   I spent the next two hours on the phone.  I called a bunch of people I owed phone calls to and actually got to speak to a couple of them.  And then my friend Kelly called.  She worked with me this summer in Oklahoma and was calling to tell me about her latest adventures.  We talked for exactly an hour, catching up and telling each other all about what had happened since we left in July.

After the phone calls I left to run some errands.  I needed to go to the bank, to Bed, Bath and Beyond, Best Buy, and to buy some jeans.

First stop the bank.  When did customer service people stop saying please and thank you.  I just started banking at Commerce Bank in New York.  I opened a savings account there because I’m trying to restock some of my retirement money that I’ve been living on for the past year.  It’s an account that I’ve put my change in and I’m dropping in 10% of everything I earn from here on out.  So I got to the bank, filled out the deposit slip and went to the counter.  I handed the girl my money and the slip and apologized for not having my account number.  She didn’t even look at me.  She just snapped at me to give her my ATM card.  I took a deep breath and explained to her that first of all demanding I do something was borderline rude.  And that she might try asking for the card next time.  I then explained that I didn’t have a card.  She then grunted at me to tell her my social security number.  I found this interesting, since we live in a time of identity theft and she wanted me to just say the number while I was standing three feet away from two other customers.  I finished the transaction, all the while thinking that I just might need to close the account and reopen the account in a different bank.  It’s not a lot of money but it’s enough that I don’t think I should have to put up with the attitude.

Next I was off to buy jeans.  I only have one pair of work pants and I’ve been wearing them everyday.  Which means they aren’t exactly clean when I have to open the restaurant after closing the night before.  I had put off buying them because I was hoping to be down a pants size before I did it.  I headed cross town to the Causal Male XL store which is the only place in Manhattan that I know that sells big boy clothes.  I got there, looked around while the sales guy was helping someone else.  He finally got  to me and I asked him for a pair of jeans in my size.  When I bought my last pair they were size 46.  I was guessing that I was down to a size 44.  He brought them out to me and I went in to try them on.  They were huge on me.  I was happy to say the least.  I gave them back to him and be brought me a pair of 42’s.  They fit perfectly.  Yippee.  Of course I bought them.  When I was checking out, the girl waiting on me asked if I would like to be on their mailing list.  I told her I didn’t plan on being fat long enough to take advantage of it.  Let’s hope that’s true.

While I’m on the subject of weight.  As of today I’ve lost 51.2 pounds.  I’m finally under the 250 mark.  It’s been a long time since I could say that.  I still have over 60 pounds to go, but I’m getting there one pound at a time.  I just have to keep my eye on the prize and keep up the work.

After the jeans I was off to Best Buy.  Yesterday on the way to work, I caught the head phone cable to my Ipod on the door walking into the restaurant and broke it.  The headphones, not the Ipod.  So I needed to get a headphones.  I found where they were kept and started looking.  While I was standing there and man walks up and without even blinking steps between me and the shelf and begins his own shopping.  And it’s not like I was 10 feet away from it.  There was just enough room for a person between me and the shelf.  I was somewhat taken aback.  I stood there for a moment, cleared my throat and said…”uh, excuse me.”  He turned and looked at me like I had three heads but at least moved aside.  I picked up the pair I’d been looking at and headed to the counter to buy them.

My question is, and I’ve been meaning to ask this of you guys for a while now.  When did we as a society stop saying excuse me.  I’ve been super aware of it for the last several months now and almost no one says excuse me any more.  People bump into you, push you, move you, and not one of them can say excuse me.  And it’s not one particular type of person.  It’s black, white, Hispanic, Asian.  Male, Female.  Gay, Straight.  It really makes me wonder what lies ahead in the world of courtesy.

After my adventures at Best Buy I was off to Bed Bath and Beyond.  I was indulging myself.  I bought a foot spa to soak my feet in after my long nights waiting table.  My friend Michelle suggested it today and I thought, what the fuck.  It certainly can’t hurt.  I got it home tonight and tried it out.  I don’t know if it will help the pain I have while I’m on my feet, but it certainly feels good in the moment.  So I’ll keep you posted as to how it works.

And that was my day.  How was yours?

Back from the dead…

So I finally have a real excuse for not posting over the last two days.  I’ve been sick as a dog.  I managed to catch some sort of stomach virus that set in on Wednesday night.  I first thought I was just tired, which is what I posted, but around midnight the explosive diarrhea started.  And continued.  And continued.  And continued.  And didn’t let up until this morning.  Even multiple doses of Immodium AD didn’t help.  All day Thursday I ran a fever of about 102 and felt like shit, no pun intended.  Yesterday the fever had let up but I still felt bad.  Luckily, when I woke up this morning I finally felt like a normal person again and the diarrhea has gone.  Trust me when I say it’s not fun getting out of bed every 90 minutes to run to the bathroom.  And I didn’t quite make it a couple of times.  But that’s all the detail you get.  So that’s why I didn’t post for the last two days.

But I’m back.  My show is going okay.  Everyday though the cast, or crew, or director, or producers do something to make me wonder if they have ever been to a play before.  On opening night the producer waited until the audience was coming in to go up on stage to look for something.  It’s generally understood that once the “house is open” no one is allowed on stage unless it’s part of the show or an emergency.  Two nights ago the guy who wrote the music brought his six and seven year old children to the show.  To say that it’s not appropriate for kids is an understatement.  There’s discussion of drug use, men in the underwear, swearing, sexual innuendo, and general plot lines that are not suitable for such young children.  On one night the director of the show had the woman doing the pre-show announcement apologize to the audience for the quality of the show because one of the actors was losing his voice.  You should NEVER, and I repeat NEVER apologize for the show before it starts.  But my favorite thing that happened so far is that last night, during curtain call the director stuck his head out from backstage and was taking flash photos of the audience during the bows.  He took about ten shots and completely ruined the standing ovation the cast was getting because people stopped applauding when the photos started.  This is the kind of thing you expect in a high school play, but definitely not something that should happen in a professional setting.  I have one more show to go and then I’m done.  Yippee!

I worked at the restaurant tonight.  It’s my first shift since being sick.  I went in early to put my name in the pick up lottery, which worked out great since only two of us showed up to pick up shifts.  Seems everyone has now paid their rent and they don’t need to work as much as they did.  Which is good for me, because I’ll be there every night trying to pick up.  Especially since I was only scheduled two shifts this week.  Who knows what that’s about.  But as long as I’m able to get shifts who cares whether I’m scheduled for them or not.

So tonight sucked.  It was the worst night I have had since I’ve been back.  I have no idea why, but no one was tipping tonight.  I made 8 bucks on my first table, who had a tab of 115.00.  Do the math it’s not even 10%.  They were foreign and so I suppose I should cut them some slack…but slack don’t pay my rent.  I also had a table of French fuckers who bitched about everything.  The prices were too expensive.  The prices for alcohol weren’t in the menu.  Why didn’t they get water without asking.  And even though they fucking asked for beef fajitas they really wanted chicken fajitas.  Hmmm.  They left six dollars on 97.00.  I hope they trip and fall off the Eiffel Tower.  And then the hosts held all of my tables for a reservation that was almost 30 minutes late.  It was all high schoolers who then tried to be prissy.  They have specific menu items they can choose and we are expected to get them in and out in about 45 minutes.  Therefore they get no special requests etc…which they didn’t seem to understand.  Trust me when I say I set them straight.  I walked with about 10% of my sales tonight.  Which you can imagine is not much fun.  The only saving grace was that I was finished relatively quickly and was home before 2:00 a.m.  Let’s hope tomorrow night is better.

Waiting Tables…Day Two

I promise this blog won’t become just about my waiting tables job.  But for the moment, it’s what’s happening.

And I’m fucking tired again tonight.  I ran my ass of tonight, just so my trainer could make a shit load of money.  Some how it’s a fucked up system but what can you do.  The night started out a little less frustrating.  I got to the restaurant about an hour early so that I could start to fill out this booklet that must be completed before I’m official.  For a company that prides it’s self on it’s environmentalism, it sure as hell produces a lot of paperwork.  So I used my little cheat-sheet and filled out about 1/2 of it while waiting for my shift to start.

And then it started.

And for as good as the waiter last night was.  Tonight’s was awful.  For the first two hours she drove me fucking bonkers.  When a waiter is super busy it’s called being in “the weeds.”  Don’t ask me why.  I’ve never been told.  Well for the first two hours my trainer was acting as though we were in over our heads and completely in the weeds.  For the life of me I couldn’t get her to calm down.  Eventually, I took her computer card (everything has to be entered under her number since she’s the one who is getting the money) and took over all the tables.  I told her to stand back and just let me do my thing and help if I needed it.  I didn’t need it.  I ran the whole station for the whole night.  Not only that, at the end of the night she walked with 20% of her net sales, after tipping out the bartender, busser, food runner, and me.  That’s right and with the amount of selling I did tonight she’s well on her way to paying rent.  I didn’t learn a lot tonight, but I realized I’m back in the groove of this and that I CAN do it.  As they say it’s just like riding a bike.

As for my training.  Seems the manager was even more impressed tonight.  So I get to cut another day off the total and will finish after tomorrow night’s shift…if I pass the test.  Of course this makes me nervous because I haven’t taken a test since 1989.  I’ll of course report in and let you know how it all goes tomorrow.

And I’ll end on things that piss me off.

I don’t understand people who find it a surprise they have to pay.

Tonight I waited on a table of 6 college age students.  After the meal, I dropped off their check so they could pay.  And I waited, and I waited for them to put out their money or credit card.  What I eventually found out was that one of them had to go and get money from the ATM.  This took about 30 minutes. (Don’t ask me why, there are about 50 ATM’s within spitting distance of my restaurant.)  The question is, who goes out to eat and doesn’t bring money?  Or a credit card?  Or an ATM card?  You knew you were going to eat.  You knew you’d have to pay.  Get the fucking money before you eat.

And along the same thought.  Why do you have to wait till the cashier has finished ringing up your purchase and put it in a bag BEFORE you start searching through your over-sized purse to find your money?  And for the record the purse is big enough to fit all of New Hampshire in it.  Did it not occur to you, while you were waiting behind the 12 other people in line that you might have to pay for what you wanted?  Did it not occur to you that you couldn’t have it for free.  You want something from a store.  You pick it out, go to the counter AND PAY for it.  This is not a surprise.  Your fucking around in the purse caused me to miss the 2:00 A.M. train home tonight, and forced me to wait 30 minutes for the next train.  Causing me to not get home till almost 3:15.  In the fucking morning.  Would they have really convicted me if I had slapped you right there in the line?  I’m just curious.  That’s all.