My #1 Fan is BACK

31 Aug

That’s right, folks.  After a months-long hiatus during which I gave my #1 Fan basically no thought whatsoever he has returned with a vengeance!  This past Thursday morning I awoke to a new comment on my blog.  Since it came at 1:53am from a person who called himself “Anti-Fail” I figured it was just spam.  I figured wrong.  I looked at the comment and discovered that, from the email address rebekahfranklifefail@yahoo.com, I had been sent the following message of support and love:

Instead of worrying about events happening halfway around the country and world, perhaps you should worry about how you came to be a 30-something year old bartender living on $2 an hour. That in and of itself is a greater travesty than ISIS or Michael Brown. Perhaps the only greater travesty is pretending that going to the New School equates to having a real actual degree. It’s like bragging about graduating from the University of Phoenix. Hahaha. Keep writing your whiny Feminazi hairy armpit gibberish. How it amuses us so.

Now, and forever…

Your Superiors

Just a little back story for those not in the know.  This message came from one of my old customers at a bar I worked at for years.  He would come into the bar 3-5 times a week and get totally hammered and act like a dick.  He called me a cunt a few times.  Some female customers complained to me about the way he aggressively hit on them.  Oh, and he asked one of my coworkers out while his fiancee was sitting like 2 stools down and, when my coworker called him out, he lied about being engaged.  And he one time snuck a bottle of vodka into the bar.  I could continue, but it’s too depressing.  This is a stand-up dude who loves and respects women.  Obviously we got along famously and I was always so happy when I heard his voice from halfway down the block while I approached work.

For those among you who might want to email this person back with some opinions of your own, don’t bother because he undoubtedly deactivated the email account immediately after sending it.  But don’t worry, we play the long game at FranklyRebekah.  As my friend just said, “I am the Scorpio here so my revenge thinking goes to total life destruction even if it takes a long time.”  Everyone loves to have a little vengeful imagination adventure, right?  So if anyone wants to plot revenge and use my #1 Fan as the target, even just for your own amusement, feel free.  He’s shareable.

Anyway, to just sort of hammer this home to you guys a little bit, the last comment I received from this person was 6 months ago.  Six.  Which means that for the past six months this wonderful man has been silently stewing, awaiting the perfect time to appear and call me a loser.  And the perfect time, it seems, was when I wrote a post about a young, unarmed black man being shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, his body then left in the street for 4 hours, which sparked a (much needed) nation-wide conversation about race in America.  Oh, and in that same post I discussed an innocent man being beheaded by ISIS.  It seems a little crazy to me that the amount of money that I make per hour should matter so much to someone who, it seems, hates me.  I mean, if anyone should care a lot about that it should be me, right?  But as it turns out, money is not particularly important to me.  Also, as it turns out, the minimum wage for tipped workers in New York state is actually $8 an hour, with bars and restaurants obligated to make up the difference if our tips don’t amount to that much.  In (legal) theory anyway.  Which I would think this person would know considering, you know, he’s a lawyer.

And as for my armpits?  I shave them.  My legs, on the other hand, are sort of touch and go.  I have sensitive skin so I’m a waxer and sometimes I just don’t feel like going all the way up to midtown.  So, I mean, if you are going to criticize my feminism you could at least be accurate and call it my “whiny Feminazi hairy leg gibberish,” ya know?  Although I do take pause at your use of the word “gibberish,” but I’ll leave it.  No need to split hairs (no pun intended).

And as for the stuff about The New School?  You’re welcome to think it sucks.  That’s fine.  It’s not like I established it or something.  But truth be told I actually learned a lot of stuff and was taught by one of the people responsible for the creation of the Human Development Index which is sort of a big deal.  Also, I made some really good friends who are awesome and supportive and also write a lot of “whiny Feminazi hairy ______ gibberish” so at least I found my people.  And, one other thing, I would imagine that the University of Phoenix is a perfectly fine school and the people that graduate from there learned things and are proud of themselves and go on to do awesome things in life, be that bartending or working in finance or becoming a nurse or whatever.  Poo-pooing someone elses education is some elitist bullshit.

So, in summation, I am actually left wondering how this person came to be a 40-something year old man who spends time at almost 2 in the morning on a Wednesday making up email addresses and sending ridiculous comments to people’s blogs.  But, you know, people make choices.  I made my choice to write and bartend and he made his choice to be a cyber bully.

Coney Island Shenanigans

26 Aug

I was going to edit this for Dad-safety, but really, Dad, you should just skip this one entirely.  It’s like that one time I wrote this blog post and warned you about not reading it and you read it anyway and then you regretted it.  Don’t make the same mistake twice, Dad.  Just, yea, close the tab and slowly back away from the computer.  That’s right, ever so slowly…

For the rest of you, there are two very important things that you all must know about me.  First, I love Coney Island.  It is one of my most favorite places in the world.  No matter what time of year, what time of day, that you go to Coney Island, something crazy is always happening.  Good crazy, mostly.  I really believe that Coney Island is one of the only places where people just sort of let their freak flags fly.  Even those people who go about life trying to fit in and be normal, when they get to Coney Island that shit goes right out the window.  People who are still too repressed to let their inner weird-o see the light of day?  Well they steer clear and I feel sorry for them.  Such a boring life they must lead.  Second, I embarrass myself all the time.  Or, well, seemingly embarrassing things happen to me but I think that for the most part being embarrassed is just sort of a waste of energy and so I don’t feel embarrassed.  I just sort of carry on.  Like that one time I ran 10 miles and then worked out at the gym for 45 minutes before realizing that the light blue string hanging out the bottom of my running shorts was not attached to said shorts but was coming from the tampon that was, at that time, shoved inside my body.  I could have been embarrassed but no.  I continued right on stretching until I gathered the energy to make my way down to the ladies locker room to tuck the string back where it belonged.  Life, ya know?

Anyway, normally my love of Coney Island and my tendency to get myself in potentially embarrassing situations don’t really overlap.  Only today they totally did.  So there I was, all by my lonesome on the beach waiting for my friend Kendra.  The sun was strong so I thought to myself, “self, you really ought to put on some sunscreen.”  So I went about putting sunscreen all over, even taking care to get some under the strings of my bikini so that I didn’t end up burning the skin just around the edges of my bathing suit.  I always, always, always burn the area of my butt right where my bikini ends.  Every fucking time.  In fact, I even did it today.  That is not important.  What is important is that in the process of trying to get the sunscreen on around my bikini top I totally managed to, initially unbeknownst to me, flash those sitting around me on the beach.  And, obviously because it is me, rather than just quietly putting my boob back where it belonged I said, to no one in particular, and while tucking it back into its temporary home, “get back in there!”

Sigh.

Sometimes it’s like I have no control.  In all the hubbub happening with the right boob, I didn’t realize that the left one was also exposed.  So there I was, on Coney Island, before noon, boobs out.  Good work, me.  I was almost hoping that, since I had already exposed myself, at least someone could enjoy the show.  But not like a creepy someone.  Just someone who would be like “oh, breasts!  Well isn’t that a nice little surprise for a Tuesday!”  I imagine this person with a British accent.  Perhaps thankfully, now that I am thinking about it, the only people standing near me were a dude in a Speedo standing up and meditating while leaning on his bike and a woman flailing around listening to music and drinking Cannabis Energy Drink.  I fucking love Coney Island.  And so now I am left to ask the age-old question:  if a girl flashes the beach at Coney Island and no one is around (or conscious enough) to see it, did it even happen?  I am not so sure myself.  I guess I’ll find out if a picture of my tits show up on the internet.  God forbid.

But that’s not all!  After Kendra arrived and I told her all about my misadventures in sunscreen application, we decided to go for a swim.  So we went over to the life-guard protected area and hopped in.  There we were, swimming, when all of a sudden I saw what appeared to be, at first glance, either a tentacle-less jelly fish or a very small shark.  Then, upon looking again I realized that it was the biggest condom I have ever seen.  Like so big.  I screamed, obviously, and Kendra and I quickly ran out of the water.  Here’s the thing though. I partially screamed because, ew condom in the water and what if it comes near me and sticks to my leg and then I have some sort of crazy horrible disease because that’s how it works, right?  But also I screamed because that condom was so goddamn big.  I mean, I know there is that thing that people a lot of times think that bigger dicks are better but I’ll tell you what, I would not like to meet the dick that belonged to that condom.  No way Jose.  Once, when I first moved to the city I had sex with this guy with a huge penis and I swear the second I laid eyes on that thing I lost all color in my face.  My lady parts are fucking delicate, you know?  I had trouble walking the next day!  And I think this condom, if memory serves, was even too big for his penis.  If I ever had sex with the penis that fit into that condom I would never be the same.  For real.

By the by, does anyone else think that the sentence construction I just used was really weird?  It’s like, through this whole thing I have not imagined a penis attached to a dude.  I have imagined just like, a free-standing gigantic penis kind of going through life, unattached, waiting to find a similarly unattached vagina or else someone in possession of a vagina who didn’t run the other way when faced with this particular phallus.  I would say poor penis only, judging from the condom which appeared to have been used, it did find someone that wasn’t afraid of it.  I hope she, or he, enjoyed him or herself.  Until that last sentence there this imagination game I had was totally heteronormative.  Not cool, Rebekah, not cool.

So, that’s what happened on Coney Island today.  People may or may not have seen my boobs without a bathing suit covering them, and I definitely saw a condom that was, at that moment, thankfully lacking a penis.  Also, I have learned that I do not have a future in erotic fiction, so that’s a career path to cross off the list.  Happy Tuesday, everyone!

The World is Fucked.

24 Aug

Alright so here’s the thing.  I have not one but two degrees in International Affairs.  I don’t say this to brag, especially given that I was bartending before my second degree and I am bartending after so when it all comes down to it I am just an over-educated drink-slinger, as many of us are it seems.  I say this because considering that I have two degrees in International Affairs you would think that I would be up on the news.  On any normal day you would be correct.  I like to read the news, I like to listen to the news, I like to talk about the news, I like to laugh about the news, but more than anything else I like to get angry and sad about the news.  That is because on any normal day the news is mostly really upsetting.  I long ago lost track of how many days I started crying about a third of the way through catching up on the news because goddamnit people are assholes.  Really big assholes.

These last few weeks, though, I have been mostly avoiding the news altogether.  It’s just like, too much.  The other day I woke up to a text from a friend that read “I just watched the beheading” and it’s like, of course you did.  You know why?  Because the world is totally fucked.  The world is so fucked that my friend watched a video that was made available on the internet of an innocent journalist being beheaded in the name of god, or that was the reason given by ISIS by what I can tell.  The world is so fucked that the family of this journalist has to go through life knowing that millions of people saw their son beheaded and my friend has to go through life having seen the last gruesome moments of a man’s death documented and uploaded.  It’s just…I don’t even have words.  I just decided to read an article on the beheading to make sure that I am not making shit up and found this little gem:

“Earlier this year, (Abdel-Majed Abdel) Bary posted on Twitter a photograph of himself holding a severed head with the comment, “Chillin’ with my homie or what’s left of him.” But (Raffaello) Pantucci said that he appeared to have simply picked up and posed with one of many severed heads after a mass beheading by ISIS in the Syrian town of Raqqa. Posing with a severed head is common enough among ISIS fighters, he said, that the Twitter post alone does not point to any connection to Mr. Foley’s later execution.”

Can we just, you know, reflect on this for a second?  This dude, a 24-year-old rapper who just moved home to Syria from the UK, simply picked a severed head up off the ground because there were so many of them lying around where he was with the other ISIS guys and then he posed with it.  Like, yea, this looks like a good severed fucking head.  I think this goddamn severed head I found just sitting in the dirt here will really get my point across.  Seriously.  What the ever living fuck?  It’s like, our 20-somethings take selfies with their dogs and ISIS 20-somethings take selfies with severed heads.  I shouldn’t generalize.  That’s not nice or smart or any of the things I try to be but like, what. the. FUCK?!

Just as an aside, this is not me mocking or making light of anything.  This shit is really serious and really, debilitatingly upsetting.  This is just me writing my internal dialogue.  This is what utter sadness/confusion/disbelief/anger/disgust looks like when I take out the majority of swear words and throw it on a page.  This is the only way that I can express where my brain has been at the last few weeks.  It’s been like white noise in there because I just cannot deal with how completely and totally fucked everything is.  I am experiencing total shutdown of my capabilities to comprehend what is happening.  Shall we continue?  Okay.

So, Ferguson.  The other day I ran into my friend Ashlie on the train and we were talking about Serious Things which is something we always do.  And so we started talking about Ferguson.  And I said that I have been having a hard time reading about it, that I had been largely avoiding it, because I just didn’t think I could actually go about my day productively if I started reading about it.  And she said one of the most poignant and accurate things she has ever said, and she says a lot of them because she is insanely smart.  She said “maybe we shouldn’t be able to go about our day productively.”

That is exactly right.  We shouldn’t.  What happened in Ferguson was appalling.  Mike Brown woke up on Saturday morning, August 9th, thinking he was just going to have a normal day and he ended up dead.  For no goddamn reason.  And then his body was left for 4 hours in the middle of the street in the middle of the day in front of friends, families, neighbors, and community members while blood flowed out of his head and through the street.  Four hours.  There is literally no excuse for that.  None whatsoever.  And then to see images of police officers with assault rifles pointed at protestors?  Assault rifles.  Tear gas.  Riot gear.  As a result of Ferguson there has been movement in Washington to address the degree to which local police forces are armed in preparation for a terrorist attack, even though terrorist attacks on US soil are incredibly rare.  In response, Republican Representative Peter T. King of New York, who is on both the Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees (oh, great news!), said basically that there was no evidence that giving this sort of heavy weaponry to police officers worsened the situation in Ferguson or elsewhere.  He then continued by saying that he disagreed with anyone who might say “that somehow the police are the cause of what’s wrong.”

He disagreed that the police are the cause of what’s wrong.  I am a girl in Brooklyn who has been avoiding the news because my brain cannot handle the injustice and the sadness and the hopelessness and the evil that seems to be fucking everywhere.  Representative King is a man in Washington with access to information and yet he somehow thinks that the police are not at all the cause of what’s wrong?  Who is the cause?!  Who is the fucking cause in this case?!  Tell me!  I am dying to fucking know and understand who the fuck is the cause of a police officer shooting yet another young, unarmed, black man if it isn’t the police officer!  And I am dying to know who is the cause of leaving that body on the street for all those hours?  And who is the cause of local police forces having military grade weaponry when they don’t get military grade training?  And who is the cause of men and women in uniform, fingers on triggers, pointing assault rifles at protestors?  Who?!  I just cannot fucking handle it.

Cry break.

And then there’s Eric Garner.  And the Ebola outbreak.  And methane seeping from sea floors all along the east coast.  And Ray fucking Rice and the stupid NFL.  And INS detainment centers.  And Israel.  And Gaza.  And the Ukraine.  You guys it is just too much and I am angry and confused and it doesn’t actually even seem right that it’s beautiful outside.

Why do we keep doing this to each other?  It is just so totally fucked.

No, Doree Lewak. Just No.

20 Aug

I.

It was about 2:30 in the morning on a Wednesday and I was covering a shift at my local bar.  My customer’s glasses were all filled so I decided to take a quick walk across the street to read the handwritten sign left on the front door of my (now-shuttered) favorite coffee shop.  I walked down the ramp, eyes glued on my destination, when it happened.  The whistles.  The kissy noises.  The comments about my shorts, my boots, my legs, my hair, my body, my face, my value.  I looked over and saw the driver of a garbage truck looking at me with a foul little sneer on his face.  Before I even had time to think the expletives started exploding from my mouth.  I was in the middle of the avenue in the middle of the night, arm outstretched, finger pointing, telling him whatever the hell it was that traveled quickest from my brain to my vocal chords and out of my mouth.  I can’t imagine it is much worth repeating.  I took out my phone, took a photograph of the truck’s license plate and went back to work.

II.

My friend and I decided to go for a walk.  As we made our way down 5th Avenue we were forced onto the street by some sidewalk construction.  While walking past an especially freaky-looking piece of heavy machinery we heard it from just above our heads.  The whistles.  The kissy noises.  The comments about our shorts, our boots, our legs, our hair, our bodies, our faces, our value.  As we walked past the cab of the truck, another wave of bullshit washed over us.  My friend took out her phone, took a photograph of the truck’s license plate and we went back to our walk.

III.

I went on the internet yesterday and came across this article, written by Doree Lewak of the New York Post titled “Hey ladies – catcalls are flattering! Deal with it!”  I would like to just say two things here before we get going.  (1) I am not a reader of The Post, I just clicked on the link this one time because I am a sucker and (2) the Wikipedia page about Doree Lewak that I linked describes her as a humorist, something I wholeheartedly disagree with.  Now, let us carry on.

In Lewak’s article, she talks about what summer means to her:

“…heat, hemlines and hard hats.  It’s the time of year when I can parade around in a skimpy dress with strategic cutouts that would make my mom wince.”

But Lewak doesn’t just dress this way for herself, no ma’am.  She looks forward to the opportunity to

“brazenly walk past a construction site, anticipating that whistle and ‘Hey, mama!’ catcall. Works every time — my ego and I can’t fit through the door!”

Do you want to experience that feeling of validation?  Well, just follow Lewak’s advice.

“Walking confidently past a mass of men, making eye contact and flashing a smile shows you as you are: self-possessed and playful. The wolf whistles that follow will send your ego soaring.”

And how!  Maybe buried underneath all the rage and disempowerment I felt at being objectified by complete strangers in the middle of the night, and in the middle of the afternoon, was my rising confidence.  Oh wait, no, on second thought I am pretty sure it was actually just fear.  Fear that responding to these men might send them over the edge or that not responding to them might cause them to hurl their own version of hateful vitriol in my direction.  There is no blueprint for how this goes.  Each circumstance is different.  And, sad as this is to say, I almost consider myself a professional at handling street harassment.  I think I could practically put it on my resume.  I assess my environment — are there people around, is it light out, are there easy exits, is there a business I can walk into, do I know the neighborhood — before I decide whether or not to respond.  If it seems unsafe, I scowl and walk on.  But if I am about 90% certain everything will be okay, I take the risk and speak my mind or I whip out my phone and take a photograph.  Ms. Lewak is correct when she says that “feminism is” (at least in part) “about self-empowerment,” but I think she needs to do a little bit of reading and figure out what the word “empowerment” actually means before she starts throwing it around and aligning herself with the feminist movement.  There is nothing empowering about being yelled at from the cab of a garbage truck or a piece of heavy machinery or anything else for that matter.

Oh, and about that.  Belle Knox?  Really?  Belle Knox is an incredible young woman and I have the utmost respect for her.  I think she is having a huge impact on the way we see, and talk about, pornography and the sex industry at large and that is incredibly important and long fucking overdue.  But there is a serious difference between a woman on a street and a woman in a professional working environment.  Belle Knox is, when adult films work the way they are supposed to, in control of her environment.  There are safety protocols.  She knows what is going to happen and, perhaps most importantly for this particular argument, she is consenting to the activities she is engaging in and if she becomes uncomfortable, she can say stop.  And that matters.  When I, any of my friends, and yes, Miriam Weeks (AKA Belle Knox), walk down the street and we get hollered at, we are not consenting to that.  If we become uncomfortable, we cannot necessarily make it stop.  We are not safe.  We have to assess our environments to make sure that our response to harassment does not put us in a physically dangerous situation.

I am sorry that Ms. Lewak thinks all the rest of us somehow got it wrong.  That what many of us see as hurtful, demeaning, frightening and dehumanizing is actually something we should embrace and, yes, even court.  You know what?  Fine.  Doree Lewak is welcome to go about her life, finding her worth in the “primal” utterances of strangers on the streets.  But perhaps she shouldn’t tell the rest of us how to feel.  Or maybe she should read the comments on her own article.  Maybe she should read Diana’s comment:

“But telling other women to “get over it” and respond to catcalls (i.e. street harassment) like you do is deeply inappropriate. For some women—particularly women of colour and women living in poor neighbourhoods, who are at a higher risk of catcalls turning into actual physical violence—street harassment is an issue of safety, not preference. There are tons of blogs by WoC documenting this exact phenomenon. I can’t imagine that they appreciate you giving permission on their behalf to the catcallers who make their streets unsafe.”

Or Astoria Grey’s,

“That’s really great that you have had such a positive experience and enjoy the street harassment you receive. Maybe it has something to do with being 20 years old when you received your first ‘cat call.’ You were probably in a much better space for receiving attention about your body than I was when it started happening to me. Growing up in NYC, my street harassment began at a much younger age. Men telling me to look at them with my beautiful eyes, or to smile more, or commenting on the length of my shorts. It made me feel exposed and vulnerable and not in control of my own body. I still cringe at how these remarks made me feel and can still make me feel nearly 15 years after they began.”

Or Nicole Leigh’s,

“I was 11. My friend and I used to walk by the highway the boarded our neighborhood and we’d count how many men would scream at us from their cars on our walk to meet each other. And we BOTH looked 11. None of us developed early or anything. “

Maybe then she will realize that what she sees as empowering is actually dangerous and damaging for the majority of us.  So, Doree, next time you go for a run and some guy starts running “with” you for 5 blocks because he thinks you’re hot, let me know how empowered, flattered and safe you feel.  Because that happens and it is scary as fuck.

Tell ‘Em Large Marge Sent Ya

17 Aug

So things have been crazy the last week or so.  I have been working so very much.  Like, 8 shifts in 6 days sort of working.  I know that lots of other people work this much all the time because of necessity or having Important Jobs, but I am lucky enough to have cheap(ish) rent and inexpensive taste and also do something that I don’t believe to be life altering in any way.  Mind altering, maybe, but life altering?  Not so much.  Anyway, I am generally satisfied working 3 shifts a week and having enough savings to buy a house in Kentucky.  But this week all of a sudden all the things happened at once and I found myself working in the morning and until the morning, and sometimes missing one job because I had already committed to another one.  It was silly.  Really, really silly.  Needless to say that as of yesterday mid-shift I was completely and entirely burnt out.  Like, wow.  I would find myself just blankly staring at nothing.  Also, I kept going outside to get a breath of outside air and there is a ramp outside my bar and I would stand there and watch people but I was like, actively watching them.  As in I would see them a block away and then just watch them as they approached the bar and then follow them as they walked past.  I got some awkward smiles.  No one saw me staring and thought

“yea!  Let’s have drinks at that bar!  That creepy lady out front looks especially inviting!”

I did get a whole group of people from some sort of drumming group, drums and all.  Not sure if they were a drumming circle or a drumming line, but they were definitely drummers who organized themselves into some shape or another.  I’m getting bogged down in the details here.  The real story is that the last few days have been weird and that weird has spilled out into my dreams.  I have been having very strange dreams.  Angry ones, even.  So as I mentioned in my last post, for the past few years I have been feuding with my neighbor.  The feud began when he threw a three day long party of some kind with no warning to any of us living around him which resulted in me having to go to work and be nice to people on very limited sleep.  He threw another one of these parties this weekend, leaving me extremely displeased, to say the least.  As a result of my displeasure, and the fact that I was woken up at 2:30am the Saturday morning before my 8th shift in 6 days, I had a really crazy dream.  But let me actually just add here that I am not exactly certain where real ends and dream begins.  It is distinctly possible that I actually, in real life, got out of bed, opened my window and screen, and stuck my head out the window and stared down at the guests of the party with the meanest of mean looks I could muster.  I imagine looking back that my neck somehow became longer than normal and I was able to get way closer to the guests of the party than my 3rd floor window would actually allow.  I am pretty sure I looked something like this:

large-marge

 

Okay so that might actually have been part of the dream.  The part that I am about 95% certain was dream was when I leaned out the window and screamed

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!!”

and then poured a huge bucket of water out the window and all over the guests.  I know this was part of the dream for the following four reasons:  (1) I am a total long game type of girl and I very rarely do things that feel good in the moment in exchange for slow burn revenge.  Sort of like the slow burn that a bottle full of cat urine would unleash on the plants in front of my neighbors house; (2) I don’t have a bucket in my room at the ready in case someone (or someones) need a serious dousing; (3) I don’t know that my aim in the middle of the night would be particularly good, especially on no sleep, and so I would probably just end up watering the tomato plants that live under my window; and, perhaps most importantly (4) there was a Big White Tent which would have protected the guests from any projectiles, liquid or otherwise.  Even though I didn’t actually throw water on my next door neighbors party, I did wake up feeling slightly accomplished.  I suppose sometimes evil deeds in sleep are almost as satisfying as evil deeds in real life and with the added bonus of no repercussions.  (Note:  I don’t actually ever commit evil deeds.)  I did see my neighbor on the street yesterday at some point and I sort of giggled to myself because only one of us knew that I had completely ruined his party in my sleep and that one of us was me.  Sucker!

The other thing that happened this week was that my favorite coffee shop closed.  I have been going there since I moved to the neighborhood almost a decade ago.  It was a great little spot.  The coffee was good and fresh, the service was oftentimes somewhat crabby and, most importantly, none of the “cool kids” from the neighborhood ever went there.  I like my coffee scene-free, hold the pretension.  I know that I am interested in sustainable agriculture and that I have worked in some form of food service for like 13 years, but the reality is that coffee tastes like coffee to me and I don’t need a whole lecture about where the beans come from or get a side-eye from someone cuz I drink mine with milk.  I like milk in my coffee.  Sue me.  Also, I think cold brew is silly.  And wasteful.  Do you know how much coffee it takes to brew that shit?  Sustainable my ass.

I got distracted.  So here’s the story.  I went into the coffee shop to get my morning cup on my way to training at this new spot that I am going to be working at and the owner who I have known forever said

“This is the last day.”

I literally thought she was going to follow that with a loud

“APRIL FOOLS!”

But then I realized that it is August and there is no such thing as August fools.  Not that I know of, anyway.  I couldn’t stay and chat because I was running a little late but I was really sad about it so I called my friend Ben and he was also sad about it.  He went down and bought beans.  Now he Has Beans (I didn’t just capitalize that for no reason.  It’s funny, for those of us In The Know [which I capitalized for no reason]).  So all that happened in real life and now I am left scrounging around for a scene-free coffee place.  I tried the bagel shop but I don’t know, the service is a little lackluster.  I could go to the bakery, but then I have to cross the avenue to the side that I don’t really have to be on most of the time to get to any of the places I am ordinarily rushing to in the morning.  I could just make my own coffee which I often do but….sometimes I want my coffee out!  I’ll figure it out somehow.  So the dream!  This is actually a nice one.  I had a dream last night that all us neighborhood folk who went to this shop reopened the shop and ran it ourselves!  And it was so nice!  And then the owner came in and her heart was warmed because she realized how beloved she was in the neighborhood amongst those of us who are a little bit crabby and not dressed particularly stylishly.  Anyway, it was nice and then I woke up and realized it was all a dream but I did feel a little bit fuzzy inside knowing that my dreams aren’t all about revenge and eating peanut butter.

So, that’s it.  I am hoping this coming week will be less weird but if it isn’t that I continue to have dreams that bend my understanding of reality and/or leave me feeling good about myself and my community.  The end.

I thought I couldn’t dislike my neighbor more…

14 Aug

…I was dead wrong.

Have I talked to you guys about how much I dislike my down the street neighbor?  Wait, yes, I have!  I wrote about how he and I were feuding after he had like a 3 day long rager when I had work and someone, I am not going to say who it was, called the cops on him after that someone repeatedly asked him to turn down the club speakers he had installed in the garage behind his building because said speakers were making the entire bed of the unnamed person who called the cops on him vibrate.  After that happened, down-the-street-neighbor told my landlord that the tenants of my apartment were throwing cigarettes onto his roof (none of us smoke), causing my landlord to lock the roof, thereby effectively ending our not-so-legal roof access.  He also started growling at me when I walked by, making as if he was going to spray me with his hose while watering his flowers, and mimicking me whenever he heard me on the phone or laughing aloud or anything.  This has been going on for the better part of 2 years, if I had to guess.  Oh and by the way, this man is in his 50s.  It is really incredible how some people literally never grow up.

As you have probably assumed, I really, really don’t like this man.  What’s crazy about it is that we used to get along really well back in the day but it’s like once you allegedly do one little thing the whole damn relationship just goes up in flames and you are forced to roll your eyes at least 3 times a week in response to his growling.  Rolling my eyes and feeling thankful that I Am (sort of) An Adult is the only thing that keeps me from pissing in a bottle and then pouring the urine over his carefully tended plants in the dead of night.  Seriously, I have thought about this.  My sisterfriend Marissa and I have talked about it.  Many times.  In detail.  I even have plans carefully sketched out with escape routes and everything.  Anyway, all that is really neither here nor there.  What is, however, both here and there is that today when I got home from training at my new job I noticed a lot of brightly colored things hanging from the bannisters of the stairs leading up to the building. This is never a good sign.  I then rushed to my bedroom and looked out the window, and there it was:  The Big White Tent.  Fuck.  The only time there is a Big White Tent in his backyard is when he is planning on having some sort of incredibly loud family gathering.  Seriously, you guys, I really don’t like when people use shorthand for things on the internet but FML for realz.

Just as a slight aside, I am someone who is good at a few things.  One of the things I am especially good at is my ability to fall asleep once my head hits the pillow in my bed.  I think it’s because I really only use my bed for one thing:  sleeping.  Okay, that is not entirely true.  I also use my bed for some other things but I don’t really want to get into that right now.  Or ever.  On my blog.  With my dad reading.  Dad, pretend like I never said that about the other things.  Just like, go back to the beginning of the paragraph and read up to the point where I said “sleeping” and then jump back down to right here.  HERE DAD!  THIS IS WHERE YOU START READING AGAIN!  As I was saying, I don’t really watch TV in my bed or read in my bed.  I just sleep there.  For me, having a place thats real purpose is to allow me to shut my brain down is incredibly important.  It’s like an oasis.  An oasis full of cats.  Well, two cats.  Plus the third cat that they leave behind on my comforter that doesn’t seem to ever disappear no matter how often I vacuum the damn thing.  Fuck that third shed kitty.  I will suck him up in my vacuum over and over again.  I will win this war, shed kitty!!!  I am having a hard time focusing if you haven’t noticed.  Maybe if I start a new paragraph.

Take two.  So I fall asleep really quickly.  Sometimes I wake back up again but then I pretty much just look at the time, express my displeasure at being awake by emitting one of those terrible clicking noises that I hate when people make but which I make anyway all the time when stupid things happen, and go back to sleep again.  Then I sleep all the way until the morning!  It is so good!  What I am not good at is not sleeping.  Some people are good at it.  There are all these articles out there actually about how people who have insomnia are smarter than the rest of us and maybe that’s true but that’s okay.  I would rather be dumb and well rested, thank you very much.  So the reason I mention this is that I have had one of those weeks where I am really burning the candle at both ends.  This is what happened:

- Went to bed really late on Sunday night.
– Had to get up at 7:45 to be at a training on Monday morning.
– Worked behind the bar Monday night until 4am during which time I had to listen to someone talk about how we are living in a post-racial society.  It made me really mad.  It made me so mad that I snuck to the bar nextdoor and had a demeanor-saving shot of Powers.  This is something I will get to at a later date.
– Had to get up at 7:45 to be at a training on Tuesday morning.
– Went out for drinks on my way home from said training, had a delicious summer-time Manhattan made with rye and dry vermouth which led to me falling asleep at 9:15.  Bliss.
– Had to get up at 7:45 to be at a training on Wednesday morning.
– Got a last minute call to cover a shift Wednesday night and walked through the door to my house at 5:30am.
– Had to get up at 7:45 to be at a training on Thursday morning.

I was really hoping that I would be able to recreate my Tuesday night and go to sleep super early.  I ate some snacks, I drank some water, I watched some bad TV, I did not have a Manhattan, summertime or otherwise, and then it happened.  Drumming.  Live, loud drumming.  The drumming went on and on and then the drumming left and went on a tour of the block during which there was some silence.  Then the drumming came back.  Then there was a quiet ceremony and now there is loud singing.  With more drumming.  Because as I mentioned before dude has MASSIVE MOTHER FUCKING SPEAKERS.  It’s so crazy because this isn’t like, Madison Square Garden or a club or some shit.  It is a small parking lot type situation on an ordinarily quiet block on a Thursday night.  I know that I am sounding like a total old fogey here but like,

HAVE SOME RESPECT!

This is the problem I have with the world.  People do not give a shit about the other people.  I know the parking lot is his private property but you know what isn’t his private property?  The air through which the incredibly loud noises coming from his huge speakers is currently traveling.  The thing is that everyone in his small parking lot would be able to hear all of the things happening without huge speakers.  He might not even need speakers at all, to be honest.  All he needs are some people who are good at projecting their voices.  I know some of those people.  They are called actors.  Some of them sing.  Some of them even sing traditional Indian songs that are accompanied by lots of drumming.

The other thing about all this is that normally, I love this music.  Like, if I were sitting in my room on not a Thursday after I got 2 hours of sleep when I have to bartend tomorrow and the next day and when I also have house guests coming (I am so excited!!!) I would totally be in my happy place.  This music reminds me of being in India and I love being in India.  I could pretty much be there all the time.  Which would mean I would live there.  Things are hard for me right now.  Don’t judge.  Sometimes I watch Bollywood.  Here is a video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWeVII7qF3A

You need to wait until you see the military guy’s mustache.  Unreal.  Seriously.  You don’t even see that shit in Brooklyn.

Anyway, I lost track and I actually don’t even know where I was going with all this because I am so deliriously tired that I cannot even form a coherent thought.  So, in summation:

1.  My down-the-street-neighbor fucking sucks

2.  I am so tired and frustrated about the fact that this is happening right now that I might actually cry

3.  A tear just rolled down my check

4.  If anyone wants to help me with the urine-on-the-plants plan I am taking applications.  We’ll call it Operation Revenge Wiz.

5.  Everything is loud and I am sad.

Okay, I am going to put in some earplugs now and hope that somehow a miracle happens and my misshapen ear canals don’t force the earplugs out almost immediately rendering the entire approach completely useless.  Wish me luck.

Second Base at the Bar

30 Jul

So you guys.  I know that I should be a smart and responsible person and learn from my mistakes.  Well, “mistakes” is not actually the right word so maybe I should try that sentence again.  I know that I should be a smart and responsible person and try to understand and respect the expectations of others, even though it means keeping my mouth shut in the face of really shitty behavior.  As much as I want to do it, I will not write another bartender tip.  I have a really good one in mind (many, actually) but in an effort to not complicate my life again I will just keep them to myself until the time when I no longer have to tend bar (that one was for you, Ben) for a living which is seeming less and less likely to ever be the case.  I might have to take these tips to my grave.  But just because I can’t write about the absurd things people do from the perspective of a bartender does not mean I cannot write about the absurd things people do from the perspective of a bar customer, right? Right!  Let’s go!

Okay, so, this is funny.  I know we have all done this at some point (I totally have and I still feel awful about it).  We have all made poor choices and made out at a bar.  It is not right but it happens.  As someone who has done this before, I really try to be as understanding about other people’s situations as possible.  Maybe one of them lives with their mom.  Maybe one, or both, of them is in a relationship with someone else who they live with and so neither one can take the other one home and they don’t have enough money, or motivation, for a hotel room.  Maybe one of the people ate something really good and the other person wanted to taste the thing but the first person had already finished it and so the only hope of getting a little sample is to somehow experience the flavor through the remnants of the food that is caught in the other person’s mouth.  I mean, this can involve some very creative uses of the tongue.  Anyway, as I said, I tend to not be bothered too much by making out at the bar.  I mean, it’s not great, but I get it.  We all make mistakes.  There are circumstances.  Hormones.  Also, booze.  It’s cool.  Sometimes, though, people go a little too far.

So the other night I went out for a drink with my friend Ben to try and recap this thing we had done earlier in the day that we were both really excited about.  We did one of those things where one of us was like

“Hey, remember that really awesome thing we did earlier with that thing and the ideas? Wasn’t that great?!”

And the other one was like,

“Totally.  We are basically the best.”

We were doing that for awhile.  Self-congratulation is always a good time, especially when you have teammate to do it with.  Anyway, so there we were, drinking whisky and feeling like the champions that we are when this couple walked in.  It was one of those weird couples where, like, you look at the two people and they don’t really make so much sense together, physically speaking?  So you think that maybe one of them has a really good personality, or the other one is hot but with a not so good personality.  Or maybe the dude has a huge dick.  I don’t know, that’s what I thought.  But maybe that’s just because I haven’t had sex in a while.  Anyway, we went back to doing what we were doing (read: feeling like super heroes) when the two of them started making out hardcore at the bar right behind the taps.  Whatever, I didn’t really care.  I mean, maybe a booth would be a better location but who am I to say.  Also, maybe he had her favorite flavor gum and she just wanted to borrow it for a minute.  I could see that happening.  Ben and I looked at them for a quick second and went back to our conversation.  A few minutes later, and for reasons I cannot really explain, I looked back over at the couple.  I looked back over at exactly the right (actually, wrong) moment.  I saw the girl reaching into her shirt.  I thought at first that maybe she dropped a crumb in there.  Or the piece of gum she had possibly borrowed from her friend minutes prior.  But, no.  There weren’t crumbs.  No gum.  Just her tit.  She pulled her boob out and, in a very graceful movement and before even the dude knew what was happening, she had put her hand on the back of his head and literally shoved him downward, thrusting her now exposed breast into his mouth where he proceeded to suck on it.  At the bar.  Where there were other people.  Watching.  Not so much in a voyeuristic way but more in a “wait a second is what I think I am seeing actually what I am seeing?” sort of a way.  It was exactly what we all thought we were seeing.  Second base at the bar.  At that point Ben turned to me and said,

“What time is it?”

I looked at my watch.  It was not yet 10pm.  We immediately started laughing which caught the attention of the bartender who then looked over, saw what was happening, and also started laughing.  I mean, there really was no other response.  I mean, you couldn’t be mad really.  Or disgusted.  You almost had to respect it.  It was just so damn ballsy!  So the bartender, once he was done cackling, told them that they could kiss a little but to maybe keep it more PG and also that they should probably keep their clothes on.  A few minutes later she started grinding on him.  To Bjork.  It was really very odd.  Anyway, at this point the bartender had had enough and asked them to leave.  They got confused and tried to exit out of literally every door in the place, bathroom included, before they figured out they just had to leave out the same door that had previously come in through.  They remained on the ramp to the bar for some period of time doing I can only imagine what, with the male half taking occasional bathroom breaks.  It was all very strange.  As it turns out, they had been kicked out of two other bars before the one Ben and I saw them in which leads one to wonder, was this a repeat performance or a case of escalation?  Did they get caught before he got a little handy action?  (Do people still call it a handy?)  Was this part of some sort of huge social experiment to see how far thye could take it before getting asked to leave?  Did she ever get to have a chew of the gum he so selfishly had the last piece of?  I have so many questions.

Now today I am left wondering whether they ever ended up finding a place to have sex.  I sort of hope they did because I would imagine the whole experience would leave them both rather frustrated indeed.  Also though right now, having recounted the fact that I thought about the culmination of their very strange and public version of foreplay, I feel like a little bit of a perv.  I am going to cleanse my mind by watching this video on repeat and trying to figure out how to make this song my ringtone:

UPDATE:  Just moments after finishing this post I headed to train at the next stop on Rebekah’s Tour de Bars 2014.  So I walk in and no more than 25 minutes later in walks the same couple that I wrote the blog about, still sort of drunk, maybe coked out, in the same clothes.  I tried so hard to not laugh that, in an effort to hold the laughter inside, tears started pouring out of my eyes.  And this bar was not one of the three bars (that I know of) that this couple got kicked out of for public boob sucking.  Folks, you just can’t make this shit up.

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