I Don’t Trust Anyone Who Trusts Yelp

17 Mar

It may seem strange for someone who spends a decent amount of time contributing content to the internet (although, admittedly, I have fallen off quite a bit as of late) to have such a distaste for the world wide web but, alas, I do. I think, by and large, people are dicks on the internet. And it’s sad because it is such fun tool! There are so many hilarious things to see! Like this! And also this! But, like any well-meaning invention, the internet is also used for evil. (I don’t really think I need to list things. Just use your imagination.) It is so easy to be an asshat on the internet because you don’t actually have to be accountable for anything that you say. You can comment anonymously on a lot of different sites but if you have to actually create an account to register your (ass-y) opinion about something you can just make a fake one! And then delete it right after! Or not delete and then continue to use it over and over again to say mean things to and about people. That way you can say all the things you want to say but would never say in person because then you would have to realize that the person you are saying it to or about is, in fact, just that. A person. A person just like you. A person with a family, and friends, and a life, and things that happen to them — good, bad, and neutral. A person that has good days and shitty ones.

So remember when you were in kindergarden and your teacher said to you “if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all?” I think maybe we should reteach that in high school. And college. And graduate school. And in job trainings. And maybe all of the people who tend to be dicks on the internet should write that on a piece of paper and hang it just above their computer kind of like I did when I kept procrastinating my Master’s thesis. I had a post-it hanging over my laptop that said “stop being an asshole and write your fucking thesis.” I finished my thesis. Coincidence? I think not.

Anyway, I got sidetracked. The point of this is that Yelp is stupid. So let us compare Yelp to real life, shall we? We all know that when things are shit in our lives, we tend to reach out to our friends and family more. We need an ear, we need support, we need comfort and advice. When things are great, though, we go about our lives and do all the things. Sometimes we’ll call a good friend or someone and be like

Hey! I just got through an entire day without stepping on dog shit or being pooped on by a bird!”

but for the most part we keep those momentous things to ourselves. No one wants to be a bragger, after all. The same thing oftentimes goes for Yelp. Admittedly there are a lot of people who really use Yelp and register both good AND bad reviews. Whatever, that’s fine. I mean, I still think Yelp is totally lame but you do you. It’s cool. But then there are people who go on there and only talk shit. And they complain about the stupidest things ever. Like, really. It is unbelievable. So there was this one time back in 2009 or some shit when I got a negative Yelp review from a dude who was upset that the $5 Bloody Marys that we served in a pint glass were made with the well vodka. AND there was too much pepper in his. I mean, really. What was he expecting? Fucking Grey Goose? Child, please. It really makes me wonder about people. So this dude drank his entire Blood Mary and ordered a second one (yes, I remember him because, as it turns out I am good at my job) but was so miffed by his experience, and the sheistiness of the bar, that he logged onto Yelp and took time out of his day to write a negative review about it so no one else would have to have such a disgusting experience. Rail vodka in a $5 Bloody Mary. Well, I never!

Some people use Yelp as a way to get bars and restaurants to “do right by them” for what they thought was a fucked up experience. Like not getting a buyback. Or having the bartender refuse to charge their phones behind the bar because, surprise! We don’t want to be held accountable if your phone gets wet and, also, just so you know, asking us if you can check your texts every 5 seconds while we are trying to help people who are actually paying us is a little bit annoying. That’s a free tip from me to you. You’re welcome.

And then there are the people who have bad experiences because of their own behavior and then blame the people working. I recently received this review:

I bought my girlfriend one last beer and stepped outside to have a cigarette.  A few minutes later, my girlfriend came outside beer-less because, in a rush to close the bar, the bartender literally grabbed the (almost full) beer out of her hand and demanded that everyone leave.  I totally understand wanting to close up and go home, especially given that we were the last patrons there, but to essentially confiscate the drink she had just served us–and after we had been buying drinks for hours–wasn’t cool.  Some of my friends complained that she had been rude to them throughout the night as well, although I didn’t personally experience that.

Okay so here is the thing. I also remember this group. Why do I remember them? Well, because I had to kick them out. Why did I have to kick them out? Because what this reviewer failed to mention was that they had brought in a 750 of Seagram’s, some Sprite and a gallon of orange juice and were attempting to mix their own drinks inside the bar rather than buying them from me.  Personally, I thought that “wasn’t cool.”(Also, I grabbed the beer off the bar not out of the girl’s hand. But whatever. Details.) As for me being rude?Well, that’s all in the eye of the beholder. I like to think of myself as pleasantly professional. I am not a glad handler and I am not looking to make friends, I have enough of those already. If you’re nice to me I’m nice to you and if you’re not, well, I’ll hold the smile. I think that’s well within my rights.

So here’s the thing: there are always two sides to the story and Yelp only allows for one. Honestly, I am not losing any sleep over whatever reviews I get because I do my job well and, for the most part, people like me. And if it makes people feel better to shit on a bartender or an establishment and consider themselves completely free of any and all poor behavior then fine. That’s their prerogative. A sad prerogative, but a prerogative nonetheless. But let’s all just not take Yelp so seriously, you know? Or else, let’s create a Yelp for bartenders, servers, baristas and the likes. See what all we have to say about our customers. Now that would be some shit.

A Letter to the Guy Who Threw a Glass at My Face

7 Mar

Dear ______,

It has been two weeks since the night that you decided to throw a glass at my head because I, rightfully it now seems, refused to serve you a drink because of your aggressive behavior. I am quite certain you won’t ever read this but on the off-chance that you stumble upon it one day, I figured I would let you know what my past two weeks have looked like.

I woke up the Sunday following the incident unable to fully see through my left eye because the lid was swollen enough that it was obstructing my vision. I picked up the phone and called my parents. My father answered. I started off the conversation by asking him whether he was sitting down, telling him that I was fine, and then told him that some guy had thrown a glass at my face and that I had a black eye. During the first moments of the conversation he must have motioned for my mother to pick up a receiver because at some point her voice appeared, a soothing balance to my father’s worry turned anger turned worry. I understood both of their approaches. I can’t imagine what it must be like to receive a phone call from your daughter on a Sunday morning with the news that she was physically assaulted at her job.  I spent the rest of the day on the phone with my parents and my boss, I cancelled plans with friends, got shifts covered at work, I cried. Occasionally I passed in front of the mirror, shocked every single time by the face that looked back at me.

That evening was taken up by a visit to urgent care to assess any potential permanent or temporary damage. Thankfully you hit me in the “right” place, a centimeter above my eye socket. Had the glass struck me just slightly lower, I could have lost my vision or the entire eye. But of course you weren’t thinking about that. You were so infuriated by my refusal to serve you the alcohol you clearly did not need that you almost caused me serious, permanent damage. It’s a strange feeling to consider yourself lucky in the aftermath of such an attack but I do. It could have been much worse. And honestly, you are almost as lucky as me that it wasn’t.

And the phone calls continued. To friends and family concerned about my well-being and ready to offer me advice about what I should do next. I would be stupid to go back to work at that bar, they said. I was like a sitting duck. I wouldn’t be safe. On top of the pain I was feeling in my head I was also looking at a potential loss of my livelihood, at least for the immediate future. But you didn’t think about that, either. You didn’t think about me being concerned about the short 2 block walk from the subway to my job, about the distance between the bar entrance and the taxi I will always have waiting for me now, about my anxiety that a new security guard who doesn’t know you will let you walk in the door and there I’ll be again, face-to-face with you, refusing you service because you will never get anything off me again, hoping that you don’t grab a bottle this time.

And then, of course, there is the physical reality. I have been making my way through the world for the past two weeks with a black eye. Do you know what it’s like to be a girl walking around with a black eye? No, of course you don’t, but I’ll tell you. It fucking sucks. People either stare or they avoid looking at your face, directing all questions and comments conspicuously over your left shoulder. Those that stare do so with a look of concern and pity. You can see the narrative forming in their heads about the late night argument, the angry boyfriend or husband, the accusations, the promises that it won’t happen again. Most people don’t ask what happened because they already know, or think they do. Those that comment say things along the lines of what a customer said to me last night: I hate seeing that shit. He refused to allow me to tell him the actual story about what happened, to assure him — even though, to be honest, I am not sure — of my safety. He already knew the story, or so he thought. He threw me a $20 tip.

I know you don’t care but my face is almost entirely back to normal. There is just a small discoloration under my left eye that can, in some light, pass for a birthmark. So when I head behind the bar tonight, behind the same bar that two weeks ago was the scene of the attack, I will look almost like I did then, almost like I did when you lost your shit and threw a double rocks glass at me without a thought to my safety or your freedom. But I guess rash behavior is sort of your deal, or so I’ve been told.

So I guess now we wait and see, let the chips fall where they may. I will continue to question every decision I have made up until this point. Were they right? Were they smart? Were they the best choices for me? My safety? Never once did I think about how these decisions might impact you. You are meaningless to me. Whatever happens to you now is on you, you did it. And as the time passes you will become less frightening to me. I will start to feel sorry for you, for whatever is wrong in your head that makes you behave the way you do, again and again, and somehow justify it to yourself. I will feel sorry for your family who constantly has to clean up your mess. One day they will stop. And it will just be you, and your anger, and your violence, all alone. I may or may not be the straw that puts you there but it will happen. And by that point I will barely even remember that you exist.

Good luck.

Rebekah

This is Being a Victim

23 Feb

Then:

Where do I begin? I guess at the point of the incident because what came before doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t change what happened. It doesn’t alter the outcome. It’s all just details, really. At just before 2:30am this past Saturday night a customer threw a glass at me. It made contact with my face just above my left eye. It didn’t shatter, thankfully. According to the doctor at the urgent care center that my friends Ashlie and Katie accompanied me to last night, I am fine. Lucky, all things considered. There is no vision damage, no broken bones, no foreign body lodged in my skin, no chance for permanent scarring. Once the bruise works through the process of healing itself it will be, at least from the outside looking in, as if this never occurred. But it did. And that won’t change.

It is a weird thing, being physically assaulted. It isn’t that it hasn’t happened to me before, which is a really sad and scary thing to admit. I was slammed against the bar once when I got caught in the middle of a fight between too overly emotional, and overly intoxicated, men. I was jabbed in the face by a customer who was unaccustomed to being told no. In both of those instances, the perpetrator balked immediately after. There was a look of shock on their faces that registered their surprise and remorse for how far they had taken their aggression. In neither instance did the person intend to make contact with me, intend to hurt me. And to me, the intentionality matters. The look of immediate regret that passed over the mens’ faces, even if it lasted for only a moment, told me enough about their personalities, about the risk that they would commit the same act again, that the fear that I felt at being assaulted did not last much past the night of the incident. I was upset that these people could not control their tempers. I did not fear that they would have taken it further if they could have. I was not afraid, not for a moment, that I would ever encounter these people again. But this time is different.

After the glass made contact with my face there he did not pause, did not register even the smallest bit of shock or regret. I stood there, staring at the man who threw it, covered in the liquor that had remained inside the glass until it struck me because of the strength and speed with which it was thrown, blood trickling down my face. I stood and I stared while he continued to yell at me, while he hurled threats of violence against me, while he tried to lean far enough over the bar to get at me again. The men who finally got him under control said it was everything they could do to keep him from hurting me further. They were certain at least one of his buddies was armed.

After they got him and his friends out I retreated to the liquor room, crouched down and cried.

Now: 

So here’s where I’m at, in the aftermath of all of this. I have spent the last 36 hours trying to wrap my head around what happened and how to move forward. I went to urgent care, got a tetanus shot, reached out to everyone I can think of who can provide me with as much information as possible so I can figure out how best to handle this for myself specifically. But here is the thing: I have to be careful because a person who lodges a projectile, a weapon really, at someone’s face and then says, as this man did, that “I had it coming” does not care about consequences. He does not feel regret. His system of morals is tiny, if it exists at all. Every decision I make will not only have consequences for him, they will have consequences for me. The way I proceed will effect my day-to-day life. The life that finally returned to some semblance of normalcy only recently. Someone who feels no regret is not someone who takes punishment in stride, is not someone who understands that every action has a reaction. He is someone who got so angry that he was refused a drink that he looked at me almost an hour after the incident with such rage that I am still convinced that, in that moment, he was capable of doing serious physical damage to me with his bare hands. That is a lot to absorb. And it scares the shit out of me. I have never looked that kind of anger and hatred in the eye before.

What is more is that it wasn’t just that he was refused a drink, but that he was refused a drink by a woman. That is what keeps getting me again and again. Some people, having read this blog that has enumerated the incidents that I have had over the past number of years might think that I had it coming. They might think that there is a common factor in each of these incidents and that the common factor is me. But the reality is that a lot of these circumstances never would have escalated to the point that they did, might not have even happened to begin with, if I was a less vocal, less opinionated woman or, better yet, if I was not a woman at all. Put quite simply, being an opinionated woman is simply not safe and that’s the world we live in. That’s the reality of our lives.

Tomorrow:

So now I have to think about my safety in a real way. I look back on what I did and I wouldn’t do it any differently. I regret nothing, not a single word, not a single action, not a single decision. If faced with the same circumstance I would do it all over again, even knowing what I know now about who this guy is, what he has done and what he is capable of. Maybe it’s stupid and shortsighted but I cannot allow a man to enter my life and blow it apart. He shouldn’t have that sort of control. And it’s fucked up that now, because some idiot with an overblown ego and a stunted character threw something at my head I feel afraid. He did this to me. He overreacted. He threw something at me. He made me bleed. He gave me a black eye that is going to take weeks to heal. And now I am the one who is afraid. I am the one being contacted by family and friends full of concern and advice. I am the one walking down the street wearing a mark of what happened for everyone to see, and wonder about, and judge. I am the one with mace in her bag.

And so I have choices to make. And what I decide will, of course, impact him. But fuck him. Whatever choice I make could potentially take him off the street for a time but it will not make him understand that what he did was wrong. This was not his first rodeo and I have no doubt it will not be his last. I want to act in a way that I will feel confident in going forward, that will let me sleep at night. I want him to pay not for how he made me look, because that will pass, but for how he made me feel and how he made my family and friends feel. We are afraid and he should not have that kind of power. But he does. And that is so fucked up. He is a bad person who I shouldn’t have time or space for but he forced himself into my life by throwing a glass at me because of some trivial nonsense and now I have to worry about my safety and my livelihood. I have to try and assess, with the limited information that I have, how much risk I am in going forward, what the best course of action is, and how I can live my life, work and move around this city without constantly looking over my shoulder.

This is being a victim. It is complicated and shitty as fuck. He made me a victim but he will not make me powerless.

That Time I Held a Milkshake and Some Lady Called the Cops

2 Feb

I know that I just wrote yesterday but I did say (at least I think I said) in that post that I was going to write more often so, here I am, writing more often. And this post is going to be less self-reflective and more a story about my shift at work last night. So buckle up kids, let’s go!

Okay, so last night, as you know, was the Super Bowl. And so people came into the bar to watch the game. Just after I opened the bar at around 6pm, this young guy came in and took a seat at the bar. One of the places I work has two separate bars so he came in with a glass from the other side, which is totally cool. So there he was, sitting, chilling, minding his business when this diminutive lady came in and sat beside him and just started talking. Apparently they knew each other. Ish. As the night went on it became clear to me that he was a writer and he wanted to base a character off of this woman. And just in the interest of full disclosure, this became apparent to me because the guy told me while the woman was in the bathroom as a way to explain to me why the hell he was talking to her. Anyway, I got ahead of myself. So here is the thing about having been a bartender for as long as I have been: I can pick up on someone who will become a problem the second they walk through the door. She sat down, asked for a glass of wine and a menu and I knew. I just knew. It was all confirmed by the way she ordered her burger:

Lady: Can I have a burger? Medium well? And I don’t want a bun. Unless it’s toasted. Are your buns toasted?
Me: (snicker) Um…no.
Lady: Okay no bun then. They are wasted calories. But I don’t want any onions. I am really against onions. I don’t even want them to touch the plate.
Me: So, extra onions?
Lady, not amused even though I was clearly joking: No. Onions. None.

It was as if she thought the onions were going to jump off the plate and lodge themselves in her eyes. Which, in hindsight, I sort of wish happened because this woman was so incredibly insufferable that it would have saved all of the people in my bar a lot of headache. Also, the cops. She would have run out of the bar with onions on her face, her eyes watering, and we would have laughed and laughed. Or, I would have anyway. And the guy she tortured for the better part of 3 hours. About 5 minutes after she put in her order she asked me if I could add sauteed mushrooms to it. Now if she had been awesome, I would have walked to the kitchen and tried to find her order and had them put mushrooms on it. But she wasn’t awesome. She was already annoying me. She was like a dagger just behind my left temple and every time she opened her mouth there was this sharp little poke. And my co-worker confirmed that she was, um, not quite with it and said that in all likelihood she would torment me through my entire shift. Great. She got no mushrooms.

Sitting to the side of this lady was a really nice couple who also were being tormented by her incessant jabbering. They brought me comfort because every time the lady got annoying, which was pretty much constantly, me and the girl would make bitch faces to each other which the lady didn’t notice because she was too busy talking about how much she knew about narcism. Apparently she didn’t see the irony in this. I do have to say though that the lady did bring some entertainment because every 25-30 minutes I would run next door and joke with my coworker about it. I think the entire other bar knew all the details of my plight.

Anyway, so this entire time the dude she was talking to, who we will call A, was being so chill. I could not for the life of me figure out how he wasn’t totally losing his shit. If I were him I would have completely blown my top but no, he held it together. And the crazy thing is that I didn’t even know what was really going on! This lady was all rubbing up on his leg, telling him she wanted to take him across the street to her house and fuck him, and all other sorts of things. And A. didn’t want to be rude so he didn’t just shut her down. He also didn’t just tell me so I could have shut her down which I would have loved to have done. So here is the interesting thing before I continue on with the story. If it were a girl in A.’s position, and the lady was a dude being super aggressive and handsy, the girl would have been more likely to say something or to involve the bartender. Or I, as a bartender, would have stepped in and told him to back off. But there is this idea that guys can take care of themselves. Not only does the general population feel this way due to societal conditioning, but guys think that they should be able to handle things on their own. But there is absolutely nothing different between a woman rubbing a man’s legs against his will and a man rubbing a woman’s legs against her will. The only difference is that this dude was afraid to physically force her to stop because he might come across as aggressive, and was also too embarrassed to ask for help. Societal gender norms blow, basically. Moving on.

Fast forward through hours of this woman talking to this guy, and apparently being all sexually aggressive, and hours of me making bitch face with the girl at the bar and turning up the volume on the game to try and drown out the lady’s constant talking. A. paid his tab and decided to leave. And by leave, I mean go to the bar next door to watch the end of the game in peace and safety. The lady tried to buy him another drink.

Lady: Get him another one.
Me: No, he’s good
Lady: No he isn’t. He’s my friend. Get him one on my tab.
Me: No, he’s leaving now.

A. smiled a smile of relief and headed out the door. At this moment the food runner delivered the chocolate shake that I had ordered for one of my customers. Also at this moment the lady decided she wanted her tab.

Lady: Close me out.
Me: Okay, I am in the middle of something so just as soon as I am done…
Lady: I don’t care what you’re doing. I want my tab.
Me: Lady, I am holding a chocolate milkshake. I am going to give this to the woman who ordered it and then I will come back and give you your tab
Lady: You didn’t seem to have a problem serving me 5 glasses of wine and now you won’t give me my tab?!
Me: I AM HOLDING A MILKSHAKE!

I then went and delivered the milkshake. When I came back, the lady was talking shit about me to another customer. When they customer told the lady that she thought she was being entirely unreasonable and that I was holding a milkshake when she asked for her tab the lady got all irate.

Lady: Don’t defend her! You don’t even know her! She is a bitch and we could have been friends!
Me: Um…I can hear you?
Lady: I don’t care! Give me my tab you bitch!

And this is when I lost my shit. I honestly don’t even remember everything that I said but it went something along the lines of this:

Lady, look around. You are not the only person in this bar even though you’d like to believe that you are. Honestly, I would like nothing more than to give you your tab and for you to leave. In fact, I wish you would have left earlier! You gave this entire fucking bar a collective headache!

I then cursed a few times. I distinctly remembering the words “mother fucker” coming out of my mouth at least once.

She then started yelling at me about how it was my choice to serve her 5 glasses of wine. I pointed out that I had actually only served her 4 but that I was charging her for 5 anyway since she was so convinced she drank that many. She wasn’t listening. I charged her for 5. I then asked her to smile for the camera so I could send her picture to my manager so we would all know who to never allow back in again. I then got security. The lady then stood outside and SCREAMED at the security guard, who is about 5 times her size, for the next 1/2 hour plus. She tried to start fights with other customers. She then called the cops. All because I was holding a chocolate milkshake. I just don’t know, you guys. It takes all kinds.

A Little (Slightly Depressing) Self Reflection for Your Sunday

1 Feb

Alright I know I have been super duper quiet on this blog as of late. That is partially because I have been writing (almost) daily over on my other blog, ChafingIsReal.com. Any of you who haven’t checked it out yet, or don’t know what the deal is, here is some info! So this year I decided to sign up for this challenge to run 2,015 miles in the year 2015. For those who are wondering, and yes people have asked me why I chose the number 2,015, it is one mile for each year since Jesus was born. I mean, not really. Jesus has nothing to do with it. That was really just a nod to the religious history of our calendar. I’ll stop now. So, you can watch over there to see how I am doing if you want, and read all the nonsense that I spout. It isn’t all about running, either. There are all sorts of fun things that happen so you should check it out, if you feel so inclined. Moving on from self-promotion….

This past Friday I got back from a 9 day trip to New Orleans. I’ve been going down there for a visit every year since I moved one of my closest friends down there back in 2012. My annual pilgrimage has almost become a marker of time, so I figured I would use my return as a sort of self-reflection on all that has happened in the last year. And you guys, a lot has happened.

About halfway through my trip I realized that it has been almost a year since I quit my job at the bar I worked at for almost 6. It is weird to think that the end of a bar job could be such a big milestone in a person’s life but it really was. I realized, after leaving and taking a step back from all that happened, that I had been in almost an abusive relationship with my job. I don’t really know how else to put it than that. In a lot of ways, too, being there year after year almost stagnated my growth as a person. Well, maybe that isn’t entirely fair. I don’t really know how to explain it. Working the same place, the same shifts, for so long is both a blessing and a curse. On the good side, I built myself up a bit of a business, a lot of people came in on my shifts to hear my stories, read my bar signs and shoot the shit. On the bad side, the longer and longer I stayed, the more and more I felt like I would never leave. It became almost a security blanket. The flexible schedule allowed me time to do other things (like get my Master’s) but I ultimately just felt trapped. And angry. And, more than anything else, sad. I know I have said this before but it almost felt as though I could have woken up and been 25 all over again. That’s how stagnant I felt. Quitting that job, although it caused a landslide of disasters that seemed to effect every other facet of my life, was one of the best decisions I ever made. And I think that finally, a year later, I can really reflect on that and appreciate it.

Now that’s not to say that everything is unicorns and rainbows. A few weeks ago, sitting on the floor of my Aunt Catherine and Uncle Mikel’s living room during the middle of our annual Chanukah party, my dad looked over at me and said,

You’re not having a very good time, are you?

Thinking he was talking about the party (which was, by the way, fucking hilarious for myriad reasons) I turned to him and said that I was having a good time. He looked back at me and said

No, I mean in life.

And it’s true, I wasn’t. I’m not. I keep waiting for it to get just a little bit easier but it doesn’t and probably it won’t. That’s life, right? When one thing comes together, another thing falls apart and it is a matter of juggling highs and lows, expectations and realities, excitement and disappointment. I guess part of the thing is that as we get older, the expectations we have of where will we be, who we will be, become a little bit higher and when we don’t measure up in whatever ways we think we should, we fall a little bit father than we did, say 5 years ago. Time seems a little more pressed now. I feel a little bit more behind. But it’s silly, all these things. There is no proper pace, no right place to be in life. We all take our own road and each one of those roads has its own struggles. I guess it is all a matter of understanding when it is time to make a change and what that change has to be. Last year, it was quitting my job. Right now, I am working on this running project as a way to get to the end of the year and look back and say,

Wow, look at what I did. Look at what I accomplished.

It’s not about anything other than taking control of my life, setting myself a positive goal, and then doing whatever I can to (safely) achieve it, documenting the entire journey more for myself than anyone else. It’s a measure of where I was at the beginning and where I will be 2,015 miles later. And all those hours spent running will give me a lot of time to think about where I want to be after that. They will let me spend time thinking about something I have been wondering a lot lately, whether I have overstayed my time in New York. But on the other hand, is it the city or is it me? It makes me think of some Ben Folds lyrics (cheesey, I know, but he plays the piano with his elbows!):

Lucretia walks into a room.
Because she does it’s not the same room
The one she wanted to be in
She says, “Everywhere I go, damn! There I am”

Because, and this is a thing I have said countless times to countless people, changing location doesn’t mean everything will get better. You will still be there. And if you are the problem, then you are going to be exactly the same only this time thousands of miles away from family, support, and whatever the hell else you left behind. So it’s a crap shoot, really. You can never really know what the root cause of the problem is until you change something and see what happens. So I am thinking about writing the names of a bunch of cities, throwing them in a hat and then picking one out and moving there. That seems completely reasonable and adult, right? Right.

Anyway, I’m fine, really. I just think it’s good to air some things out sometimes. We see so many representations online of how perfect people’s lives are, that sometimes it’s good to remember that everyone’s life is a little complicated, a little shitty. So here’s me throwing a little self-pity into the ring, you know, just to keep things interesting. Now I am going to go do what I always do when I am in a crappy mood: go for a run. And then I will write about it (in hopefully a much more up-beat way than this Debbie Downer of a post) over on my other site. And then I will go to work so I can continue to financially tread water. To life!

A Tail of Two Kitties

18 Jan

In my post from yesterday on ChafingIsReal.com I alluded to the fact that I would explain to my readers why it was that I missed writing a blog post this past Friday. Over on that blog, for those of you who don’t know, I am documenting my progress in a challenge to run 2,015 miles in the year 2015. In case you are wondering, it is going pretty well. So far this year I have run 64.64 miles which means that I have another 1,950.36 miles to go before I can call this journey a success. It is a little bit daunting, to say the least. This all means that, if I were to run every single day for the rest of the year (which I will not do because I don’t want to hurt myself and also that sounds miserable) I would have to get in roughly 5.6 miles daily. So, yea, that’s some work. If any of you readers (a) live in New York City and (b) are runners please let me know. I wouldn’t mind a touch of company every now and again.

Moving on. The other part of the challenge, which is an aspect that I designed for myself in order to improve my writing, is to post a blog post on that other site every single day. Obviously, I have failed. But that’s okay! I am not throwing in the towel! Sometimes life gets in the way and keeps us from doing the things we set out to do and we can either be mad at ourselves about it or just shrug our shoulders and realize that we are not in control of everything and sometimes cats, and a movie and a night that both turn out to be a lot longer than you anticipated, just happen. So, without further ado,* the story.

This coming Wednesday at 6:50am (uuuggghhh) I will be departing for New Orleans for my annual visit. I have friends down there so I like to get down there and hang with them for a week, give or take. In anticipation of this, I decided that it would be smart to bring my two kitties, Clark and Grete, over to my parents house so I didn’t have to cobble together people to feed them and give them scratches for the 9 days I will be out of town. My parents were not incredibly pleased about this turn of events but they love me so they agreed. (Thanks Mom and Dad! You’re the best!!) I happened to be watching my friend Katie’s car while she was in Costa Rica this past week (so jealous) and so I figured it would be easy to put the kitties in their little houses and drive them out to my parent’s place in New Jersey. So, while my friend Ben looked on, I packed my kitties into their little houses which caused some not so serious injuries to my shoulders. I should have cut Clark’s nails shorter. Live and learn. We then loaded the kitties, kitty accoutrement, and laundry into the car and I made the relatively short, but incredibly stressful, trek to my parents’ place. It’s actually not usually that stressful but have you ever driven for 40 minutes, including some time on the BQE (the lanes are so tiny!) with two yowling cats in the back seat? I do not recommend it. They make the craziest noises. Ben said they sounded like dolphins. I don’t know about all that but what I do know is that I spent the entire car ride cooing at them and oscillating between incredible guilt for having taken them from the only home they have ever known and crammed them into little carriers and fear that I was going to get rear-ended and my kitties were going to fly through the front windshield. Poor, poor kitties. Anyway, we got there safe and sound. Physically speaking, anyway.

So I called my mom and she came out and helped me carry the two little beans (that’s what I call them) into the house and down to the basement so we could show them where the litter box was. Clark quickly emerged from his box and hid underneath a shelving unit and Grete remained in her box, where she apparently felt safe, for the next 4 hours. Just in there. Sitting, staring, occasionally crying. It was heart breaking. Eventually she came out and hid herself, face against the exposed brick wall, behind some paintings that were leaning there. I am still unclear as to why that seemed like a good place to hide but there you have it. After dinner I decided that maybe the proper course of action would be to carry each of them upstairs into the less scary part of the house where my parents and I were hanging out so they could begin the adjustment period. Big mistake. Huge. They were shaking. Grete spent the first hour of upstairs time wedged between my left arm and the arm of the sofa, with her head behind a cushion. Clark spent his time hiding behind Grete. You guys, they are the wussiest kitties ever to have kittied. It’s really something. After some time Clark got spooked and went into the living room and hid between the back of the sofa and the wall. He remained there for something like 12 hours. I brought Grete up to my bedroom, thinking, again erroneously, that maybe being with me would make her feel more comfortable. She slept on the bed for a little bit but eventually ended up jumping down and hiding underneath it. Where she remained for the next 48 hours until my mother, bless her, went upstairs and pulled her out and brought her down to the basement were the litter box was. Oh, yea, I forgot to mention that in an act of both bravery and seething anger Grete took a shit on the bed.

Cats are such assholes.

As a person who considers herself a better-than-average cat mom, and who was really trying to do what was best for her little kitties, I spent almost the entire 24 hours I was at my parents house worrying about the kitties, talking about the kitties, trying to find the kitties and laughing at the kitties. I feel sort of bad about that last part but I can’t help it. Poor, pathetic little fuzzballs.

So as of the update my mom gave me last night at approximately 10:30pm, things had not changed much. My mom did manage to get Grete to come out from under the bed by sitting on the floor and reading. Eventually Grete, who is very much in need of attention pretty much whenever she is awake and not eating, came out purring and let my mom scratch her head. My mom then brought her downstairs where Grete is currently hiding. Clark, although he has still been taking refuge under the sofa in the living room, has used the litter box. I think both of them have eaten some snacks. Grete loves snacks.

Anyway so that is the Tail of Two Kitties (teehee) and also a long, drawn-out explanation as to why I did not run on Friday and also did not write on my blog. I simply couldn’t run. I had to meander around the house trying to figure out where the kitties were hiding and also at one point I had to drag Clark out from underneath the oven where he decided to wedge himself. That is not a good place to be a kitty. Also when I got back into the city I saw Boyhood with my friend Revaz at IFC. It was good. You should all see it. But maybe wait till it comes out on DVD (or streaming or whatever the kids are doing these days) because it’s almost 3 hours long. And that’s a long time.

If anything of note happens with the kitties I will be sure to let you all know. Feel free to send messages of love and concern. Also, read my other blog. It’s not that great but the posts are short and sometimes have something to do with running but usually have more to do with my imagination. Okay thanks.

* “Without further ado” is a phrase that I have said and never written and so I went on the internet and learned some things! Apparently people oftentimes write “without further adieu” instead of without further “ado,” even though if you were to translate the former it would mean without further goodbye? And that doesn’t make sense although it does look awful pretty. There is something to be said about the aesthetics of a bunch of vowels in a row. The word “ado” actually means hubbub or fuss, which I am sure all of you well-vocabularied people already knew but I thought I would throw it in here anyway. And also this one last thing because I didn’t know this and I think it is really cool. When people confuse words like “adieu” and “ado” it is known as an eggcorn! That’s what it means to confuse two words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings. Eggcorn! Who knew! I will now try and work the word “eggcorn” into casual conversation on the regular so be on the lookout.

What’s Up with the Kids These Days?

13 Jan

I am sure that many of us who have spent time in the service industry have had some variation of the following conversation that I had just this past weekend with my coworker, who I will call “B.”

Me: Man, what is with these tourists not tipping?
B: I know, right?
Me: I mean, when I go traveling I buy the book! And then I read the book! And I especially read the part about tipping customs so I am not inadvertently an asshole and then when it says “it is not customary to tip” I say “fuck that nonsense, I’m doing it anyway!” How do they not know?!
B: Oh, they know. They just think they can get away with not knowing. It’s fucked.

I am, like B, quite convinced that most of them know. I mean, how could they not? It’s in all the books. It’s on all the internets. It’s on all the checks when they get auto-gratted because it is such a common problem that restaurants have to put a practice in place to make sure that their staff gets compensated. Maybe it’s like a game they play. A cruel, cruel game. They want to see when they can get away with (1) not tipping and (2) not being auto-gratted and then they write back to all their friends and are like

“We have found the spot! We have found the spot where we can eat our food, poo-poo the wine, AND not pay for the service!”

Those places are mostly in midtown.

Maybe I am exaggerating. But the thing about foreign tourists specifically is that if this was all intentional it was sort of genius. Because now when people order from me with certain accents I assume I won’t be getting a tip. But then when they tip me… woah! It’s like, the best thing. I am so happy about the tip! I even go over to my coworker and I do a little dance and I’m like

“Look! Look! A tip!”

Maybe it’s that all the foreign tourists got together and picked straws and whoever chose the small straws get to be the tip fairies and make bartenders and servers the country over jump with joy when the unthinkable happens. That seems reasonable I think, right? Maybe I’m thinking too much into it. And, in fact, joking around about foreign tip fairies wasn’t even the point. This is the point. In the past few months I have come to the conclusion that the worst tippers, the absolute fucking worst, are (drum roll please) young white kids. What is up with the kids these days, guys?! What has happened?

So, listen, I was a young white kid once and while maybe I didn’t tip then like I tip now (I have been working in service for far too long and tip like I am the richest bartender in Brooklyn) but I always left something, and it was generally 20%. Or, at the very least, a dollar a drink. I didn’t always understand buybacks and so I did have this regretable period in my life where I would visit a friend of mine and he would give me my glass of wine for free and I wouldn’t tip him. But of course, he was trying to sleep with me (which he eventually did) and so I feel less bad about it. In hindsight, not tipping and instead having sex with someone seems like a fair trade (although I didn’t really connect the two together at the time and, now that I am thinking about it, I sort of wish I hadn’t ever connected it because I feel a little bit icky). But also, this happened like 8 years ago so I should probably just let it go. What’s done is done. But this gives you a little insight into me. I still feel bad, and am still trying to wrap my head around making a bad tip decision when I was like 23 and sex was involved!

And I got sidetracked. Again. The point is that a lot of young, white kids these days simply don’t tip. I had one girl give me a hard time because the bar I was behind didn’t accept AmEx and she had just drank two Macallan 12 Year on the rocks ($12 a pop at that establishment) and somehow only had an AmEx (which was bullshit because I peeped at her wallet when she opened it and saw not 1, not 2 but 3 credit cards. I imagine the one she wanted to pay with had her daddy’s name on it). Obviously it was my fault that my bar didn’t accept AmEx cards and so she paid me $24 exactly – she just so happened to have cash – and made some snide remark about how if I had let her use the card she would have tipped better. I wanted to tell her to eat a dick but I refrained. It’s just that, really, I don’t make the rules, I enforce them. Don’t kill (or not compensate financially for an exchange of services that you initiated) the messenger.

And then there was the kid who got a tequila drink of some kind, paid with his card, didn’t tip a dime (and in fact wrote that amazing 0 with the line through it on the tip line) and then had the nerve to come back up to the bar and complain that his drink was weak. It’s not like there as some incident where he thought me or my coworker was being rude and wrote something along the lines of “DISRESPECT!!!” on the tip line (which happened recently and I thought it was funny because it really is disrespectful to not tip and at least this person was self-aware!). No. It wasn’t about that. It was that this dude just simply didn’t tip because it seems as though it is a thing he doesn’t do. Plain and simple. And so this is where I get confused. There aren’t guidebooks for people who grew up in the United States and have spent their lives steeped in tipping culture. I can’t be like

“Yo, mother fucker, check out the section on ‘eating and drinking’ in your Lonely Planet to see the proper way to behave.”

Although in hindsight maybe I should say that. Secretly. To my coworker. So we can giggle.

So the point is this: what is with the kids these days? Who is raising them and where? And why in the world do they simply not tip? I mean, I get it, New York is more expensive than it used to be. Drinks that used to cost $6 four years ago now cost $8. But they don’t know that because they weren’t old enough to drink four years ago. They don’t have a point of comparison. Right now is their point! And I mean, yea, I get that people don’t have money. But you want to know the thing? Neither do I. And you want to know why? Because young, white kids don’t tip.

If anyone has any insight into this particular, and very unfortunate, turn of events, feel free to email me at franklyrebekah@gmail.com Nice people only, please.

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