STILL Living that Hive Life

16 Aug

Do you remember when I wrote that post about how I keep on getting hives? Well, guess what? I am still getting hives. And guess what else? It still fucking sucks. Right now, for example, I am sitting on the porch of a house in Vermont that my family rented for our occasional Frankation and I have hives on my knees. Nowhere else, just my knees.There were a whole bunch of them before but now I only see like 4. Four hives. Some of them are small like pin pricks and other ones are almost quarter-sized. Size aside, they are all itchy. Very, very itchy.

So, where did I leave you last? I believe it was sometime in April before an appointment with a doctor to try and figure out what in the world was happening. As I predicted, she did some weird shit with magnets and then proclaimed

CANDIDA!

and told me I couldn’t eat a whole bunch of things and also gave me some pills, some of them very, very big. Here is a list of the things that I was told not to eat because of candida and also hives, which were supposedly caused by candida:

  1. wheat
  2. dairy
  3. sugar
  4. caffeine
  5. overripe fruit
  6. dried fruit
  7. basically don’t eat fruit except maybe an apple or something
  8. things that are fermented
    1. alcohol
    2. vinegar (does this include catsup? I don’t know!)
  9. soy
  10. basically everything else except lettuce and maybe some salmon

So I tried the diet and as it turns out it is really, really hard to avoid eating all those above-listed things when you already don’t eat meat or poultry. Going to a restaurant was problematic. Breakfast also was an issue. Couldn’t eat toast. I love toast. More problematic even than toast was the fact that I kept getting hives! Still! More and more often! What could it be?! MYSTERY!

I decided basically that I would ignore the hives and maybe they would go away, sort of like what I do to an annoying little kid (or, more accurately, some of my bar customers). I felt like maybe if I didn’t make the hives feel special, like they mattered or were deserving of attention for their poor behavior, then perhaps they would pack up their itchy little bags in search of a more reaffirming host. As it turns out waging mental warfare against hives is entirely ineffective. Hives don’t give a fuck. Why? Because hives do not have brains. Back to the drawing board.

I started paying an insane amount of attention to all the things I was doing and when exactly the hives were rearing their brainless little heads. I noticed that I got hives most often on Sundays and Mondays, days when I am the most tired. Was I allergic to being tired? Or, perhaps, was my exhaustion making my body less able to fight off things that it did not like? The second option seemed the most likely. I jotted it down in my mental notebook. I started paying extra special attention to what I was eating on Sundays and Mondays. It seemed to pay off this one day in May when I was at the beach for my friend’s birthday. The day started out rather warm. There we were: a bunch of girls sitting on beach blankets eating tortas, drinking seltzer and soaking in the sun. It was a Sunday. Hive day. Everything seemed to be going off without a hitch. Hive free! But then all of a sudden everything changed. (Dun dun duuuuuun.) The sun hid behind the clouds, the wind picked up, the sky turned ominous and I ate a handful of almonds.

HIVE ATTACK.

It was the worst attack I had experienced in about a month. They were everywhere. It was like a race against the clock to find the closest CVS (I forgot my topical cream – rookie mistake) before I was entirely consumed by hives. I panicked. I called my dad to report to him that his daughter was likely going to cease to exist in her current form and instead would just become a Rebekah-shaped itch monster. Hive-Bekah, or something. I need to work on the name. Anyway, I decided it must be almonds. What else could it possibly be?? I did a quick assessment of things. I love almonds. But I hate hives. But do I love almonds more than I hate hives?

Hmm.

Close, but no. Almonds were out. Much to my dismay even without the almonds the hives kept coming! I started eating almonds again. It made virtually no difference. Back to the drawing board. Again.

As the summer wore on the hives came with less frequency. Maybe my stress level had lessened? Maybe I was wrong and the hives do have brains and they got bored of me and jumped body? I mean, don’t get me wrong, there were a few incidents. There was the day in June I went for a walk and it was sort of rainy and I got them all over my hands. Then there was the time I was at work and they quickly overtook my knees and knuckles. But the attacks were few and far between. I thought that if the hives came with this level of infrequency maybe I could live with them. I wouldn’t turn into Hive-Bekah after all, I would just occasionally experience bouts of intensely itchy discomfort. Ideal? No. Manageable? Maybe. But then one day: a breakthrough.

I was hanging out with my friend Jessy. We had been hanging out all day, doing all kinds of things. Mostly we were eating. But there were other things interspersed in there as well. We ended the day drinking glasses of wine in her room in an attempt to escape the intense heat of the rest of her apartment. She was sitting on her bed and I was sitting at her desk just in front of the air conditioning unit. Over time I noticed that my shoulder, which was receiving the bulk of the cold air blasting from the window unit, was getting progressively itchier. I looked at it. HIVES! And then like a bolt of itchy, itchy lightening  it hit me: the hives might not be related to things I was eating at all. Instead they might be caused by the environment or, more specifically, by the cold! I told Jessy and we quickly took to the internet (even though I strongly recommend against internet diagnosis) and we discovered the answer: cold urticaria.

Cold urticaria (essentially meaning “cold hives”) is an allergy where hives (urticaria) or large red welts form on the skin after exposure to a cold stimulus. The welts are usually itchy and often the hands and feet will become itchy and swollen as well.

And then it all came rushing back like one of those movie training montages that I love so much only way less inspiring and with a much sadder soundtrack. Every single time I got hives I happened to be cold! And the hives only struck on exposed skin! Iceland? Cold! Rockaway Beach? Cold! Walking through the rain? Cold! Right now? You guessed it: COLD! (Which is weird because it is August and New York is sweltering but whatever.)

So anyway, yeah, I’m allergic to the cold. I have always disliked the cold but now it has reached a whole new level. Now the feeling is mutual. Now I hate the cold and the cold hates me. And it demonstrates its intense distaste by making me super duper itchy. This might seem like a terrible fate seeing as how I live in New York where it gets very cold. And, actually, it does sort of suck. But knowing is half the battle. And now I know never to take an exploratory mission to Antarctica or go to one of those ice bars where you wear some weird suit and walk into an ice castle and drink vodka or do a polar bear swim. Luckily for me these are three things I have absolutely no interest in!

So, if you need me I will follow in the footsteps of the generations of Jewish women before me and head down south for the winter where I will wear funny outfits and play bocce, hive free.

 

Please, #bewithher

26 Jul

I remember January of 2008 I was sitting at a packed bar with my boyfriend at the time watching as Barack Obama, the first Black president, the new face of our country, took the oath of office. I sat on my knees on that bar stool so I could see over all the other people whose eyes were glued to that same screen, I covered my mouth with my hands and tears just streamed nonstop down my face for over an hour. I was just so proud. I thought back to my tears of anger and frustration when, four years before that, John Kerry gave his speech acknowledging that once again George W. Bush was to be our president. We had another four years of that man. But all of a sudden there we were in a moment of hope and change and I felt, for the first time in my adult life, as though I could travel abroad with pride. I felt as though we had someone representing our country who I could get behind, who I agreed with, and who was an in-the-flesh representation of just how far we had come. I didn’t even have words. It was one of the best nights of my life. Last night, watching the Democratic National Convention, I was again brought to tears when Barack Obama’s wife, the First Lady of the United States of America gave one of the most moving speeches I have ever had the privilege to listen to. It was everything.

And then this morning I looked at Nate Silver’s website and discovered that, as of that moment, he was calling the election for Trump.

Donald Trump.

And so here I am, begging you, to please, please vote for Hillary come November. I know some of you (especially my Shrieking Harpies) are already on this boat with me and have been for quite some time. We’ve been with her since the jump. And as time has gone on and the election cycle has played out we’ve been more and more with her. But I understand that many of you are not. I get that. I know that I would have been beyond crushed if my candidate lost the nomination for the Democratic Party but you had better believe that I would have done everything in my power between now and November to try and convince my fellow Hillary supporters to switch their vote to Bernie Sanders. I would have voted for him loudly and proudly. You know why? Because the alternative is too fucking scary and all too real.

Save your protest vote. A vote for Jill Stein is a vote lost. Do you remember Ralph Nader? There is good reason to believe that we ended up with Bush because of Ralph Nader. We all know that Jill Stein is not going to win this election, so why vote for her? Because you hate the two party system? Because, for whatever reason, you dislike Hillary Clinton and think she is not qualified for the job? She is arguably the most qualified presidential candidate ever but, whatever, that’s just details. And honestly, that is not even what I am on about right now. What I am on about is that fact that we need to do whatever we can to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office.

He is a racist.

He is a misogynist.

He is a cheat.

He has, since the beginning, run his campaign like a sick joke and the thing is that if he gets elected do you know who the joke is going to be on? Us. The joke will be on us. Every single one of us. Whether we supported Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton. Whether we wanted to write Michelle Obama’s name in on voting day or wished Michael Bloomberg had gone through with his bid for presidency. Whether we are registered Republicans who supported John Kasich or Jeb Bush or fucking Marco Rubio and cannot understand where and when and how the party went so fucking sideways. And the joke will also be on those who supported Trump. They have their reasons I am sure. They are not stupid. Many of them are angry. And they have reason to be angry. But Trump is not the answer. Trump cannot fix this. Trump, and people like Trump, are part of what got us here in the first place.

So please, please, get on board. If for no other reason than the fact that if Trump is elected, he gets to choose a Supreme Court Justice and we are stuck with those mother fuckers for way longer than 4 years. We all know, even those among us who were die-hard Bernie fans and are still in the “Bernie or Bust” mindset, that Hillary will put a progressive Justice on the Court. We have come so far, you guys, let’s not undo it all. Let’s protect a woman’s right to choose, the right for everyone to marry the person they love, universal access to health care. Those things are huge. HUGE. And they are not guaranteed. As a woman, the idea of a Trump presidency makes my uterus want to run and hide in the closet for the next four years.

So again I say save your protest vote. You want to fight? Fight at the local level. You want to protest? Continue what Bernie started. Fight for income equality. Speak out about access to housing and education. March with the Black Lives Matter movement. Donate money to Planned Parenthood. Do all of that stuff because that stuff makes a real difference. But also, vote for Hillary. Because if nothing else, a vote for Hillary is a vote against Trump. And I know a lot of you have said you would leave if Trump got elected, but people said that after Bush too and we’re all still here. You’ll still be here. You’ll be stuck with him. We will all, every single one of us on this entire planet, will feel the repercussions because the US has a lot of power. Who we elect as president has global impact. This is a big fucking deal.

I don’t even know why I am writing all of this. I am just so scared. Scared at where we’ve gotten, scared at what has been said and scared about the fact that the atmosphere of hate that Trump has managed to drudge up from the bottom of the dirtiest water in the entire word has empowered David Duke to run for the senate. He thinks he can win. And he might be able to. That is what is happening. That is what Trump has awakened. And if Trump is president, it will only get worse. And honestly, I don’t think any of us want to imagine that future. That future is too hateful and horrible. That future is a million steps backwards.

Last night, what those speeches told me, is that our country is already great. It’s been great. But let’s make it more great. Let’s be proud of our country again. Let’s watch those election results come in this November and cry with relief that our nightmare is over. It’s true that things are fucked up right now and of course, we can be so much better. We have a lot of work to do. Every single one of us. But friends? Trump is not the way forward. Trump is the devil with a horrible haircut and expensive suits. It’s Hillary or Lucifer. Please get with it.

And please, #bewithher. This is all too fucking real.

Tip #19 on Being a Good Bar Customer

22 Jul

Just before I get into this I need to say the following thing: I cannot believe I am actually writing the tip that I am writing. It really just blows my mind. Okay, are you ready? Here we go.

Tip: Do not walk into a bar, order a beer for you and your friend and then turn around without leaving money, walk out of the bar with the two open beers and then get into your car – one of you behind the wheel –  and drive away. Don’t do that. And especially don’t do that and then walk back into the bar approximately 45 minutes later and expect to not take the biggest fucking verbal lashing of your entire adult life. Story time? Well, I guess I pretty much just told the story but I am going to elaborate.

So there I was, at work as usual. I was expecting a slow day but it got pretty busy which was good because hooray for money! At the same time it was bad because I was in the middle of The Reckoning (Rebekah speak for the worst period I’ve had in a long time) and I was leaking iron faster than my body could produce it. I just wanted to do my job and not have to deal with any sort of shenanigans. But there are always, always shenanigans. So, anyway, in walks this dude with his buddy and he walks up to the bar and orders a beer for himself and one for his friend. I popped them both and handed them across the bar and then, right before my very eyes, the two of them walked through the bar, out the door, through the outside patio area and into their car and then they drove off down a busy avenue in the middle of the afternoon. I was dumbfounded. But then I stopped being dumbfounded and got really mad. I swear there was so much anger-pressure built up in my head right in that moment that if my head were to explode the sheer power of the explosion would have catapulted brain matter all over the ceiling which, by the way, is extremely high.

I spent the next 45 minutes oscillating between doing my job and being angry. I was working very hard on not doing both those things at once. It went something like this:

  • Stand behind the bar thinking about what a fucked up thing just happened
  • Notice that someone needs a beer
  • Take a deep breath, smile, walk towards the person to inquire as to what they might need
  • Say “Hi, how are you? What can I get for ya?” Listen intently for response.
  • Get the thing, deliver it and take payment
  • Immediately begin thinking about the fucked up thing and get mad again
  • Repeat

But then the 45 minutes of intense mood regulation came to an end because the mother fucker walked back into the bar again and was all

Hey, what’s up?

I scowled, shook my head and waved my hand in his general direction in a way that I was hoping communicated something along the lines of

Get the fuck out of here before I rip you a new one.

It didn’t work because he ordered a beer.

And then the floodgates opened. The floodgates of rage. I was sweating. I was shaking. I think I got goosebumps. I unloaded perhaps the biggest barrage of righteous anger that has come out of my in years. It actually included the phrase “who the fuck do you think you are” which is something you aren’t supposed to say until you have children and those children decide to go joyriding around the neighborhood with open bottles of beer.

O_o

Anyway, through the whole verbal onslaught this man (rightfully) endured, he just stood there and stared at me in utter disbelief. Much like how I stared at his car as it traveled down 5th avenue a mere three quarters of an hour earlier. And then he made a fake phone call and got back into his car, where he sat for the following 1/2 hour thinking about what he had done. (No, probably not but a girl can dream.)

So yea, don’t do that. Don’t buy beers and then leave a bar with the beers. This is not New Orleans. And even there you need to have Go Cups. You can’t just go parading around the neighborhood with open glass bottles of shit. But especially don’t buy beers, leave the bar with the beers, and then go get behind the wheel of your car. So many things could happen.

  1. You could get arrested
  2. The bar could lose its liquor license
  3. I could get a massive fine and, likely, lose my job
  4. You could kill yourself or someone else
  5. None of those things happen but instead you have to deal with my rage and it might not be as bad as the rest of the things, but you won’t forget it. I am really good with words when I am angry. And nothing makes me more angry than the complete and utter disregard that some people have for the safety and livelihoods of those they share this world with.

And while we’re on this topic, please don’t order a Long Island Ice Tea from me ever, but especially when you are holding your fucking car keys. Do you think I cannot see them? Do you think I am stupid? Do you think I lack the powers of deductive reasoning? Because I can, I’m not and I don’t. Not by a long shot.

Enjoy your weekend, friends. And be safe out there. Some dick head might be driving around while boozing it up at 5pm. You never know.

Tip #18 on Being a Good Bar Customer

17 Jul

Hi friends. I know that my posts — when I actually write them which I swear will be happening with more regularity — have been super bar heavy as of late but to be honest I cannot engage with the world right now. What with Brock Turner, the massacre in Orlando, the on-going shooting deaths of black men and women at the hands of those who are tasked with protecting all of us, Donald Fucking Trump, the killing of police in Dallas, that truck mowing people down in Nice, the bombings in Iraq and all the other horrors we don’t hear about because if they don’t happen in The West the media doesn’tt cover them and it’s almost as if they didn’t happen at all I’m just like, done. My brain has taken on the role of my now retired 2009 Mac Book Pro and just constantly has that pinwheel of death swirling around. My brain hamster has taken a break from its wheel and is napping under a giant pile of wood chips. It simply cannot compute where we are and what we have become. And so instead I will write about the bar. Because that I can do. So, here it is. Another tip for your ongoing amusement (and dare I say, education).

At this point I spend anywhere from 35-45 hours a week behind the bar. I know, I know, it isn’t that many hours in comparison with some other jobs like lawyering, and doctoring, and presidenting the United States or other countries (only this week maybe not Turkey because Erdogan got a little bit of a vacation thanks to the coup attempt) but it is a lot of hours to be standing and dealing with the public. My feet hurt. And the public is exhausting. They need things all the time. But it is my job and so when I am behind the bar I do it. I give people things. I might complain about it under my breath and to my coworkers. I might daydream about taking a chainsaw to the tables in my one bar that are so far away that I have to walk a mile every time I bring someone a beer or some snacks, but I still do it. I bring the far-away people their beer and snacks because that is my job and that is how I pay my rent. But here is the thing: when I am not behind the bar because I am waiting in line for the bathroom or trying to find my manager to fix the piece of shit POS system that freezes at all the wrong times or maybe just hanging out because I am taking a break or my shift is over, please don’t order a drink from me. Don’t grab my arm and say

When you get a chance I’d like a jack and coke.

Or

Hey – can I get a pilsner?

Or

 

Make me that thing you made me last time.

You know why? The answer is three fold. The first fold is that it is rude to grab someone’s arm when you aren’t friends with them or, really, even when you are depending on the circumstance. Don’t grab. No one likes a grabber. The second fold is that I am human and need to piss just like the rest of you. And the third and perhaps most important fold is that I cannot make you a drink when I am not behind the bar because I don’t have go-go gadget arms or arms that stretch really far like the mom in The Incredibles. As much as it pains me I am just a regular girl. With regular arms.

So this happened to me yesterday. I mean, this happens to me almost every Friday and Saturday night at least once but it happened again yesterday. And it happened in the way that is the most annoying and also the most predictable. Someone who a number of weeks earlier had asked me my name (red flag!) and therefore came to the conclusion that she deserved special treatment saw me walking out in the bar amongst the regular people (AKA customers). She said hi. I said hi. And then she said

Make me my drink when you get back there?

And, you guys, I think I gave her the stankest of stank faces and then I went back behind the bar and do you know what I didn’t do? I didn’t make her the drink. I didn’t make her the drink for two reasons. The first reason was that I couldn’t remember what she drinks because everyone expects me to remember what they drink and I can hardly even remember what I drink after a certain point in the weekend. And second was that she asked me for a drink when I was not behind the bar and that is a no-no. Special treatment is not really a thing unless I am friends with you In Real Life or you are the owner of the bar. And truth be told either of those people, the In Real Life friends and the owner of the bar, understand that there is an order in which people get served drinks and it is important for us tenders to follow that order to minimize any potential problems. We all know what happens when that order gets fucked up: nothing good.

This whole thing, I don’t know, it’s like going to the post office and thinking because you have gotten quick service at 2 in the afternoon on a random Tuesday and the post office window person smiled at you and asked about your week it means you should get that same warm reception and quick service at noon the day before Christmas (is the post office even open then? I don’t know.). Or like, going into the post office and seeing the long line and then seeing the post office window person walking to the bathroom (I don’t know why this would ever happen) and grabbing the post office window person’s arm and being like

Can I mail this package?

The post office window person would not give you a warm smile, would not ask you about you week and instead would tell you to wait in line like everyone else. And the thing about this happening in the post office is that unlike when this happens in a bar where it’s loud and chaotic everyone else in the line would hear you trying to sneak in front and they would all give you the stankest of stank faces. Maybe there would even be a mutiny! Oh my god I am now imaging if something like this happened at the DMV at the Atlantic Center. The world would end for sure. Anyway as I was saying. So in the post office it is quiet and so everyone hears you trying to cut the line but in the bar it isn’t quiet. There is talking and music and so when you ask for a drink when I am not behind the bar and then I come behind the bar and make you that drink do you know who looks like an asshole? Is it you? No. It is me. I look like the asshole. I get all the stankest of stank faces. Because I fucked up the order. It’s all my fault. And do you know what happens when everyone thinks I am an asshole? Everyone doesn’t tip me. And then I make no money and I am sad.

So please, please, wait your turn. Don’t put me in a weird place. I will get to you. And if you are polite and chill and patient, I will probably sneaky get to you early. I will know your drink and I will make it on the sly. And sometimes I might not charge you for it. How do you like them apples?

Pro Tip: Don’t Move Above a Bar

13 Jul

Oh, people, when will you learn that you live in a city? In a shared space? In a location that has (gasp!) noise? And although 311 and the police do exist, there is a time to make a complaint – when construction starts at 6:30am instead of the allowed 7am – and a time to not make a complaint – when you move above a bar and then get mad that it’s loud. Because the thing about it is that there are two competing factors in this equation

  • You
  • The bar

And in order to distinguish which of those two factors should be deemed the winner in a battle over noise levels we have to look at a few things

  • Was the bar there before you?
  • Do you miss the stars and the quiet and the no fights at 4 in the morning in front of your fancy bagel shop?
  • Are you a dick who (a) doesn’t want anyone to have fun and (b) doesn’t want bartenders and servers to make money?

If you answered yes to question one, then you should probably just go back from whence you came. Or at the very least realize that you made a grave error and move to any one of the thousands of apartments that exist that are NOT located right above, or right next to, a bar or club. I know, I know, real estate is expensive and you got a deal on your spot. But I am going to give you one guess as to why exactly you got that deal. Think about it. Think.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

That’s right. Because you moved above or next to a bar and that apartment is hard to fill because most people don’t want to hear the bass of some half blown-out speakers when they are trying to go to sleep or woo their partner. I mean, think about it this way: I am a bartender, have been for years, and I would never – and I mean never – move above or next to a bar. Ideally, I would like to not even be on the same block as a bar what with all the cigarette smoker-chatters and the cabbies honking their horns until all hours. It’s just common sense, really. So now, a story!

For years and years I worked at this one bar. Within the first two years of my working there we resigned for another 10 year lease. So, it would follow, that we had already been there for 10 years. And we were located on a busy avenue full of trucks, buses, people and skinned animal corpses moved from van to store in creepy looking grocery carts (don’t ask). Basically there was noise all the time and we were the least of it. All that being said, if you were in the market for sleep in a quiet environment and you didn’t want to shell out money for a noise machine, this was probably not the place for you. But some people don’t use their powers of deductive reasoning. Some people just say,

whatever, I want to live in this apartment and so I will mold the environment to me! Take that, all you people who lived and worked here before! Take that “city who never sleeps.” Never sleeps my ass! WE ALL MUST SLEEP AND WE MUST SLEEP IN ACCORDANCE WITH MY NORMALIZED SCHEDULE!

I bet you can already tell how this is going to go. Basically this mother fucker moved into the second floor, one floor above a bar that had been in that location for over a decade at that point, and complained every single day. Every day! And it wasn’t even at like 11 or 12 when he was taking his lame ass to bed. He would complain at 5. Before he even went into his fucking apartment. He would come home from the gym and just waltz into the bar and in his most insufferable French accent would say

Excuse me but eet ees too loud.

And I would say

It’s 5pm. There are like 12 people in here. And you haven’t even gone upstairs yet.

And then he would waltz back out and up to his apartment and then

RING RING RING

The phone would ring and I would answer it, knowing exactly what was about to happen and he would be all

I am eeenside my apartment now and eeet eees too loud!

And I would hang up on him and turn up the music because I am an asshole. But I mean, really?! Ugh he was the worst and I mean that in an entirely non-hyperbolic way. If I had to make a list of The Worst he would top it. And I don’t mean like The Worst Ever in the World, I just mean The Worst in terms of dickhead foreigners who think they are going to get the beauty and quiet of the South of France on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Court Street in Brooklyn. PAH-lease.

Anyway, the reason that I write about this now, all these years later, is that it is happening again only this time at a different bar! Some anonymous dick keeps calling the cops on us because the music is too loud. So this is what I have to say:

Yo, dude (or lady), you moved here. You made a choice. As far as I can guess no one put a gun to your head and was all “move to this place where you will never sleep ever because there are people there drinking and having fun and they all hate you” (which, by the way, we do because you are a pain in the fucking ass). But really, that conversation never happened.

But, like, beyond that I am sorry that you aren’t getting good, quality sleep. I really am. But do you know who else isn’t getting good quality sleep? Me. And do you know why? Because I serve drinks until 4 in the morning on weekends and get woken up every single day at 7 (except Sunday) by construction noises. Those noises came after me. I was here first. But there is nothing I can do about it. And I recognize that I made the choice to go into the line of work that I am in. And I recognize that there is a normal schedule that most people have and then there is the schedule that I have. And that schedule is not normal. And so I just have to deal with the fact that I live in a city, another thing that I chose. And I have to understand that there are lots of people who also live here who have competing interests and opposite hours and they have just as much of a right to go about their lives as I do. So, please, think about all that before you move somewhere. And realize that by you complaining about the noise, we are having to make ridiculous accommodations that result in making our bar less fun and that means less money for us. And that matters. Because this is our livelihood.

So, honestly, when I start complaining about the beeping of your child’s school bus and the cab that picks you up for your corporate job at 6am, then we can talk. But I’m never going to complain about those things. Because I am a reasonable human. So just shut the fuck up and move. I hear there are some really quiet towns in New Jersey.*

*No offense, New Jersey, I love you!

 

Tip #17 on Being a Good Bar Customer

24 Jun

Alright, once again with the tips. But first, a little background information for you. In case you didn’t know this about me, I really don’t like money. Or, well, I guess that isn’t fair. To be more accurate: I really don’t like what money does to people. So many of the problems that we have in this world can be traced back to money and what it does to people. Here are some examples:

  • The looting of the Amazon and other natural wonders
  • The fact that we cannot seem to get our heads out of our fucking asses and enact actual, reasonable gun reform
  • The Detroit water crisis
  • The lack of actual, sustained help for New Orleans and all its residents regardless of race or economic status in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
  • The fact that Hurricane Katrina did the damage that it did in the first place
  • War
  • That athletes, musicians, politicians and basically every other male in power (and many of those not in power) get away with sexual assault and rape
  • Global warming
  • Donald Trump

You get the picture. All that being said, I do understand that money is a thing that is necessary for survival in this world and so, in order to make survival possible, I work. And when I work, I want to make as much money as I can. And that, friends, is a team effort. My ability to make money really depends on you coming into the place that I work, ordering the things that you want from me, and then tipping me appropriately. My livelihood depends on you. That’s right. You. (I am pointing at you right now. Is it making you feel weird? It should.) But that’s not all! It also depends on you understanding that the seats at my bar and tables are like real estate. You rent a space for your ass by buying things and tipping me on them. And when you stop buying things, and stop tipping on them, you abandon your rented space and make room for the next guy. This isn’t to say that the second you take your last sip I expect you to walk away from whatever conversation you’re having, game you’re watching, or Tweet you’re Tweeting, but it is to say that you should be aware and respectful of my need to pay my rent and buy food for my two adorable little kitties. Stories!

During the World Cup last year I was at work and my bar was packed. But there, at the bar, was an empty stool. How odd! Upon closer inspection I came to realize that two people sitting at the bar were saving the stool for someone who had yet to arrive. Now on a normal day when there is plenty of space, I wouldn’t mind that. Save away! There’s nothing better than getting to a bar to meet your friends after a long day of work and finding that they have saved a seat, just for you! But on a day when the bar is jam packed with people wanting to pay money for things (and tip on those things) saving a seat is sort of cutting into my business. People notice there is no space and move on to another spot. Or, because they are behind a wall of people, they are not able to buy drinks with the regularity that they, and I, might like. And so I looked at the people saving the seat and I said

Excuse me, but do you think you could move your bag so someone could sit in that seat?

And the lady of the pair said

No, I’m actually saving this seat for someone.

So I smiled and said

Yeah, that’s great, except that certain someone isn’t here yet and we are well into the first half of the game and there are other people who are actually here now and would like to sit.

She stared at me. I stared at her. She moved her bag. Therefore I won. I almost always win staring contests. Her friend, by the way, didn’t arrive for over an hour. So this lady and her companion were actually going to sit at the bar as person after person asked if they could sit and they would respond

Nah, my friend is coming.

Only their friend was not really coming. Not right then, anyway. And the two people sitting at the bar only had one drink each. And then they drank seltzer! And didn’t tip on it. (Which, if I’m being honest, might have had something to do with the fact that I had told her she couldn’t save a seat for her incredibly tardy friend.) So that’s another thing. Don’t occupy a seat at the bar for like 4 hours and only drink seltzer! I mean, whatever, occupy the seat, but do like my friend Cherie does when she drinks seltzer and tip on your soda! Don’t be that guy at the coffee shop who occupies a table for like 5 hours and drinks one cup of coffee. No one likes that guy. That guy is a dick.

And here’s another thing. No one likes to be all packed in like sardines at a bar. I understand that. That is why I don’t hang out in busy bars. I work in them; I do not hang out in them. Busy bars are awful when you don’t have a giant slab of wood protecting you from the masses. And even when you do have that lab of wood they sometimes suck. And so I understand the desire that some people have to make a space around them by saving a seat with their backpack for no reason whatsoever other than to keep someone else from elbowing them. But the thing is, that’s rude. It is rude to other people who are stuck standing so your backpack can take a load off, and it’s rude to me who wants to make money off the seat your backpack is occupying. So unless you want to pay rent on two stools by tipping me double on every drink you have, put your bag on the floor or on one of the hooks conveniently located under the bar for just such an occasion. Or! Be one of those people who travels with their own hook! I always admire the foresight of those people.

So yeah, I don’t know, guys. I guess it all comes down to respect. Respect the fact that the bar only exists if people buy things, and your missing friend and your backpack do not buy things. Respect the fact that under the current system I can only survive if you tip me and, again, your missing friend and your backpack don’t tip me. And respect the fact that you are not, in fact, the only person in the universe. There are other people here, too. People who aren’t missing or an inanimate object that you use as a means of conveyance. Other people who want to go out, have fun, drink drinks, watch games and, yes, even sit down on a bar stool. So please, let them sit.

One Day…

27 May

A few weeks ago, over some post-run sushi in the park, my lunch companion asked me what my dream job was. I thought about it for a moment.

You mean like, for real for real? Like if I could have any job in the world what would it be?

Yeah.

He said it so nonchalant. Should I admit that I had spent the better part of my adult life agonizing over this very question and felt no closer to an answer? Probably not. Lucky for me, and for him I supposed because an angsty Rebekah is not the best Rebekah, I had recently come up with something that seemed like a thing I would like to do. Without going into the long, drawn-out backstory that involves my Master’s thesis I told him about how I had always been interested in post-disaster reconstruction work. I feel somehow drawn to being one of those people who goes to places after horrible things happen and then sticks around long after many of the first responders leave. I want to be there to help communities rebuild, after the international aid ends and our global conscience moves on to the next thing because there is always a next thing. I want to be there to shame the disaster tourists. Of course I have absolutely no medical knowledge and, truth be told, get queasy rather easily. Recently at work I had to take a 5 minute sit-down because a piece of glass protruding from my thumb made me so nauseous I turned green.

Back to the drawing board, perhaps.

But, of course, my thinking about it didn’t end there. It never does. The hamster that occupies the wheel in my brain has a never-ending supply of energy, that little bastard. And in the time I spent thinking I realized that, sure, I have all sorts of lofty goals. I would like to have something I write published somewhere that people have actually heard of and be paid for it; I would like to be on the Ellen Show (don’t ask); I would like to perform at The Moth and maybe one day, one wonderful day, be featured on The Moth Radio Hour on NPR that plays on Saturdays from 7-8pm and hear myself on the radio and just be in the car all alone and be like, wow, there I am and just smile to myself; I would like to travel so much that I need new pages for my passport; I would like to be part of a group of women (and some men) who make feminism an inclusive part of the conversation rather than something talked about as its own issue. It effects us all. All those things, though, sort of exist on this other plane separate from where I am right now and so let’s bring it back down to reality, back to the present. And so now I will ask myself:

Rebekah, what is your dream job?

And here is my answer, in list form.

  • I want a job where I am respected.
  • I want a job where people aren’t constantly telling me what I am doing wrong and how to do it better even though they have never done what I do a day in their lives.
  • I want a job where people don’t throw objects or insults at me on a regular basis.
  • I want a job where people don’t whistle at me, clap at me, hiss at me, snap at me or flash their cellphone flashlights at me to get my attention.
  • I want a job where no one ever calls me “ma” or “beautiful” or “sweetie” or “baby.”
  • I want a job where I can go to the bathroom and there isn’t piss all over the seats that I have to clean up because people are animals.
  • I want a job where people don’t ask me, while I am working at my job, what else I do because I can’t possibly just be a bartender.
  • I want a job where photographs of me taken without my consent do not end up on Yelp. Or better yet…
  • I want a job where people don’t take photographs of me without my consent. At all. Ever. End of story.
  • I want a job where people don’t hit on me or ask me out and then refuse to tip me when I say no.
  • I want a job where my awesome male coworker doesn’t have to step in and deal with people who treat me like garbage because I am a woman.
  • I want a job where I am not treated like garbage.
  • I want a job where I don’t have to keep my relationship status secret, when there is a status to keep secret, because it will likely effect the amount of money I make.
  • I want a job where I am respected. Wait, did I say that already?

Here’s the thing: my job could be all those things if people would just learn how to act because, if you noticed, nothing on that list had anything to do with my job, really. There was nothing about the weird schedule and late nights (though that isn’t my favorite), nothing about being on my feet for hours and eating the majority of meals standing up, nothing about looking up and seeing eyes upon eyes upon eyes on me all needing and wanting something when I only have two hands, nothing about coming home smelling of the liquor that I didn’t drink but has saturated my clothes and my skin over the course of a busy night. Those are all parts of the job and they are okay. They are how it is. And there are a lot of really cool things. I have met some amazing people, both customers and coworkers; I have learned a lot about myself and others; I think I have become a better, more understanding person. I think that my job, although it isn’t responding to a disaster and helping those having the absolute worst days of their lives, has some amount of value and, to be honest, I think I am pretty good at it. I don’t know. It’s all relative I guess. And maybe the job I want, the job described in that list above, doesn’t actually exist. Maybe it isn’t out there. Maybe my realistic dreams are just as lofty as one day being on the Ellen Show or normalizing feminism. Maybe this is another project my hamster needs to spin her wheel about. And so, until then….

Hi, what can I get for you?

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