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New Orleans Diary: Week Five

30 Dec

Goal: To keep a weekly diary of my time here in New Orleans. This is Week 5! Which means I have been living here for over a month. And also it has been almost two whole months since I left Brooklyn which is pretty crazy. Hi, Brooklyn. Do ya miss me?

Waterbugs, Information: You may recall that last week I saw a waterbug in my bathroom and subsequently hid from the bug, also the bathroom, for a considerable amount of time following the sighting. Then the bug mysteriously disappeared. Dun dun duuuuuun. I then posted about the bug on my Facebook page at which point I received all kinds of comments. Some of them were full of concern, some were full of disgust and vomit emojis, and some were from people welcoming me to Life in the South. As a result of the post, I also received a few bits of information.

  • My friend Heather told me that New Orleans-style waterbugs fly at your face. AT YOUR FACE! Which, since my face is the face that is currently here, means that they will most certainly fly at my face which is not something I hope to experience. She told me to get the Raid in the silver can because it is full of chemicals and the shape of the nozzle allows for pretty good aim which means that you can, from a distance, spray that noxious shit and hopefully hit the attacking bug in mid (at my face) fly. That sounds like a really great idea until one remembers that time I accidentally maced myself in the face. I decided, as a result, to forego airborne chemical warfare and simply go for some traps.
  • My friend Rob told me that here in New Orleans they call these bugs “palmettos.” I am glad to know what they are called here so that when I tell people about The Bug and they think I am talking about silver fish (also ew!) I can use the appropriate regionalism to correct them so that we are all on the same disgusting, flying-at-my-face page.

Waterbugs, The Update: Following the initial sighting I was living if not a carefree life at least one seemingly free of waterbugs. That is until the day before yesterday! I walked into the kitchen to grab something when <BAM!> There it was! Sneaking around on the floor like the huge and disgusting flying hunk of roach that it is. Naturally, I screamed, ran into the bedroom and jumped onto the bed which clearly wouldn’t have helped me one bit if the bug had decided to fly at my face. Luckily for all involved it did not. I’m pretty sure it actually also screamed and retreated under the refrigerator. What to do?! I quickly mined my brain for information and remembered a story my friend Carrie had told me in which her basement apartment became ground zero of a short-lived waterbug infestation during a huge rainstorm and she lined the inside of her doors with duct tape. It worked! And so I snuck into the kitchen and, looking out for monsters (AKA waterbugs), I retrieved some gorilla duct tape – extra sticky! – and laid it out all around the refrigerator so that if the bug decided to try and sneak out it would get caught! Inhumane, I know, but it was the only way I would be able to sleep.

And then I waited. And slept. But also waited.

When I woke up in the morning I went into the kitchen to see if the bug had in fact gotten stuck. I discovered the most awful thing. Not only had the bug not gotten stuck, but it had used its brute strength to actually move the gorilla tape a good 3 inches away from the fridge and then somehow dislodge itself to live another day. It also left behind one leg on the tape. So gross.

In summation the waterbugs down here are like other fucking level. They are like terminators. Seriously if we could train waterbugs to do our bidding we could use them to fight wars. These fuckers are no joke. And this said by someone who now has a 5-legged waterbug wandering around her house, waiting for the next opportunity to fly at my face.

Clothing: I have lost all my pants. I was putting my clothes away yesterday and I can’t find them. I know I had them because I recently wore them but now they appear to be missing. Has anyone seen them?

Driving: But seriously, people cannot drive here. Or, well, they can’t drive in a different way from the ways in which people up North can’t drive. So here is the new thing I have noticed. You’ll be moving along at a steady clip with all of the other people except for the one guy who is driving 25mph above the speed limit and is, like everyone else, allergic to the use of blinkers. And then, as if from nowhere, there is the person driving 20 mph below the speed limit. I don’t think I have driven on a highway in Louisiana once without encountering this person. And he/she is always in the middle lane. ALWAYS. Which is an extra big problem here where the right lane oftentimes goes from lane to exit only lane and back again with basically no warning whatsoever. So it actually isn’t really a lane at all. But the slow person isn’t in the next lane over, oh no. The slow person is in the other middle lane. So this is what happens:

  • The right lane is oscillating between exit only lane, new cars merging in lane and regular right lane where slow drivers are supposed to live so they don’t bother the rest of us.
  • The middle right lane becomes this lane where no one really wants to be because you have to be aware of the constantly changing status of the right lane. That being said this would be the perfect lane for a slow driver because all the other drivers who are merging and exiting and generally confused by signage can easily move into the slow driver lane because the slow driver is, well, so slow.
  • The middle left lane is where the slow driver now lives for reasons that I am not entirely clear on. This messes up all the other lanes because now there is a serious slow-down in the middle left lane resulting in a lot of tailgating. People love to tailgate here.
  • The left lane is basically the only lane that operates under normal lane procedures from what I can tell. The slow driver generally doesn’t venture over there. Although there generally is someone in a mini-van using cruise control at exactly 8 miles over the speed limit which can be problematic.

The result of all of this is a complete and total free-for-all. Every lane is a passing lane. Every car is tailgating some other car which means that every car is simultaneously tailgating someone else while trying to lose its own tailgater. And then there is the asshole who drives like he/she is from New Jersey. You know the guy. Driving really fast, weaving in and out of traffic with no warning whatsoever, squeezing into teeny tiny spaces. This person is almost always in a busted up coup with tinted windows. This guy has watched Fast and Furious too many times. I don’t not like that guy.

Conclusion: That’s all I’ve got for right now. The New Year is fast approaching and everyone seems pretty pleased that 2016 is over since it gave us Tr*mp and pretty much killed everyone that we love. And I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but unless 2016 flexes its muscles yet again, we will be inaugurating Tr*mp on the 20th day of January. And then we are stuck with him for the next 4 years unless he gets impeached at which point we are stuck with Mike fucking Pence. So I am sorry to say that 2017 is not looking like it’s gonna be all that much better. But there will be more New Orleans diary entries so that’s something, right?

New Orleans Diary: Week Two

9 Dec

Goal: To write a blog post every week that I spend here in New Orleans, talking about the things that happen and the things that I hope happen but sometimes don’t. But sometimes do! But also sometimes don’t. I will try to keep my discussion of plastic bags to a minimum. Read my week one post here.

Driving: So I’m still on about the drivers mostly because I grew up in New Jersey and we always got such a bad rap for our driving (and signage) but the driving (and signage) here are way worse. For example, the other night I was driving around with my friend Carie and I drove near two people in like a 5 block span who were not using their headlights. And it wasn’t like it was 6pm and the sun had recently gone down and these people had just not turned their lights on. It was 11 at night. It was full on darkness. And all of a sudden I look in my rearview and see this thing speeding up behind me that looks like a UFO or something but then I realize that, no, it isn’t a UFO at all (imagine my surprise), it is a matte black car without headlights. I nearly had a heart attack and died right there. Thankfully I didn’t. But seriously, driving here is not for the weak. Shit is lawless as fuck.

The Loudest Lady Ever: As previously stated I have been staying with my friend Carie on the West Bank while I look for a spot. The area that we’re staying at is really historic and also quiet. Except for this one lady who is quite possibly the loudest person to walk the face of the earth. The other day I was doing some writing on the balcony and I heard her talking, no yelling, to her poor little dachshund. She goes “OH MY FEET HURT SOMETHING FIERCE” and then she goes “WELL IF EVERYONE WASN’T AWAKE BEFORE THEY’RE AWAKE NOW.” (You were meant to yell those things I wrote in all caps, btw.) So it’s like, she knows she is the loudest person ever. The good thing is that because she is so loud you can hear her approaching from 5 blocks away and quickly retreat to your home which, I suspect, everyone in the neighborhood does because there is magically no one out on the block when she goes for her walk. Maybe this is all part of her plan. Maybe she likes to imagine that the world belongs to her and her alone and by scream-talking all the time she can make this dream a reality, at least in the block-by-block sense. She is the Queen of Ghost Town!

Foster Campbell: There’s a pretty big deal run-off for a Senate seat here in Louisiana between Foster Campbell (D) and John Neely Kennedy (R). It’s sort of the last chance for the Dems to flip a senate seat in advance of our upcoming fall into tyranny, I mean…wait…no, that’s what I meant. Campbell is over here campaigning all by himself, meanwhile Trump is taking some time off from his “National Thank You for Ruining the Future of this Country and Maybe Even the World by Electing Me” tour to give some speeches on behalf of Kennedy. So, yeah, we all know how 2016 goes. Anyway, the reason I am writing about this is that I am from up North. I am from a place where most democrats campaign on a platform of some degree of gun control and are not often photographed or videotaped holding any sort of weapon. It’s like, our thing. Not so down here in Louisiana. Foster Campbell, known, by the way, to be socially conservative, ends his campaign ads by shooting a rifle. Could you imagine a democratic senate nominee in the North shooting off a rifle as like a pivotal part of his or her campaign ad? I sure can’t. So, I don’t know, no judgement or anything. You do you, Foster. That was just a thing that I noticed and thought to myself “you know what self? I think maybe your readers would find that interesting. Or if not interesting, at least notable.” I hope I was right. If not, then kindly disregard the previous paragraph.

Running group: This week we did hill repeats. This is actually kind of funny. If you didn’t already know this, New Orleans is incredibly flat. So, via our Facebook group, I was sent the address for the meet-up point. Carie and I were hanging around in the Quarter so when it got time for me to head over, I left her at a spot where our friend Brian was working and I drove to the starting point for the running group which turned out to be the side of the road of some busy avenue. I sat there in my car for a few minutes, looking around. I called my mom. There was no foot traffic. I didn’t see anyone else from the group. To be honest, I was a little bit nervous. New Orleans is not exactly the safest city in the country. Did I get the address wrong? Did I somehow end up in a neighborhood that I shouldn’t be in? What was a girl to do?! But then, as if sent from above, I saw another person in running clothes! I kept my mom on the phone (for safety!) and walked over to him. It was his first time meeting the group but, having lived in New Orleans for longer than me – which admittedly is not hard – he said that this meet-up spot made sense. You see, there was an overpass that crossed above route 10. And that was to be our “hill.” I chuckled to myself, thinking back on the hill in Prospect Park that I have run up countless times. This one was more like a little hump. Until you sprint up it a dozen times and your legs turn into noodles.

Bags: I know I said I was going to keep the discussion of bags to a minimum and I fully intend to keep my word. I just wanted to say that the other day I went to the store with a giant canvas tote like an elitist fuck and the dude at the store packed it totally full of things. But then I had some left over items that wouldn’t fit and so he put each one of those things in its very own plastic bag home. So I think that my previous theory about a deeply intrenched distrust for bags is actually the correct conclusion. More research pending.

In Conclusion: That is it for week two. I have some visitors coming. Also a few friends and I are going to see the AcroKitties perform on Sunday (HOORAY!) so I bet next week’s entry will be exciting. Hold on to your seats, kids. This is gonna get wild.

The Difficulties of Buying a Travel Guide

30 Dec

I am going to Puerto Rico with my super awesome friend Dee this coming Sunday straight from work. Which means my flight is at 5:30am. I would just like to comment on the fact that I always book flights stupid early and I always, always, ALWAYS regret doing it. One of the times I did this I ended up sleeping on a marble slab in the Cancun Airport and the only way I managed to get the small amount of sleep in that I did was because I did not, at that point, know that the Cancun Airport is infested with cockroaches the size of New York City rats. Seriously they are fucking huge. If I had known they were there everything would have been different. And I mean everything.

Anyway, in anticipation of my trip I walked up to the bookstore to buy a Lonely Planet guide for Puerto Rico. I know, I know, we totally have phones for that but I still like to hold on to those days before smart phones and WiFi when I had to rely on guide books and really poorly drawn and labeled maps. I suck at maps and would always end up hopelessly lost but then something super fun and awesome would happen and it would be worth it. So I still buy the books. I don’t care that they are overpriced and non-returnable. All of that aside I found myself standing in the travel section at the book store and had the following questions:

Where do I even look for Puerto Rico? Will it be in the international or domestic travel section?!

Puerto Rico is not a state but it is an unincorporated US territory. Puerto Ricans are not able to vote in US elections but they do pay federal taxes to the United States government. So in my mind Puerto Rico is pretty much the same thing as Washington DC only with more beaches and less lawyers and Washington DC is definitely in the domestic section. So I looked in the domestic section. (This is actually how this all went down, by the way.)

In case you haven’t visited it recently, the travel section at the bookstore is very confusing. For me, anyway. In grade school, using the magic of music, I learned all about organizing library books (and, by extension, books in the bookstore) and how there are different rules for different types of books. We sang songs. We marched around. Here is an excerpt from the song about nonfiction books:

Nonfiction books
Are books that are so true!
They’re on the shelves in number or…
Number oooooor-derrrrrrr

And here is the one about biographies:

Biography!
It’s a real story!
About real people!
Woo!

We never had a song about travel guides though. I’ve had to learn this one on my own. So the way that they do travel guides, I have found, sort of depends on what bookstore you go to. Mostly it depends on how much people care about keeping it organized. The travel section is always getting all sorts of fucked up. I blame the wanderers who spend time leafing through the books. So in the domestic section the books are organized alphabetically by state, and then under the state the big cities are also organized alphabetically. So if you are looking for New Orleans you would look under L for Louisiana and not under N for New Orleans. Sometimes. Sometimes things are also organized by region. I don’t know, it’s weird and confusing. The international section is generally easier, as long as you stay away from Europe. The Europe section is all fucked up also because a lot of Americans go to Europe and so there are all kinds of country groupings, and regional groupings, and books about specific areas within certain small countries (France and Italy have a lot of little mini-books for more specific travel). Other areas of the world that seem less relevant to the majority of American travelers are not nearly so broken up and so are easier to find in the alphabatized world of travel books. So, for example,  it’s hard to buy a book called ALL OF EUROPE but you can get a book called ALL OF SOUTHEAST ASIA AND ALSO A FEW OTHER PLACES. It is located under A. For ALL OF.

As it turns out Puerto Rico was in the international section. The travel section was all like

Fuck you Puerto Rico you are not a real state.

But the thing that was crazy about it was that right near Puerto Rico, in the same international section, were all the books on Hawaii. Now that threw me for a little bit of a loop because last time I checked Hawaii was, in fact, a state with a star on the flag and everything. Also voting rights. So then I thought to myself,

Self, maybe the staff at Barnes and Noble only considers the contiguous United States to be domestic.

I mean, that is absolutely incorrect but I suppose I could see a small amount of logic in there? Maybe? So I looked around in the international section for Alaska. Alaska is not part of the contiguous United States. Alaska was also not in the international section. It was domestic. There goes that theory. So then I figured perhaps they only considered the continental United States, which is the lower 48 plus Alaska, to be domestic. Still inaccurate, by the way, but whatever. Which also brings me to wonder about why we call the contiguous United States the lower 48 when Hawaii is also lower, geographically, than Alaska. It should actually be the lower 49, if we are being specific. But perhaps that labeling came about before August 21, 1959 when Hawaii officially became a state and we just never stopped saying it.

So then I thought maybe the staff of Barnes and Noble just decided that the United States is not a country that brings to mind islands and so anything that is an island — Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam — is obviously not part of the actual country and therefore should be located in the international travel section. And besides, Hawaii is not in the Americas but instead in Oceania which sounds like somewhere you would need a passport to visit. Also it doesn’t follow daylight savings time although neither do parts of Indiana and Indiana is squarely located in the domestic section…I mean, it would be…I think…if there was a travel guide written about it.  Maybe it’s the volcano that does it? Or the fact that Hawaii has two official languages: English and Hawaiian.

Hold on a second!

Puerto Rico also has two official languages! English and Spanish! Or, more accurately, Spanish and English.

And then it dawned on me! Obviously the person who organizes the travel section is a linguist and made the domestic/international call based entirely on whether or not a place has more than one official language! Or, on the shittier end, maybe the person is not a linguist and is, in fact, one of those fucked up “English-only” people who doesn’t believe anyone should officially speak anything other than English in the United States, or its territories, and therefore places that do not abide by that rule must be relegated to the international section with the rest of the fascists and their subpar, fascist languages. (Have you noticed that closed-minded people are always throwing accusations of fascism around? I have.)

I think I might write a letter.

Photography, Random Run-ins, and Cousin Cookie

6 Nov

Back in 2003, I, along with 22 other intrepid students, went on a year long expedition around the world, learning about politics, economics, ecology, feminism, and all sorts of other things. More than anything, though, I would say that we learned how to be proper human beings. We learned what it meant to go into other people’s countries, other peoples homes, and understand that we were guests there. We had to learn to suspend our own cultural norms in an effort to try and fit, as best we could, into our new and extremely different surroundings. This proved easier in some situations – Cambridge, England, for example, where our biggest concern was remembering that in England the word “pants” is actually synonymous to the American “underwear” – than in, say, Zanzibar, Tanzania, where in incredibly hot temperatures we kept our heads, shoulders and knees covered in an attempt to be respectful towards the majority Muslim population there.* I’m sure that as a group of 22 American, and one super awesome Bulgarian, students traveling through England, Tanzania, India, New Zealand and Mexico we unintentionally offended some people but the point is that we tried. We asked questions of our hosts and attempted to understand local norms and customs as best we could so as to represent ourselves, and our countries, to the best of our abilities. Overall I think we did a pretty good job.

One of the things that we learned about, and something that I have kept with me ever since, involved photography. We were taught that in certain cultures, people believe that when their photograph is taken, a piece of their soul is taken with it. Whether or not we believe this to be the case, it is important to respect the beliefs of those around you and so we were taught to always, always ask permission before photographing anyone. Consent is key. It might mean that sometimes you don’t quite get the photo that you hoped, but who the hell cares, really. There is something sort of fucked up about taking photographs of people without asking them first, especially when we are surrounded by those who have lived incredibly different lives than us. To me, it reeks of voyeurism. I know that when I have been traveling and have caught people taking photographs of me I have felt somewhat dehumanized. These people don’t know me, don’t know my name, where I am from, what I am about, and yet they want to capture this image of me and what? Show their friends? It’s this idea that an image of me could be in someone else’s home and I could have no idea that always makes me think twice about snapping a photo of someone I don’t know, someone who didn’t consent to it. The idea that a part of our soul is taken every time that flash goes off starts hitting a little closer to home.

Let’s maybe take this down a notch in seriousness, largely because I haven’t had enough coffee yet and this is making my brain hurt. So in New York City you come to find that the longer you live here, the smaller and smaller this town becomes. Partially that is because as we live here longer, our personal map of the city changes. There are certain parts of the city that we know nothing about  – for me it’s just about everything above 34th street and most of North Brooklyn – and then other parts where we can practically dictate the store fronts in order. The city just becomes smaller and the more we circulate within the territory of our truncated maps, the more people we end up seeing until the point when you go to the grocery store and run into about 12 people on the way home, all the while Toffuti Cuties are melting in your environmentally conscious shopping bag. In your own neighborhood, and especially when you are a neighborhood bartender, this is pretty normal. But it is always super fun and exciting when you run into people randomly in other parts of the city that you rarely frequent. Like that time I ran into some girls I went to high school with on the 6 platform in Manhattan, or the time my mom came to visit and we saw her massage therapist, who works in New Jersey, on University Place. I mean, really, what are the odds?! And every time this happens I think to myself

“Self, mere seconds in either direction, one different decision, one missed or caught light, and I never would have run into that person.”

And then I start thinking about all the people that I probably just barely miss. And then I think about how if my life were a sitcom, which I sometimes like to think it is, the audience would be like

“No! Turn on that street! That guy that you made out with in college is walking this way and it might be a love connection!!!”

And then would come the sad, prerecorded

“Awwwwwww….”

when I proceeded on course and missed what could have been the love of my life. Or some other bullshit. Anyway, back to photographs. So on a similar theme, have you ever thought about how many times you might be in other people’s photos? Like, just walking along and you get in the background of some group picture or something? Now, this is something I think about a lot, like, how weird would it be to go to someone’s house and look at an awesome family photograph on their mantel and then see yourself casually walking through the background? Mind blown, right? I mean, you could be on someone’s mantel right now! And not even know it! And they might notice you one day and be like,

“Huh, I wonder where that person was going on this day that is forever remembered as the day that Cousin Cookie drank too many pickle back shots and hasn’t been able to look at cucumbers the same way since.”

I don’t know, it’s just a thing I think about it. There was a This American Life on it a few years back but I was thinking about this long before I heard that episode. It just made me realize that other people think about it too and maybe, just maybe, some of you, dear readers, also think about it.

So this post totally just went on a really weird adventure from the ethics of photography to random run-ins and Cousin Cookie. Funny thing is that I was going to write about this weird thing that happened at work the other day and see what you guys all thought about it but now I have already written over a thousand words so it doesn’t seem the best time to ask you to read much more. So, that’s a post for next time. I guess just remember this: ask permission to take other people’s photos otherwise you might end up on the mantel of some family in the midwest that gives each other nicknames based off their favorite snack foods.

* I know that’s not that difficult but I haven’t had enough coffee yet so it’s all I could think of. Also, there were some people on vacation there wearing short shorts and tube tops and it was really, really inappropriate. Like, wildly.

This is Me, Trying not to Give a Fuck About Assholes

21 Oct

I originally learned to bartend from a guy I used to date. He had just opened his own bar and had been in the game for awhile. I had done pretty much everything Front of House but bartend, save for pouring a few beers here and there. So there I was one night, having a glass of wine at his bar after coming back from a shift of my own in the West Village, when all of a sudden he got busy. I hopped back behind the bar to keep him ahead of the quickly mounting piles of dirty glasses and, while I was at it, I poured a few pints, giving him time to make all the carefully crafted cocktails he was known for. I decided right then and there that if I was going to continue in the service industry, I didn’t want to be anywhere but behind the bar. It felt safer, more in control and, dare I say it, a little bit cooler. So he started teaching me. He set me up with a speed-pourer equipped liquor bottle full of water, a jigger and a rocks glass and set me to work pouring out glass after glass of perfectly counted neat waters. He gave me a book of drink recipes and went through, X-ing out all the drinks he didn’t think I would ever have to know, and telling me to memorize the rest. He also gave me a piece of advice that I held on to, tightly, until, well, now. He said, and I am paraphrasing here, that bartenders are like a community, and it is each of our responsibilities to educate people how to behave, and how to tip, so that other bartenders don’t have to deal with the crap. But today, October 21, 2014, something like 7 years after I was initially given that advice, I am calling bullshit. Not on the community thing, or the fact that in some way or another many of us are in this together — we warn other neighborhood drink slingers about dickheads and problem customers, call each other when there’s an incident, send our friends good customers when they decide to drink in another bar. I am calling bullshit on the idea that a lot of people are open to learn how to be, well, human.

Here is the thing. I have a super strict standard of behavior for myself. When I deviate from the standard, I am sent into an incredibly intense moral hangover that involves long walks, sulking, ill-fantasies, maybe some tears, apologies and, on more than one occasion, the purchasing of small (admittedly unnecessary) gifts. I really don’t like to act like an asshole. It doesn’t agree with me. And I operate under this misconceived notion that other people also don’t like acting like assholes. Or, perhaps more specifically, that they shouldn’t like acting like assholes or, even more specifically, that they actually don’t think they are acting like assholes at all. They are just being themselves. But realistically sometimes “themselves” actually just means “assholes.” Did that make sense? The point is that some people are just dicks. They are dicks and they don’t care. Well, you know what? As of today, October 21, 2014, I no longer give a fuck.

So here’s the deal. My dad once told me, and this is one of my favorite pieces of advice, that we can only have expectations of people that are in keeping with what they have previously demonstrated is possible for them. Like, if someone is a liar all the time, we can’t expect them to just randomly start telling the truth and we can’t really be that mad at them when they behave the way that they have always behaved. They are doing what they always do, I am just placing my unreasonable, in context, expectations on them. So I get to make a choice. I can either be cool with the fact that they are a liar and deal with it to whatever extent is necessary, or I can get myself all bent out of shape about it. But then who’s the chump? Me. I’m the chump all bent out of shape about an entirely predictable situation. And I don’t like being a chump just about as much as I don’t like being an asshole. So now let’s put this in conversation with bartending.

I like to think that when I go into a bar and order a drink I am pretty polite. I sit in my stool, I take out my $20 and place it on the bar (especially if I don’t know the bartender), I know what I want to drink, I wait my turn, and then I ask for my drink, book ended with pleases and thank yous. I love please and thank you. I might make friendly conversation, I might just read a magazine. I rarely, if ever, tell people I bartend unless they ask (sometimes the 20 gives it away) because to me that just reeks of asking for buybacks which is something that polite people just do not do. In the process of drinking my drink, I do not rip up my coaster or stir up shit, and when I leave I tip. Plain and simple. I like to think that I am a good bar customer more often than not. I even think that if I were serving me a drink I would like me and I might even say to myself,

“Self, that girl drinking the Powers sure is polite.”

And there are plenty of people who drink in bars that are polite. Or at least well-behaved. Or maybe they just don’t offend me in any way. But then there are lots of people who just down right suck. They also seem to travel in packs. They are rude, demanding, condescending, sexist, messy and all sorts of other things. Bartenders can smell them when they walk in the door. I don’t know what it is about these people but you just know, from first sight, or first order, that they are assholes. And in the past, I would want to let them know they were assholes, to educate them, or to prove a point, but not any more. Because you know what? That is not my job. It is not my job, or really my right, to force my own moral compass, my own standards of behavior, on other people. They want to be dicks, to a point, then fine, let them be dicks. That’s cool. They want their drink strong? “Okay,” I’ll say with a smile, and I will make it the same way I always make it. They want less ice? That’s cool, they can just get more mixer. They want to wave their glass at me, snap their fingers, flash their cell phone screen? I won’t tell them they did anything wrong, I will just send them to the back of the line. They might think I’m a bitch. They are welcome to their own opinions. Because here is the thing:  I am doing this for the foreseeable future. Maybe not forever, but for now. And the name of the game is self-preservation. And you know what makes it easier? Not letting it in. (Also, the fact that the new bar I am working at comes staffed with security. At a certain point, shitty behavior actually stops being my problem and that is a luxury I am happy to accept.)

So all you people who are awesome? Come see me! It’ll be fun. And all you people who suck? I will gladly take your money. And I’ll turn all the negative energy into creative motivation for my book. Because, yea, I’m doing that.

I have some NEWS

9 Apr

Hey so you guys.  You know how the other day I said that some crazy things were happening which had led me to looking at reviews for the InterContinental Hotel on Marine Drive in Mumbai?  Well, I feel as though now I can offer you all some (extremely limited) information.

I got offered a job.

And I took it.

So here is basically how it all went down.  I had gone over to my friend Emily’s house to talk to the super about some shit that has been going on in the building.  I also had to talk to some people the building brought in from outside the management company about the shit that has been going on.  Apparently, I scared the person in charge of the people brought in about the shit. How do I know this?  Because the guy in charge (who, I have to tell you, was a little scary himself) said to me:

Guy: On a scale of 1 to 10, how serious do you think you are? Because to me, you seem like a very serious girl.
Me:  Well, I mean, it really depends on the circumstance.  I can be pretty not serious a lot of the time but this is a serious matter so I would say I am about a 9 on the serious scale right at this moment.
Guy: Well, I have to tell you, and I don’t intimidate easy, but you are actually scaring me.

I felt really proud.  I was like on cloud nine.  I have always wanted to be a little bit scary.  It was like I had reached my goal in life and everything else was just gravy.  I celebrated by eating a spinach pie from my favorite store.  Then I took a big long walk over to visit my friend Kendra.  In the midst of this walk I received a call from a number I didn’t recognize so I ignored it because I get oh so many spam phone calls.  But the person left a message!  So I listened and it was this entrepreneur who my Uncle Scott had sent my CV to earlier in the week and he wanted to talk to me about the job.  So I called him back and he told me about it and it sounded really amazing.  And I was like, wow, this is really amazing.  It cannot possibly be true.  But you know what? IT WAS!

I get to go traveling!  And talk about ways to help the environment with these really amazing new products!  And I get to do all this while I am getting paid!  And all the while I am not serving drinks to people who throw things at me!  It is like, a dream come true!

So I don’t have all the pertinent information as of yet.  Like, you know, when I leave.  But the answer, as far as I can tell, is very soon.  I will still be based here so I am not moving, just taking a small leave of absence.  I will fill you all in as things start happening.  I am sure there will be some fun adventure stories.

I am telling you all this because the tenor of the blog might change a tad.  But I am pretty sure it will be even more awesome than it is now if you can imagine it.  So keep reading!  I can’t wait to fill you all in on the next exciting chapter!

Dear Naughty

5 Apr

So I have been having a very weird week.  Things are maybe on the cusp of happening and when they do, or don’t, I will inform you all about it.  But in the meantime, and sort of related to this whole thing, I have found myself on the website of the InterContinental Hotel on Marine Drive in Mumbai.  I decided to look at the guest reviews because, for whatever reason, I always find it really amusing to see reviews of really fancy places.  I like to see what people who can afford these places complain about.  I know this makes me sound a little bit like an ass because, I mean, just because you have money does not mean that you don’t have the right to complain.  Maybe you have more of a right because you pay so much for the places you stay or the things you do?  Of course, as a percentage of income maybe it really isn’t that much at all.  Maybe, relatively speaking, staying at the InterContinental Hotel on Marine Drive in Mumbai is equivalent, percentage of income-wise, to the time me and my then-boyfriend stayed at a Super 8 Motel off the highway in Dallas.  Let me tell you about that disaster.

Okay, so this was like, 2009 or 2010 or something like that.  We had flown down to Dallas for the wedding of an old friend of my boyfriend’s that was being held at the friend’s sister’s super awesome house.  We decided to stay at the Super 8 because I really liked saying “Supah 8!” and throwing my hands up in the air.  Seriously. That was the one and only reason we stayed there.  Anyway, so we get there late after our flight, after renting a car and after getting lost and the hotel had somehow lost our reservation.  We were tired.  We were maybe a little bit grouchy.  We were being helped by someone who, it seemed, had no idea what he was doing.  We also happened to have arrived on the weekend of some really super important college football game or something so all the rooms were booked up with bros toting cases of Miller Lite.  The only room that was available at the point was a smoking room.  Let me tell you this room reeked.  It was the smelliest room I think I have ever been in.  But whatever, we were tired and figured we could maybe move into a different, less stinky room the next day.  I got in my pajamas, I crawl into bed, pull the covers up to my face, breath in and holy hell.  The sheets smelled like fucking dead people.  Serisouly I am not kidding.  I shot up out of bed, covered my mouth and pointed at the sheet.  My boyfriend, not overly shocked by my behavior, smelled his portion of the sheet.  It didn’t smell.  I told him to smell my portion.  He smelled it.  Dead people.  I mean, to be honest, I don’t think either of us had ever really smelled a dead person up close and personal but if I had to tell you what a dead person smelled like, you know, if I had to imagine it, it would be that portion of that sheet in that Super 8 in Dallas.  No joke.

So the next morning we woke up, after switching to the other double bed in the room and not getting into the blankets obviously, and I saw a roach run across my pillow where I had literally just been sleeping.  Just then.  Like a second before.  With my head.  On what was in actuality maybe a roach highway!  It was horrible.  Obviously, we switched hotels.  I have never been the same.

Anyway, that was a complaint.  What sorts of complaints are on the review page for the InterContinental Hotel on Marine Drive in Mumbai?  This one:

Really not happy with the Room service.Had ask for curd and change of buttery in remote of Set top box.
No body has turned up for the same.Very Very disappointed with the room service.

I think I would be sad if I had to ask for curd with my food or a buttery remote.  (Don’t make fun of spelling errors, Rebekah, it is not nice.)  The thing about this that was SO amusing to me is that this person called himself “Naughty” on the complaint.  I think what he meant to do was imply that he found the room service to be “naughty,” which is kind of a weird and sort of dirty way to describe it.  I am assuming this is an English as a second language situation.  But what makes it funniEST is that the hotel then responded to the complaint and addressed their response to Naughty.  Like, as in, “Dear Naughty…”  I have a lot of respect for Dhan M, the Case Manager of the InterContinental Hotel on Marine Drive in Mumbai for taking Naughty so seriously and writing Naughty a letter.

I wonder what Naughty would have said if he(?) had been sleeping in death sheets on a roach highway.