Tag Archives: bartender problems

Ramajestic, The Trilogy

18 Sep

Disclaimer: This is sort of a long story with three separate parts. Chapters, if you will. But they all culminate in the awkward events of the other afternoon so stay tuned. There is a prize for your patience at the end.

Chapter 1 – Look at this Steak

It was a beautiful spring day and I was, as I often times am, at work serving food and drinks to people who are usually pretty nice. The place I work during the week is pretty big, with a long bar, lots of tables and some outside seating. During lunch time, when I am alone, I provide bar and table service to the indoor tables but tell the outdoor people they need to order in at the bar. It is just too much ground to cover and if I get busy AT ALL I physically cannot get to everyone. Usually people are pretty chill about it but sometimes, some very annoying times, people get pissed about it and give me all kinds of attitude and then move inside because they cannot understand why I won’t walk outside and provide table service, but at the same time they can’t get their heads around the idea of walking into the bar and placing their order and then returning to their tables where their food will be delivered. If you saw my bar you would see that the route from the bar to the outside tables is way farther than from the outside tables to the bar because I have to walk all the way around the extremely long bar where as they just have to approach the closest point. It’s like 15 steps once versus a 150 steps 25 times. I digress.

This group was one of those groups who got irritated that I wouldn’t do table service and so came in and proceeded to sit tucked away in the most inaccessible corner in the entire bar. Whatever. They then took about 25 minutes to order during which time I kept approaching their table to ask them if they were ready. They never were. I politely told them that when they were ready with their order to just let me know and I would be right over. Two minutes later I heard the extremely impatient

Excuse me MISS

as if I hadn’t been over there like a gazillion times already. Whatever again. I went and took their order, part of which was a portion of steak nachos. The gentleman at the table, named Ramajestic, no really that is his name, handed me his card to pay the bill. When I came back over to hand him his check and see how the food was he spit his steak into his napkin, shoved it towards me and said,

My steak is chewy.

I mean, what do you even do with that? He didn’t want a new order of steak nachos. He just wanted me to see his somewhat masticated beef. I just stared  at him, his ABC steak in a napkin in his outstretched hand, and decided I would just leave them to their own devices. They already paid (and didn’t tip, mind you) and I had reached my quota of chewed up food for the quarter so I decided I would just do a pass by to grab dirty dishes but otherwise just sort of go about my day and focus on the people who weren’t participating in some gross version of show-and-tell. But no. They weren’t done. They wanted more drinks. And so they ordered a round and Ramajestic, for his part, got a Long Island Ice Tea. Oh, happy day! He then, upon taking a sip, decided to tell me about all 4 ingredients that go into a Long Island — never mind that there are 5 liquors in the drink alone not to mention the mixer and also ignoring the fact that at my other job I make no less than 15 Long Islands every single Friday and Saturday so I am pretty sure I know what I am doing. And he was rude about it, also. Thought he was some sort of Long Island Ice Tea connoisseur, the saddest most pathetic sort of connoisseur out there. He paid again. Didn’t tip. I just gave up on them as a group. Eventually they, who I now refer to as The Ramajestics, left. Never to be seen again. Or so I thought….

Dun dun DUUUUUUUUUUN.

Chapter 2 – Are you that Bitch Behind the Bar?!

Fast forward about a month. It was a Thursday, I was working, nothing was really happening except that I was having one of the weirdest shifts on record. It was 4 o’clock in the afternoon and the following two things had already happened:

  1. A woman had come in with a cardboard box, put the box on the bar and ordered a shot of Maker’s Mark which she drank with a very audible, put-upon sounding sigh. She kept looking meaningfully at the box. She left me no choice, I had to inquire.
    Apparently, there was a mouse in the box that she had to take home  and feed to her boyfriend’s snake even though her boyfriend was going to be home at like 7pm that night and I am pretty sure snakes can go like weeks without eating. (I learned that on the Discovery Channel.) And it was a live mouse, mind you. Not one of those frozen ones. It was a live mouse in a box on a bar where people were, at that very moment, eating their lunch. I gave her, and the box, some room.
  2. I had to call 911 because some woman had passed out from heat stroke on the bench outside the bar caddy-corner to mine and her friends, who were walking around in circles purposefully, were doing nothing to help her. I am pretty certain they were on drugs.

So you can forgive me if during all of this I didn’t notice that there were people sitting at the tables outside. Maybe you can but the people couldn’t. I guess at some point while I was worriedly watching an unconscious woman being loaded onto a stretcher they had sat outside and expected prompt service. My bad. They walked inside.

Oh hey, guys. What can I do for you?

I noticed it was none other than 3 members of The Ramajestics. The Man himself was not present. One of the other ones responded

We’re outside waiting for you to serve us.

 

Sigh. I told her that I didn’t see her and if in the future she could just do me a favor and let me know that she is outside it would be helpful. She got mad. There was yelling. One of my customers got involved and made it so much worse (pro tip: never get involved you always only make it worse) so I went downstairs and hid. I could hear her yelling from down there. They left. I came back upstairs and checked with some other, trusted customers who didn’t get involved whether I was crazy or whether she was super rude and they said, no, she was super rude. Phew. I look mad sometimes when I’m not so I worry that maybe my blank and somewhat pissed-off seeming facial expression escalates things. Even still I felt weird about things. I don’t really like conflict. About 15 minutes later in walked this really annoying guy who lives (I use that word loosely) in the neighborhood. Apparently he is this woman’s “uncle.” (He used air quotes so I have no idea what the fuck he meant. Was he her “uncle” because he knew her since she was small and it became a term of endearment or was it something far more nefarious?) Anyway he proceeded to tell me how to do my job. I told him where he could shove his advice. He left. The phone rang

Hello, name of bar.

Are you that fucking bitch behind the bar?

I hung up. It rang again.

Name of bar.

Listen bitch!

I unplugged the phone, but not before I looked at the caller ID. Ramajestic.

Chapter 3 – Team Ramajestic

It was this past Thursday afternoon. I was by myself and therefore there was no outside table service. In walked an older woman, a younger woman and a child. They asked if they could sit outside and I told them that yes, they could, but they would have to order from me at the bar. They said okay and then took the farthest away inside table. Okie dokie! I went over and took their order. They were nice! About 5 minutes later a man and his elderly mother arrived outside the bar and took their seats at an outside table. I was en route to tell them the same thing I had told the others – that there was no outside service and they would have to order in at the bar – when I realized that the mother was in a wheelchair. Listen, I’m a stickler but I like to think I’m a stickler with a heart. I took their order hoping that the people sitting inside, the people whom I had just told their was no outdoor service, noticed the wheelchair and understood why I made the exception. Maybe they noticed, maybe they didn’t, but they didn’t seem to mind either way. At that moment they were joined by a 4th person and I realized – gasp! – it was one of The Ramajestics! And she had been present for both the steak incident and the mouse day yelling incident! Damnit. Minutes passed. She gave me basically every single version of stink eye she could muster. Another table arrived outside. Once again, wheelchair.

Okay so let me just say as an aside that I have never had a customer in a wheelchair in the 2 years that I have worked there. And I never would have even taken note of that if it weren’t for the fact that my only two wheelchair customers ever arrived, and sat outside, on a day when the very people who I warred with about outside seating were sitting in my bar. And then, right when I was standing on the sidewalk taking an order at a table outside in walked Ramajestic and the girl who yelled at me who I think maybe is his girlfriend. It was like the universe was like

Hey, Rebekah, fuck you. You suck. I am… TEAM RAMAJESTIC.

I couldn’t have scripted it better. Also I’m fairly certain that one of The Ramjestics video-ed me taking the outside order on her cellphone. I fully expect it to end up on Yelp.

The End.

Or is it…..

 

Tip #20 on Being a Good Bar Customer

31 Aug

So most of my bartender tips are of the negative variety. You know, don’t walk out of the bar and into your car and then drive away all the while holding an open beer that you just purchased from said bar. Or if you get 86ed from a bar probably just don’t ever go back into that bar again. And also don’t flag down your bartender unless you are choking and are trying to act out the images on those choking signs in order to instruct the bartender, or another patron, how to save you from certain death. There are so many more tips, though. Nineteen so far! You can scroll all around through my blog and read the tips and also some other stuff where I overshare about my period, write about bad dates and talk about that time I bought a bra and everything changed.

Anyway as I was saying most of my bartender tips are negative. People do shitty things in the place where I work and then I write about them, in hopes of amusing my readers and also maybe, just maybe, teaching people a thing or two about what it is like to work in the service industry. Because let’s be honest, there are a lot of people who are legitimately assholes. But most people aren’t assholes; just don’t get it. They aren’t doing things in order to make the person serving them drinks feel like garbage, they are doing things in order to get their drinks more quickly. The result, though, is that it makes the people serving them drinks feel like garbage. And seeing as how I am one of the people serving drinks and I don’t much enjoy feeling like garbage, I figured why not use my experiences as a way to educate! To say

Hey! I know you’re not an asshole but you sure are acting like one! Let’s fix it! We can all work together and be a team. A respectful, patient, understanding team. Doesn’t that sound great? Obviously it does.

And so in an effort to put a positive spin on things, I am going to write a bartender tip that celebrates the people that get it right. That do things that make my night so very much better. And it’s not like normal human things like being polite, having your money and order ready or saying please and thank you, although those things certainly help. It’s that extra step. And the extra step is so very small. It will take you five seconds and it involves your credit card slip and a pen. Can you guess it?

(Hint: it isn’t tipping although obviously I love me some tips.)

No? You guys. This might sound super cheesy but maybe when you have a nice experience at a bar or restaurant write a little note at the bottom of the receipt.

I know, I know, so silly. But just stick with me for a minute because I have a story for you. This past Friday I worked a 12 hour shift. It was really tiring and there were some people who sucked. Most the people, though, were nice! Even still standing on your feet and serving drinks for 12 hours straight can really wear a girl down. There is so much being polite, so much being efficient, so much giving people things. It can just all seem so very pointless. So at the end of the night when I was spending like 30 minutes adjusting credit card tips (tedious but necessary!) my heart was warmed when I received not one but two nice notes. The first one read

A+ Bartender!!!

And the second one said

You’re awesome! Thanks for being great at your job!

And you know what? That made the entire night worth it. Because people came in and had a good time and in the midst of their own experience took a second out to say thank you to the people that are in the background lubricating the whole thing. And they didn’t do it in that weird way where you kind of feel like they are expecting something in return. The transaction is complete. The night is over. They have already left. And they just wanted us to know that we are appreciated and noticed and good at what we do. And as it turns out, that goes a long way.

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?