Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I just finished my eighth shift in seven days. Six of which were closing shifts. I have green phlem coming up my throat and out my nose like was getting paid to do so. I am completely exhausted and have been a raging crankpot, due in large part to severe sleep deprivation, for the last week.

But as soon as I got out of work, bought myself a spectacular sandwich, had a nice bitch session with friend and co-worker Kamster (who has been enjoying herself in california, and therefore missed the last week of my misery), I actually feel like a whole new person. I walked around smiling (benevolently?) at the silly hoola-hoopers and their kids, instead of resisting the urge to run screaming into the middle of them kicking with all my might. It seems that getting a day off of work once a week can warm the cockles of even the coldest, blackest of hearts. On the subway I even felt a twinge of sympathy for New York children (see there! I called them "children" not "cretins" or "spawn") who have to do their afternoon napping on subways and other public transportation instead of in the relative comfort of the back of a station wagon, like I did.

As I was leaving the restaurant for the first time before midnight in over a week, my manager asked me what I was going to do. "I have a date," I replied. He looked surprised (ouch) and intrigued, but before he could inquire further, I continued, "with my pajamas and the tv. Ciao!" And I off I went, leaving the restaurant, and the world, a little bit brighter.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Readers Poll!!!

Which do we prefer? Peanut Butter M&Ms or Reeses Pieces?

Leave your opinion in comments. And I expect all readers to weigh in on this lofty issue. Which means we should be getting at least 5 or 6 votes.

After a couple days, or weeks, or never, I'll have my team of interns tally up all the results and let you know which I prefer. Because that's what matters. Not what you think. I'm just trying for some audience participation, so you don't feel quite so useless around here.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I have a 'summer cold'. This is the first time I have ever been sick during the summer. I used to (and probably will continue to) make fun of people who got sick during the summer, I mean, honestly, It's hot outside. Mom called it an 'air conditioning cold' - to which I reply, "I don't have air conditioning, and I don't go anywhere with air conditioning, except the restaurant, and that doesn't work half the time." Regardless, I have this nasty little spot of congestion that has rendered me a mouth breather at night. So every morning I wake up feeling congested and croaky with a really scratchy throat, but throught the day it generally clears up a bit and by the time I get to work I am feeling human again and sound reasonably normal.

Same with last night. But it was so loud, and I had to talk to so many people on the phone that it started getting scratchy again. Scratchier, and scratchier. And then it started cracking. Something not experienced since middle school and, to be honest, my voice-change wasn't very dramatic or embarassing even then. But last night I sounded like a 13-year-old boy. Or a female-to-male transsexual in the middle of hormone therapy. I bet people confirming their reservations over the phone were surprised either way.

By the end of the night I had very nearly lost my voice, and was croaking and whispering hoarsely at everyone. Which made the fact that I was closing host that much funnier, because my only responsibility is to say 'goodnight, thanks for coming' to all the guests as they leave. But they either couldn't hear me or they looked askance when my scratchy voice cracked.

And to top this lurvely evening off, I had a reservation for 10 people at 10:30 that called and said they were "running a bit late" - which apparently meant they wouldn't be there until 11:40. Which is 20 minutes before our kitchen closes. And they weren't 10 people. They were 15 people. They thought we were rude for putting them at two different tables. I thought they were rude for showing up. The waiter who served them, G, said, as I walked past him with eight of the accented-twits in tow, "should I just shoot myself now?" Yes, probably. I would have paid money to see them twitter about too long and not get their orders in before I closed the kitchen at 12. But G stayed on top of them, got the orders in at 11:58.

Thank god for automatic gratuity. And thank god I don't get a cut of said gratuity.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Wierd. Turns out, being busy cuts down on the amount of time one can spend navel gazing and composing mindless drivel on one's narcissistic blog. My b.

Regardless, I have been meaning to share a tip I gleaned from one of my interviews...

You know an interview for a serving position is going well when the interviewer looks up quizzically from your application and asks incredulously, "so... you've never been a server before?"

And you have to reply, "No, but..." and feed her the lines she's probably heard a million times (or not considering the fact that, perhaps other people with no serving experience aren't dumb enough to apply for serving positions there) about how you're a fast learner, you're dependable, enthusiastic, team player etc. ad nauseum. And when I say ad nauseum, I mean it. I literally have to control my gag reflex when I am talking about myself during interviews.

Here's hoping your job search is going better than mine. And here's me sending you nasties if it is!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The New York Times' Science Times breaks serious news and confirms two vague (though nonetheless important) inklings that the rest of society has known about for a long time. All in one headline.

Spreading Anti-HIV Measures Is Called a Challenge
New York Times, United States - 5 hours ago
TORONTO, Aug. 15 — Large studies of an array of promising new ways to prevent HIV are nearing completion, but the world is unprepared ...

Yes, that's right. Breaking news: preventing the spread of HIV is "a challenge." Also: Scientists are socially-awkward shut-ins who don't follow trends outside of petri dishes, let alone global phenomena.

Thanks for keeping the bar high guys. Next week, can you clarify the best treatment for that pesky Polio thing I keep hearing about?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The most memorable quote of monologuer's Saturday night:

"Rememeber, a relaxed jaw means an open vagina."

Thanks WB11, for another crazy night.

Guess the movie, win a prize.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Button fly? Honestly? That was the best a design team could do? A button fly? What exactly was so wrong with the standard zipper fly that you had to find someother way to keep the tackle tucked away? And to solve that problem... you came up with the button fly? That's like trying to improve on the wheel and producing a rubber square. The whole point of having a penis (at least, for me, for the moment - 'cause it's certainly not being used with the ladies) is being able to pee standing up. Without de-pantsing myself. The button fly, however, seems to think that standing and peeing with your pants around your waist is a luxury I don't deserve. With a button fly, peeing is a pain in the ass. You either unbutton one or two in the middle and then have to go fishing through a too-small hole. Or you have to undo all the buttons starting at the top (and if you have a belt, you have to undo that, obviously) and go down about halfway - which leaves you open to having your pants fall down below the acceptable 'above-ass-crack' level. So, let's all just stick to the zippers ok? The button flies don't look any different from the zippered flies, they're just a huge pain in my ass.

And while we're on the topic of peeing while standing up in a bathroom... there comes a certain age in a man's life after which it is unacceptable for him to be undoing his belt, unbuttoning his pants, unzipping himself and sliding his pants down to mid-thigh. That age is approximately the same age as when you stop wearing elastic-waisted jeans (or 8). I might give 10 to some of the guys from the east coast because they're either terribly spoiled, have absent work-aholic fathers or are from jersey (or in the case of the douchebag from wednesday night who was "from new york, born and bred. na'mean? yeah!" "no." tool.). But there is no reason I should have to walk into a public bathroom and see some growed-ass man standing in front of a urinal pulling up his pants.

Around this same age is the time when you are supposed to be able to manage getting paper towels into a trash can, all by yourself. I will concede the point that the trash can in my restaurant's men's room has a lid and a foot pedal. So one must push down on the foot pedal (with one's foot) to raise the lid in order to drop the used paper towel into the trash. However, this is not new-fangled technology, nor is it some uber-modern design in which all the functionality is camouflaged. There is a very obvious lid, accompanied by a very obvious foot pedal. So why the fuck are adult males putting their trash on top of the lid? Do they really think that we were stupid enough to put a metal cylinder in our bathroom that is covered on top, and not a trash can? Even if the foot pedal is too advanced for the guidos who frequent our restaurant, just use your hand to lift the lid for christ's sake. Being the man-host, I have to check the bathroom and make sure it is clean periodically throughout the night, and everytime I go in there it looks as though someone has just completed tee-peeing the place. Which actually seems plausible considering the low maturity level of someone who would pile used paper towels on top of a trash can instead of putting the trash inside the can.

Every time I straighten the bathroom, I am surprised I haven't had some late 20-something guy come out and ask me to zip and button him up, because he couldn't do it and his mommy is at the table. Maybe we'll be getting one of those as the season picks up come fall. We could have one person do two jobs at once: coat check and zip/button-up all the men who don't know how to use a public bathroom.

And to continue/finish up (fingers-crossed!) the bathroom topics for this evening: My restaurant has the absolute best urinal ever. It is almost completely private - with a wall on one side and a divider that goes almost floor to ceiling and actually sticks out far enough to cover both the urinal and the man using it. There is no awkward shoulder-rubbing with the guy next to you, or even worse, with the guy at the sink.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I have defended my position as "man-host" for the last few weeks on the grounds that "male hosts aren't actually that uncommon, you see them around... places." Perhaps it was self-delusional, but I really did think it wasn't that wierd that I greet people when they come in, show them to their table, take reservations and have a penis.

But tonight, a young woman came up and prefaced her question with "I am about to be comletely obnoxious." (leading me to believe she has worked as a hostess and was about to ask to have her party of 25 seated at 10pm, realizing what a huge pain in the ass that would be. but I assumed wrong.) She said, "my friends and I have a bet going... are you a host or are you a sommelier?" My co-hostess and I laughed and said I was a "man-host" as though man-hosts were some kind of endangered (or perhaps discomfortingly new) species that one only sees chillin' with Big Foot and Lochness.

I spent a bit more of the evening stroking my bruised ego, telling myself that they were betting because they were surprised that someone so young (and attractive!) could be sommelier. But that was definitely not the case. They were betting on whether or not penis-endowed hosts existed.

We do. Or, at least, I do.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Tomorrow is National Underwear Day. So if you plan on leaving your house tomorrow (8/9) and definitely if you're going anywhere near Times Square or one of the irritating "news" studios, make sure you're wearing... wait for it... a "fresh pair." But, according to the website, you only get to celebrate NUD if you have 0% body fat, disproportionately large breasts or a six pack. They allow senior citizens who are old enough to be considered cute in their underwear to show theirs, but the rest of us? They don't want to see our muffin-tops, beer bellies and twig-like limbs in skimpy briefs. Apparently we're supposed to stay covered up and just oogle the attractive bare flesh they have prancing around. Which, quite frankly, I am fine with.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Good Morning! You know how when you have to go somewhere, it's much easier to wake up than if you're just "doing things around the apartment"? As in, it's much easier to wake up and go to a job interview than to wake up and look for jobs online. Or, it's much easier to wake up and go to class than to wake up and do research from home. Well, today all I have to do is take care of things around home. So, obviously, I hit the sleep button. For three hours.

But when I finally did get up around 1030, I walked into the bathroom, as you do, and there was the biggest goddamn fly buzzing lazy around the window. "goddamnit," I thought, "another one of those massive, slow-moving flies that shows up every couple of weeks so that I can kill it." As I reached for something with which to swat the sonamabitch, another fly shot out of the shower curtain. Which set off a string of events that, long story short, ended up with me closing myself in the bathroom, yelling a lot and swatting all over with the toilet brush (in hindsight, ew) and flushing 10 (TEN!) ginormous flies - we're talking close to an inch long for each one - down the toilet. Now I'm totally skeeved out, but the adrenaline rush did kick-start my morning.

It's New York, so I have heard of cockroach infestations or mice, and I've heard of other places being overrun by ants, and in our old house in Lakewood, our sunporch used to be a breeding ground for flies in the summer (we kids used to go downstairs with a vacuum cleaner and suck them out of the air with the hose. so. much. fun. and gratifying). However, who the hell ever heard of an apartment in New York being infested with flies. I didn't even know flies existed here except in the trash mountains we keep on our curbs.

UPDATE: Current body count: 15 enormo flies. New favorite activity: dumping their stunned bodies into the toilet and then using them as target practice ala KSquad teaching the toddler she babysat to pee standing up using cheerios as targets. Needless to say, I've been drinking a lot of water.

Friday, August 04, 2006

P.S. If you hear about the major and ongoing oil spill in New York, rest easy, the water fowl and baby seals are ok. It's just my face.

Today I went and saw a chiropractor for some sciatica (pain in the sciatic nerve, duh) I've been having. It was the first time I went to this particular bloke (neither of us is English, I don't know why I just wrote that). And the first time I have been to a chiropractor at all since I was 14.

The holistic clinic he works in is very new age-y and while I was waiting for him I listened to the group "meditation therapy" going on next door. They were chanting. As therapy. Methinks someones are getting ripped off. Or at least paying a lot of money to have their psychosomatic spiritual healing side stroked.

The doctor, let's call him, Dr. Bronzed, was quite a kick. He was recommended to me by HB who, by way of introducing him said, "you'll swear on your mother he is gay, but supposedly he's got a girl, at least, he talks about a girl." (Sounds like HB is getting a two-for one: chiropractor and group therapist.) Dr. Bronzed was very good. At least according to the number of times my back cracked, he was very good. But Dr. Bronzed was also very entertaining - albeit, he was already at a disadvantage for me taking him seriously because of HB's introduction... I chuckled (to myself?) when he called me "dear boy." As in, "lay on your stomach, dear boy."

Dr. Bronzed wanted to do an intro to chiropractition for me. This included pointing to a chart on the wall and explaining how the nerves and the brain are connected and electric messages go back and forth. He was very earnest, despite his fairly juvenile metaphors, and I actually felt bad because I had to try so hard not to smirk. I like to think that I come across as someone who completed high school, and therefore, completed intro to biology (at least) and know that the body's nervous system is headquartered in the spinal cord (which is protected by the vertebrae) and the brain (which is "the computer"). However, I couldn't contain my grin when he concluded an analogy, in which my nerves were a hose watering my lawn, with a reference to my private bits as my "garden."

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I worked with the only other male host last night. His name is Luca and he is Italian. Literally, lives in Italy. He comes and works in the restaurant for a couple months during the summer and then goes back to Italy. He is well over 6' though skinnier than me, so I'll let it slide. And, because he is Italian, he apparently dresses very, very well.

I made a joke to our hostess-extraordinaire about Luca dressing so well and making me look bad. She laughed and told me that Luca said, while I was wearing all Gap and seating a table, "so, we can dress more casually now?"

When I was in Italy the Italians used to stare at my sweatpants on the bus to the city center - Italians don't even wear sweats to the gym, they wear their designer jeans from last year and their leather shoes that have a crease in them. I had classmates ask me why I was dressed up when I was wearing jeans. But I do my best (or at least, give looking good a shot) at work. I manage a polo shirt and jeans or khakis. And brown Crocs. (But they're the ones without holes in them, so they almost look nice, I swear).

But Luca has to go and set the bar so, so much higher with an Italian button down and Italian slacks and Italian leather shoes and good Italian hair. So tonight, I'm busting out all the stops. I'm wearing a button down shirt (long sleeved - the g'damn airconditioning better be in prime working order) and... well, that's mostly it. I'll still be wearing jeans and Crocs. I might tuck the shirt in though.

Can you handle that!

(if you can name the movie reference, I'll write something nice about you. if I can come up with something.)

You should know a couple of things if you go into a restaurant 20minutes before the kitchen closes, refuse their encouragement that you take a place at the bar - where they offer a full menu, and stay open for another hour - and then go sit down at a table in the dining room:

- You should not be an asshole and demand a four-top when a two-top will seat you just fine.
- You do not get to complain about the music bothering you.
- You should not order appetizers - eat the main course and bounce.
- You are not impressing the girl you are hoping to fuck in a couple of minutes (your beer belly is big and your an asshole to the waitstaff, even if she doesn't speak english well, neither of those is attractive. neither is your skeezy silky shirt).
- You should order fast, eat faster, pay quickly and tip huge.
- Your waiter, the host, the manager and the entire kitchen staff hates you and is sending nasties your way fast and furious because you are the only thing standing between them and getting of their feet for the first time in 6 hours. Though most of them manage to smile and laugh and not really care, I do. And I hate you for it.