Hello, my people!
Zoe and I started a new company called Fear City Custom, and as a result I haven’t had any time to blog. Truth be told, I didn’t really start it so much as Zoe came up with an idea and shoved me squawking through the door. I am extraordinarily fearful of anything new, but really good at details, while she is always instantly gung ho about any ideas that pop into her head but can’t be bothered with the details. So between the two of us we are a good balance.
She was updating all of her old jeans and tees with zippers and patches and people began asking her to work on their items, so there you go, instant business. We like the idea of making existing stuff look cooler, it’s a good way to recycle and save money, and there seem to be a lot of people in our sphere who agree. It’s been nice to have someone push me out of my comfort zone, and I did quit my day job to find alternate means of income, so hopefully once we get rolling we’ll be able to make a little profit. We’ve almost got too many orders to keep up with already, so fingers crossed. This is the facebook page, I will work on a website soon and once we have enough items ready made we’ll set up an Etsy store: www.facebook.com/fearcitycustom.
Aside from that, I have been thinking about who I am and what motivates people, the same as always. Here’s a small incident that has had me thinking over the last couple of weeks:
I have a very good looking male friend who was visiting from LA (transplanted New Yorker) and hanging out at my bar on a Saturday night. It was late enough into the evening that things had slowed down enough that he could stand at the bar and observe while I was able to chat with him in between orders.
An attractive girl in her 20’s came up next to him, and without really looking in my direction, as she was focused on him, ordered an inexpensive drink and handed me her credit card. Ordinarily I have to explain to people that there is a $20 minimum for cards, but it was 2:30 am and I am tuned in enough to energy to know that there would be an argument. So I chose to take the $8 and move on. I rang her card and she tipped a dollar on the slip and continued talking to my friend.
They spoke for a couple of minutes and as she walked away he laughed and said, “She just gave me her number. She lives in LA, her father is a gazillionaire, she’s never worked a day in her life.” I said, “Agh, whatever, she’s pretty, but you’d be bored in a day or two.” He agreed.
Another woman, not quite as tall or standard model-ey, but very pretty, walked up to the bar and also started talking to my friend. He looked at me over her shoulder and I rolled my eyes at his obvious glee at being so popular with the ladies. She finished her conversation, ordered an $11 drink from me, left $9 on the bar and walked away. I thought she forgot it and slid the bills near my friend in case she returned.
The first girl, let’s just call her Asshole for simplicity’s sake, had been dancing pretty heavily and asked for a glass of water. She again talked to my friend for a minute, chugged the water and asked for another, which I gave her.
The second girl, we’ll call her Guinevere because that’s a pretty name and I like her, came up after a half an hour and ordered a second $11 drink. I mentioned that she’d left $9, and she said it was mine, and she put down a $20, took the drink and walked away leaving another $9 on the bar for me.
Meanwhile, Asshole ordered another water at the top of my head while I was busy pouring someone else’s drink, got it from me, went back to dancing, then came back in ten minutes and ordered a fourth water. So now I’ve poured her five libations for a net personal profit of $1. But I always try to keep in mind that there’s a balance and I knew she wasn’t purposely torturing me and is just a spoiled idiot who has never worked a service job.
Ten minutes later, on the FIFTH water order, she said, “I know you’re going to hate me, but can I have another water?”
I said, with a smile and not a hint of animosity or annoyance, “Of course you can. But I want you to know how things work for bartenders: we make very little, if any, shift pay, and are completely dependent upon tips for our livelihood. SO– our bar and water relationship would be greatly improved if you could throw a dollar out here and there with your orders.”
She took a step back and made a scared face as if I’d slapped her, and seeing me reaching for a glass, waved her hand and said, “I don’t need it.” And she ran out of the room. My friend rolled his eyes and I said, “What the hell was that?”
Asshole runs back into the room 30 seconds later, with…
Wait for it…
Here it comes…
A GLASS OF WATER FROM THE OTHER BAR.
That’s right people, rather than dig into her deep pockets for a fucking dollar bill, she chose to act wounded and use someone else’s time for free.
The world went red. I wanted to step out from the bar and slap the water out of her hand. I wanted to pick up a stool and smash it over her head. I turned to my friend and grabbed his arm with a talon grip and growled through gritted teeth, “You, my friend, are going to booty call that piece of sh*t when you get back to LA and you are going to anger f**k her in the most humiliating ways possible. I want you to bang her head so hard against the headboard that daddy can feel it. I want you to tear her up and then never call her again.”
He laughed and I gripped a little harder and said, “I am dead fucking serious.”
And I was. My rage was boundless, I scared myself a little with the blackness of it.
It wasn’t the money. Two or three dollars is not going to change my life one way or another. It was two things: First, this behavior that I see in many spoiled children lately, who act as if they have been mortally wounded when you are frank with them in any way, regardless of how gently the truth is delivered. I am guessing this is what comes of being told you’re awesome 24 hours a day without ever being required to prove it to yourself or the world around you. I am also guessing that these are the adult versions of those kids that are allowed to run screaming around your table in a restaurant unhindered by parental control.
Second, it was the fact that someone would act so blatantly selfish toward another human being who has been waiting on their needs for the last hour and a half, without a look back. It was as if I only existed to serve her and if that was impeded in any way, she would simply step over my corpse to the next need-filler.
I festered on this the next day. I was so pissed that I briefly considered finding her on facebook and sending a scathing email. But I would never do that to my employers, and really, what would be the point? As the sayings go, you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear, and/or it’s futile to throw pearls before swine.
By the way, why do pigs get such a raw deal in the saying department? They’re so cute and smart. And I imagine they’re grateful when you give them water.
But as I festered, I remembered Guinevere and how pleasant and generous she was without expecting a giant thank you or special treatment from me. There are usually more of her on my Saturday nights than there are of Asshole. So why am I so focused on the negative? Why can’t I bask in the glow of the many positive people I encounter and let the shitty few roll of off me?
I do often feel waves of gratitude on a good night, when everyone is dancing and happy and generous and we’re all in sync. I might not feel a deep connection to “new” New Yorkers, but in fairness, many of them are nice people. And I once had a dad who paid for me to get here, so who am I to begrudge them their existence if they aren’t hurting me and are in fact supporting me with their business? And I am eternally grateful that I work in a place where I am trusted by the owners to comment occasionally to a customer about their lack of tips, as this is not the case for most service workers. It’s not even so much that I want to take advantage of that freedom, it’s more about knowing that I am respected and cared about enough to be granted it in the first place.
I did a quick google search and discovered that I am not alone, and found this article which sums it up very well: Praise is Fleeting, but Brickbats We Recall.
Maybe it’s that the deeper soul lessons come from things that make us uncomfortable? When I was suffering mightily in my youth and all lessons were learned with a maximum of drama and poor decision-making, I began saying an affirmation to myself: “I learn my lessons through joy.” I said it over and over again in my head as I walked through the city, scrubbed the toilet, combed my hair, etc. I still say it to myself occasionally. For the most part that affirmation morphed into reality. I am free from the crapfest of the past and I see that there was no way I could have gotten here without being hurt there. But there’s still always more to be learned and my stories about the shitty days are, I assume, more interesting than the happy ones. Everyone loves a sad song, right?
Or quite possibly I’m overthinking Saturday night and could have gotten straight to the point with a bit of Jenna Marbles wisdom?
I’m not sure though. Just to be safe, I think I’m going to email my friend and make sure he gives Asshole a call, as I’d surely feel honored to be the catalyst for some of her own soul education.