Piglets and Brickbats

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…


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.

Love It To Life

First: Happy birthday a day late, Karl! Your blog rules.

Soooo…I have had the most writerly and rock and roll weekend without actually doing any writing or any rocking.

Friday, which is supposed to be my writing day, found me happily long lunching it with Storm instead. She has been in and out of town for various reasons which I will not divulge publicly, and I am so happy to have her around. Storm is, on top of all her other projects, writing a book, and is already signed to a book deal and under a deadline. It is most helpful to me to have someone I am so close to further along in the process than I currently am, and we talked about words and phrases and our history and although it wasn’t maybe truly productive on my end, it actually 
was, if you know what I mean.

Drew is in Germany at the moment playing drums for Walter Shreifels, so the pets and I are home alone and I had planned on turning Saturday (yesterday) into a writing day. But I just wasn’t feeling it. I will admit here that I spent the entire afternoon watching movies (Tsotsi – so sad but great) and playing Borderlands on the Xbox, with curlers in my hair. I am currently a level 24 Siren with a Firefly class mod, if anyone wants to know. I felt guilty but the idea of writing about my crap just did not appeal.

Then last night I met up with my gorgeous friend Zoe for dinner at the Stanton Social Club. Zoe is a wonderful writer with a fascinating history, and is also working on a book (check her 
HERE). I love her stories and sense of humor and we have been trying to get together for months. We have led different lives but we are both rock chicks close to the same age, so we have lots to talk about. Zoe was very helpful with her thoughts on book proposals and agents, which was something I needed to hear, and we ate a truckload of delicious food (including 3 desserts sent out by her friend the chef) and dished about anyone and everyone. It was fabulous, albeit fattening.

Afterward we moved on to Bowery Ballroom to see my ex and our good friend Jesse Malin play with his new band the St. Marks Social Club. The band was great, it’s a bit edgier and more rock based than he’s been in the past, and we truly enjoyed the show. But of course we stood in the back, away from the fray, and continued to drink and gossip mercilessly the whole time. When we met up with Jesse sometime later he said he saw us standing in the very back yapping. The man always catches my bad behavior. I do pay attention, but I am notorious for watching shows from the back bar.

And then after that we wobbled to Manitoba’s for the after party. Zoe is married to Handsome Dick Manitoba and he was working his ass off because the place was jammed. We ran into Mickey Leigh, who is not at all pleased with me because of my
previous blog in which I questioned some of the intentions pointed in Joey Ramone’s historical direction. I thought I was diplomatic enough but Mickey was not having it, though he did hear me out and I stated some things drunkenly which I will now try to clarify in the light of day.

Joey was my friend and I loved him very much. Without Joey I may not have gotten as far as I did in the music business (for whatever that’s worth) and he was a lovely soul. Although we were not super close on a day to day basis I considered him a good friend and hold his memory dear. I knew him to be a private person and I do question whether what has unfolded since his death would have been his first choice of outcome.

That being said, it was never my intention to hurt anyone with my most decidedly outside assessments, and I fully acknowledge that Mickey is Joey’s brother and has the absolute right to his opinions and to write about their history together, and he certainly knows more than I do about the inner workings of the man. And. I have not read the book and I have prefaced anything I’ve said with that caveat. I may read it at some point; I don’t know if I’m ready to go there just yet. But I am honestly sorry for any damage my opinions may have caused, and I gave Mickey a hug and told him that just because I don’t necessarily agree with everything I’ve heard, it does not mean that I would ever wish him harm or ill will and I am truly sorry to be a source of upset. I respect his position as Joey’s brother and a member of the rock and roll “community”, and it is my firm belief that you can disagree with people and still be friends.

So Mickey, here it is for the record: I apologize for upsetting you with that past blog, and of course am incredibly flattered that anyone pays any attention whatsoever to what I have to say, so with that in mind I promise I will keep my public mouth shut on the subject from here on out.

Lastly, I know this is going to make me out to be more of a wackjob than ever, but since I gave up any pretense towards sanity long ago, here it is: I have had a couple of conversations with Joey since his death and he seems to have a good sense of humor about everything. He is just as generous with his time as ever and will show up to talk whenever I ask it of him, even though I’m sure he has better things to do on the other side. So whatever emotional opinions people may have towards his legacy, don’t worry about Joey, he’s doing great.

It’s a rock and roll life and I’m grateful for every single, stupid second of it. 

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