Buzzing It

It’ Friday morning and I’m ready to get going. Even though I barely got enough sleep last night, I shoot out of bed, pumped to get the day started. Anytime I have something exciting planned I get the jitters like a kid when they know they’re going to Six Flags. The morning of my tattoo appointment is always intense for me. I try to eat a good meal, hydrate, and gather my thoughts. You’d think I was getting ready to go into an intense competition of some sort. I even stretch for goodness sake. But going into a 3-4 hour tattoo session truly is no joke. I believe one should always prepare.

For someone who has their entire back and both upper arms totally covered, and a couple other pieces scattered elsewhere, you’d think I’d be used to this. You’re totally wrong. Right before I pull on that door and walk into the shop, even on my drive over, I am in high anxiety mode. I know what to expect and the anticipation is borderline maddening. It truly isn’t until I sit in the seat and he presses those needles into my skin that I finally relax.

People tend to ask me the same questions when it comes to getting tatted, one of the more frequently being, “Doesn’t it hurt?” which then it automatically is followed by a, “How do you tolerate the pain?” ¬†How do I reply?? Easy.

I say if you have ever had something emotionally tragic happen to you in your life, it could be death of a loved one, a break up, getting fired, ect, all things people suffer through at one point or another in their lifetime, that kind of pain is so much greater than any tattoo has ever felt for me. I can easily deal with this kind of pain. It hurts but it’s a tolerable hurt. What’s even better? You KNOW that at some point it WILL be over. It’s tolerable and predictable. Hell. I can even go as far as saying that this kind of hurt you can stop at any point when you feel like it’s too much to bare (weenies.. JK jk). So does it hurt? Yes, it does, but this hurt I can deal with. It’s one of the easiest of hurts you could ever go through in life and it’s a hurt that looks good on you. Well… if done right ūüėČ

“Why do you do it?” I say that’s another frequently asked question that plagues the minds of many who just cannot seem to understand. “Well, why do you¬†do anything that you like to do? The answer lies right in the question itself. Simply, because one¬†likes to do it. I enjoy the entire process of tattooing. From collaborating with the artist in coming up with a new design, to selecting a location, to placing the stencil, hearing the buzzes from the gun when they’re making sure it’s running smooth, feeling my skin get pumped with ink, and then… voila! The final product. I truly do enjoy it all.

As I write this, I laugh because you can ask me questions like, “What do you see yourself doing in the next 5 years?” or “What are your career goals?” or “What kind of man do you want to one day marry?” I cannot give you a definite answer. I change my mind about most things as often as I change underwear. One day I like this. The next day I’m like screw this I like that. I can love something for years and wake one day and be like “Pffffft. I’m over you.” It happened to me with taquitos and caramel squares. I can’t stand even the sight of them anymore. But for some reason, tattoos? That’s a different story. I love each and everyone of them. From the very first one I ever got over ten years ago, to my latest, I have never regretted one. Good thing too. Because did you know they were permanent? <— Another question I get asked often (there are people full of bad jokes out there)

So here I go. A bowl of fruit, two slices of toast, two glasses of water, a mile run, and an after shower meditation session later, and I’m off to another body art appointment. But before I go, allow me to leave you with a little bit of brain food. Tattoos, whether you like them or not, can serve for a wonderful analogy for in life¬†everything you do, you should think about it as if you were getting a tattoo.

Life. When it comes to living it, would you rather pick a generic piece off the wall? Or custom designing your very own?

I say that’s a pretty good one, no?

It’s the weekend baby! It’s time to start buzzin’ it.

1391292_1062733273746436_1714794071_n  Photo Credit: Nata Galvan, Muse: Natal Galvan, John N.

 

At This Point…

I’m 29 years old. I’ll be 30 in January.

I have yet to graduate college, although I am a little more than halfway done.

I do not own my own home yet.

I am not married. I don’t even have a boyfriend.

I have no kids (although I came close once).

I have no REAL responsibilities other than enjoying life daily as much as I possibly can.

For the most part, I live a good life. I find it crazy when society and its “norms” want to disrupt that for me.

I get this at least once a week:

“So do you have any children??” (Insert “No” here…) “Oh honey, you’re missing out on the glories of having children!! It is so rewarding!” They say to me. For some maybe. For me? I’m going to be honest and go as far as saying that I would find having kids, at this point in my life, kind of a burden. I can already hear all the gasps and comments from my readers now, “A burden? How could she!?” and would I be thinking differently if I already had a few of my own? Of course! No loving parent would ever call their child a burden, but coming from someone who has no children in a world that is constantly multiplying around her, I find it to be true.

Yesterday as I sat at a local bar enjoying a proper Gin and Tonic and an order of coconut shrimp, while working on my latest short story, I couldn’t help but observe a family that had just sat a few tables ahead of me. Mom, Dad, and four kids. The parents were about my age. The kids were maybe a year or two apart, the youngest not able to walk yet. They rolled in with strollers, diaper bags, sweaters, bottles, toys, everything a family with 4 children would need for an easier outing. As the afternoon crept on, I noticed that the parents had no real interaction with one another other than what they HAD to say to each other in regards to the kids. I couldn’t help but wonder what they used to be like with one another before the children came along. As a waitress I often see this and think the same thing. I always wonder what families were like before the children happened.

It’s not always that I see a disconnect between couples. It’s random but once in a blue I do see tightly knit families that give off that moment of inspiration… but that moment is short lived when I hear or see a screaming child at another table. Almost like life is snapping me back into reality.

I had a friend tell me once, “Since a kid all I ever wanted was to be a mom. And now I am one and sometimes I feel like, “what have I done?” No one tells you about the metamorphosis your body will go through after having a child. No one tells you how scary it can be when the realization sets in that you’re raising a little human and molding them to someday be a productive member of society. No one tells you how frustrating a child can be, because even if you are a good parent, it’s not just nurture it is also nature that plays apart in raising them. ¬†A parent sacrifices a lot. You can’t think about what you want to eat, or what you want to buy, or where it is that you want to travel to next. All you do is think about them. You as an individual is almost non-existent.” Her son is 8. I can’t imagine how she will be feeling once he hits those teenage years.

Like i said before, I get it often, “So, when are you having your little ones? Times ticking you know!” I reply with a shrug and a usual, “Not anytime soon.” Coming from complete strangers I find those questions and comments annoying and intrusive.

Yes, having children can be a blessing and very rewarding but, you don’t miss what you’ve never had. At this point in my life I do not want children. To have kids right now would be almost selfish of me. There is too much that I need to accomplish first, there are many things I need to get out of my system first, before I ever think about bringing a life into this world. I sometimes hear about parents resenting their children for not allowing them to be able to finish much of what they started or have the ability to live out the dreams they once envisioned. I don’t want to be that. I hear about parents imposing much of what they wanted to do in life onto their kids saying, “I want them to do what I could never get to do,” and most often than not, these kids would rather be living out their own dreams, living out their own lives. If I don’t do what I need to do for me now, how could I possibly be a good parent later? How could I possibly devote all of my passion, love, and energy into my mini me, while also working on obtaining a good career, finding a good home, establishing a strong relationship with my better half? Many would argue, “Well people do it everyday!¬†No one is ever fully ready to have kids but ey, they manage.” Well let me just say, I don’t want to simply manage my way through life, especially if I don’t have to. All those people who are juggling kids while also finishing up an education, or intensely focusing on their career, or trying to work on their marriage, they are struggling. I’ve got enough struggles going on at the moment, no need to add a child into the mix. I am extremely content with playing with my nieces and nephews, or my friend’s children. I am happy that at the end of my visit I can simply walk away. I join in on the fun and once the fun is over I leave.

I give good parents a lot of praise because in reality they are doing something that I simply cannot. Kudos for contributing to society in a unique and special way. Because of you humanity continues.

At this point, I am happy because ¬†I get to contribute to life in a different way. I am living my life at my own speed, doing the things I want to do, while always making sure I don’t hurt others along the way. In my opinion, that, in essence, should be society’s ¬†“norm”.

Sandbox Blues

Mother swings me off her hips and gently places me into the box of soft white dust.

“Sit here and play a bit. Mommy is going to sit over there and have a chat with Suzie.” She points her painted red nail to where this Suzie woman is already sitting. Mother kisses me on the head but before she walks off she points again but this time directly in front of me and says, “Look, you have a play pal.” and with that she turns and walks off. I glance from my mother back to the kid sitting. It’s a boy and he looks as if he has black snakes slithering around his head, but what looks like snakes are actually his thick curls slightly swaying in the breeze.

“Lets make friends.” As my mother would say. Determined to not sit by myself any longer I get up, my legs wobbling a bit at first. I slowly and steadily make my way over, smiling to myself. My joy is cut short. As I finally make my way over to him I notice the trails of ¬†moisture off of his cheeks sparkling in the sun. He’s crying. I reach him but I don’t sit at first. I’m just standing there staring at him and after a few beats he turns to look at me with his big blue watery eyes. He takes a couple of quick deep breaths, which gives away that he had been fiercely crying earlier, I know the drill. I plop down next to him and he turns to look away, bunching up dust in his tiny little fists and then slowly releasing it, allowing it to slip between his fingers.

That was the day I had met my best friend Henry. Now looking back I should have known then what was going to transpire later on in life. A relationship that begins on such a sad accord could only be giving clues as to how it would later play out, no? The day we met we spent the entire time doodling in the sand. His tears had eventually dried out and replaced by a tiny smile. Since that day, any time mother took me to the playground I always looked for him, and he was always there. Henry didn’t have a mommy. She had died while giving birth to him, a tragedy that he was never able to forgive himself for. His father was some big wig over at the DA’s office and was never home so Henry’s nanny was the one to really raise him. Henry only lived a couple blocks away from me so we ended going from playground buddies to classmates. As we got older we became inseparable. If we weren’t in the same classes, we met up at “our” lunch table and made sure we caught each other up on whatever we had missed out on. If we didn’t have the same lunch period that school year then it was on the bike ride home we played “catch up”. If either of us missed school, you better believe ¬†that the other would show up after school with arms full of homework along with updates on the latest gossip. Of course we each had other friends but they didn’t come close to being as tight with Henry and I as we were with each other.

I remember it was sophomore year in highschool when my good girlfriend, Cherie, asked me, “Kira, why don’t you and Henry just date? He’s cute and you two get along so well. You’d never fight! Might as well!” She said enthusiastically. “Have you two ever done stuff ?” I slapped her arm. It was almost a natural reaction.

“Cherie!! No! Of course not!” I laughed loudly.

“So, No you wouldn’t date him or No you two haven’t done anything?!” she giggled.

What no one knew was that Henry and I had been each other’s first kiss. We had been in the 7th grade and it was a couple hours before before we were headed to our first middle school dance. We had dates and were speaking about them as I finished styling my hair for the night.

“The slow dances are going to be cool. I never really slow danced with someone before.” He said. “Well actually, ma and nana did a couple times when one of her favorite songs played. That doesn’t count though.” He then seemed to get a little distracted. I could tell he was thinking about her. Henry’s nanny died the year before and it was a tremendous loss for him. Since he never got to know his mother, his nanny was “mom” for him. To be honest, he probably missed his nanny more than his own mother.

“Well..” I tried changing the subject. “the last song of the night is always a slow song. It’s when you’re supposed to kiss your date.” The distraction worked for his full attention was now on me.

“Na uh! How do you know that?!” he asked skeptically.

“I heard the other kids talking about it in the hallway yesterday. They were talking about how you had to time it perfectly so you’d get done kissing before they turned the bright lights on.” I finished doing my hair with one final spray of my hairspray. I made my way to the bed where Henry was sitting. He was picking at a little lint ball that was holding on to my comforter.

“Well I wasn’t nervous about tonight until now. I’ve never kissed anyone before. What if I mess up? Or what if we kiss for too long and they turn the lights on!? Or what if she doesn’t even want to kiss me?” His mind was racing. It was pretty typical for Henry to get anxious. He was beginning to sweat a little.

“Dude! Relax! You’ll be fine! I happen to know that Amy is ecstatic to be your date tonight so why wouldn’t she want to kiss you?”

“I don’t know! What if I begin to stink or I’m not as decent as a dancer as I think I am?! Who knows! Girls are fucking weird!” He wiped away sweat from his brow. Any second now and he would start hyperventilating.

“Hey!” I shoved him.We both began to laugh and it wasn’t long after that my idea struck. “I have an idea!!!” I shot over to wear my CD player sat. “What if we practice?! I’ve never kissed anybody either and Brian’s like an expert. I don’t want to seem like a complete amateur. We could just practice on each other!” I was super excited. I mean, what are best friends for, right?

Henry thought about it for a moment, “I don’t know.Won’t it be a little weird?” Just like him, always questioning everything.

“How would it be weird?! We’re best friends! Who better to practice with?” I was rummaging through the stack of CDs that were shelved right next to the player.

“What are you doing?” He asked, still sitting on my bed but this time staring at me.

“I’m going to play a slow song and we’re going to practice kissing. It’ll help us to get the timing down too.” I found the CD I was looking for, popped it in and went to track 11.

“I never agreed to this. This is a really weird idea.” He ran his long slim fingers through his hair.

“Oh come on. Why do you find it so weird? Am I not pretty? Do I smell bad? Is there something in my teeth?” I walked towards my bedroom mirror.

“NO! You look great and there’s nothing in your teeth. I would have said something by now. He stood up and walked towards me. He stood a few steps behind me so that I could see his reflection in my mirror. “You don’t just find it a little weird two best friends practice kissing? It would make us each other’s first kiss! That’s not weird to you?”

I turned around and walked over to where he stood. I took his hands and placed them around my waist. I wrapped both of mine around his neck. The music had been playing and soon we began moving to the beat. We danced for a minute and once I felt like the timing was right I reached my lips up towards his. He met me halfway and we stayed there for longer than anticipated by either of us.

“Kira! Henry! Time to go! If you want to meet up with your dates and drive together we have to leave now!” My mother’s voice shook us apart like an electrical current. We began to laugh hysterically.

“Ok mom!” I shouted through my laughter. I ran over to the Cd player and shut it off and before running out the door grabbed my purse which sat on the bed. Henry was right behind me as we reached the door but before I opened it, I turned to look at him, “Honestly, I’m glad you were my first kiss.” and with that said, I turned the door knob and headed downstairs.

We had a great time at the dance that night and when the moment came, we each pulled off a spectacular kiss. Deep down inside, I felt like it was nothing compared to my first kiss.

The school years passed and towards the end of senior year we both found ourselves suddenly single. We went to our senior prom together and neither of us found it anymore appropriate. That night we ended up at an after-prom party. It was at our friend’s cabin right out on the lake and everyone was invited. We all partied hard and once the sun was about to make its appearance, Henry and I decided to end our festivities like any other normal teenager and headed to Denny’s for some early morning breakfast.

We’re sitting opposite of each other and spread before us was smorgasbord of breakfast foods, a personal buffet line. Except that we didn’t have to get up to get our food, it was all in hands reach. We stuffed our faces with blueberry pancakes, french toast, bacon, home fries, omelets, homemade biscuits, cinnamon sugar pancake puppies. You name it, if it was a breakfast item, we made sure to get an order. Halfway through our meal Henry takes a deep breath and leans back into the booth. This is one of his dead give-a-ways in letting you know that he had hit his limit. Me? It’s like I have a bottomless pit in my stomach so I just keep gorging myself. After a few minutes of silence Henry blurted out, “I’m joining the military, Ki” I was in the middle of chewing on some seriously stuffed strawberry french toast and hadn’t realized I had yet to swallow. There was sweet cream cheese stuffing on my lips, I could feel it. All I could was stare at him at first. Had I heard right? I was chewing so maybe I had misheard. The military? ¬†“I know,” he continues,”You’re wondering where this came from and how it’s not “me” but…I really don’t know what else to do once we graduate. I hardly know what I want to do tomorrow let alone 5 years down the line. How could I dish out a shitload of money on college classes when I don’t know what I want to do for the rest of my life?” I slowly swallowed what I had in my mouth. The taste of the sweet strawberries and the deliciousness of that cinnamon battered french toast made my stomach feel much better. “I already took the entrance exam. I tested pretty high,” he smiled. “I passed the physical too. I feel like this would be good for me Ki. It’ll buy me sometime while I decide on what to be when I grow up. Plus, they’ll help me with school and great benefits.” He forked through the pile of blueberry pancakes.

“Hey! Don’t! Not unless you’re going to eat them!.” I fanned his hand away from the food. I take my early morning Denny’s sessions seriously. “So I did hear you right. At first I was questioning my hearing.” The shock of it all was still trying to sink in. “My best friend Henry is going into the military. That’s no joke, Hen. I’ve seen documentaries with kids just like you. They join for the money to fund an education they cannot afford. You know what happens, Hen? They comeback losing limbs or in a box, dude.” I was working myself up now. How could he leave? Off to fight other people’s battles for some extra time to think of what he wanted for his future? “Plus, who’s going to be my bestie while you’re gone? I’ll be stuck in this ¬†town just going to college with no cool friends.” I protested selfishly.

“Ki, stop being dramatic. I’ll be fine. I’ll come back in one piece I promise and not in a box.” He picked up a strip of bacon and chomped half of it off. “You’ll make friends at school too, just watch. You’ll forget all about Hen.” He smirked at me.

“Those “friends” I meet won’t be half as cool as you so forgetting about you is out of the question. I am really going to miss you. I can’t believe you’re really serious.”

“Before you know it I’ll be back, Ki. I’ve just got to do this for me.” He just stared at me. I knew he meant business. He was that kind of person. Once he had made up his mind about something he stuck to it no matter how nervous or anxious it may have made him feel. It was one of the qualities I admired about him the most. Not like myself who was fickle and a complete walking contradiction. I grabbed his hand and held it tightly between both of mine.

“I’m going to write you all the time, Hen. I’ll keep you posted on everything. It’ll be like you’re not over in some weird and unfamiliar country. You’ll feel like your home.” I said.

And I did.

I wrote him, if not everyday, than every other day. I wrote to him about everything. I gave him every detail on the college life so to make him feel like he was attending with me. I of course kept him up to speed on the latest town gossip so he felt like he had never left. He would write me letters back talking about how awful the food was and how he was slowly adapting to military life. The years went on and the communication stayed constant and before I could even fathom the day was here. He was finally on his way back home.

He arrived a week after my college graduation. i drove 3 hours to go pick him up from the airport. I was so excited to see him. I hardly remember the last time I got to see his face in person. As I pull up to the curb I see him standing there. His curly hair was gone and although he looked more muscular, he also looked a lot thinner than what she remembered. His eyes wore dark circles and were a little sunken in. He smiled when he saw my car but the light in his eyes didn’t look so bright. I had barely placed the car in park when I ran out and over to where he stood. We embraced like we did that night of our first kiss, hugging tight like lovers would. A strange feeling hit me then. I stare up into his eyes and saw so much sadness that my eyes teared up. “Are you ok?” My voice barely more than a whisper.

“I feel much better now.” He said as he too stared into my eyes. At that moment we were frozen in time. It was at that very moment we both realized what was so obvious to everyone else all these years. To be there in his arms was exactly where I needed to be. Cars began to pile up around us, some of the drivers beeping for us to get out of the way. On the way home we were silent, only stealing glances at each other while the radio filled the air. ¬†That night after we made love he said to me, “You were the only thing that got me through the dark times. You and your letters. It was through your letters that I soon came to realize how much I loved you and how I couldn’t wait to see you face to face again so I could tell you. I was a nervous mess when I was getting ready to fly back home, but once I saw you pull up and looked at that face, I knew it was going to be alright.” He smoothed hair away from my face and kissed my forehead.

“I love you too.” Were the only words I could get to come out.

I now stand here staring at Hen, thinking about all the beautiful memories we made together. I will make it my mission to allow only the good memories out weigh the sad ones, out weigh the final one.

When Henry came back, he was a truly changed man. Where as before he was an average boy with slight anxiety and nerves, he now was suffering from constant panic attacks during the day, and horrible nightmares at night. His moods would sway from one extreme to the other within a blink of an eye. We went to various doctors and psychologists but it wasn’t long before Hen was wrapped up in complete and utter depression.

I had just gotten home from work the day I found him hanging in the living room with a note at his feet that read, “I’m sorry Ki” and to this very day I carry that note around with me at all times. Some people carry around pictures of their loved ones around in their wallet. I carry my boyfriend’s suicide note. I always go back to thinking about the day we met in the sandbox and how since that very day we had become inseparable. We had grown to become so close and it took us so long to make our friendship into something more, yet it took absolutely no time for life to take it away. I lost my best friend and the love of my life in the same day and because of that I carry with me a heavy blanket of sadness. Beyond that sadness there does hide a bit of joy though because I knew Hen like no one else in the world did. I had the opportunity to not only know him but to love him and that is something for me to truly treasure. On a good day, when I close my eyes I can recall so many beautiful memories and I am undoubtedly so blessed to have them.

I give him one final kiss on his cold, pale forehead. I place my hand on his and let it linger there before I pull away from him. With every step I take my chest constricts knowing that he would be in that box forever, his final resting place at age 26.

I reach the church doors and push open. The sun beams immediately hit my face warming my cheeks and my soul a little. I take in one deep breath and as I let it out heads down the steps and towards my car. I unlock my car but before I get in  I take a few seconds to stare at what was across the parking lot in front of me, the park, and two little kids playing in the sandbox.

DUI pt.3 Dirt Ball Joanie

Booked and sitting in my open holding cell I can’t help but shiver. I am not one to get cold easy but wearing a tank top and a thin gypsy skirt didn’t help me stay warm in this ¬†dark cement room. I could venture out in to the lobby area where maybe under the bright beaming lights from above I could warm up a bit, but there were guys out there. These men looked wild, their stare bearing into your soul. Most of them stayed quiet but then you had those few that would whistle at girl calling for her attention. I didn’t feel like dealing with that. I would much rather freeze in here. There is one other girl sitting in here with me. A Latin girl with short spunky black hair and a meek personality. I could tell she was meek by the way she spoke, her tone barely more than a whisper. I noticed her earlier in the booking area, she kept her head down mostly, even when she spoke to the cops, her eyes always shyly averted. At first I thought maybe she was rebelling and not wanting to bother with the police. She had three piercings on her face, which of course they made her remove. One on her upper lip, One on her nose, and an eyebrow ring. A girl with that many face piercings had to be hardcore, no? Well, no. She was polite throughout her entire booking and now sitting here in the holding cell I could hear her silent cries. I’m a soul who can pick up on energy and hers told a sad sad story. ¬†I decided to lay back down, using my hands as not only a pillow, but to keep a safe distance between my face and the “bench”. The seating area in this holding cell was a wrap around bench that pretty much extended out from the wall. It of course was made out of cement and was maybe about 2ft wide at the most. I curl up with half of my body hanging over the edge. It wasn’t comfortable but it’s about 1am and I am tired. This entire ordeal has completely depleted me of any sort of energy I had left. My feet are cold and no matter how hard I try to wrap the bottom of my skirt around them, it doesn’t manage to shield them from this endless cold that penetrated deep down into your bones.

I don’t remember how Ronnie and I began talking. We had been sitting there a while neither of us sure what it was we were waiting for.She was the first to ask what I was in for.

“DUI…” I answered

“First time?”

“Yea.. I’ve never been locked up before.” I looked at her and noticed a slight smirk.

“Don’t worry, you may get off easy then. This isn’t my first time in here. Tonight I was driving while under the influence but they also found a baggie in my wallet. Coke. So who knows how long I’ll be here. Hopefully I can bonded out tonight.” She said all this without a care in the world. I was almost shocked at her nonchalantness of it all. I guess she wasn’t so meek after all. I was getting ready to ask her why she had been crying earlier when in stumbles an old lady dressed in a light colored, sleeveless, beach jumper and truly beat up flipflops. She had her arms crossed over her chest, each hand holding onto her shoulders. She sat down without saying a word. By the smell of her I could tell she was drunk, that, and the fact that she had been outside all day. The smell of underarms had slowly made its way onto our side of the holding area. She sat by the door gazing out into the lobby. Every few minutes or so, her eyes would get heavy and attempt to close, but her body would lose balance and quickly would fall forward. She would pop right up and begin to stare out into the lobby again, her gaze and her thoughts floating far away from where we sat.

I hadn’t even noticed that I had laid back down and fallen asleep when I felt the energy in the air shift. My eyes popped open and immediately focused on the older woman. She was pacing back and forth rubbing her shoulders and arms, trying to get them warm. I sat up and looked over at Ronnie who was asleep, mouth wide open, with her head tilted back resting on the wall. I have totally ¬†lost my sense of time. I don’t know how long I had been asleep and it honestly didn’t matter if I knew or not. Once you set one foot inside of this facility, time stops. It doesn’t fly by, it doesn’t even move, it just stops. The only concept of time that you have is that of the past. You find your mind constantly ¬†focused on the past, most of those thoughts being of what mistake had led you here to being with. There was no future. In a place like this you saw no future. The present was so grim and powerful that it stopped you from believing in the future. Instead of living in the present and its depressions, that’s when you escape into the past, making it the only true concept of time one has while in jail. I looked back over to the older woman who had sat back down. She had her legs crossed, one leg wrapped all the way around the other one down to her foot. She was shivering.

“You must be super cold.” I said without even thinking. As soon as the words tumbled out I thought to myself, “If this were a movie, I would have shouted out to that character, “No shit, moron -_- ” ¬†She turned to look at me and nodded her greasy head. She looked old. Her eyes gave away her tired life. The light from the lobby shined on her and what I saw was dirt. Dirt everywhere. I noticed that her beach jumper was made out of a towel like material. What was meant to be white was now a light colored brown with small accents of darker brown, proving how dirty it was. The crotch part sagged far more than anyone would have liked to have seen, and was soiled beyond belief. Her silver hair was wrapped in a tight greasy bun that sat right on top of her head. Huge flakes of dandruff threatened to jump off her head with any sudden movement. No wonder this lady stunk. I couldn’t take it any longer. I stood up and walked out of the holding cell we were in. This lady was not only freezing but she was covered in filth. I was sick of seeing it and..well… smelling her. I walked across the lobby to where the front desk was. Behind the counter was a young lady cop who was so short that it looked like she was sitting behind the counter. I stood there for a couple seconds before she looked up.

“Hi..sorry to bother you..” She just stares at me, expression blank. “I was just wondering, there’s a lady in there with us and she’s really cold. She’s shivering, maybe turning blue, I don’t know..” I added that part to make it sound a bit more urgent.”And her clothes really smell.. I think she may have pee’d herself?” Still this cops continues to just stare, not even blinking. “Do you guys maybe have a jumper so she can change into?” She stares for a few more beats before she asks, “Is it the old lady with dirty flip flops?” I would have used another description ¬†but hey, that worked. I nod yes. “Ok, that’s Joanie. She’s been in here often enough to know better. With the problems she’s got, she should know to always pack a sweater because she never knows when the next time she’ll land in here.” And with that she turns away a goes back to gathering up paperwork.

I stumble back into the holding cell and sit back on the bench. Joanie is looking at me.

“I tried to get you a jumper, Joanie, but she said no. Sorry.” I told her. She looked away and then a few seconds later asked, “How’d you know my name?” ¬†Her voice was high pitched, old, and shaky. I would imagine an old mouse’s voice to be like hers, like if Mickey Mouse had a grandmother, it would sound like her.

“The cop told me. Apparently you’re in here quite often.” I say.

“Yea…well…yea…” she mumbled. It seemed like she was still drunk. Her breath still smelled of it. She sat there stiff as a board, her skin lined with goosebumps. Every so often she would sway to one way or the other, but she never really did completely fall over.

“Well, what are you in for this time?” It was Ronnie who broke the silence. Joanie just stared at her for a bit, blinking her eyes at her a few times, so much so that it was starting to feel ¬†a little awkward. ¬†It kinda seemed as though that with every blink she gathered more and more of her thoughts, carefully collecting them before answering the question.

“It’s my boyfriend’s fault,” She finally answered slow and steady. “He was stinkin’ drunk and called the po’lice on me for no reason.” She pulled up on the front of her strapless jumper. I was hoping she’d pull up her sagging crotch area, the view was not pretty, but it seemed as though she didn’t seem to notice much.

“He wouldn’t have just called the cops without a reason. What did you¬†do, Joanie?” Ronnie pried. I liker her. I could appreciate a person who wanted to get down to the nitty gritty of things, even if it wasn’t any of her business.

“No! All I did was walk on the property and he just called the po’lice! Like can you do that? I didn’t even do nuthin!” She started to get agitated and began running her hands on the sides of her greasy head, hiding all the loose hairs that haloed around her head. ¬†To me it sounded as though maybe she was trespassing. Or maybe she was in violation of a restraining order? I wasn’t going to ask to find out. I’d leave that up to Ronnie to keep prying, and she did.

“Were you¬†allowed to be on the property? What’s¬†really going on Joanie? Why would your boyfriend call the police on you? That’s not a really nice boyfriend.” She looked at me for confirmation. I nodded and looked at Joanie. For now that’s the only participation either of them were getting from me. Joanie just stared at us again, her gaze jumping between staring at me and then staring at Ronnie. Her eyes began to water just a little bit. I wasn’t sure if it was due to drinking too much, being tired, or the fact that the topic of conversation was making her sad.

“He isn’t nice. He put me in here and I didn’t do nuthin’. He broke up with me a couple weeks ago for this young girl where we live. But I didn’t care. I knew he would come back. He even put a restraining order on me but then we worked it out. All I did tonight was walk on the lawn. I was coming over so we could have some dinner but when I got there he called the po’lice. Now I just wanna ask him “why?” ” She spoke with the heart of a heartbroken school girl, confused as to why her boyfriend was acting so strange.

At this point I couldn’t help but comment. “Are you sure you guys worked it out? Maybe you thought you did but you guys actually didn’t? He probably called the police because you were violating the restraining order?” It didn’t take rocket science to figure out that that’s exactly what happened, but at the moment Joanie wasn’t all here. She was still drunk, her eyes fighting to stay open.

“He called them because she was there. His stupid new girlfriend who doesn’t even love him. She just likes him (hiccup) ¬†because she gets free beer all the time. The good stuff too. He gets her Rolling Rock because that’s what she likes. She was there and she was going to have dinner with us. He didn’t want that.” I couldn’t believe what Joanie was saying. This had to be the booze talking. “He never bought me the beer I liked. It was only Bud Light for me all the time. That’s not fair! I was with him the longest!” She was upset.

This lady was old. She had to be somewhere between the ages of 55-60 years old at least. I couldn’t imagine myself being this old and being in and out of jail, especially for a douche bag ¬†boyfriend who couldn’t even buy me the beer I liked. But then again, I never saw myself sitting in jail period but here I am.

“So wait? Did you just show up to his place hoping to have some dinner with this asshole and when you got there, there they were together??” Ronnie didn’t even give her time to answer. “Damn that fucking sucks dick!! But see Joanie this is why you call before you head over! No! Fuck that! This is why you don’t mess around with guys like that! Honestly he probably called the police to look cool in front of this newbie chick. I would be so fucking mad!” Ronnie was laughing an incredulous laugh while at the same time fueling Joanie’s fire. Joanie was simply staring off into the lobby. I couldn’t tell what she was thinking.I couldn’t tell if she was mad, sad, or maybe neither. Maybe she was too drunk to really follow what was going on.

Suddenly Joanie stands up at attention. A few seconds later I hear the guards begin to  call out our names. Ronnie was first, I was second, Joanie last. But when they called for Joanie, instead of calling out last name first then first name, they simply called out DB Joanie. While standing in the lobby waiting for our next set of instructions, I turned to ask her what DB stood for?

“Dirt Ball Joanie..” She begins to laugh, “They say every time I come in here I look dirty.” She wasn’t even offended. It was like they had given her a cute nickname except for it wasn’t out of affection nor was it cute by any means.

“It doesn’t bother you that they call you ‘Dirt ball’ like that?” I asked her. I’d be pissed honestly.

“Look at (hiccup) me. They’re right. I am dirty. I’ve been wearing this jumper for two whole days!” And then she begins to roar in laughter, almost like a little kid when they tell a joke that only they think is funny.

I suddenly got a little queasy. The condition in which her jumper was in was disgusting and I couldn’t help but wonder, was that pee stain from days ago or recently? As I was taking in all I had learned about Dirt Ball Joanie in the last 15-20 mins, the guards walked over and cuffed my right arm to Ronnie. As one of the guards did this, the other one told us that we were getting transported to the Ortiz location where we would be going in front of the judge to talk about the possibility of being bonded out.¬†Possibility?? So did that mean that there was a possibility that I would have no bond if the judge decided it just that way? My mind began whirling. I couldn’t sit in jail past today. There was no way. I had work to attend to, my dog that needed me, and I couldn’t see myself hanging out with DB Joanie for more than a day. This was ridiculous. She was standing right beside me and all I could breath was her stale stench. Then the unthinkable happened. They cuffed my left hand to Joanie’s.

As we stood in the middle of the lobby waiting for transport, the guys in their holding cell were just whistling and hooting, hoping for one of us to react. I heard murmurs from them talking about Joanie and her dirty jumper. I heard murmurs about the “girl with all the tats” and none of that bothered me as much as the fact that I was cuffed to Joanie did. The smell of her was so horrible that I had to strategically breath out of my nose at a certain angle so the smell wouldn’t get to me as much. Breathing out my mouth was certainly NOT an option.

“ALRIGHT LADIES! Face the door! We’re heading out to the transport vehicle. I need you to move quickly and quietly!” Shouted the short guard who was stationed earlier at the desk. “DB if you need to use the bathroom you better hold it this time!” and with that the doors buzzed loudly and opened.

We shuffled ¬†out and the entire time we were walking I kept replaying the guard’s last words through my head…”you better hold it this time!” Had Joanie pee’d herself the last time she was in here? I think that was pretty obvious. God, if she pee’d this time…I’m cuffed to her…. Oh god.

We reach the garage area where the transport van was waiting for us with open doors. We hopped in, first Ronnie, then me, then Joanie. There was absolutely no leg room. We had to sit sideways in order for us to fit. Without a word, the guard shut the door behind Joanie. It was pitch black. There were no windows, no lights at all. Thank god I wasn’t the claustrophobic type or else this would be a true feat to have to overcome. We sat there in the dark for quite a bit. I could hear Ronnie breathing next to me. I could smell Joanie even more now, the air just sitting there stagnant, allowing us to marinade in her smell.

“Fuck! I really wanna get to where we’re headed. I hate the dark and this is way past dark. It makes no difference if my eyes are opened or closed!” Ronnie said. No wonder her breathing was heavy. If you were one to be afraid of the dark, this was not a good place to be.

It was like the driver heard her because within seconds the van pulled out. I knew the ride wouldn’t be too long. The Ortiz location was maybe 10-15 mins from downtown. It wasn’t even 5 mins into ¬†pulling out that I hear Joanie moan. It was a loud enough moan that made me question, “Joanie, you alright?”

Silence. A few seconds later I heard the moan again. This time Ronnie asked, “Yo, DB!” I nudged her with my elbow to let her know that she shouldn’t call her that. She didn’t care, “DB you ok?” She asked. Then, a few seconds later we smelled it. It was silent but deadly. The horrible smell over powered Joanie’s B.O which I thought was impossible to do, but leave it to Joanie to break her own smelly record. Then Joanie spoke,

“I have to go to the bathroom…bad.” She groaned. I inched closer to Ronnie who had inched closer to the wall and quietly prayed that we would get there soon.

 

God Damn The Server Life pt 3. Are You @#$%ing Kidding ME?

The title today explains it all. I felt like it was a phrase that I found myself repeating over and over again, not out loud obviously, but oh how I wished I could.

It’s season here in FL. So what does that mean when it comes to the server life? It means expect your shift to be chaotically busy. Expect short fuses, rude customers, shouting children, bratty teens, exasperated parents, all sprinkled with a few kind people here and there whom are actually enjoying their vacation. God forbid it happens to be a rainy day in the state of sunshine. The sweet lack of sun that mother nature decides to bestow on us makes everyone crabby, everyone excluding me. I see it for what it is, a chance to rejuvenate life around us but like I said no one every really sees it that way.

Today at the restaurant the power went out. It was an hour before closing time so I thank mother nature for doing it when she did. Any earlier and a normally chaotic day in season would have been a day of utter hell. We’re a small cafe. We’ve got ten tables in doors, four counter seats, and eight tables out on the patio. The kitchen is about the size of a living room, not very big at all so space is limited. Many restaurants have generators for moments when the power goes out. Not our place. We’re too small for that. By the time the power went out we were no longer on a wait and had only about 3 tables enjoying their meals and two who had just sat down. The lights are out, obviously, and we only have about 5 mins to quickly put an order in and get the food out before heat from the appliances starts to wither down. For staff, we are used to this. We have a a plan to go by when the power shuts off. First we of course apologize for the inconvenience and for the tables who just sat we offer the options to quickly place an order or they can get their drinks to go, free of charge and try their luck elsewhere. Most of the time people decide to stay. Most of the time people decide to also complain. I’ve discovered that more times than not, people choose to stay in a situation just so they have something to complain about. This shift was no different.

The two tables that sat decided to stay and quickly order. Table one was easy. A two top. A wonderful and adorable elderly couple who ordered without even glancing at the menu. They chose one of our combos, cup of soup and half a sandwich, easy breezy. The second table not as easy. Five out of the six people were ready to order right away. One of the teenagers at the table was not. She was debating over a few items which is understandable considering our menu has quite a selection. I told her I’d give her just a couple mins but I wouldn’t be able to give her more than that because soon our appliances would be powering down. I went off, began closing some of my credit card checks that way once the computers powered out my checks wouldn’t be wiped away. I came back a couple mins later as promised. The girl was still not ready. Her mother, who was sitting directly next to her, says to me “How about you just start with me and by the time we go around she should be ready?” Sure thing, I say to myself, but the look on her daughter’s face told me a different story. I go around, taking my time taking everyone’s order just so this young lady could have a few extra mins to decide. I make jokes and enjoy off topic conversations with everyone else in the family. I now get to her, and what a surprise! She is still not ready. I patiently stand there, staring at her. I’m hoping that my gaze inspires her to just fucking pick something but to no avail. I suggest that maybe I place in everyone’s order to guarantee they get a hot meal, and that once I did, I would be back to get her order. Everyone is in agreement and so off I go and ring in their orders. Once I send it off into the kitchen I tell the cooks that there is still one person at the table that hasn’t ordered yet but that they would be soon. “Well they need to hurry the fuck up because everything is starting to cool off already.” the head cook says to me. It’s the end of the day. It’s our last table. The restaurant is starting to get hot because the air conditioner is now out. We’re all irritated, sweaty, and ready to go home. This girl HAS to order. I walk over to the table. Her menu is closed, a universal sign that signifies she is ready to order. AMEN! “So what have you decided on?” I asked. “Well, What’s good here?” she counters. ¬†Are your fucking kidding me??

I just want to take a moment to explain ¬†a precious point that the regular person who may have never worked in a restaurant ¬†should know. As a server, we loath that question, and for many reasons. For one, we all have different pallets when it comes to food. Things I find delicious, others hate. I can usually gauge a table and I have learned to use this to my advantage. They ask me what’s good, I take a look at who they are and try to figure out what type of person they are. For example, if I can tell your a person who enjoys to work out and “healthy” is just written all over your demeanor I will probably suggest one of our delicious salads, maybe topped with our lemon peppered chicken, or maybe our grilled chicken sandwich with blackened chicken, sauteed spinach and garlic, with roasted red peppers, all grilled on our fresh sour dough bread. Or let’s say they’re good ol’ country folk, I’ll suggest any of our dishes with the homemade sausage gravy, for instance our country friend steak or our homemade biscuit breakfast, maybe even our smoked out pulled pork sandwich with a wonderful side of our homemade coleslaw. Anyhoo- I can usually figure out what people like but still the having to do so is a bit annoying. Also, many people who work in the service industry don’t really give a fuck. All they want is to go into work, make their money, and leave. Most servers could careless about what you as a customer are in the mood for. We just want you to order so we can move onto the next ¬†meaningless point of our job. For you to ask us “What’s good here?”, when in reality you probably won’t follow our suggestion is simply wasting out time.

So here I am presented with the most annoying question a customer could ask, I begin with my standard questioning. “Well are you looking for breakfast or lunch?” She shrugs her shoulders and says, “I don’t really know.” Ok well….that helps. So I go to the second question that usually helps me narrow down the menu to a few options, “How about salty or sweet? What appeals more to you?” Again this girl shrugs her shoulders. I’m getting tired of her shoulders doing the answering. I want to grab her by them, shake her, and yell “JUST FUCKING ORDER SOMETHING!” but I can’t. At this point, tabled one, the cute old couple, have already received their food and are halfway finished with their meals. Out of the corner of my eye I also notice that this table’s food is beginning to slowly come out. The cook is staring at me. I feel his eyes burning into the side of my face. Now I begin to just spew random things from the menu. I don’t care. This server who normally cares is fed up. If she, who is the one that is going to be eating, doesn’t care enough to give me feedback in order to steer her into the right direction, than I don’t care enough to care about whether or not she is going to enjoy what she eats. I spend another minuet going over the menu and another minuet waiting for her to make up her mind. She finally settles on a bacon cheese burger, well done, with fries. Great. All items that need high heat in order to cook and that heat is almost all gone. I quickly go to the kitchen and verbally tell them her order just so they can get it started as quickly as possible. By the time I verbalize the order, go back to the computer and officially ring it in, the table’s food is up. I run it, giving each individual the meal that they ordered, everyone but the girl of course. They all begin to eat. I refill the drinks for those who need it. I notice the elderly couple is finished. After asking them whether or not they’d like dessert or drinks to go, I drop off their check. They’re ready to go, no change needed. As I walk over to table two, I’m in the middles of asking them how everything is when the mom says, “It would be good if my daughter got her food soon.” BITCH! Calm down. I give her a slight look and say, “Ma’m I’m sorry but she ordered a well done burger. It’s going to be a minuet. To be honest it’ll probably take a little longer than normal simply because we are out of power and the heat off the flat top is cooling off.” She doesn’t even look up to acknowledge what I say. She turns to one of the men sitting at the table and says, “How’s your toast? Mine is a little cold.” Her tone has an attitude. She takes a bite out of her toast, stares and it, and drops it back onto her plate. I want to kick her in her shins. “No, My food is really good” he answers as he looks at me and gives me a smile. “Thank you,” he says, “Everything is really good.” I smile back, say “You’re very welcome!” and turn to go.

I begin to start my side work. By the time I’m done restocking the to-go station, the girl’s burger is up. I quickly run her food and as I get to the table mom says, “Honestly, it is about time. The rest of us are pretty much finished and now we have to wait for her.” ¬†In reality, SHE is the only one finished. Literally. Everyone else that is seated at the table is just about halfway done their meals. The guy from earlier just smiles at me and says, “No, I’m still working on mine. It’s Ok there’s no rush.” and he continues on with his meal. I set the plate in front of the girl who is obviously in no rush either for she’s swiping up on ¬†Instagram for minuets before even touching her meal. Whatever. I go back to doing my side work. At this point I begin to roll silverware. I’m standing directly in front of the table at the counter that’s maybe 6 feet from where they are. The table is enthralled in conversation, all except two, the daughter who is still engaged in her phone and hasn’t even looked at her meal yet, and mom, who is beginning to pick at her daughter’s fries. She throws one back on the plate. “These are cold! Honey have you tried these fries?!! They’re cold!” The daughter finally looks up. She stuffs a fry in her mouth and says, “Mom, they’re fine.” and chomps away. The girl begins to work on her burger. I continue on to rolling my silverware. The kitchen is closing up, the little power they had is now completely ran out. Customers try to come in to grab a bite to eat but unfortunately we have to turn them away. One family says, “But it says that you’re open till 3. It’s only 2:20..” says the dad looking at his watch. “Yes sir, but if you haven’t noticed we are out of power.” says my boss. “Yes, but they are still eating.” He says pointing to my table. My boss pauses a few seconds, staring at him in bewilderment, then says, “Sir, that is because when they got here the power had JUST gone out. Our appliances are now completely out of heat. There would be no way to make you anything now.” She continues to calmly stare at him and after a few seconds he mumbles, “This is unbelievable.” and storms off. No sir, YOU’RE unbelievable.

My attention goes back to my table. They should be finishing up soon. The mom catches my glance and waves me over with her finger. She doesn’t look happy, but then again she didn’t look happy the moment she sat down. I walk over to her, “Yes my dear?” I say. “She cannot eat this. The fries are cold. They need to be reheated.” She grabs her daughter’s plate, meanwhile her daughter has her burger halfway to her mouth when she utters, “Mom! Stop, they’re good!” and she snatches her plate back. I try to not let my irritation with this lady seem obvious. I tell her that although I would love to be able to reheat the fries, it would be an impossibility since there is no loner power. I’m also thinking to myself, “If your daughter would have put her phone down and actually ate when the food was brought out to her, it would have been a lot warmer too”. I began to gather any empty dishes that I see on the table, while the entire time listening to this grown lady grumble. Her daughter could careless whether or not her food was cold, and actually seemed to be used to her mother’s antics. As I’m about to turn to take the empty dishes back to the kitchen the mother asks, “Can I get a cup of coffee?” She has GOT to be kidding, right?? WRONG. We hold each other’s gaze for what seems for way too long. I’m thinking that she’ll realize that her request was ridiculous considering I just told her that the power was out, if one couldn’t already tell. She asks me again, “Can I have a cup of coffee?”…. “I heard you ma’m, but the power is still out. There is no coffee.” I counter. She points to the pot that is halfway full of coffee, the one that is sitting on the powerless burner. The pot of coffee that has been sitting there untouched for over an hour. “There’s coffee right there.” She says, as if I was the one being ridiculous. “I’m afraid it wouldn’t be very good. The burner is out of power and that pot has been sitting there for quite a while.” I say slowly. She must not be all there is what my ¬†time spent with her has led me to believe. “So you’re not going to give me a cup of coffee, even though I see a perfectly good pot sitting right there?” I sigh. I’m over her. I want her to leave. She wants coffee… let’s give her coffee, no? “You’re absolutely right. Let me drop these dishes off in the kitchen and I’ll be right back with your cup of coffee, ok?” I said just a little too cheery. She seemed satisfied with my answer. She obviously felt like she won the battle. Inwardly I laugh.

I take the dishes to the kitchen and before I grab her cup of coffee, I print out their check. The quickest way to relieve myself of this thorn in my ass is to just drop off the bill when I drop off the coffee. ¬†I pour her cup and I notice that it’s not even lukewarm. I smile to myself because I know what’s coming…

“Alrighty guys, I’m just leaving this here!! Take your time, just let me know if you need anything else.” I smile as I set the check down as well as her cold coffee. As I’m walking away I hear her say, “Are you serious?” I keep walking. “Excuse me Miss??!” I stop and turn. “Yes?” She’s obviously had a sip of her coffee, her facial expression said it all. “This coffee is cold! And you didn’t even ask us if we wanted dessert!?” This whore… I swear. Keep in mind, the kitchen is now closed up. Food is no longer available. At this point most of the cooks have already left. I take a deep breath and allow myself a Zen moment before answering. I’m really trying to kill her with kindness but her dumbass-ness is making it truly difficult.

“Ma’m I told you that the coffee wouldn’t be very hot. The power is out. That goes for the burner that the coffee pot was on. The reason I didn’t offer you all dessert was because the kitchen is now closed and all food, including dessert, is locked away in the cooler.” I stare at her. She stares back then says, “So what you’re telling me is, if we wanted to order something else to eat we wouldn’t be able to?” as if this was the end of the world. “And I assumed that although the power is out, the coffee sitting on the burner would at least be lukewarm.” She shakes her head as if she was exhausted by having to deal with ME. “That’s correct. If anyone wanted to eat anything else you wouldn’t be able to and to be honest, that pot of coffee has been sitting on that burner for about an hour or so. I tried explaining that to…” She cuts me off. “You’re unbelievable! Serving me a cup of coffee after it’s been sitting there for an hour!” She grabs the bill and takes a look at it. “After all this you couldn’t even give me a discount?! This is ridiculous.” While this is all going on, my boss is standing close by me filling up our jugs of syrups. She’s witnessed the entire thing and when hears the fact that this woman expected a discount she then decides to walk over.

“Ma’m can I help you?” says my boss who doesn’t look like a boss. I’m looking at everyone else at the table. They seem embarrassed. The few that still have their plates have buried their faces in whatever food was left over just to not have to be a witness of what is going on. The others are just staring at the woman like she’s literally jumped off the deep end. “Yes, I’d actually like to speak to the owner if you don’t mind.” The woman doesn’t even look at my boss as if she were a mere peasant. “Well you’re looking right at her. I heard your interaction with the server and wanted to see if there was anything I could help you with?” She says calmly. The lady decided to take this opportunity to let her have it, “What I need help with is understanding is why you all would allow customers into your restaurant while the power is out?! Our food was terrible. All of it was cold. My daughter’s burger didn’t arrive at the same time ours did. Your server served me cold coffee and dropped off the bill as if she was trying to get rid of us,” I was… “and I take a look at the bill at least expecting some sort of discount for all the inconvenience and nothing was done.” Fortunately for me, I have amazing bosses. They’ll defend a server when needed be. This time she was all for it. “Pardon me ma’m, but you were already seated when the power went out. I gave you the choice of whether or not you wanted to stay. I even offered your drinks to-go free of charge if you decided not to. You all chose to stay. Your daughter took a really long time ordering even after the server told your entire party that time was of the essence if you wanted to get a warm meal. She also expressed to you that the coffee had been sitting there for quite a while and after repeating multiple times that the power was out, you decided to still go for the coffee.” With that my boss takes the bill and looks at it and continues on by saying, “Servers are not allowed to discount any checks without my authority. I see that she didn’t charge you for the coffee you decided to order, so I guess that can be considered your discount.” She sets the check back onto the table and looks at the lady who is now digging through her purse. “Is there anything else I can help you with?” My boss stares at her. The lady is avoiding eye contact. Embarrassed are we? No, not enough to keep her snide comments to herself. The lady drops exact cash onto the table and says, “That’s fine. But I am not tipping for this horrible service.” She gets up, and whether the others were finished or not, demands that everyone gets up to leave.

Bye Felicia!

As they all march out of the cafe, ¬†I think to myself, “VICTORY!” because even though this lady didn’t leave me a tip I felt like the rest of her day was completely ruined. That for me was enough of a tip.

As I sit here and write about this one incident, I can’t help but think about all the other “Are you fucking kidding me?” moments as servers we’ve had to endure. I literally have a list going and I cannot wait to write about each and every one ofthem. ¬†With each shift that passes the list grows longer and longer. I wonder if the outrageousness of customers has a cap or if with time it’ll just get worse and worse? I truly believe that now-a-days people go on vacation and forget to pack their common sense as well as their manners and that’s only if they had any of it to begin with. One way I see that I may be able to better the situation is by writing about it. We may not all work in the service industry, but we are all customers at one point or another. It’s time that I start shedding some light on not only customer service from the server’s side but customer etiquette from the customer’s side.

Stay tuned. You’ve already been alerted that there will be more to come ūüôā