Saturday, July 11, 2009

I'm Back Baby!

I must give great appreciation to my multi-talented cousin Spencer, author of his own new blog. Reading his words inspired me to return to my own blog. I had forgotten how fun it was to share my discoveries and random thoughts with the world (if by world I mean my immediate family). So I am now making a solemn oath to myself and all who may read these words, a solid pledge to post at least a few times each week. Well, here goes nothing.

My world has changed a bit since last we spoke. Or since last I spoke at you. No longer am I employed at an establishment we'll call LS for anonymity sake. LS, we had a great run there. Through thick and thin, we stuck with each other and somehow saw it through. I'll never forget those crazy nights I'll never remember. Like the night we hosted the Lebowski Fest. I knew the second I saw the bartenders making vats of white russians that it would lead to bad things. Sure enough, I woke up at the end of the L train in Canarsie with no jacket or anything close to a recollection of how I got there. Oh, those were the days, when a 12-hour shift on a Saturday night would surely be topped off by a raucous good time in the VIP room, bowling and dancing and drinking ourselves silly into the night, laughing at our foibles and pitfalls during the previous shift. You taught me to be able to not cringe after taking a shot of Jameson. And another one. Better make that three. I am eternally grateful that I can now not feel like a 12-year-old girl when I drink whiskey. Although I don't know that a 12-year-old girl should be doing anything with whiskey.

And then there were the crazy Arabian nights working the private parties for that Saudi prince and his entourage. Oh, how I ran down the street to purchase boxes of Kleenex tissues for His Highness's coke-shoveling crew.. how I would help the Prince blatantly cheat, letting him bowl frames over, and over, and over again until he got a strike or a spare, his confidantes kindly looking the other way.. how I also helped one of his ministers cheat, probably costing his clueless opponent an oil rig or a virgin or two... how the managers (long fired) pocketed tips that were intended to go to me, the lowly shoe boy, server of tissues and bowling advice, perspiring peasant. And how on the second night they returned, one of the lovely Arabian ladies took my number, pleading with me to hurry up as her unsuspecting boyfriend was coming towards us.. how she called me the next day, informing me in her heavy accent that she would be at her hotel until 10pm.. how I was unable to fulfill her needs as I had to play a concert that night, but then called up Mubarak, one of the prince's ministers, and came to LS at 4 in the morning to drink from their liquor and learn traditional Saudi dances from their elders. And the following night, how I saw what Manhattan can do to someone when another Saudi Prince, this one having lived in Manhattan for years, had a private party, his waif-thin model-type female companions treating me like the perspiring peasant I deemed myself earlier, his whole crew just obnoxious and not dancing wondrous Middle Eastern dances and not talking to me much at all.. and how at the end of the night I saw 10 untouched gourmet pizzas they had brought, and how, thinking of my humanitarian cousin Morgan, I knew there was work to be done, so I scoured the city at 7 in the morning in the Sebring convertible (top down, chromes spinning) for a soup kitchen, a homeless shelter, any place to deliver the delicious pizzas, and how, having found them all to be closed, I happened upon a church in the East Village with some downtrodden individuals lounging about who graciously accepted the parcels.. oh, how the bouncers would slam a man's head onto the control desk, his arm held behind him, how the management would make changes in prices or practices effective yesterday, how the pins would fall from the machines like drunken sailors when a group would first arrive to the lane, or the lane would black out, or any other number of mechanical issues I would occasionally fix myself until I had a 16-pound ball hit my ankle, thereby ending my brief but glorious mechanic career.. and how the customers, grown, educated, middle-aged corporate servants, would, upon imbibing our somewhat-reasonably-priced drinks, transform into mischievous children, bowling two balls at once or intentionally hitting the metal sweeper with their balls, prancing about with glee when I would come to angrily inform them not to do so.. how I would work Sunday afternoon shifts, still drunk from the night before and growling at booger-eating bratty children to stop them from setting the lanes on fire, cursing the loins of their happily-apathetic parents watching the havoc.. how I would be made to look like an utter imbecile nightly when I would have to answer for the mistakes and mishaps of the higher-ups.. oh how the patrons would wait for two, three hours just to throw plastic balls into plastic pins for more money than anyone should ever pay to do so, and how, while waiting, they would return every fifteen minutes to inform me that they had waited another fifteen minutes, and how they would all somehow forget the actual wait time I had informed them of, insisting that their buzzer must be broken for it had not yet buzzed! And how the management changed weekly, the power vacuums and politicking making for excellent buzz in the gossip circuit, that information chain dispersing delicious dirt, and did you hear that one of the employees shat his pants?! And who got fired? Who slept with WHO?!

Yes, LS, you were my gateway into the crazy world of the service industry. I applied to be a barback and instead you handed me a pair of bowling shoes, and I was forever changed. You helped me realize that I will never be able to work a 9 to 5 desk job, that I need to be on my feet, entertaining people and aiding in their fun, just as I had done for 6 years while hosting countless parties at my house in Tenafly, bringing together different cliques from different towns, picking up cigarette butts in the backyard, ushering drunk freshmen girls away from the front yard, informing my father that I hadn't the slightest why the bathroom door was broken for the third time (someone got locked in and we had to bust it open), blaming the lingering scent of 'cigarettes' in the garage on our housekeeper (I love you, Margie). But that is another volume of stories for another time. LS, you allowed me to stare at beautiful young women wearing boots, fishnet stockings, dangerously-short skirts, and tank tops, bending over daintily to serve drinks (was that a blue thong?). I worked hard, I played hard, and I did it all with (mostly) great individuals that I now consider friends. I like to think that our relationship was symbiotic, that we both benefitted from each other. Every time I take a shot of Jameson I'll think of you.

My new place of employment is Brooklyn Bowl, the AMAZING new bowling alley, 600-capacity concert venue, and Blue Ribbon restaurant situated conveniently in Williamsburg, a mere 10-minute walk from my apartment! It just opened this past Tuesday and it's been a blast to work in. Their 9 huge screens play concert footage from the best music acts, namely Bob Marley, Talking Heads (Stop Making Sense), Radiohead, The Band (The Last Waltz, complete with the glistening shimmer of cocaine in Neil Young's nose), The Who, Led Zeppelin, and many others. The sound system is the best I've ever heard, which you'd expect from a team that was involved with jam scene institution The Wetlands, Relix Magazine, and The Knitting Factory. And how they feed us! Though the restaurant is not yet open, we've been getting sloppy joes, baby back ribs smoked on-premise, collard greens with bacon, fish and chicken tacos, garlic mashed potatoes, baked ziti with eggplant, hot pitas with goat cheese spread, gumbo, homemade cole slaw, and many other gourmet comfort foods, as oxymoron-ish as that may sound. They feed us well before our shift, and then they feed us well towards the end of our shift too! Gone are the days when I would hover around the buffet table that a 4-lane party had barely touched, waiting for them to leave so I could abscond with a tray of fried mac n' cheese bites and stuff my face with said fried goodness in the supply closet like a bulimic girl shamefully hoarding (I still love you LS!). Now I can eat out in the open, and at a leisurely pace. Back then I wasn't eating, I was feeding. There is a big difference. 

Another interesting change with my new job is I'm at least for now a drink runner. I quickly discovered that carrying a tray is much harder than it appears! My left wrist is much weaker than I realized, which will hopefully change soon after getting nightly workouts carrying 6 full pints of beer! Carrying the tray is one thing.. taking the drinks off is a whole 'nother can of beans. It's a delicate process in which my fingers have to move to compensate for the drastic shift in weight as I remove each drink, hoping to the heavens that I don't spill anything on a customer. To make matters worse, occasionally a well-intentioned customer will try to help me by taking their drink off my tray, throwing off the balance completely. I (knock on wood) have yet to spill a drink on anyone, but know that it will inevitably happen. I just hope the customer won't be wearing a white shirt. 

Also, the new version of that I designed is in the final stages of going live! Our web team sent us the working version of the site, so we are now in the process of troubleshooting and making some final touches. I'll let you know when it's ready. 

I now leave you with a cool video of Moby at Brooklyn Bowl.

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