Monthly Archives: September 2012

A New Kind of Dysfunctional Family

I was incredibly lucky to have moved to the city with a job in place. Thanks to a good friend of mine, I started training at the Irish Pub where I now work the first week I was here. Yes, I completely fulfill that actor/waiter stereotype, and sometimes when guests ask what I do for a career outside of the restaurant I say anything other than acting in order to escape the knowing look in their eye that answer often elicits. Regardless, I have been incredibly fortunate to be put in the company of some of the strangest, funniest, most random people I have ever met. So, I thought I would take this time to introduce a few key members of my new work family:

The Managers:

Th AM Manager-Irish-born fellow who at first seems closed-off, but immediately jumps on running jokes, and laughs at pretty much anything.

The PM Manager-Israeli-born woman who has the type of personality that has you telling your entire life story in about five minutes. Matches my own ability to talk for twenty minutes straight.

The Bartenders:

The dancer- 5’2 blonde dancer who is fiercely loyal to her coworkers, and could kick anyone’s ass. Anyone. I feel as though if she were to get approached by a mugger, she would end up mugging him.

The stereotypical cute Irish bartender- gets tips by smiling at “vodka-soda girls” (copyright W.C. and M.C.) and saying catch-phrase Irish sayings. Plays “Little Lion Man” by Mumford and Sons about 30 times every time he works.

The writer- talks about philosophy one minute, and then pontificates about various metal bands and football the next.

The snarky musician- my friend’s brother who cracks me up with his rye sense of humor and ability to smile and nod at drunk idiots, placating them and mocking them at the same time.

The Servers:

The producer- take charge, no mercy attitude. Knows more about music from the 70’s and 80’s than my parents. Has done more drugs than I have names for. And she’s only 19.

The comedy-writer- Sarcastic, quick, and the first person to ever tell me to “grow a pair” when a table was taking advantage of my obvious nice-girl attitude.

The overly-affectionate guy- Clearly relishes the fact that he works with mostly girls. Sweet at heart, but loves to make awkward joke (I hope) advances and talk about his latest conquests.

The flirt- Hilarious, uber-confident girl who is constantly looking for cute guys, and has no qualms about saying something to them about it. Points out every good-looking guy in the bar within 15 seconds of him coming in. Every time.

The Bouncers-

The Philosopher- Soft-spoken, intelligent, highly spiritual guy who has the most positive, optimist take on life I have ever heard.

The Side-Kick- Friday and Saturday nights, this guy hangs out with the Philosopher at the front door. It’s the most entertaining thing in the world to watch them crack each other up, then get immediately stone-faced and serious when one of the customers puts a toe out of line.

The Owner- Irish woman with a reputation that preceded our meeting. Apparently can like you one minute, then absolutely detest you the next. She seemed nice when I met her, but I’m ready to bet that I’ll see the other side of her soon enough. Can make grown men cry.

The pets- Two incredibly affectionate cats who lie around the manager’s office and use the printer as their personal lounge.

Crazy, loud, and able to tell off drunk college frat boys, these guys are quickly schooling me in how to put people in their place- with a smile. And while we’re all vastly different, you have to look at it as a family- especially when you’re not getting out of work until 2 am.

 

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The Thing About Roommates

I have a rule. Don’t date men who, if it ends badly, you will still have to see them frequently. It’s a good rule, right? Safe. Thought-out. Smart. And hardly ever actually observed. In fact, I’d say there have been some glaring exceptions in my dating history:

1. Temp guy. Saw him every Monday-Friday. And while the date went awkwardly well, it was still a strange experience to see him every day after.

2. My “Big Split” ex: Started dating during an all-summer acting gig in the middle of the woods in upstate NY. Lived in the same building as him. Could have been really uncomfortable if things had turned sour there.

3. Pretty much every other guy I’ve dated.

So, fine, it’s not so much a rule as it is a hope. Or a very lackadaisical guideline. But after my last break up, in which I share a large group of friends with my ex, I’ve decided to try to stick to it.

This was complicated on day two of living in the city,when my roommate walked in. Tall, dark hair, killer smile- uh oh. The more I talked to him, the more my little guideline began to seem silly. Ridiculous, even. Why would I want to limit my options? Especially when my options have such nice teeth? (Seriously, they’re perfectly straight. It’s almost unsettling.)

The roommate and I have been hanging out pretty frequently ever since that initial conversation. We sit in the living room after he gets home from law school, eat dinner together, talk, and watch copious amounts of Family Guy. We get caught by our other roommate, who can clearly sense something stirring, when she walks in at midnight to find us still up and chatting away. He fills me in on the issues he’s learning about in his classes, and I explain the ins and outs of auditioning. It’s lovely. And to hear him talk about law is quite possibly one of the sexiest things I have ever done. His passion for what he does is so great and,therefore, insanely attractive.

Anyway, things were moving slowly enough for me to not worry about breaking my rule. Until a few days ago. We were standing in the kitchen, talking about our crazy work loads. He just kept saying, “I won’t be able to do anything this weekend. I have so much work to catch up on. I’ll be able to do stuff next weekend, but not this weekend.” He said it about ten times rapid fire. Why is he telling me this? Does he want me to do something with him next weekend? Does he usually repeat things 50 times? Does he not know he’s saying it out loud each time? So, I decided to try a more forward approach:

“I think I’m going to see a movie. I really want to.”

“Oh? Which one?”

“‘The Master.’ On Sunday, I think”

“Oh. Well, I would come see that with you! I could just finish all of my stuff Friday and Saturday!”

Mission accomplished. In fact, he is currently cooped up in his room, working his way through all of his assignments. As for the rule? Aren’t they made to broken, or something?

Kicking and Screaming. Thrifty-style.

About two weeks before I moved to NYC, my dad informed me that he would be buying me a pepper spray ring, and that I would wear it whenever I was walking

Attractive, I know.

alone at night. (If you don’t know what these are, they are little rectangular “rings” that have a switch on the side- flip the switch, pepper spray shoots out of your jewelry. Into someone’s eye, hopefully.) I said, that’s nice of you, I love you, but no. (Really, they’re that ugly.) I guess he took my comment to heart because about a week later, he handed me an Ila Dusk. This is a British invention (where pepper spray is illegal) that is supposed to serve as a stylish way to protect yourself. The device looks like a charm you attach to your purse. Pull out the chain at the bottom of the charm, though, and a 130-decible female scream erupts out of the accessory, effectively screaming for you if you have been struck dumb. This, I could live with. I hooked it to my purse and forgot all about it.

Until a few days ago. I was shopping at a thrift store in my neighborhood, searching for flannel shirts for my new serving job. It was a small store, cramped and packed to the brim.  As I was exiting the dressing room, I bumped into a banner and knocked it off of its nail. (Thank you, 10 + years of ballet for my excessive amount of grace and poise. ) I whipped around, bent down and quickly picked up the banner. As soon as I touched it, the thing started screaming at me. Loudly. For no apparent reason. My first thought was, “Wow, they put an alarm on a banner? Maybe it’s an antique…” I hung it back on its nail, hoping this would quiet the screaming…but nope. The banner continued to shriek at me. At this point, I had managed to garner every shopper’s attention. My cheeks began to burn as I stared hopelessly at the stupid piece of fabric, looking for some sort of hidden button or lever, anything that could get it to stop shrieking. That’s about the time I started to realize…the screaming was coming from me. Sort of. I looked down, and there, hanging on the outside of my purse was the Ila Dusk. And it was missing it’s chain.

I began to frantically search the surrounding area, employing the help of several

This is my Ila Dusk. Polka Dots. Cute. Non-threatening. Until you pull the chain. Then it’s a harpy. A wailing, bitchy harpy.

concerned shoppers, all the while keeping my thumb pressed against the speaker. Of course, 130 decibles doesn’t really stop because of a thumb, and the thing was going to keep screaming for ten minutes if I didn’t find the chain and reinsert the pin. While I searched, I kept up a constant stream of “Sorry”‘s and “It’s my personal alarm”‘s to the pretty steady flow of curious passersby. The screaming was so loud and, well, disturbing, that people were coming in off the street to see who was dying. Who was being killed. Who was having an emotional breakdown. With each person, my flailing and apologizing grew more frantic. I combed the rug with my eyes, praying for a glimmer of silver. Finally, after what felt like an eternity (and what was probably closer to a couple of minutes), I saw it. There, caught on a hanger, hung my chain. I tugged it off the hanger and reinserted the pin. A silence the likes of which I have never known filled the room, pressing in on my ear drums. My entire body was shaking. I could feel every eye on me. Of course, being the suave, quick-witted, intelligent person that I am, I had the perfect line to smooth this whole fiasco over.

“Whoops.”

Hopefully my mortifying experience saves some lives- everyone was rather interested in the device that had effectively burst their ear drums. And hey, at least I know it works, right?