Category Archives: Serving

Bring it in, NY

I’ve been struck countless times over the past two months at how lonely a city of billions can be. Really, when you live in NYC, you are alone for a staggering amount of time. Walking to and from the subway, riding to work, doing prep work for auditions-I would say a good 60-70% of my time is spent on my own. There is a good deal of peace and happiness to be found in this amount of solitude, but it can also be cripplingly lonesome.

Which makes moments of real connection stand out. Hurricane Sandy swept through the city, devastating some parts while hardly touching others. My apartment was left unscathed, but I certainly felt the storm’s effects when my restaurant lost power for a week. Somehow, we stayed open, serving bottled beer and mixed drinks by candlelight. Of course, no food and a lack of customers meant that I was rendered useless; due to a lack of communication (thank you, lost phone), I found myself in the back of a cab on Halloween, headed into work. The restaurant’s windows were boarded up with plywood to protect against wind gusts. A rather sketchy-looking “Still Open!” was spray painted across one of the boards. Even I, who had worked there pre-Sandy and knew it wasn’t a serial killer’s hideout, did not want to go in. I pushed the door open, and let my jaw drop. Hundreds of tea lights glowed from every nook, cranny, and corner in the restaurant. A half dozen people sat at the bar, sipping on what must have been lukewarm beer. The lack of top 20’s hits usually booming from every speaker pressed the silence loudly against my eardrums. I walked into my very own Wonderland, complete with an Alice serving drinks behind the bar (it was Halloween, after all). My fellow server, the overly affectionate guy, came bustling over to me, handed me a box of matches, and explained that he was bored out of his mind and replacing used-up candles to stay busy. Steam rose from his lips as he spoke, and I realized we didn’t have heat. 

As I walked around the restaurant, lighting candles and wondering why I was called into work, I heard something. A little trickle of laughter. It bounced and flitted around the mostly empty restaurant, making way for a whole gale of laughter. And that’s when I noticed it: everyone sitting around the bar- strangers, newcomers, regulars – were engaged in conversation with one another. They sat, swapping stories by candlelight, as if they had all come in together. An overhwhelming feeling of camaraderie settled on the bar, as the conversation grew to welcome two new members that had just stumbled in. In a city filled with loners, here was a group that stretched and reshaped in order to include everyone that came near. I felt myself smile as I walked over to join in.  A pizza was ordered, a round of drinks poured, and a happy little community was formed. Sure, it was temporary. We’d all leave soon and go back to not making eye contact with passersby on the street, but that was for later. And, really, it’s moments like these that make the rest of the time seem totally worth it.

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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.