Thursday, September 30, 2010

Purse strings and heart strings

I've decided something: I love having an income.

I had an on-campus job when I was a student, but with the time to work only about 10-15 hours a week, if that, there wasn't a lot of money pouring in that didn't go toward rent and ramen.

When I put in my application to be a bartender, I specified that I only wanted to work 20-30 hours a week. I didn't think I could handle much more than that, at least to begin with. Well, the bar has been short-staffed for a while, so my 20-30 hours magically multiplied to full time. Some weeks it's a little more, and some a little less, but overall, I've been working a ton.

Lina, who nannies regularly for two families and picks up odd nannying jobs for another two, has also been pulling in a fairly decent amount. Now, I'm not saying that we're rich. I'm just saying that we have an income.

It's wonderful.

We can afford milk and butter that come from cows that haven't been treated with hormones; we realize over a week before rent is due that we actually have that in the bank, and that we'd already paid our other bills, and we still have some to put in saving; we don't feel guilty if we splurge a little at our favorite thrift store.

I also hadn't noticed how being a college student had made me stingy.

It's hard to share your plenty when the plenty is scarce, when "abundance" means you can buy Shredded Wheat cereal in the box and not the knock-off in the bag. I hadn't noticed how accustomed I'd become to a look out for yourself first mentality.

But now I find myself with an income. And for the first time in a long time, I find myself wanting to give. This past Sunday Lina and I visited an Episcopal church that we both fell in love with, and they have lots of ministries. And I want to be a part. I want to fill the little plastic wagon in the narthex to the brim with juice boxes. I want to pour out because I can.

Because I have an abundance.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

And the party goes on and on...

"Hey, Tori, how was your birthday?"

I pulled up short, looked around the bar, and spotted the friendly regular who had bought me and my two friends shots of Patron for my "birthday" a few days previously.

"It was great!" I said, stammering in my head. I busied myself and walked away quickly. I'm a horrible liar.

But, the bar is set up in a circular form, and it wasn't long before I was back in front of him again, still holding the bar rag that I was cleaning with.

"Was your Patron good?" he asked.

"Oh, yeah, it was great. Thank you so much." I neglected to tell him that the bartender I work with poured us all rather large shots of Patron, and I definitely had a hard time finishing mine. I also neglected to tell him that I didn't finish it, but rather poured the last little bit into my water glass (I hear that Patron is amazing tequila, but I like my tequila in a margarita).

"I was gonna keep them coming for you."

"Oh yeah, sorry about that, we had to leave."

"Really? Where did you guys go afterward?"



Oops. Bad answer.

"Oh yeah, home. We hadn't seen each other in months so we caught up. And made more drinks, of course!"

See? Bad liar. I walked away quickly again and was met by a couple on the other side of the bar who said they were playing a game about guessing how much I weigh. What is it with these people?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Party like it's your birthday

Creepy comment of the week award goes to a stringy-haired man likely aged in his mid fifties who told me I was cute, and that if given the chance he would adopt me as his daughter because he "doesn't have a daughter, just two sons."

Thank you creepy man, for creeping me out.

I am curious though, are people in the midwest heftier? Maybe it's all the German blood and bratwurst they consume, but I haven't really noticed any additional heft here that isn't present in any other communities. The reason I bring this up, is that since moving, I have received an unremarkable number of comments about my size. I am tall, and fairly slender, but I'm not gaunt or anything that I feel would warrant a comment. But an unprecedented number of patrons comment on my size at work.

This just leads me to say that a regular was in yesterday (on a particularly windy day), and he commented that he wasn't sure if I would make it in to work because of all the wind. I'm assuming he meant because I'm so small I would get blown away.

The evening was fairly busy, and even with four bartenders, we were all running around. Life didn't start to calm down until well after happy hour ended. Then, Lina and one of our really good friends we haven't seen since May showed up to at the restaurant to surprise me. I was a middle shift last night, so when they showed up and we got slow, they went ahead and cut me so I could eat and hang out with them.

After chilling out over dinner, we decided to order a kids dessert, and when one of the bartenders I was working with that night brought it out, he had rounded up the rest of the servers in the restaurant and, gathering around me clapping, they began singing our restaurant's version of Happy Birthday. He cut in and began singing "Hey, Shorty, it's your birthday, party like it's your birthday."

The great part is that it was not my birthday, and earlier that night I'd won points with this bartender for telling him that he should pretend to be a tie fighter for the night. He asked the only other female bartender who works there if she knew what a tie fighter was, and he received a blank, confused stare. Thank you, previous boyfriend of mine, for making me learn the Star Wars fighter crafts.

Due to the eight people surrounding me singing Happy Birthday, the rest of the bar was efficiently clued in to the fact that it was my "birthday." Next thing we know, a semi-regular at the bar bought all three of us shots of Patron.

This is after one of the other bartenders accidentally began making a drink that he didn't realize had already been made, so he brought the extra over to our table. The drink was pink and fruity, and tasted great. For the rest of this story, it should be noted that this bartender is gay:

The visiting friend commented when the bartender came over to the table, "This tastes like girl in a drink."
"I shall call the drink 'Vagina,' then," he replied.
"Well, you do Vagina's very well."
"I don't do Vagina's often, but when I do, I do them right," he said.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Overheard: Just be yourself

I feel like today was a progressive day in how I view my sexuality.

Lina and I had one of our days when we just couldn't stop being in love with each other. We talked about our future and our life together. It was a great morning.

Then I had to leave to go into work at 3, and about half an hour before I left, I had an upsetting email from my mom. She emailed me a link with an article, and the article is titled:

Redeemed! 10 Ways to Get Out of the Gay

Life, If You Want Out

(Just like that. I decided to leave it in the annoying font so you could see how annoying it is.)

I called for Lina to come into the room, and I spun the computer around to face her. I was shocked. I would have expected my mom to send me this when I told her about mine and Lina's relationship back in April, and I was surprised when she didn't. But not now. Now, instead of feeling what I'm sure would have likely been exasperation, I'm feeling hurt and offended. The one catch point I have with my family, is that I want them to understand this is a real relationship. That I work just as hard at this relationship as any other. That I love her just as much (although, I always say more). That we're just as legitimate. But, no. It's always seen as something to change out of, something to strive against, something unwanted. Well, I want it, damn it.

So, this sent me to work in a bad, hurt mood. But on the drive there, I realized something important, and very obvious--I'm not my mother. She may want me to change, and it may hurt me that she wants me to, but well, I'm my own person.

At work, two of my favorite regulars were in, along with another bartender that I would be working with for the evening. She was talking to the two guys, and she pulled out the paper and began to read all their horoscopes. I walked over, and one of the guys goes, "Oh, read hers, read hers!" I've never been big into horoscopes because my upbringing effectively stamped out any interest when I was eight, but she scanned down the line for Leo and read, "Stop acting how others want you to act, and just be yourself."

This kind of blew my mind. I made a deal with myself that if one of the guys made any mention of any kind, I would tell them about my relationship with Lina. About five minutes later, one of the guys looks at me and says (already knowing that I don't have a boyfriend--he spends a lot of time at the bar just hanging out and being awesome and friendly), "So, you really don't have a boyfriend?" (how come this baffles everyone?). "Well, not a boyfriend," I replied. "Ohhh, really??" he said.

And this launched me and the two of them into a long discussion on sexuality, upbringing, family, and the church. One is Catholic and the other said he was Protestant, and when I said that I was raised Pentecostal, both their eyes got wide and they gasped. "So, that must be really difficult for you, huh?" said one. I told him that he had no idea, and then I told them about the email I received from my mom just an hour prior. They both looked shocked, and the guy who had asked me about a boyfriend looked me square in the eyes and said, "You are not a sinner." They both then launched into a full out conversation about how love and happiness are most important. They asked me if I loved my girlfriend, and if I was happy. I said yes to both, and one guy held up his fist, and said, "Pound it."

By this time, we'd spent about fifteen minutes talking, and while the bar was slow, I'd been neglecting some other guests. So, I walked around, and began talking to a guy a few stools over. He's a bartender at a store down the road, and he told me, "I couldn't help but overhear. I don't want to be prying or anything, but that was really brave of you to tell that to two tip-paying men." I said, "No, I know exactly what you mean. I wouldn't have done that if they weren't regulars." I told him about how I get asked all the time if I have a boyfriend, and how wonderful it is to say, "No, I don't," and enjoy the perplexed looks on their faces. He laughed and said he understood, and commented about how great it was that I didn't have to lie.

I might be a feminist, but if being a girl gets me more tip money, hey, I'm all for that.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Brownie Points

Apparently, if you give a manager a brownie...
...they'll love you for the day.

I can deal with that.

A couple nights ago, Lina and I invited one of the families she nannies for over to dinner. The evening went great. Lina made her mom's recipe of cranberry pork in the crockpot, and I made mashed potatoes and brownies. Everything turned out great, and we had great conversation. The parents of the kids are in their mid thirties, and he is a sommelier and brought two bottles of very good wine.

We ended up with lots of extra brownies, though, so I took some to work. One went to a manager, who was having a really rough day.

"Hey Joe," I said. "You like brownies?"
"Are you kidding me? I love brownies!"

The rest of the day he seemed a little bit better. By the end of the day, another bartender came in, and I gave him a brownie, and I gave the rest of the managers that showed up brownies. Best response:

"You're on my Christmas list now!"



Saturday, September 18, 2010


Work went very well yesterday.

A forty something man told me I looked like a model and asked me if I had a boyfriend (not in a creepy way, although, that has happened).  I said no (because I technically don't), and he seemed baffled.

"Now, I don't want you to think this is some black people and white people thing," he said (he's black).  "But black men are different from white men.  We see what we want and we go get it.  We don't waste our time.  White men just stand by."

He told me I was beautiful, then he left.

Then a group of high school teachers came in for happy hour, and they stayed for most of the evening.  The ladies were amazing, and either well or ill-timed.  I've been going on a recent of kick of wanting to be a teacher, and seeing them did not help.  Sitting around with tall drafts of Miller Lite, they all laughed and talked about a certain kid who got on all of their nerves.  They had a camaraderie that I admire and want for myself.

Today, however, was not as beneficial to my self-esteem.   Nothing too notable happened; it was just a day of extremes.  The day started out great, then no one came in (I opened).  For about 2 hours.  Then a lady left me less than 10 percent after telling me how much she enjoyed my company.  Then I got slammed by a half packed bar and the manager had to come out to help me.  Oh, the food industry.

So I came home and went to Michael's.  I plan to make a clock because I can't find the right one I want a thrift store.  

In other news, Lina ordered wifi for our apartment!  So, that means soon I won't have to sit at Starbucks for the internet.  Of which I am tired of now.  We may be visiting a church in the morning though, so, updates following.

Friday, September 17, 2010

As Introductions Go...

It is a grayer day than usual, and I miss writing.  

I do not intend for this to be a blog of large words and introspection over coffee (I don't even like coffee; but I am at starbucks), but the day is gray, and those damned gray days have been known to put many a writer into the "funk of writing."

I do, however, have no idea what I actually intend for this blog to be.  I've been wanting to start a blog for a while now, but I haven't because I feel like I'm too varying.  I could have a blog about crafting.  Or my wonderful relationship with my wonderful girlfriend (and all the problems therein because I am a girl, too).  Or about how I'm trying to become a greener person and eat food without high fructose corn syrup or artificial coloring.  Or a blog about my job (bartending), and my search for what I really want to do in life (teacher; writer; doula; small business owner; orca whale trainer).  Or a blog with my writing in it.

So, I've decided to not simply have one vein to follow in this blog, but many.  I know blogs don't tend to do that, so I've chosen Walt Whitman to back me up.  

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Take it up with him if you don't like my amalgamated blog.

So, hopefully that explains the title of my blog.  I have a lot of parts, and I'm trying to figure out how to make them all come together.  And I mean, c'mon.  It just sounds really cool.