Take a Permanent Vacation Pt. II

“If he wants me to blow him I’ll blow him. Hell if Gary wants me to blow him I’ll blow him too- I’ll blow ’em all!” This was Daniel, a regular, talking to a business crony on his hands free cellular device at the bar. Daniel is the head of operations at a TV station and talks with a boisterous arrogance I can imagine these kinds of bigwigs often do. Although he talked loud and pompously on the phone with zero regard to others surrounding him, he was always cool with me. He was from Boston and worked with the Patriots at one time, so we often got into some hearty football conversations. He spoke with pity and sympathy upon learning of me being a Bills’ fan, as most usually do. My first instinct is to hate New England fans, and I do, but Danny eased the hatred ever so mildly with his acknowledging of how shitty the Patriots were for years before their near two decades of dominance. He spoke of watching games from the press suites and Bill Belichick’s unusual rules and precedents in allowing Danny and his crew to film them during practices and whatnot. What a bastard he’s got to be. The whole lot of ’em. Alright I’ll cool it with the football tangents. I get carried away. Especially with the season around the corner. Speaking of which what’s going on with Buffalo’s backfield this offseason? Shit, sorry.

And then there was the man with a gray ponytail under a backwards Cream hat on a motorized scooter. I stood at the counter closing out a check and from the corner of the store the man came weaving through the seats up to me with a stern face that jiggled from the vibrations of the scooter.

“Take this.” He looked at me like a disappointed father over the top of his thin crooked glasses.

“Um okay? Sir you can just leave that on the table, we’ll pick it up.” He tried forcing the checkbook into my hand.

“Well I’m on my way out, just take it.” I opened it up and there was no signature or tip.

“Okay but you just need to sign this quick is all.” He shook his head like I was an idiot.

“Kid you don’t understand. I CAN’T sign it. I have MS.” I didn’t know what to say.

“Well…maybe just scribble something on here I guess?”

I felt bad and in hindsight I could’ve just put a line through it or just whatever. Not a big deal. Shaking his head he abided and indeed scribbled on the receipt. He tried tossing it on the counter but it just clipped the lip and fell to the ground with the pen and receipts flying out. “See ya dude.” He said as he quickly jerked his scooter around and wheeled out of the store like a bat out of hell with his ponytail dancing around, waving goodbye to me. It was pretty badass. Mad respect to the dude.

It’s been a wild ride working at an airport. It’s a world completely unto it’s own- a world of anxiety, stress, chaos, and unpredictable hijinks. And what’s the best way to cope with all that? For most, it’s booze. Hence the thousands of nerve-rattled guests I’ve served in my time behind the bar. I’ve encountered all kinds and learned a lot about people and places. Unfortunately the company I worked for is notorious for having poor management skills and manipulative inexperienced leaders. I’ve never worked for a company with such phony values and “do as I say not as I do” mentalities from management.

Things were sketchy from the get go with them. I was part of the grand opening team, and on our third day of business, both of our managers took the day off for inexcusable reasons. It was three of us versus hundreds of people and we hardly knew what we were doing. We were thrown to the wolves and got our asses handed to us on a silver fucking platter. That set the tone for the following year of bullshit within this company.

Having said that, I recently was let go/quit because I finally crossed the threshold of blatantly giving no shits. I showed up physically (usually 20 minutes late), but mentally I was long gone. I worked with two older women who worked service industry jobs their whole lives and admitted they’ve never experienced such bullshit both from customers and the company. It was no secret this place ran about as efficiently as a 5th grader’s Rube Goldberg project.

So ends this chapter of American Shmucks. It’s been a relatively short sprawled out run, but it’s been fun. But by God I can assure you this won’t be the end of my ramblings. There will be more to come in one fashion or another. ‘Til then, friends…

“Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” -HST

 

 

 

 

 

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Take a Permanent Vacation Pt. I

Well I got into another fight with an old woman. At least this time fists weren’t involved. Just kidding. They were. (the shaking of fists, that is) This lady, maybe late 60s, began by waving her skinny wrinkled Slim Jim arms with wild intent to get my attention. Every time somebody feels the need to flail about in their seat for my attention I look at them with a blank face and make them wait at least another thirty seconds. I gave my last shit many moons ago with this establishment and the jackals inside.

“What else do I need to do to get your attention?” She said in a most condescending elitist tone.

“Sit there patiently and be motionless?” I said with a bit of snark.

She laughed a most high society, nose in the air laugh.

“Tell me young man what can you tell me about these Rosés?”

“They suck. Just kidding!” I went on to explain.

Her husband sat back letting out some sly remarks here and there, but the queen beach rat was the head honcho in this situation.

“Bring me some ice, would you dear?”

“We don’t have ice.”

“Don’t have ice? How bizarre! What kind of place do you run here?” She began laughing again.

“Yes a little strange perhaps, but we are a wine bar. We don’t cater to the 3% that wants ice to dull down their wine. Apologies madamè.”

There would be another time or two with her flailing those dehydrated beef stick arms for my attention, but gears started to switch towards the end of their visit. Things were finishing on a reasonable note, and I even joked with the husband about his youthful picture on his credit card compared to his current old ass self.

They cashed out and left. No big thing. Moments later they saunter back because of a flight delay. This time they take a seat closer to the bar. The woman makes a remark about them being back. I continue to keep busy for a minute. Then things start to get ugly again.

“HELLLOOOOOO! Did you think we just came back here to sit down?” My blood began to boil and I took a deep breath.

“Oh wow you’re back I hardly noticed!” I hollered over the counter with a teeth-gritting laugh. I walked over to them.

“So what can I get you this time?” I had my hands in my pockets sure to look as disinterested as possible.

“Crossings Sauvignon Blanc and make sure it’s COLD.” The man said.

“Oh I’ll be sure to find the warmest possible bottle. Hell I’ll even pop it in the microwave for ya!” I said in devious jest. Of course we had literally just ran out of the Rosé ol’ mechanically separated beef arms had.

“Well could I get a taste of the other one?”

“No.”

I didn’t feel like telling her why. Truth is we aren’t allowed to give tastes which is unfortunate but it’s a corporate wine bar in an airport, what do you expect.

“You know what? I’m pissed off now. No ice, you run out of the wine I JUST had, and I can’t taste the damn wine? You guys REALLY need to rethink your setup here this is just awful.”

“I encourage you to contact some of the people who make these decisions and share your feelings, miss. The customer is always right.”

“Good idea! Why don’t you go ahead and give me your manager’s information!”

“I would be so glad to do that for you miss.”

Naturally I wrote down a fake name and email address. John Binns. This was a “professional skateboarder” from our town that my friends and I had an inside joke about for years. I happily provided her with his “info.”

Words cannot express the nature of the ever-revolving bullshit encountered on a daily basis. It’s chaos in one shape or another damn near every day. Yet on the contrary it’s rarely boring, which I reckon is the silver lining. A classic situation is people frantically realizing they need to board their plane and dropping this line: “Hey I have a flight to catch I gotta cash out.” Really? Holy shit let’s get you outta here buddy why didn’t you say so! Everybody else here is taking the train! Often they smash in front of people at the bar or counter and throw their card at you. I make sure to take my time when this happens.

The only way to deal with the shit-circus is to be a dick right back to these people, in a more clever subtle fashion, or just kill them with blatant fake kindness. Or start drinking. Or take a permanent vacation.