01.09.2010 - 30.09.2010
Its birthday season now, so I skyped with my grandma on my first day at my new job! I now work at the Bliss Cafe and Plato’s Greet Tavern both on Ponsonby. Mornings I work at the cafe, then afternoon and evening I work at the restaurant. They let me make coffee there, in fact, I am the only one who can. I don’t do it well, but I’ve been watching how they do it at the cafe, and I’ve even been told a bit by the nice manager. You see, its owned by the owner’s father, but she ran it with her guy friend, and when he shows up on the occasion to help out (he quit the partnership), its great! He isn’t snobby at all, and he takes the time to talk to me, and teach me how to do things right rather than yell at me for sucking. Also, the woman owner isn’t so bad, but she is never around, so I am always stuck with this bitch manager! She literally yelled at me for saying “Your welcome” to customers. “You just don’t say things like that, and I know its not your fault, your American, so I’ll just let you know that it is really just bad manners here. “ “When do you say your welcome if not when someone says thank you then?” I was starting to have enough of her hissy fits with me. “You don’t! Why can’t you get that! You say Thank you!” “When someone says than you to me, I say thank you?” “Yes! You are thanking them for your job!” Yeah, I hated this whore. So did he, she is one of the reasons he gave up his share of the cafe.
Also, on a fun note, as my hours are becoming less and less, I am realizing that they are cutting me out so I quit, since I’m a hard worker they have no reason to fire me, so this is their passive aggressive way. She told me to clean the audio cabinet. We never clean in there because we are so busy cleaning things the customers do see, but whatever we were slow. So I dusted all the cd payer and radio stuff, organized all the cds and when I was done, she said “Did you mess around with the MP3 player cables?” “No, I moved them so I could dust the surfaces, but I didn’t unplug anything...” “Vanessa, Vanessa, Vanessa, the police are on their way to dust for prints!” “What are you talking about?” When she came in that morning, the reason we weren’t playing music, was because the MP3 player was missing. She called the cops right then and there and asked them to come and dust for prints. Then she sent me to clean that exact area for the first time ever, and didn’t mention any of this to me, so now the only prints there, are mine. Yeah, I couldn’t believe that she would even go that low, but this was the way she was, a passive aggressive son of a whore. On my last day there, while she was steaming milk right next to the register, a man ordered a flat white with chocolate. Just to double check, I saw no problem of sprinkling the cappuccino chocolate on a coffee with less froth, but just to check, I repeated it back to him. “Double Shot! Idiot!” she screamed at me like I was the boy who worked for the grocer in Amele. She stormed out of the front and went in back to have a cigarette. We had a line out the door for coffee, and I wasn’t allowed to touch the machine, even though my coffees are good now according to the chefs in back. Yeah, I needed to get out of that place.
I asked if I should leave my apron at the cafe since they weren’t sure they would need me now that they hired another barista for the morning, and they said no, I need to take it home and wash it as usual. So I took the apron home, and they never called me again. But as I said, I had a new job at Plato’s, and shockingly, everyone who works there, except for the managers and chef, is Mexican or Colombian! And the chef hated them because they couldn’t understand his Kiwi accent! So I would go in back, talk to the chef, and then translate for the Mexicans his English to my English. Me they understood. And they were all so yummy. Each and every one of them were beautifully handsome. The Colombian looked like he should be on the cover of a romance novel, the others were just cute, maybe a boy band, or the cover of some teen magazine. One of the Mexican's quit the night I started (I was his replacement). The other trained me and then within the week, and as he left, he whispered in my ear “Make sure they pay you.” My first thoughts were, wow, you know your desperate when you take a job that the Mexican's won't even do... then I felt real bad for being such a stereotypical American. I didn't really think that Mexican's only took crap jobs that we didn't want, its just that a lot of Mexican's do kinda do this, and the joke is out there, and bla bla bla, I'll stop tying to defend myself now. I told him before he left that I had to take a photo of him so my friends will believe me when I say how cute he was:
He looks nothing like this picture.
The Columbian told me that this place used to be packed every day, morning till 3am the next day. They have a club upstairs where people would dance, and they have their won bar upstairs as well. He said he used to man the bar upstairs with one other guy, and then there were 2 guys at the bar downstairs, at least 5 waiters and waitresses, each of them baristas as well, and 2 chefs each with their won kitchen hand. “What happened?” He and I were working with one chef and the manager Paul at the time, and we hadn’t a single customer. It was a Friday night. He pointed me to this article:
He said that we used to have rugby players from Auckland’s main league team in here drinking after games, and all this blew up because the owner was pulling a con over all their eyes about some sort of Sky City casino (That’s the big space needle you see in Auckland). And slowly, but surely, everyone else quit, one by one. You know you are low when you work at a place that even the Mexican’s won’t work at. Hahahahaha, racism. Anyways, I struggled for my pay every 2 weeks, but eventually I would get it. They owed thousands to the Mexican’s, but I think they knew if they didn’t pay me, then they were screwed, because I wouldn’t come in, and I was all they had. They even made me Duty Manager after the Columbian left. To be in charge of the liquor license, you need to have training, which costs over a hundred dollars and takes about 2 weeks to complete... or you can have an acting duty manager for 3 weeks who is not certified, but still holding all the responsibility of a real one (meaning if Plato's is checked to see if they are following all the liquor licensing rules, and is found in violation of any of them, I am the one who takes all the heat, not the business!) Were they upping my pay any, no, and they were really kind of disgusted with me for asking if I get a raise for this, because I wouldn't be doing anything extra as Paul said he would handle everything, I was just his pawn... yeah, I really was not liking this. I couldn't refuse either, because if I did we would have to shut down as I was the only one who could preform the job short of them hiring someone else, and at this point on days I couldn't work they were already begging past employees to come in and just sit/ sleep/ do their homework so we could have a duty manager on site, even if they weren't actually working (pathetic). I asked my friend Jeremy for help as he has worked in the bar business almost all his life because his dad owns a bar and a brewery back in Alaska. He got me in touch with the group he was certified in New Zealand with, and they instructed me to read over the 1998 rule book on NZ licensing, and to demand to see all their certificates to make sure everything was still in order. "Don’t you trust me?” Well, no I didn’t, but what I said was “I need to see that by law, because when my name goes up on that wall, its my word that is saying that we are selling alcohol legally, and I am the one who gets into trouble if something isn’t right." He was indignant about it, but I wasn't being absurd to think something could happen as the police were only there last week, about a half dozen of them, looking around the restaurant and going over all their paperwork while questioning the nice manager about everything.
As it turned out their licence was expired, and then I had to struggle to get the paperwork proving that they were within their one month right to hold an expired license as they were in the works of applying for a new one (Jesus Christ!). I also noticed that we were illegally allowing the consumption of alcohol in our outdoor seating after 10pm, so I forced them to put up the required signs to indicated that any alcohol bought after 10pm must be consumed inside, and I enforced the rule for the first time since I started working there because if the police came again after 9pm as they did last time, there would be a good chance they would notice the violation, and I would be hit with all the blame. And with that, I put my name up as the soul responsible for all the liquor laws being followed, including one that is in America, but actually enforced in New Zealand: You can’t serve alcohol to someone who is drunk. (Then what’s the point?)
The nice manager who was a Maori woman stopped showing up after a while, and so I was always stuck with this weasel of a man Paul. One night the chef told me that he was going to drink, and I should join him, so I sat down for a few shots after work. Oh my god, whatever he did to my drinks, I couldn’t see straight! He told me to stay and party, but I told him I needed to go home. Paul was sleeping on the couch then, and said he was waiting for me to take me home. “I can walk” I told him, but he said no I couldn’t, not at this time of night. Well, that made me think better of him. He drove me home, and the next day we waited and waited for the chef to arrive. We couldn’t open without him. I told a few people we were only open for drinks, so they had a few coffees, then left. We closed after 2 hours. The next day Paul told me to just come in for my pay, and maybe he would open with a temp chef. I got to work too early, so I went down the road to the bar our chef always talks about is “his bar.” The owner was Irish, and he gave me a geography lesson, and the best Irish cider he had (he knew the one I was going for because he lived in Cork where I got the beer when I visited Brittany, but they didn’t have any). Then he told me that our chef was in jail. Apparently after leaving Platos he went to his, got himself kicked out, and then found himself down the road at the On the Run gas station, jumping over the counter and attacking the clerk. I guess the clerk wouldn’t sell to him because he was belligerent drunk.
Luckily, I had started a new cafe job in the CBD at a place called Foodinis (I think its pronounced like Houdini, like the food and coffee are so good, they disappear like magic) at least, that’s how I tell it. My boss is from Burma, and her husband the chef is from China. They bought the business from a Kiwi, and are still not too sure on the pronunciation. Her husband I can’t really understand, but Helen I can. We also have Cherry from China in back as co-head chef. She is a tiny thing, but the food she makes is really good. Like I always say, never trust a skinny chef, or a sleepy barista. Well, guess I’m not always right. I love it there, easily my favorite job ever! But, its only 4 hours a day, 3 days a week. I will still try and keep the job though, because Helen is so amazing, we became friends straight away, and she is so keen to help me make perfect coffee. Also, she is my first job according to the IRD (New Zealand’s IRS).
Other than work this month, I went to a “Stuff it” party. Vanya’s friend Jack was having a party at his place where you had to “stuff” something. Flatteringly enough, I was the only girl offering with a back wide enough to fit Vanya, so he wore my bra to the party with stuffed animals in it. We went with Anna and her German couchsurfer Ano. He surfed with Anna before, and he has gotten the name the “Naked Omelet making German” along with several others. Something about making omelets one morning topless, and Anna caught him at a strange angle and it seemed like he didn’t have any pants on either. Humph, strange. He and I agreed to split a box of wine because we couldn’t afford anything else (dirty couchsurfers). Joe had just recently left, and I was looking to cut loose a little, ok, correction, a lot. I really thought with all the nonsensical flirting going on that I might end up with Vanya that night, which I thought would be splendid. We had absolutely no connection other than friends, but he looked great in my bra. Now I don’t remember doing this consciously, but there was this older woman, and she was crazy all about getting some action, and there was Patrick, and he just seemed a little too interested in everything I was saying. Flirt, yes, start falling for a guy, NO! So I kinda pushed her on Patrick, thinking she was in her mid thirties, and Patrick had to be about the same age... well, I was really very wrong and they were about 15 years apart in age, and she wasn’t over 40... but I was drunk.... and boy, was I ever drunk. Vanya and Anna went to leave for the night, and I said I would go with them to the protest of Ano who wanted to stay a bit longer. "You can have the box" I let him know, and I went to leave. Then Vanya told me, no, stay for a bit longer, I didn't have to leave because he was. Well, when he put it like that! Then I told him he had to give me my braw back, because it happened to be my only one (I am a very dirty couchsurfer). And he told me no! "If you want it back, you can come retrieve it from me on your way home tonight." Oh, well... that sounded promising! I told him to forget it though, and that while Anna's place is relatively close to my place, it isn't actually on my way home, but he wouldn't budge, and was acting very playful and enticing. Okay then, I would come and retrieve my undergarments from his room tonight...
I stayed a bit longer, pissed off Jack's Asian roommate for being a loud and obnoxious American (if he can refer to me by nationality, then I can refer to his). Jack defended me for a bit by saying I was only playing, and everyone understood me to be good natured but this particular Asian, but he wouldn't budge on not liking me. Okay then, but I let him know that I didn't need kicking out, because I was in the process of saying my goodbyes, meaning I was on my way out, so his gesture was pointless. I didn't say it in so many words, but I was embarrassed and hurt at the time, not mad like I am now looking back on it. Anyways, it was Ano's last night, and he just had to go to the Scorpion bar before he left, so I let him drag me to that as it was on K-Rd which was on my way to me and Vanya's places. Fumbling my way up the steps, I fet strangely out of place, and then getting to the dance room I realized why. It was a Maori bar... Ano and I were the only white people there. Okay then, just pretend like you don't notice... Ano wanted to buy me a drink, but I told him I simply couldn't. He bought me one anyways, and for whatever reason, I attempted to drink it, but simply couldn't physically do it. Then the dancing. Ano got a huge group going dancing, and all the girls got a kick of how tall Ano was, and how totally white we both were with our complexion and dancing. When I started noticing a lot of the girls getting friendly with Ano, I took my opportunity to go hang on the bar for dear life. Ano came to fetch me, and I told him that I simply couldn't stand anymore, and I needed to go home and sleep. He said that if he held me up, then I could stay longer. He ended up carrying me back to the dance floor, and then dancing with me while holding me up (aka, very close). This was when I noticed how much he wanted me to stay... oh god I don't do change of plans like this! I wanted meaningless relations, but not that meaningless! He was leaving for Germany the next morning for Christs sake! I allowed him to hold me up because otherwise my walking resembled the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz, but that was it! I started to pull away, and I tried to tell him that I needed to sit down, but he took my looking up at him and getting close to his face so he could hear me yelling as a sign to lay a big one on me. What do I do!?!? I didn't want to hurt his feelings, so I kissed him back, but I was so drunk, confused, sick, and scared at his constant not understanding how I had other plans for the evening... AHHHHHHHH Well, I pulled away and sat on the floor, there, plane and simple. He helped me up and resigned to allowing me to hang on the bar again for a minute, but then he told me that he wanted me to come back with him to his place. Yeah, No. I told him to go and dance and have fun, and I just needed some space to catch my dizzy, and he did. While he was off dancing on the floor like a brave little soldier, a large Maori mand came up to me, smiled, and then offered me his arm. Very polite, very chivalrous, very bouncer. He was kicking me out for being intoxicated. I wrapped my arm on his, and he helped walk me to the stairs. Ano ran over and wispered something in the bouncer's ear. The bouncer looked to me, nodded, and then went to let me go! "NO no no no, it's okay, I should really leave, no, you stay Ano, have fun your last night, I'm just going to go home now." The look I gave the bouncer let him know I wanted to be escorted out, so he told Ano something, and then kept taking me to the front door. Ano ran to get his jacket back by the bar across the dance floor. This was when I got a rush of adrenalin. The bouncer thought he was going to have to carry me down, but I let go, grabbed the railing, and whizzed down the stairs, and busted out the front door! I hit the street in a flat sprint crossing K-Rd to the other side where there were a tun of people to get mixed and hidden with. The shocked group of people watched me with my dazed expression run like my life depended on it. "Like the wind baby, like the motherfucking wind!" I heard one drag queen say. I was like the wind, I was on a high I didn't know I could be on. My legs operated like I didn't know they could. I felt light as air. I could keep this up forever. I wasn't even tired by the time I hit the bridge. I always get tired jogging just a few blocks. This was a 30 minute walk at least. I hit a downhill bit once I made it to Ponsonby Rd, but still, I have not run like this since Junior High. When I made it to Anna's I collapsed on her front lawn. I couldn't breath, my lungs were so cold. I could have kept running, but I had made it, so my body stopped. I had a hard time getting back up, and now my head felt very light. I may pass out. Anna's door was open, so I let myself in. I went to Vanya's room and knocked on the door. I was still huffing and puffing. "mumble mumble mumble." I took that as a sign to open the door. "Vanya, are you asleep?" I was expecting him to still be awake, but all the lights were out in his room. "Its on the door knob." he mumbled to me. I felt further down the knob, and noticed that my braw was hanging from it. You lazy bastard... I took my braw and walked home in disappointment and disgust. He could have saved me the hassle and just given it back to me if he was just going to go to sleep. Oh well, I didn't really want to have sex with Vanya, I just wanted to feel alive again, feel wanted again, feel free again. I felt very free, alive, and completely unwanted as I curled up in my own bed, and I couldn't be happier. I wanted to be alone, I was finally alone not because Joe left, but because I wanted to be. I was glad about how the night turned out, and the next thing I knew, it was morning, and I had to go to work...
Then a week or so later my roommate Plum (not her born name, but one she has gone by most of her life) is a singer, and she had a gig I went to that was really good:
At this gig she played with a guy called Profane, and he was this kind of crazy looking Irish man who sang an entire song in Latin like an opera while he played a crazy piano piece, and acted out all the lyrics. If I recall, I think it was about the devil. Very interesting. Juliet came with me, and she got Vanya to come along. Vanya brought his friend Patrick, and the 4 of us squished together on a comfy sofa in back and watched the opening acts for Plum. I was sunken in between Patrick and Juliet at first, and we were able to have a really nice conversation during a belly dance number as the sound wasn’t too loud. Then my spiced wine was ready, so I got up to get it, and Juliet scooted in so I could have the table next to the sofa. The wine came in this hot teapot, and I pored it into a tea cup, and drank it hot and spicy. It was great! But, unbeknownst to Juliet and I, but knowenest to Patrick and Vanya, the real reason Patrick came tonight was to get close to me! And Juliet ended up sitting next to him the rest of the night! Hahahahaha! Oh Patrick and his so very subtle ways. We really had no idea.
And lastly, but not leastly, Joe came back, and he signed himself up for a MMA fight. “You did what?” I tried getting him to hand out CVs, and we made it all the way to the first subway, gave them a CV, and then had lunch, and called it a day. “What do you mean this kind of life isn’t for you? What, having a job? That’s just not your style?” I was getting mad. He was staying at Anna’s and my place, and sometimes our friends Stevie’s, and I was tired of it! “You can’t just stay with me! You are my ex! You can’t just always come around and live with me! I have my own place, my own life, and my own shitty jobs that treat me like crap! But I do all that to put a roof over my head, and you need to do the same, because I’m not doing this anymore.” He decided he could make plenty of money doing what he loved, so he was going to do this fight. “You aren’t prepared, you haven’t been training, and you don’t have a group to train with! I am completely against this, and I will not support it at all.” He wanted me to train with him. I was tired of being there for him, tired of helping him, tired of being used by him. So I didn’t. He stopped staying over my place, started practically living at Anna’s, and trained every day almost with Stevie, a peaceful, non fighter and a vegan. He was going to loose.
Come his last week, when I realized that he was really going through with this, with or without me, I put on the gloves. I worked with him, and showed him how off his game he was. “Come on!” I remember telling him, as if he need pumping up to do things right. I found myself repeating to him words that were once second nature to him, but he had forgotten. “Get your act together! Circle, use your stances, get low, block your jaw!” I must have struck him several times in the jaw before he started blocking right, before he started looking like the fighter he used to be. But it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t a fighter either. And I was the best he had. He invited everyone to his fight, and Anna said we would be the carne group. I told her no, we wouldn’t be. Joe was coming into this fight the odd ball already. He was Kung Fu style, everyone else was MMA style. He was already strange enough. His corner was a tall lengthy thing that had never fought, and a girl. To even things out, I told Ben he had officially been promoted to co-corner with me. He needed man with mussel in his corner, for face if nothing else. I would have rather had Vanya, but he was busy and couldn’t make it. Vanya, Ben, and Stevie, would have been better. I told Ben and Stevie everything they needed to know. No suggestions! Whatever he was doing, that was it, too late to change, just encouragement, and wipe up blood, that’s what they were there for. Joe was facing off a much shorter opponent, and Maori by blood. Anna said “shit” it was like fighting a tank she said. Maoris are mesomorphs like Ciani. They put on mussel real easy. Joe knew this guy was shorter, so he prepared for a wrestler. But this guy wasn’t a wrestler. Anna was right. He was a tank. Well, here it goes:
Stevie cleaned up Joe’s blood, I told Joe to get in there, use his knees, move around, and block his JAW! But it was too late, that punch to the nose in the first round called the match. Joe was dazed.
After the fight, Ben drove to the nearby dairy to pick up some ice, shockingly, they didn’t have any here. You had to bring your own. We used my umbrella cover to catch a lot of his blood, his nose I think, may have been broken. Then Stevie came back with a lot of towels. He was a really good friend, they all were. And to add a little icing on the cake, this is what the website for the fights had this:
Joe says he was really happy with the fight.