Sunday, April 27, 2003

Server Rant

As you may well know, I work at Olive Garden. I've worked there since July of last year. Previous to that, I was a server at Crapplebee's in a few different locations, at the first of which, I was even a Certified Trainer™. So I've been waiting tables for a while. It's actually the longest I've worked in any 'profession', but I have to say that lately I am so absolutely burned out and over the whole thing.

Being a financially successful server depends entirely on the area you live and/or work in. In my case, I live in this armpit town in WV, full of rednecks, hillbillies, and otherwise completely ignorant people. There are decent people here, but they're definitely the minority. I heard some figure that 80% of the population around here gets some sort of government assistance. Now, I don't know if that's an actual statistic, but after waiting on the people around here, I have to say it sure seems true.

I have never, ever seen such cheap.. CHEAP!!!!!!!!! fucking people in my life. They either never learned to tip or just really are incredibly cheap. Not only that, I guess Mama never taught them how to behave in restaurants. These are folks who are more accustomed to grilling squirrels out back than going out to eat in a fancy restaurant like Olive Garden.

Part of the lovely package of working at Olive Garden are our all-you-can-eat soup, salad, and breadsticks. I think if we didn't have any of the above, life would be grand. I wouldn't have to face cheapness every day I work. First I have to say that my biggest peeve at working at OG is the customers that are so obsessed with the free salad and breadsticks that they can't even contain themselves while I inquire about what they'd like to drink. A sample conversation:

Me: Hi, my name is Alena, I'll be taking care of you today. Can I get you all something to drink?
Person: Well, we want the salad.

The hell? Were they even listening to me? Did I ask about the salad, or the meal at all for that matter? We're not going to run out of salad, so these people need to RELAX. If ever I want to quit with a big bang, I will likely say that to someone's face one day. "Look. The salad's not going anywhere. You all need to RELAX about the freaking salad and breadsticks. Now. What would you like to drink?"

Anyway, every time I think I have seen and heard everything, a table will end up topping the most ridiculous of my stories. Tonight, I had, I think, the cheapest table I have ever had. Two ladies, possibly mother and daughter, and this buck-toothed little red-headed girl. I get to the table and everything seems fairly normal at first (they didn't order just water and water or nothing for the kid), until I come back to get the dinner order.

The older lady looks up at me with a concerned look and asks, "How big is the dinner size fettucine alfredo?"

I replied that it's twice the size of the lunch size. The began asking questions like whether it came on a big plate and other weird things, until they finally just out and out asked if I thought the three of them could split a dinner size fettucine alfredo.

! ! !

Now, I could understand if they were thin ladies and looked like they might have small appetites. After all, I definitely couldn't finish a dinner size fettucine alfredo on my own. But it's not THAT big, and they were not thin ladies. I got immediately that they were looking to eat a ton of salad and breadsticks for free, essentially, while splitting the main dish.

I asked the lady if she wanted to add a salad, then, since she intended to eat salad and I was going to be damned if she didn't pay for it. We then got into a discussion about how the salad works. I'd have to charge her if she ate off the refill salad, and I would charge her the full $4.95 for unlimited garden salad. She then was concerned if maybe it would be more cost-effective to just order a lunch lasagna and get the salad that way. I was not about to make any decisions for her and frankly I really didn't care, because I was going to charge her for the salad either way.

She decided against getting the lasagna and the two ladies then decided to get a kid's size fettucine alfredo for the little girl. Whatever. I brought the salad, they ate the one bowl and declined a refill -- the lady would get off without paying, after all.. grr.

Then, after all this, as I'm taking the plates off the table, the younger lady says to me, "Oh, and by the way, just to let you know, my plate was dirty."

I just stared at her because I wanted to hit her. Her plate was not dirty! It had a little tomato sauce on the rim of the bowl, where the cooks (who handle tomato, marinara, and meat sauce frequently) had grabbed her plate. I bit back my nasty reply and gave her the explanation, which she kind of dismissed and said, "I was just letting you know."

Yeah, letting me know so you might get a free dinner, is more like it. After you ate the whole damn thing, too, it was obviously bothering you that much. Their tip was appropriately low.. 10% or something. I was not surprised.

And I walked out tonight, after 7 hours on the floor, with $40 ($460 in sales). Yeah. Worth it, totally. This job is like... a complete exercise in futility. Work hard, be nice to people, doesn't matter because you won't get tipped anyway. I've found that it makes no difference what kind of attitude I have with my tables. My tips are fairly shitty, no matter what.

I also have to say that little things are really starting to get on my nerves at work. Certain people are really irritating me and I'm starting to snap at them. I really would like to find a job that doesn't drive me insane.

Saturday, April 26, 2003

What a Week

I was working for a while as a GameMaster (Admin) of an online roleplaying game called Gemstone III. It's a game I've played since like '95, way back when it was a game on AOL. Anyway, this site is not a GS-related site at all, so I haven't talked about GS.. up until today, because on Monday, for the first time in my life, I was fired.

Yes, that's right, I was fired from a game. And what tops the cake is that I was basically fired over a technicality after I had the grandfather of all brainfarts and slipped up. I was a casualty of a much-bigger problem, but I was essentially fired for violating my NDA. In any case, I'm still trying to get over the shock of the whole thing. From what I know of past people who have been fired, I figured it takes a lot. Guess I was wrong. Ha!

I'm now a regular player after almost three years of being staff in some capacity. Regular account, no nifty tools or perks. It's very bizarre. I rather like it, though. It's kind of freeing, to not be held to any real standard anymore, to not HAVE to do anything, to play when I want and do whatever the hell I want. I mean, when I look at it, it's not really like I lost anything. Yeah, I wanted to be a GM really bad for quite a long time, but I did get the opportunity, and it also didn't hold up to what I'd expected it to be.

I'd been considering quitting anyway about once a week, but it was kind of like the more work they piled on me, the deeper I got myself. It made it harder to quit, knowing all the work I would be dumping on people. Well, they took the decision away from me, but maybe that's okay. I certainly wasn't going to make it for myself.. and do I miss all the work, the deadlines, the complete lack of gratification and appreciation? No. What I miss are the perks and fun stuff, and that's not any reason to be a GM.

So I think overall, it's not a bad thing. It's just kind of disheartening to be fired when you've been working really hard. But it's a friggin' game and I know I'll get over it because, in the grand scheme, I'm headed for bigger and better things anyway. And I did get a great opportunity.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Nifty Cool Thing of the Day

From the Daily Telegraph (a British news organization)
Lights! Camera! Retake!
(Filed: 13/04/2003)

The Honda Accord campaign launched last week looks certain to become an advertising legend. Quentin Letts goes behind the scenes

Six hundred and six takes it took, and if they had been forced to do a 607th it is probable, if not downright certain, that one of the film crew would have snapped and gone mad.

On the first 605 occasions something small, usually infuriatingly minute, went just slightly awry and the whole delicate arrangement was wrecked. A drop too much oil there, or here maybe one ball-bearing too many giving a fraction too much impetus to the movement. Whirr, creak, crash, the entire, card-house of consequences was a write-off and they had to start again.

Honda's latest television advertisement, a two-minute film called "Cog", is like a fine-lubricated line of dominoes. It begins with a transmission bearing which rolls into a synchro hub which in turn rolls into a gear wheel cog and plummets off a table on to a camshaft and pulley wheel. All the parts are from the new Honda Accord - £16,495 to you, guv'nor, or £6 million if you want to pay for the advertising campaign. And what an amazing ad campaign it is, too.

(The rest of this article can be found here. The commercial itself is here. It's pretty amazing.)

Sunday, April 20, 2003

The First Amendment

I want to talk a little bit about Democracy, the First Amendment, and the freedoms we, as Americans, enjoy in this country. I will say up front that I neither support or oppose the current war in Iraq. I'm really glad that it's seemingly been a good thing (if you can trust the media), and that there have not been many casualties.

I'm kind of a pacifist. I don't agree with war, and I don't like it, but I do know that it is sometimes necessary. It's also human nature, so we will never exist as a completely peaceful planet. Therefore, while I rarely support war, I might support the cause behind it.

However, everyone has the right to speak their mind. It doesn't matter whether I agree, every citizen of this country has the right to speak his mind. Enter in the First Amendment, a wonderful document guaranteeing everyone the right to speak out. This right is one of the fundamentals of American Democracy, and right now, it's being taken away. It may not be taken away from you yet, but you may know someone who is afraid to speak their mind for fear of serious repercussions.

What am I talking about? I'm talking about the governmental changes after 9/11 that stealthily are stealing away our freedoms left and right. I'm talking about people being too afraid to be openly against the war in Iraq for fear of being ostracized or even suspected of being a terrorist or terrorist supporter. Celebrities are being lambasted left and right for daring to oppose the war in Iraq. God forbid they, or when it comes down to it, we, think our President is a dink.

Don't get me wrong, I understand the reasoning behind the 'tightened security'. I have profound sorrow over 9/11 and I will never forget where I was or how I felt when I first heard. It brings me to tears just thinking about it. But instead of taking grasp of that brief, perfect moment of American unity that existed after 9/11, it became a matter of retaliation against those responsible.

The Dixie Chicks got a ton of heat for saying they're embarrassed to be from Dubya's home state. Radio stations taking their songs off playlists, stores refusing to stock their albums, fans boycotting them. What the hell? They think the President is a dink, and you know what? He is a friggin' dink! If this man had any less of an IQ and personality, he'd be a cucumber. There, now you all can stop buying my albums, too.

Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon have been in the news quite a bit lately for similar reasons. They were scheduled to speak at a Baseball Hall of Fame commemoration of the anniversary of "Bull Durham". At some point, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon spoke out against the war, creating a nasty backlash. The event at the BHoF was cancelled after it was made very clear it was because the couple was 'un-American' and 'unpatriotic'.

A fantastic speech by Tim Robbins given at the National Press Club can be found here. It's a beautiful speech and I highly recommend reading it. He's very eloquently put into words my thoughts on the current situation, as well as bringing new facts to light.

I don't think I'm patriotic. However, I'm not unpatriotic, either. I think this is a great country, but I know it could be so much better. As I said, as a Pagan, I'm basically a pacifist and I don't like to see war happening anywhere. As for terrorism and 9/11, I mourn the loss of innocent lives, period. I don't care what age, sex, nationality, or whatever they are. An innocent life lost is a tragedy.

Saturday, April 19, 2003

Catching Up

I am so tired. I think my recent odd sleeping patterns (like staying up past dawn pretty much every day) are due to insomnia instead of me being a vampire. Basically, it doesn't matter what time I go to bed. If I go early, I either stay awake until the sun comes up, or I fall asleep, but don't sleep well all night. I've been trying to right my sleep schedule because it's definitely causing me trouble at work -- I was written up again for being late; I'd escaped it the Thursday before because I'm a good employee and the managers like me.. but I was half an hour late then, and I was half an hour late again last Thursday.

I tried to go to bed, I just could not fall asleep. I knew I was going to be in trouble when my alarm went off, and I set the volume up really loud. I did fall asleep around 7:30am, and I woke up to my alarm at 10:15, but I hit the snooze and fell back asleep. After that, I guess I just was asleep and hitting the snooze bar, because the alarm went off at one point and I looked at the clock and just about died when I saw it was 11:50.. I was supposed to be at work at 11:30 and on the floor by 11:45.. and I wasn't just late. I was really late. Again.

I got written up after I first started, for being late (I think 15 minutes), but after that, they generally leave me be if it's just a minute or two. Fuck. I can NOT lose my job. I don't even know what I would do if I lost my job. I've never been fired from anywhere. I'm not a bad employee, I just have always been flexible when it comes to time. Heh. It's not even like Olive Garden is the pinnacle of my career or anything, but there is just no way I could ever work at Applebee's again, and I'm not sure what my chances would be at Outback. And those are pretty much the few choices I have. So, no, I can't lose my job.

The managers at least believed me when I told them about my insomnia. Steve has me scheduled on Thursday nights now, instead of days, bless him. They asked if I'd been to a doctor.. and no, I haven't. I can't afford to see a doctor, so I think I'm going to be a walking zombie for a while, until this fixes itself. A couple of people at work suggested I take something like Tylenol PM to fall asleep, so I got some Tylenol PM; minus the Tylenol and just the sleep stuff. Night before last, I took a couple and tried to go to sleep around 1:30am. Well, I fell asleep pretty quickly, but I kept waking up all night and I felt like I'd barely slept at all. So last night I took four and man. I zonked out! Yet again, I woke up a few times in the morning, and felt like I'd been dreaming all night instead of getting the deep sleep I need.

So I'm really tired. And taking four of those sleeping pills made me feel totally stoned today, just minus the high. I would love to get just one night of really decent sleep!

Kit and I had our talk. First she bought me dinner (Subway), which we brought back to her place to eat. She made me go first, so I spilled my guts about everything. I got to even get a bit worked up and get out some of my anger, which felt very good. After I mentioned her harsh, condescending email, she got kind of angry, herself, but she did apologize one last time for that. She admitted she'd purposefully cut me off, because not only did she want space, she has been trying to reform me or something. A pet project, the way she said her parents made her one. I pointed out that she holds everyone to the standard she sets, and that she and I are very different people, what works for her doesn't work for me. She agreed that she does this, and she agreed also that she's been trying to hold me to her standard while trying to fix me.

She said that she's been thinking about it a lot and that it wasn't fair of her to do so, and that it wasn't fair to force me into exile. I told her that it would have been nice to have been told she needed space, instead of completely cutting me off, and she agreed she should have.

We talked a little about her friends and I told her what I feel about that. That I like Joe and Kay and they've generally been nice and fairly welcoming to me, but Wendy has always been cold and indifferent. In the harsh email Kit sent, she'd apparently asked Wendy what she thought of me, and Wendy replied, I think she's fine, and pretty smart, but I can only stand about 15 minutes of Gemstone before I get sick of hearing it. Is that all she ever talks about?"

That made me livid. I think I can count on one hand how many times I've talked about GS in front of Kit's friends, which goes to show how much Wendy actually listens to me. We had like a two hour conversation once about beer, one of her passions. Guess she forgot about that, huh? I have just gotten so sick of hanging out with all of them and being totally ignored. Sick of trying to impress them, of trying to participate and when I chime in with a joke or funny anecdote, no one laughs, or gives more than a hint of a reaction. I know I'm no comedian, but I know I'm not that unfunny. So for Wendy to say that, and for Kit to tell me she said that.. Yeah, it makes me livid.

I'm invited to go walking with her and Joe in McDonough, so that's cool. I'll likely go on my free evenings, since I like walking through that park and I can use the exercise. She said she wants to reconnect with me, to get to know me better. She did say we're very different and didn't know if we'd be able to be close friends, but that, then again, we may end up with a lot in common. We are very different, and she's right. We may end up having nothing in common. But I don't think we would have attracted each other in the first place if we weren't interested in each other and didn't have things in common.

All in all, I think things went very well. Personally, I'm giving her a second chance, and if she blows me off this time, I'm done with it. I don't have the time or emotional energy to keep dealing with this. But we sat and caught up for a while and chatted about GS, since she hasn't been playing. It seems promising, but we'll see. I'm not going to get my hopes up.

P.S. Her stupid TV is huge and cost a grand. 'Nuff said.

Thursday, April 17, 2003


Not much has been happening since I've had the past few days off. Haven't been feeling very well and have been totally unmotivated to do the weekly stuff I have to do on my days off, though I did drag myself to Wal-Mart yesterday.

By the way, let me use this opportunity to sing the praises of Pantene Smooth and Sleek, perhaps the finest shampoo and conditioner ever to hit the market. My hair is both fine and very thick, which leads to afro-head because it tends to get frizzy. I am lazy and low-maintenance, so I only air-dry my hair, and regular shampoo is no help whatsoever. Pantene Smooth and sleek makes my hair very soft and seems to weigh it down some, so it lays much flatter and calmer than usual. I highly recommend it to anyone who has hair that won't behave.

Anyway. Kit and I are supposed to meet tomorrow to talk about things and catch up. The way she was in her last email made it seem like she thinks this will not be the end, so that's interesting. I don't know how I'll feel when we actually talk, since I have no idea what I think about this anymore. I honestly am just sick as hell of dealing with it and really don't care anymore.

Plus I really am not good one-on-one like that.. I'm much better writing out my thoughts and feelings. When I'm talking to certain people (Kit and my mom are two of them) seriously, it's like I get bombarded by their new ideas and my brain goes nuts trying to process all the new information. And then I get distracted from what I want to say. Or if the conversation gets off on a tangent, I'll forget what I needed to say and it'll never get said. So I feel like I'm going in on her turf, since she's much better at these kinds of talks than I am.

The weather has been very warm, I even had my a/c on for a bit yesterday when I couldn't stand the heat anymore. My apartment has a bunch of windows, but only three have screens on them, so it's hard to get a crossbreeze going. I really wish I had a screen on my bedroom window. I'm not looking forward to summer because I hate the heat and humidity and I know my electric bills are going to skyrocket once I use the damn window unit all the time.

I also have been hallucinating bugs all night long. Like I keep thinking I'm seeing a cockroach moving out of the corner of my eye, but there's really nothing there. See, I don't have cockroaches, so they're not a daily occurrence. But they come to visit from time to time, and I get surprised every time, so I guess now I'm just anticipating it. It's so gross. I want to tell the landlord to get an exterminator!! I'm afraid, though, if I do tell him, that he won't do anything about it. He's like 80 years old and crochety as hell, and I prefer to avoid dealing with him. But the cockroaches have to go. It's really gross.

Monday, April 14, 2003

"Friendship"? Whatever.

Yeah, so, Kit and I have been really struggling with our friendship for a while. The death knell was when she asked me to move out, and then basically excised me from her life. I got really pissed off and hurt by it, though now I'm in a totally different state of mind. I don't even know how to describe it.

It's like I don't really care most of the time. I'm not sure how I went from being really hurt and pissed off to not caring at all. But it's easier, at any rate.

I moved out and, as I suspected, she didn't bother to contact me once I was gone. When she closed the Uhaul truck door, squeezing in the cab with two of her real friends, and drove off without me.. I knew then that it was the end. Since then, she never is online anymore and she never bothers to call or email me. I did see her on IMs a few times, briefly, after I'd just moved out.

Finally I just got so fed up that I wrote her a long email. She responded in her traditional condescending, blunt way, basically making me feel even more like shit about things. How does it end up always that everything is my fault? I'm sick of that shit. I'm sick of people trying to escape bad feelings by pinning the blame on me.

We had a brief email exchange and I said that we should probably get together to discuss our problems. She is "busy" and said she would contact me later in the week to see about getting together to talk, since she doesn't feel like she communicates well personally in emails. The week goes by and nothing from her, which, at this point, neither fazes or surprises me. I'm so over this shit. I'm pretty much ready to say, "Look. Obviously this isn't working for either of us, why continue to try to play this game?"

I found a cool LoTR desktop background yesterday and it looks awesome on my monitor. Kit likes LoTR, too, and this image was just so awesome and detailed, I had to share it with her. I don't know why.. I couldn't resist. I knew I'd likely confuse her by making a seemingly-friendly gesture after the last cold email I sent. I kind of wanted to just poke her and see what happened, since the week she was supposed to contact me has since past.

She emailed me back today, not talking about anything serious (she's beginning to remind me of certain people I have dealt with in the past), but instead telling me how busy she's been, and Wendy bought a house so they were over there helping, and somehow in all her being so busy, she's taken time out to by an apparently huge TV.

Yeah.. our friendship hangs on the balances and she's telling me about her new fucking TV and how I'll have to come over and see it. You want to know what I had to sit on my hands to prevent replying? "I really don't care about your fucking TV. Are we getting together or not, to discuss things?"

I was more civil than that, though. I responded back with the nights that are good for me, as she requested, and instead of smacking her down about her stupid-ass TV, I just plainly asked if we are going to discuss things. I want to get this the hell over with.

See, I want to know where things stand. Right now, we're in limbo because we haven't really talked, and I'm sick of it. I need to know whether or not she and I will be friends when the conversation ends, so I can either suck up being dissed by her all the time, or move on with my life if we're not.

Now that I've settled into living alone, I like it. I'm so glad I was finally able to get my own place, alone, with no roommates. Even if my place is kind of a pit and there are cockroaches in the building. I think back to how it felt living with Kit in that small-ass apartment, with no space or privacy, and I have no idea how we did that for so long. I mean, this is just SO much better. I should have moved out long ago!

I feel like I'm coming into my own here. I'm learning about how I interact and deal with people on a daily basis, and I have discovered some things about myself. I was surprised one night when I went out for a few drinks after work with Michelle, when we ran into Deirdre (or however she spells it) and had a really good conversation. I was amazed at how much she and I have in common, how we share a very similar mindset about things.. but that since she's very pretty and girly and blonde, I took her at face value and never really thought we could be friends.

So I realized I judge people on face value and stupidly decide then and there whether we could be friends. This comes from my hatred of shallowness. I don't want a friendship where it's always light, where I can never talk to the person about things. An acquaintance that's like that, sure. But not a friend. I have basically likely been missing many opportunities at friendships simply because I rarely open up to people, and have judged almost everyone I know as not friend-material.

Sitting there with Michelle, talking to Deirdre, what was going through my head was, "Wow. I could be really good friends with Deirdre." I was really floored.. we are so on the same wavelength about things, it's kind of amazing. A few days later at work, I started talking to her, because that night with Michelle, I'd decided Deirdre and I should hang out, because I think we click. When I told Deirdre we should hang out, she said, "Yeah, that night at Applebee's, I was thinking, 'I could become really good friends with Alena.'" Weird, eh? We both had like the same exact thought. See? Totally same wavelength.

Now that I've moved out, I find myself much more relaxed in general. It could, of course, be because I started smoking pot again after almost a year of near-complete abstinence (Kit doesn't approve). But I have recently noticed that, at work, I'm just so much more laid back with the customers. Well, until it gets to be a Saturday night in the smoking section and I'm PMSing and about ready to go postal on the whole restaurant. But I digress.

I was originally kind of worried about how I would do living alone. As an introvert (INFJ, to be precise), I relish my alone time. I have to have alone time, daily if possible. But I do have a tendency to get lonely, so I was concerned about living by myself. I've always lived with someone, whether it be one roommate or several, a few friends, or a girlfriend. I always wanted to live on my own but was sort of afraid that I'd get all melancholy and maudlin without other people around to keep me company.

In truth, this living alone thing is fantastic. I can do what I want, when I want. I can play the music I like, at pretty much any volume (since the kid downstairs blasts his music several times a day, I really don't care what he thinks). I can smoke pot, I can hang out, I can sleep in my underwear. I can walk to the shower naked. I can stay up as late and sleep in as long as I want (aside from days I work, of course). I can smoke inside. I can burn incense. I can leave the windows and door wide open, or crank the heat up as much as I want. The list goes on.

I really like it. Sure, I live like the most cliched bachelor on earth, but I don't care. :P Eventually I will either move out of WV completely or get a couch or something to spruce this place up. I'm thinking about beanbag chairs, in the interim. I haven't seen any at Wal-Mart, though.

Sunday, April 13, 2003


New Girl Order says this about the mighty Scorpio:

Scorpio; October 23-November 21
You like to interface with your world with feelings first, and then sort out the mess with intellect. You are highly emotional and have pretty high standards for the rest of us. Really its just because you want to see us do well. Your color is deep purple and your stone is amethyst. Your fragrance is geranium and your vulnerable body part is your genitals. The way to your heart is through your glory hole! Your deeply erotic and lusty and your tarot card is Death. Some common professions for you are detective, surgeon and undertaker. Morbid, morbid cure fan…


I actually don't know the real title of this song, since it was given to me on a burned mix. It's an awesome song by Ellis.

Just take it easy
Just lay back here with me
I got you
I got you, baby
Just take it easy
Just close your eyes
And drift off to sleep

I know the world is so unkind
I know it's taking a long time
I know it's hard to believe
But things will work out, you'll see
And whether or not we travel the same road
I just wanted you to know
You always have a home
In me

Just take it easy
Just lay back here with me
I got you
I got you, baby
Just take it easy
Don't you worry about me
We'll just let ourselves be
I wanna hold you close
I wanna touch your skin
I want to fall apart
In your arms again
But it's time to let go
We'd have worked by now
At least we know
Got our feet back on the ground
No more twisted roads
No more twisted words
No more tangled thoughts
No more I misheard
No What did you say
No What did that mean
Those lines are there
Without the in-between

Just take it easy
Just lay back here with me
I got you
I got you, baby
Just take it easy
Just close your eyes
And drift off to sleep

Feh and Stuff

Okay. I lost everything I wrote about last night, and I just can't bring myself to rewrite it all. It was so good, too!

There is something that I keep thinking about, so I may as well write about it here. Only what I write this time is going to be different, because I feel like focusing directly on Rob.

Rob is one of our newer bartenders and one of the gay guys at work. He's one of the most clueless people I have ever met, and he apparently lives in La-La Land, thinking none of us dislike him. When the truth is, he annoys the shit out of everyone. When I say 'annoy', I mean bugs-the-shit-out-of-you kind of irritation. He's one of those people who wants sooooooooo badly to fit in and tries sooooooooo hard.. yet it backfires because he's always in everyone's space, and it gets irritating.

It's not like I've been nice to him and encouraged it. I sometimes ride the line and am somewhat mean to him, but he doesn't even take it badly. I guess he respects me for some weird reason (I say that because it's not like we've ever talked about anything at all, so how can he respect me as much as I think he does, without knowing me at all?). I really am not in the habit of being mean to people; usually I can ignore and avoid the people I dislike, and not get riled up about things that annoy me. The thing about Rob is that you can't discourage or avoid him. He's kind of like a leech.. he swims up from the murky depths, finds you and sucks on, and apparently when you burn him with matches and peel him off, it makes you cool and admirable!

I don't know what's going on with his hair. It's some unfortunate style that he invented.. but instead of looking 'different', which I think he's striking for, it looks more like it's thinning on top and he's trying to do a front comb-over. And if that wasn't bad on its own, he uses an assload of gel or something that makes it look like it hasn't been washed in a month. Someone should tell him he looks like a sweaty, middle-aged man with that hairstyle.

So anyway, we all went out to True Colors (one of the two gay bars in the area) last night for Chris' birthday. I got baked beforehand, my reward after a super-shitty night at work. I hate bars anyway, unless they're somewhat upscale and/or you're not deafened by terrible music and can actually hold a conversation. Bars are not my scene. I don't even really like drinking.. I always end up feeling like total crap the next day, no matter how little I actually imbibe.

Because I'm uncomfortable in bars, I tend to get very self-conscious and quiet, and end up spending most of my time listening and observing. Well, somehow, struggling with my inner uncool lends me a mystique of Super-Cool. Don't ask me how it happens. I don't feel cool.. I'm just kinda.. me. I've been told this twice in a bar setting, that I appear so cool and collected.. untouchable.

It amuses me that I can project a Super-Cool force field when I feel so insecure and self-conscious inside. And I think it's cool that I can adopt this Super-Cool exterior when I'm feeling vulnerable. I'm a Scorpio, so the whole protective shell thing is so appropriate. In any case, at one point last night, Rob stopped flailing around on the dance floor to come sit next to me when I was alone at the table. Right next to me. Like, in my face.

Rob then began one of the more uncomfortable conversations I've hever had. He fawned over me for a half an hour (maybe longer.. it felt like a long time!), though after about five minutes of it, I was practically squirming in my seat and trying to avoid looking at him. You have to understand that I'm not someone that ever gets fawned over, so I admit it was a bit flattering in the beginning. He liked my style (I didn't even know I had a style!), he liked my hat and my shirt, he LOVED my shirt and my hat, I'm so cool, so strong, so intimidating, and on and on and on...

I was trying to beg help from the others with my eyes, but they were too busy talking to each other to notice my plight. I tried and tried to discourage the topic of conversation, but he evaded me at every turn and continued to gush all over me about whatever. Oh.. not only was I cool, but he fished until he got me to say I'm a lesbian (which is beyond common knowledge, so now I know he lives in a cave) and then started going on and on about how he'd known, he'd guessed it, blah blah, obviously feeling proud of himself that he'd figured out one of the more public things at work. Yeah, takes genius, I tell you.

So I knew mid-conversation that nothing I said or did could discourage him. If I was detached and disinterested, that only added to my Super-Cool mystique; which apparently attracts, rather than repels, him. If I was friendly, I'd only be encouraging it. I sat there, Rob leaned over basically into my lap and spitting in my face, going on and on about stuff. I wanted to scratch out my own eyes.

What was kind of funny is when he was telling me I'm intimidating, he brought up something that happened at work last night. As I said earlier, I was having a really shitty night, and I was in the blackest mood possible. I got so frustrated and fed up that I threw a bit of a tantrum, slamming stuff and cursing. I hate it when people do that stuff at work, but you know, I don't do it often and sometimes you need a vent. After all, throwing a tray jack harder than normal is far better than hurling a wine glass across the dining room. Or stabbing all the guests. :-D

I think I'm at that stage in PMS where I'm uncontrollably emotional. I mean, I'm always emotional, but I'm usually able to keep it somewhat in check. But this time of month rolls around and something sets me off, and I end up in tears. I sat in dry storage for a while, crying and trying to calm down. I didn't get much time before my roommate called that I had a new table, so after I took care of them, I checked the time and headed back to the smoke hole to have a much-needed cigarette.

I think everyone pretty much knows I don't get this upset that often, so they were all respectful to me when I sat down and lit up. I was calming down a little, and we chatted small talk. Rob came back to get a broom and took it off the hook, then turned to point it at me and started to advance. Without even looking up, I growled, "Don't even fuck with me." He stopped immediately and kind of scurried away. God, that felt good. Let out the inner bitch!

As for the conversation last night, I actually have no idea what he was saying about most of it, it was like he was saying I didn't seem gay, and then he would say something like I'm so gay it's obvious. I do know he kept saying I remind him of his friend Marisa, who is, like me, Uber-Cool and a lesbian. Then he started grilling me with questions about how I felt about him. Gah!!

See, I'm honest. If you ask me what I think, I will pretty much flat out tell you the truth. I'm more straight-forward than blunt, though, because I don't like hurting people's feelings. So in such cases, I will try to omit as much detail as I can, to avoid being totally blunt and maybe get by with not really answering the question. But he wouldn't let me get away with that, which is part of his whole charm. So he kept badgering me until I finally said no, he isn't the best bartender.. and of course he wanted to know all the reasons why and who I thought is the best bartender. I just wanted to go, "Dude, you suck. And you've only worked there a couple of months, so how can you possibly be the best bartender?"

Another thing is, nepotism rules everywhere in this area. It exists everywhere because this town is so small, everyone knows everyone. I grew up in San Francisco, which is a smaller city than you'd think, and I just can't get over how many people walk over to another table and talk like they've known each other for a billion years. On Sundays with the church crowd, tables visit each other all day long. Olive Garden here is no exception to nepotism. I can't tell you how many couples work here, as well as parents, brothers, sisters, etc. It's crazy. But that's generally okay because it gives us more of a family feel, which I like to have with my restaurant coworkers.

However, Rob is a case of nepotism. He is the nephew of Cheryl, our salad "girl". She's actually 30-something, but we call them all salad girls. I lurve Cheryl, she's so kind, generous, and has such a big heart. She's awesome. So I'm surprised that her bloodline has spawned something as insidious as Rob. It also makes it impossible to bitch about Rob while Cheryl's around. And unfortunately, Rob is apparently masochistic and absolutely loves working at Olive Garden with us (even though we all dislike him and we're all mean in various ways with him). So I doubt he'll be finding employment elsewhere any time soon. Alas.

On an entirely different rant, we have this new server named Jaime. I can say nothing good about this girl. She is slow and exceedingly whiny. She bitches about everything. If she's not bitching about herself or her life, she's bitching about her tables or not making any money or something else. It's gotten to the point where I tune her out as soon as she opens her mouth. She bitches in the side station with me, but to be honest, she's basically talking to herself.

I just don't understand this. Everyone bitches, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that. But when every goddamn sentence coming out of your mouth is a complaint about one thing or another, that's just unacceptable and there is no way you're going to make any allies. Someone said she wasn't going to be working here long, as she's supposed to be moving, but that would only be too fortuitous. However, if she moves before we all kill her, it might turn out better for her.

Ugh... Take Two...

So, I finally got a blog going after days of trying to find some way to get a blog on my site, free, without major complications. I was all excited, had lots to say, and wrote this long entry. Well, it was late, I was tired, and I accidentally deleted the whole goddamn thing.

I have learned to backup my entries in WordPad.