Where Everybody Knows Your Name

What is the number one thing you look for in a good bar? Not a nice place or anything, but just your regular bar where you can drink heavily and not get judged, or go for that nightcap before you head home. What does that place need? For me, the TV sitcom, Cheers, really nailed it. Where everybody knows your name. I just like going to a place where there are a few regulars that I know and they know me. The bartenders know me. Once in while you get a free shot or a heavy pour on the wine. Mostly, it is just about going and feeling like the people appreciate when you come by. I don’t want to feel like I felt in Cortland, like pigs at a trough.

I’ve been searching for that bar in Vegas since I’ve been here. I actually found it too. It was a little Italian restaurant. The bartenders were Ray, Angel, and Samantha. There were always regulars there, like Terrick and Ben. I loved going there. But then I moved across town. Now, I’m working on finding another one.

Marisa and I have been going to this bar called Remedy’s. In Vegas, almost all of the bars are franchises or chains. It sucks. Like I’ve mentioned before, this creates a lack of authenticity. But you get what you get and you don’t get upset. One of my supervisors from grad school told me that one. We deal and we go try to find good bartenders as opposed to cool places.

The first time we went, we go in and the bartender comes up to us and introduces himself, “Hey guys, I’m Steve-o, have you guys ever been here before?” He was super  excited and now, so was I. “He’s going to know our names!” I thought. We bullshit for a minute or two and then he says, “alright guys, round of shots on me!” Awesome. Tequila baby. Time to put our party pants on.

We leave Steve-o for the night and we head on home. Our bellies filled with shitty food and good tequila.

Later that week, we meet a girl at the dog park. We start talking to this girl about the bars we frequent and what not. We tell her we like Remedy’s. She says, “yeah we go there all of the time, but the bartender always forgets our names.” I wanted to tell the girl, “who the fuck are you though? Does Steve-o really need to remember your name specifically, or should he just know you’re a regular?” Honestly, she didn’t strike me as a regular at any bar. I would say twice a week is a regular, not once in a while. But I didn’t want to be mean to the girl, because “we’re trying to make friends” or whatever.

Fast forward to Saturday night, we finish up at a wine bar and head back to Remedy’s. We walk in and who do we see? Steve-o, tending the bar. We sit down and he comes over and we both say hi to him. What does he do? He introduces himself to us, “Hey guys I’m Steve-o, have you ever been here before?” Are you sure you aren’t fucking ten-second Tom? This was the 4th time I’ve met him and the 3rd time Marisa had met him. We don’t even answer his question before he says, “you know what, 1st rounds on me guys!”

I really wanted a place where everyone knows my name, but should I settle for this instead? A place where no one can remember my name, but we get free drinks because he constantly thinks its our first time at the bar. The fucked up part is every time he introduces himself, he repeats your names over and over again like he’s trying to imprint in his brain. How many Italians, let alone Vinnys are walking into this bar. Bald Vinnys,  to be exact.

What do you have to do in this town to make a friend. No one can even remember your fucking name, forget about being your friend. It’s impossible to even create a semblance of relationships with people, because they are so self-serving. I’m not saying I’m a selfless guy or anything, but from these blogs, you can obviously see that I love talking to people. Even if it may not be to make friends. Hearing people’s stories amaze me. For the most part, it seems like people have their heads so far up their ass, they taste their food twice. If people for one second would listen to what people said, instead of concentrating on what they were going to say about themselves, maybe they’d be a little happier. Steve-o is trying so hard to remember people, you can tell by the whole repeating names things. It’s just so sad how badly he fails. So people, moral of the story, head out of your ass and remember peoples names. Or just say fuck it and enjoy the warmth of your own ass because honestly, you’re the real heroes. You make this literary nightmare a possibility.

The Idiot at the Pet store

I went to the pet store yesterday to buy some toys for my dog, who doesn’t play with any toys. I know that makes no sense. I feel like if I buy her enough toys, eventually, she’ll play with one or like me or whatever. That’s a moot point. Some of the weirdest fuckers I have ever met work in pet stores. Everyone is an expert it seems like. They’re so smart they actually talk to the animals, like they are going to get an answer. I do that to my dog in the privacy of my own home, like a normal wack job. But I was a wack job long before I got a dog. I was talking to myself half the time, now at least I talk at something.

I go to this one specific pet store, mostly because it’s the closest to my house but also because it seems pretty cheap I guess. When I walk in, the two women who work there always come over to me, probably cause I’m so fucking cute. Although, they only call Effie cute, not me. These two idiots never actually talk to me though. They talk to my dog and ask her questions that I obviously need to answer. She said today, “what are you looking for today?” I answer her and tell her what I need. She then asks the dog, “well what kind do you like?” Again I have to answer, “she likes the peanut butter bones.” Then she asks the dog, “when did your daddy adopt you?” Now, I’m starting to feel annoyed that this idiot can’t even look at me and have a conversation, but yet I answer again, “1 month ago.”
These two shmucks start simultaneously asking the dog questions. I decide, you know what, I’m not going to answer anymore. Let’s see what they do then. The next question she asks the dog is, “what does your daddy help you do to not be so shy.” I didn’t answer. Then she says, “Do you face away from your daddy when you make poops?” What the fuck lady. My dog doesn’t want to discuss her bowel movements. Finally, she asks the dog if she wants to come in for a treat tasting.

I’ve had enough of this shit. I get that you want to talk to your dog. I do it and it’s fucking weird enough. Lady, get off the floor of this disgusting warehouse and wake the fuck up. My dog doesn’t like you. She doesn’t like anyone. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even like me. You’re not the damn animal whisperer, so just tell me where the damn rawhides are so I can get out of this place.

I picked out a couple toys and when I go to pay she tells the dog, “if you don’t end up playing with these toys your daddy can return them.” Naturally, I respond, “That’s disgusting, so this toy could’ve been in your house?” I don’t think she loved that comment, because she stopped talking to the dog at this point and turned towards me. It seemed somewhat difficult for her to have a conversation with a person. She said, “well, we clean them.” With as much sarcasm as I could gather from deep down I responded with “righttt…”

She didn’t say another word except the total. I smiled at her and said, “thanks so much!” And now I have to find a new pet store. Sorry Effie but I can’t imagine going back in to the passive interrogation room. 

 

Fast Food Workers: Love ’em or Hate ’em

,In the past few years there has been a lot of controversy about how much money fast food workers should make. I feel like people have some very strong opinions about how much money these guys make. “The guy shouldn’t make $15 an hour flipping burgers,” or “we’re paying them that anyway in food stamps and welfare.” That’s not to say that everyone who works in fast food deserves $15 an hour or that everyone in fast food is on welfare. Merely just an observation about people caring too much about stupid shit.

I made $6 an hour when I got my first job at a deli and a lot of people use this logic to say that people don’t deserve this pay. When I was getting paid this wage, I had my parents who were really paying for my things. They just wanted me to learn the value of money. I wasn’t trying to take care of myself on this salary. So, if you’re asking me if I think fast food workers  deserve that money…I’d have to say yes. Fuck the guy that’s charging me $12 for a big mac at the airport. The company shouldn’t get to rape us and the people who work for them.
But that’s not really what I want to discuss today. Fast food workers can make or break your day. I don’t often have fast food, but I do stop at a Starbucks once in a while. A few too many drinks and I end up at a Taco Bell for my fourth meal. Maybe a rough night lands me at a McDonalds in the AM. My boss might take me to a Subway for lunch one day (yes, I am going to label Subway as fast food). In these instances I don’t want my food to be messed up and I don’t want to wait a long time. I hope the higher rate of pay makes people care more about their job and, therefore, care more about me. That is not always the case though. There are just some people who are morons. It’s not always the worker’s fault either. We have to discuss both the moron working and the possible morons ordering food.

First off, any morning can be ruined at a Dunkin’ Donuts. There are more than one way that they have destroyed many people’s mornings. Sometimes it seems as though they are trying to move so ‘fast’ that they ruin everything. They get coffee all over the lid, all over the napkins, they don’t put the cover all the way on the cup so you spill it all over your car, or the “egg sandwich” they give you is so fucking mismatched its like a two year old was trying to make a god damn play-doh meal. When I used to go to work with my dad we would stop at a Dunkin’ Donuts and one time his coffee was completely watered down. I remember he actually called the fuckers to say “what the fuck.” That’s right around the time he switched to 7/11 coffee.

Second, is the late night foods. How many times have you gone to a Taco Bell and it was almost as if they didn’t even listen to your order? They just put together their own assortment of foods. These tasks aren’t difficult so I understand when it pisses people off.

Finally, let’s talk about the idiots who go to fast food restaurants. Imagine being the guy who works a late night shift at Taco Bell and has to deal with your drunk ass. Someone’s mother who works in the Penn Station Mickey D’s after 12 AM getting yelled at by the privileged of Long Island. You think she wants that job? Like she enjoys customer service or something. No, you are part of the problem. Treating fast food workers like shit makes the service shit. People will not care about their jobs if people make them feel worthless.

You know what bothers me even more than that though? The person who goes into a fast food restaurant and has to ask questions or modify menu items. I went to a Subway with someone recently who had way too many questions. These are the types of place where you should know what you want. This person asked the guy what he thinks of the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki sandwich. He responded, “Uh, well it’s been on the menu for like ten years, so I guess people like it.” Then she asked, “what’s on it?” He said, “Uh, sweet onion and chicken teriyaki. Whatever else you want, I guess, have you never been here?” He was so confused he didn’t even know what to say. If you’re at a fast food restaurant don’t ask the guy what’s on something while your online. Don’t even get on the line unless you know you’re ready.

Fast food workers shouldn’t have to answer your questions. It’s supposed to be fast food. Not food at whatever pace you like that day. If you don’t want mayonnaise, that’s one thing. Don’t sit at a BK Lounge and create your own burger. If you don’t like what they have then go to a different restaurant. Go home and make your own food.

There is only so much shit people will put up with before they spit in your food. So, people don’t fuck it up for the rest of the us. Unless someone is really screwing you, don’t fuck with fast food workers. They are the “waking you up with Folgers in your cup.” They can make or break your morning. If you’re ordering a breakfast burrito from T-bell prior to 8 AM and they screw it up, I think we all know who has the bigger problem. It ain’t the guy putting eggs and taco beef in a burrito, it’s the idiot stuffing it down his throat.

The “New York” Pizzeria

Over the course of the past year, I have spent the majority of Friday nights looking for places where pizza or, food in general, can be comparable to New York. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that every food in Las Vegas sucks, because that’s not true. I do believe that it lacks authenticity or tradition, which makes sense. The town is transient and it has only been around for less than a hundred years. How it could it possibly compare to a place that has a history of over 400 years?

So, I troll the streets looking for pizza, gyros, halal (doesn’t exist here), Chinese, etc., that remind me of the way it tastes at home. It has been a year and the closest pizza place I found is hit or miss. If the owner happens to be there it’s great. The gyros taste like bologna meat and the Chinese must have just never settled in Vegas because that’s a no go for me. There’s one weekend here where a huge Greek Festival takes place. I went last year and there were great gyros, unfortunately, I haven’t taken the time to figure out where the food came from. I’ll report back on that in three weeks when I attend the festival again. Thai food isn’t bad and neither is Japanese, Hawaiian, or Philippino. New York isn’t really known for any of that food.

The pizza is what I want to discuss. I get my pizza from a place called Joey’s. He makes a decent pie. The key word is “he.” If he’s not the one making the pizza, its like there are just a bunch of morons there. The last time I went there was hysterical. It was a circus They had to stop delivering pizza because it was “so busy.” I’ve seen restaurants back home banging out 50 pies an hour with a line 20 deep ordering slices.

I’ve seen busy. This wasn’t busy. Being that I was the only guy standing there waiting for pizza, they need to figure their shit out. The kid who was answering the phone kept telling people, “sorry we’re not delivering because we’re too busy to handle this many orders.” What?! How can you tell customers that? People are not going to be okay with that answer. I would laugh if I called Gino’s and they said they were too busy for my order. That’s a yelp comment waiting to happen.

Joey was actually there at this point and you could tell how angry he was. I don’t feel bad for him because he hired these morons. One of the kids kept asking him how long he should wait to take the knots out. Finally, Joey turned around and said, “when they’re fucking done, take them out. Is it that difficult?” I felt right at home.

Every time they got a phone call while I was there, the kid had to turn around and ask the owner, “How long on pick-up?” It was the same answer every time. Your job is to answer the phone and tell them how long. You know exactly how many pizzas have been ordered. How can you not figure out a general number. Half hour. Forty-five minutes. It’s an estimation.

I’d love to open up my own pizzeria so I can feel the pain that poor Joey feels. Go back to Brooklyn where you belong man. Alright, time to order a pizza now. Later.

 

Globs and Hairs

In the past, I have lost a couple of good bets. I’ve fell victim to a few dares. I don’t mean that I lost any money or anything of value. Dignity was on the line. I should probably place a little bit more “value” on my dignity. In this particular instance, somehow I ended up having to eat a piece of hair. I know… terrible. This was no regular strand of hair. It was a thick curly Q.

A few of my friends and I were sitting around a backyard patio table at someone’s house. After the dare or the bet happened, I wanted to get this done as quickly as possible. I wrapped this piece of hair around my finger a few times and rolled it into a ball. I worked it in my mouth for a few seconds to try to push it to the back of my throat. Finally, when I thought I had it, I took a really hard swallow. My friends, and I use that term very loosely, were all staring at me, waiting. I smiled and opened my mouth. I just remember Squirrel’s face, a friend of mine. He covered his mouth and pointed and screamed at me. Unbeknownst to me, the hair was wrapped up in my front tooth. Needless to say, I was unable to swallow this hair.

This brings us to yesterday. A similar feeling but just about 10 times worse. I had just returned home from work and I was exhausted. I was supposed to go to visit my girlfriend at work and I wanted to get some things done prior to leaving. I was going to make a cup of coffee, but with it being about 105 degrees in Vegas yesterday, I didn’t want something warm. What a conundrum! But I looked in the fridge and there was my Cold Brew Coffee. I would have to thank God. Actually, I just patted myself on the back for buying it. What is it they say? God helps those who helps themselves? Seems convenient.

Anyway, I check the date on the box, which was 10/17/17. Perfect. I shake the box up a bit and put some ice in a red solo cup. Real Classy. I pour the contents of the box into the cup. I put the leash on the dog and out we went. I had a nice cold coffee and I was happy as a pig in shit.

This was quite a large cup of coffee. About 10 minutes into the walk, I was done with about two-thirds of the cup. As the dog is taking care of business (taking a shit), I took a big gulp of the coffee and feel something odd. It felt like something weird was on my tooth. I had my phone out so I opened up the camera. I smile and there was a big glob on my tooth. I start wildly spitting. I honestly had no idea what it was. I took a look down in the coffee.

There it was. Pieces of mold floating around in my cup. There was so much of it. I don’t know how I got through as much of the coffee as I did.

I looked at the expiration date. How could this have happened? It made me absolutely sick to my stomach. At this point, there was only one thing that could wash such filth from my mouth. Only one thing that would wash away the stains from my dignity as the old memories of curly Q hairs in my teeth resurfaced in my brain. I jogged home, and as soon as I got there I ran to the fridge. No I don’t keep my toothbrush or my Listerine in the fridge. I keep the fixer of all problems in the fridge. The solvent for all complications. The Ice. Cold. Beer. I popped her open, swished her around my mouth, and swallowed. And just like after I tried to swallow that hair, my mouth curled into a big smile. Nothing like a beer when you need one.

 

Take a Look Around People

So, yesterday I realized the full potential of the stupidity of the human race. I can imagine that everyone who reads this, has used a self check-out machine at the supermarket. Well, yesterday, I was checking out at the supermarket and I went to the self check-out with a toothbrush and some real, nice, low-grade sushi. When I got to the machine, I tapped the touch screen to get it started. Immediately, the machine starts yelling instructions at me. This is what made me realize that people really are “that dumb.” First the machine told me to swipe my “Smith’s Card,” which is just the savings card at the store I shop at. That’s fine, thanks for reminding me to save money, machine. But after that, the machine says a bunch of things such as, “please put the item in the bagging area,” “please swipe your next item,” and “are you finished with your items?” After the third instruction/question from the machine, I thought to myself, “are people so fucking dumb, that we really can’t manage using these machines without complete and total direction following?” I then realized that people must be this stupid. People must have been asking so many questions, that they had to dumb these machines down enough for people to not even have to use their brain. Then the machine starts telling me how to pay, where to put my card, how to insert it and not swipe it, and finally it ends with telling me not to forget my bags. Don’t forget my bags?? You mean the items that I literally just spent 5 minutes paying for. You don’t want me to forget them? Sure thing check-out machine. I’ll take them with me. Can you direct me back to my car?
I’m not writing this specifically to just talk about how stupid people can be (although I sort of am). My main point is that we literally act as machines as human beings. I’m not saying I’m better than all of you (I am), but just when you’re out in public, look around for a second. Enjoy the stupidity with me. Don’t always be a part of the chaos. Observe it for a minute. Watch people from a distance, not necessarily to judge them, but to literally just see how people behave. So, tomorrow on your commute to work, grocery shopping, or whatever you fuckers do, take a look around. You’ll enjoy it, I’ll tell you that for free.

Tropical Smoothie

So I went to tropical smoothie today after the gym. Love that shit. Anyways I go to this place somewhat often. Maybe once a week. If I’m being honest, it’s kinda gross. You walk in and the temperature almost goes up from outside. Keep in mind this is Vegas. The temperature should always go down walking into a store. But I walk in today and the girl behind the counter looks like she’s struggling. She is on the proverbial struggle bus. She’s the only person working in this place, but it’s by no means busy. There were three people sitting waiting on their drinks and me who hadn’t ordered yet.

This girl keeps yelling from the back, “I’m so sorry I’ll be right there!” And “I’m really sorry, it’s just me and I’m so busy!” I was looking around like what the fuck is she doing back there. Let’s keep track of time though (yes I checked my phone the second I walked into this shit show). 10 minutes go by and finally she says ok can I help you. So I order my drink and pay and now I’m waiting again. Now we’re are 15 minutes and I’m standing there waiting and she comes out with 2 people’s drinks and they leave. The last woman gets up being extremely impatient and starts getting angry with the girl. She finally gets her drink and this family of five comes in and she takes their order. Now we’re at 20 minutes and she comes out from the back. This time she looks like she’s about to cry and I just sorta laugh. Not at her. I wasn’t trying to be rude but the whole thing was hysterical. She again starts apologizing like crazy, “I’ve been here since 4AM and it’s been crazy since I got here.” I’m still laughing, wondering how busy a tropical smoothie could be at 4AM. But then she’s like I broke something in the back and it’s leaking everywhere. She goes back there again and another 3 minutes goes by. She comes out and now she’s “all wet” as she put it. Her shoes were soaked; I’ll give her that. But there must’ve about an inch of water in the back. She was in the verge of tears now. Barely able to handle the smoothie ridden stress. Now we’re at about a 25 minute wait and I’m debating on leaving but I already paid and I really wanted to see where this could possibly go. In reality, I just wanted to see if she’d actually cry.

She proceeds to ask me for my order. I ask what she means. She totally forgot about my order. I just laughed cause this poor girl who was probably at her very first job clearly was not handling it well. Finally after about 28 minutes I get my drink. I walk into places almost hoping shit will go wrong nowadays. What do people say again? Oh yeah. Do it for the story.