concrete trenches
sometimes more feet than shoes.

Sunday, February 29, 2004  

Nice to be missed

Friday I finished my lunch shift, glad to be done after yet another day of getting up at the ass-crack of dawn to stand in a line to show my wares. Such a long week it was, but working with some of the more delightful coworkers and knowing that soon I'd be home with my feet up, perhaps a glass of wine or a smokey treat in my hand (or maybe both?) propelled me through the shift with humor and a sense of purpose. Plus, I got to watch The Boss bartend. He sucks at it. I enjoyed watching him drown.

On the way out, I said my goodbyes, including a hearty "Goodnight!" to The Boss, and headed out into the night. Hmm, should I get a drink first? Naw, I'll do a couple of errands and then head home.

Sitting on the platform at 49th Street, my phone beeped to tell me I had a couple of messages. I couldn't connect, being underground and all, so I decided to wait until I came up out of the tunnel in Queens to get the messages.

Halfway under the East River I remembered I was supposed to work a double.

| posted by christopher | 11:51 AM

Thursday, February 26, 2004  


Up early every day to stand in line the line, run to the bar, sing, go home, work, audition.

This is why I moved here.

This is why I moved here.

This is why I moved here . . .

| posted by christopher | 6:47 PM

Monday, February 23, 2004  

I hardly knew ye

Mr. Safety is moving out today. In true new York fashion, my first thought was "I wonder if his apartment is better than mine."

| posted by christopher | 10:10 AM

Sunday, February 22, 2004  

The Formative Years, Part I

I was a member of a terrorist organization. We engaged in larceny, kidnapping, and fraud, among other less than upstanding activities. We were LOVONNE: The Lawn Ornament Vigilantes of Northern New England.

Our holy crusade was to rescue the lawns of our bucolic town from the oppression of gnomes, flamingos, and those gawdawful bubble-butt wooden cutouts. Cement woodland creatures quaked with fear at the very mention of our name.

The ranks of our cell would shift, depending on who could stay out, and who could get a car. Bill, being raised by his grandparents, was a mainstay of the group. Bob had a gigantic old car, a relic of the seventies, and would often be the wheel man. Under cover of night, we would drive around, spot some offending piece of outdoor bric-a-brac, and remove it. Sometimes we would transplant it to another location, usually the lawn of someone who had offended us

One night I was at work when Bill and Bob walked in, shit-eating grins spread across their faces.

"We found the ultimate target?"

"Excellent. What?"

"We'll tell you on the way. We'll pick you up at 11:30."

Off we went in Bob's boat of a car. Twenty-five miles north of town we passed a small house, no bigger than a double-wide trailer. I'd passed this house countless times, it was on the road to the "city" where we went to see a movie. Facing the house, standing about three feet high and arms straight out, was the personal Lord and Savior of the occupants: Jesus Christ.

We parked down the road a few dozen yards. Bill, whose grandparents belonged to the Assembly of God, began having second thoughts about the stealing of the Messiah, so he became wheel man. Bob and I got out and strolled casually toward the house. When we were close to the statue, we dashed onto the lawn and each grabbed an arm. Christ was made of concrete, and weighed at least a hundred pounds, but we hoisted him off his pedestal and lumbered toward the car. Bill popped the trunk when he saw us coming and jumped into the drivers seat. He turned the car over as Bob and I hefted the statue into the trunk. He didn't quite fit at first, but we shoved him in as best we could and took off.

| posted by christopher | 12:17 AM

Thursday, February 19, 2004  

Chemist humor

I hope it's on purpose that the chemical name for this particular pill begins with "Ta-DA!"

| posted by christopher | 11:23 PM  

Why Aren't I Asleep?

Head pounding. Mind restless. Too much wine. Witches of Eastwick was on, and I got hooked because one of the actors in the movie, a supporting part, turns out to be Nathaniel Fischer, Sr. on Six Feet Under. And then I had to stay for Jack sticking his hand into a tub of ice cream. And then, well, it's near the end and who wants to miss the giant, asymmetrical Jack Monster?

| posted by christopher | 12:22 AM

Wednesday, February 18, 2004  


Landlord called tonight, asking to have keys left out for an "inspector" to come by. Hm. He doesn't know BG lives here with me. Shouldn't be a problem. But it is messy. Small piles of clothes, a few too many dishes. I don't like the idea of someone tramping about my apartment while I'm not here, and while the cleanliness is less than stellar.

| posted by christopher | 10:45 PM

Tuesday, February 17, 2004  

Dumbert Dumbert

Dear Middle Aged Guys,

I don't think anyone else is going to tell you this, so I guess it's up to me: you look foolish. You look like you don't realize you left your twenties fifteen years ago. I don't know why the twenty-something girls were with you but I can assure you it isn't for your looks, and it certainly isn't charm. Also, I don't know if you noticed, but while you were downing your multiple Rolling Rocks and glasses of port (seriously, port!?) your young, um, escorts only drank about a third of their beverages.

Oh, and one suggestion: you should keep your voices down when you talk about "trying to get some twenty-five year old pussy."

| posted by christopher | 5:24 PM

Sunday, February 15, 2004  

Swinging Bachelor

Bracing myself for a week of alone time. So far, after kissing BG goodbye at the ungodly hour of five thirty a.m., I have spent the time sitting in on the couch in my pj's, listening to NPR, web surfing, playing with my new favorite software, and wondering why I haven't moved in three hours. Bracing indeed. I'd go for a bike ride, but really, it's below thirty degrees outside. I'm not crazy.

Actually, I've been feeling a little bit on the grey side. I don't know why. I haven't actually felt depressed, but I can spend easily three hours in the same spot. Beautiful, if cold, New York day. I should go do something - anything - with it.

| posted by christopher | 1:05 PM

Friday, February 13, 2004  


Walked into the 4 train too late to realize someone was shouting. A well dressed man in a dark suit, pure white hair against chocolate black skin.

Can he get an "Amen?"

He can.

Gay marriage is going to destroy this country. Any man who tries to kiss him is gonna get it right in the face. They're just trying to destroy the Jackson family because they don't want the black man to have any money.

Can he get an "AMEN!?"

Don't disagree with him, because it's in the Bible. God destroyed a city for that.


He's on a roll. Do you think that's funny? Do you think God's wrath is something to laugh about?

Janet Jackson didn't do nothin' wrong, that white boy tore her shirt off. But it's all her fault, ain't it?


I'll take him down, any man tries to do me like that. God made a man, and he made a woman from his rib, and that's the way it is cause God don't make no junk!

On the way out of the train, BG says "Somebody's got some seriously repressed self hatred."

| posted by christopher | 2:50 PM

Friday, February 06, 2004  

Bee in the bonnet

The Boss and I were alone in the bar, setting up for lunch.

"Do you know what to do if the Health Inspector comes in asking for the manager?"

Uh-oh "Um, no one's ever told me anything about it."

"Ok, first you call the kitchen. There are things they can do to minimize the damage."

The damage?

"If they ask you any questions, they're not doing it because they're nice, or they like you. Just tell them you're new and you don't know anything."


"If they ask, tell them you wash your hands in this sink down here," and he points to the sink at the far end of the bar.

"Why there? I usually wash my hands in the bathroom."

"Just tell them you do it there."


"These test strips, haning there behind the bar. Tell them you use them to test the water."

"We test the water?"

"Just tell them you use them. And make sure there's nothing in the ice. That's why we have this thing for the bottles of wine. Don't put anything in the ice."

"Ok. Do you want me to come get you if they ask for the manager."

"No. Call the kitchen, and then tell the inspector I'm not here."

Ten minutes later a co-worker shows up.

"Do you know what to do if the Health Inspector comes in?"

| posted by christopher | 11:29 AM

Thursday, February 05, 2004  

Titties, part 2

I can now use the phrase "my cardiologist" in casual conversation.

A few weeks ago I had a physical, because my union health insurance is going to run out, and I thought it would be good to get poked, prodded, and pee-tested before I have no way to pay the doctor. I mentioned that sometimes, rarely, if I run (which happens sometime between seldom and never) I get a little bit of pain in my chest. My physician thought that might be of concern, so referred me to a specialist.

Yesterday I paid someone to perform a "stress test" on me. First, a technician affixed foam pads to my chest (um, that's hair you just put that on lady), then they clipped wires to the pads, strapped the wires around my waist, and hooked me up to an EKG. The tech asked me, while sticking pads to my titties, if I lifted weights. "Um, no. Just lucky I guess." Lucky I have man-breasts.

Next was the sonogram. I thought if I were ever witness to my own beating heart, it would be through some fatal opening in my chest. She took several shots, from different angles. All I could see was a pulsing mass, but occasionally a valve would appear, flapping wildly with the contractions. I wanted to ask "Is that good? Is that bad?" Mostly I just watched the screen and tried to speed up and slow down my heartbeat with the power of my mind.

Next up, go for a run! "Ever been on a treadmill?" asks Dr. Heart. "Not in a doctor's office." I walk for a bit, he speeds it up and makes it steeper. Faster steeper. Faster steeper. By the end I'm out of breath, and I smell sweaty. I have to jump down and let the tech take more pictures of my heart while it is hammering away. These pictures are a little disturbing. A slow moving heart is almost beautiful. A fast moving heart looks like a panicked little kid running to keep up with his older brothers.

The good news: I have a perfectly healthy heart. He has marathon runners come in who don't do as well on the stress test. The doc thinks the pain might be in my pectorals.

In other words, it's the man-breasts.

| posted by christopher | 9:08 AM

Wednesday, February 04, 2004  

Sex and the Titty

In my entire life, I have seen exactly three minutes of "Sex and the City." While lounging on the filth-encrusted floor that passed for our bed in Scotland, BG and I flipped through the six channels of broadcast tele looking for something diverting. Cricket. *Click* Cricket. *Click* Incomprehensibly stupid Britcom. *Click* Very depressing news broadcast. *Click* Cynthia Nixon fucking the brains out of a young buck with long blond hair. *Click* Documentary. "Go back! Go back!!"

Both actors were completely naked and the scene was a montage of the two of them moving from position to position. I was stunned. BG was stunned. We both burst out laughing. We tried to watch some of the episode, but nothing was as funny as the sex scene so we decided on "Twelve to Eighteen Stoners" instead.

My point? In a country that was not founded by Puritans, nudity and sex is perfectly acceptable (although probably not during a cricket match) on broadcast television.

| posted by christopher | 8:47 AM

Monday, February 02, 2004  

Because apparently I'm sixteen years old

Someone defaced a hand dryer in the men's room of a Little Italy restaurant. It's instructions now read:

1) Shake excess water from hands
2) Push button and release
3) Rub hands lightly and rapidly
4) Drier s tops automatically
5)Turn nozzle upward to dry face.

| posted by christopher | 7:59 PM  

Marmot Schmarmot

Good thing I'm not superstitious, or this would be cause to slit my wrists.

| posted by christopher | 10:00 AM

Sunday, February 01, 2004  

Tips from your server

Perhaps this a professional liablilty, but I do not like being a fucking servant. Here are a few rules to consider when you are out to eat at my bar.

Le sol ce n'est toi pas: When your party of six or eight or ten or thirteen comes in (and why, oh why, don't you know if it's six or thirteen?) trust me when I tell you where to sit, and just fucking sit there, and please, please, please: if you grab my sleeve to tell me you need to order now, for the love of all that is holy, know what the fuck it is you want to eat. Whipping open the menu and stammering leads me to conclude that you, in fact, don't need to order now, but you assume that because I am moving around quite rapidly I may be busy (which I AM) and therefore you need to monopolize me, because somehow I'm too stupid a human being to remember that the gigantic table of thirteen people in the middle of the dining room hasn't ordered their food yet. Look around. You are not the only dipshit in the joint who needs of a burger and beer, nor are you my sole reason for living.

Be generous, hell, be decent: Fifteen percent is not only customary, it is the minimum. You want to get on a high horse about "fifteen percent being for exceptional service" that's just fine - if, and only if, you know what the hell you're talking about. If you've waited tables, and you can be a sanctimonious tightwad and sleep at night, fine. If you throw $200 on a dinner, and then tip $20, you're nothing but a cheap asshole. If you eat $12 worth of food and leave a buck, you are also a cheap asshole. At the bar, a buck a drink. At a table, nothing less than fifteen percent (if you have young kids that I'm going to have to clean up after, no less than twenty) and no less than $3.00 on lunch or dinner. Ever.

I am not one of the "girls": Yes, I know I'm the only server with a dick (well, there's one gal there who I'm not so sure about), but that doesn't mean you should make jokes about it. You aren't funny.

Respect me: I've been here four months and can out maneuver, out serve, and out earn just about everyone else whose been here ten years plus. I know the seceret to this job: I Don't Care. Here's the thing, though: you can give me all the pointers you want about how to get, present, serve, clear, marry ketchup, mix drinks and wipe all you want. I will still do it my way, because my way is better than yours. Why? Have you waited tables? No? Shut up. If you have, and you're giving me advice, fuck you right in the ear, y'outta know better. If you're my co-worker and you're giving me advice, I don't want to hear it. I'm the only one here who can take a table's order without writing it down.

I'm not going to spit on your food or charge you top shelf and pour rail. I have pride in anything I do, including this soul-sucking, servile, shitty job. I am, though, going to remember you the next time you come in. Notice how much slower your drinks come, how much less inclined I am to ask you if your food is ok, how the table next to you gets a free slice of pie, how I say "is that all?" instead of "another round?" I make $5/hour doing this until you tip me, and I am making your night better by being good at it.

| posted by christopher | 1:34 AM
what's past
what's to read
what's news