Monday, 12 May 2014

Cold Rosie , or Why I'm Such a Bitch at Work

This is not, by far, the first time I've had an online whinge about being a barmaid. I probably lose 2-3 Facebook friends every time I post a status about yet another rude customer, a bad shift, a drink being spilled down me. I'll try and make this blog entry one final attempt to appeal to anyone who suspects they may be a bit of an arsehole to those who work in a public service. If you like a drink or ten in your local boozer, please read on and take note.

Before I launch into a giant rant about the irritating personal quirks of most of the people I encounter on a daily basis, it's probably worth mentioning that a few years ago, I was actually quite a tolerant person. I'm talking a good 6 to 7 years back. I was naive, friendlier, younger (obviously) - in fact, too young to be working behind a bar, and generally thought that the world was a nice place where people smile when they talk to you or say hello in the street. Joan Cusack summed it up perfectly in School of Rock when she said "I wasn't always like this, y'know. I wasn't always wound this tight. There was a time when I was FUN. I was FUNNY!". Years of being spoken to like an android whose only purpose is to get you pissed, combined with the sleep deprivation that comes with being the mother of a cheeky one year old, have turned me into a moody, awkward, sarcastic barmaid that you're probably a bit wary of ordering a drink from.

As well as this, I want to make it clear that's it not the job I hate as a whole. Working for my dad has tons of perks. I love taking Dylan into the pub on my days off and having lunch. I love that all the food is vegetarian. I love that you don't get yelled at for being 5 minutes late (which I always am). I love that I can be working and having a chat with my family and friends at the same time. A customer once said to me as I served him halfway through my lunch break, "It'd be a great job if it wasn't for us punters, eh love?". He's exactly right. About 10% of the people we serve are actually lovely. Most of them are regulars. It's just the other 90% that make me want to cut them. There's a list as long as my arm of all the things I hate about these people. Even though I've probably mentioned all of them before, here they are again all in one place (deep breath):

Not saying please and thank you (seriously?! How have you got this far in life without getting punched in the face, or at the very least being given a stern talking to?). Shouting your drink order. Shouting it when we're not even looking at you. Waving your money at us. Saying 'I've been here half an hour' when it's blatantly obvious you haven't. Saying 'serve me next' like a toddler demanding juice from their mummy. Leaning over the till. Wanting to talk about inane bullshit like gig posters or what band's on next when the bar's 4 deep. Complaining about the price of the beer. Complaining that we don't do Fosters or Stella or Carlsberg. Getting annoyed when we ID you. Trying to get away with not having ID. Insisting on speaking to Dave or Fi when they're busy about something we know we can deal with personally. Doing drugs in the toilets. Knocking over your pint. I could go on. I will.

Shouting over the top of live music. Complaining about the music. Asking us to turn the music up when we're in the middle of serving someone. Asking ANYTHING about someone non-drink related when we're serving someone else (unless of course it's something like 'can you call an ambulance?' or 'where are the toilets please?'). Putting your drinks on the piano or the pulpit. Making shit jokes about the pulpit. Making shit jokes about how quiet it is during the week (usually accompanied with a charade of struggling to get through a mass of people). Making shit jokes about how we're unapproachable if you interrupt us eating. Ordering another round of drinks when you have three quarters left of your current drink. Mumbling your drink order so we have to ask you to repeat yourself about 5 times. Mumbling something completely incoherent, then when we take a stab at what you're asking for, saying 'yes', then saying that's not what you ordered once we've already poured it.

Sound familiar?

I know that these things are just part of the deal of being a bartender. Please don't read this then approach me at the bar and then take the piss out of me for stating the obvious.Sadly, such is my frustration with the wankers that do the above, that I just about can't stand anyone. I hate that some customers shout their drink order before I'm ready to serve them, and on the other hand, hate it when they just kind of stand there and stare at you until you ask if they need serving. I hate that some of them list their drinks one by one, and that some reel off about 25 drinks at once and expect me to remember them all. I particularly hate those that turn up before we've even opened and stay until the very last bell, by which point they're too drunk to speak or stand. And I REALLY hate that most of them probably think my moodiness is down to hormones or boyfriend trouble or something. It's YOU, you fucking morons.

Try not to take this too personally, though. If you are taking offence at anything I've written, can you ask yourself why? I don't want to strike any nerves, but if you're reading this and thinking 'Hey, is she talking about me here?', then I probably am. Maybe you could do your bit to make our lives as bar staff that little bit easier. I used to love my job. I'm not financially ready to look for another one, before anyone suggests that. Think before you drink, yeah?

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

2014 - year of the Dylan

At the end of every year since I was self-indulgent enough to do such a thing, I have a look on my Facebook timeline at all the photos I've taken and statuses I've written over the year, and years before that, and whether what I see makes me happy, nostalgic, confused (if I was drunk) or embarrassed (also if I was drunk), ultimately, I feel sad. Usually it's because there are people in the photos at the beginning of the year that I've fallen out of contact with and haven't made it to the photos at the end. Sometimes it's just because I see a necklace or a top or something that I haven't seen in ages and I think 'where the hell has that gone?'. Over all, it's just because I'm aware of how quickly the year's passed, and how much has changed in such a short space of time.

When I did this at the end of 2013, I was mostly looking at photos of Dylan as a newborn baby. That DID make me feel weepy. Watching him grow has been the fastest transition I've ever experienced. He went from being a tiny little bundle I could cradle in my arms, to a bonny, bouncing tot pulling himself up on furniture and squishing food into the carpet in what felt like a matter of days. He'll be 1 soon, and that's really scary. It's amazing watching him learn - desperately trying to crawl, playing with his stacking cups , saying 'mum' and 'dad' - but with each new stage, you leave behind a piece of their babyhood, and that makes me sad.

I also used to go into the new year thinking 'right, THIS year is the one' (as I'm sure many people do). I'd resolve to finally lose weight, pass my driving test, learn to cook, do more writing, pluck my eyebrows more often and put my clothes away instead of on the floor. Up until last year, I never even came close to doing a single one of those things. I'd start a food diary, then have a Nando's on day 4 and scribble the words 'SHIT' "WELL DONE YOU IDIOT' and 'MUST TRY HARDER TOMORROW' all over it. They make for quite an entertaining read a few months later, but at the time it's just frustrating and pointless. I'd have endless driving lessons, with my instructor rolling his eyes when I indicated right instead of left or stalled it on a hillstart. He thought my lack of coordination was funny and, apparently, endearing - I half-expected him to ruffle my hair and say 'aaaaw, bless' when I missed a turning or went up the kerb. I honestly thought I'd be the girl in the story that every learner gets told - 'Don't worry, you'll pass eventually - a mate of mine took 10 tests before she passed'.

Anyway. With the arrival of Dylan, I also gained a different perspective on the world. It wasn't just about me any more. I wasn't going to see my friends whenever I wanted. I wasn't going to have time to exercise more often or put thought into a calorie-controlled diet. I gave up learning to drive for 6 months. Funnily enough, all the things I'd wanted to do for years just kind of fell into place. I have amazing friends that have become honorary aunties to Dylan and are happy to do baby-friendly stuff whenever we can. I managed to pass my test 3rd time lucky in November. I still can't cook... but I've stopped caring about that, plus I have a lovely boyfriend who doesn't mind doing it for me! And I'm probably the biggest I've ever been, but who cares - I carried a baby.

I know 2014 isn't going to be a year about achieving personal goals. It's going to be a year of going to the toilet with the door open, cleaning up vomit or spilled juice, prising inedible objects from Dylan's mouth and crawling after him when he's trying to escape a nappy change. I'm fine with all of those things, because I know in a heartbeat they'll be gone, and soon I'll be looking at photos of him as a baby while he's at school, and I'll be thinking 'where's the time gone?' not 'God, I look fat in that photo of me holding him'.