Tuesday, February 17, 2009

When I moved, it took me awhile to get my phone hooked up. So, as far as many were concerned, I disappeared off the map for awhile. Now, when I finally did get a new phone, I shared the new number with everyone I ran into.

This, of course, explicitly - and unintentionally, I assure you - made me unreachable by many people I had once called friends. Oh, not that there was drama or fighting or anything. I moved downtown, I moved on. These were people who knew me with M. I don't see them much anymore, and when I happen to run into them it's pleasant but a hair awkward. This is how people drift: they get new phones.

So imagine my surprise when, just a few minutes ago, Coffeeboy's phone rang. "Hello?" he said. "Uh, yeah, she is. She's right here."

He handed me the phone. On the other end, a voice I hadn't heard in a long time: "Hi. It's me."

It took me a minute to place it. It was Drama Boy, a considerable ghost from my single past. When things were at their worst with M., I found myself falling for Drama Boy, who on one or two occasions got very drunk and confessed that it was mutual. Actually, scratch that. Drama Boy had very little idea how much I really felt; I was afraid that, should I admit it to him or myself, I would do the unthinkable while still with M.

By the time I broke up with M., Drama Boy was in a relationship. It tortured me. She was such a nice girl. Drama Boy and I are very much alike: we're both dominant, opinionated - often in very different directions - and a veritable pain in the ass to date. As such, we both date more passive people. Balance, ya know. I kept my mouth shut while cursing him for not being able to 'handle' me. This, of course, was utter bullshit, but it made me feel a whole lot better.

I did a lot of things I'm not proud of during that time. We partied together every weekend; ironically, mostly above the bar where I now live. Then we'd stumble back to my place, and because the beer had clouded our judgement, quite often share my tiny bed and hold each other. No, we never had sex. He tried once or twice, but I never let it go that far- but looking at that man's abs, you'd wonder why.

The next morning he'd go out for breakfast with Her and I'd cry in bed all morning.

Finally, the day came when they broke up. To say I was excited was an understatement. There was a halter top, there was way too much beer, slurred confessions, and finally, finally, the back seat of his car.

Romantic? Uh, no. Trashy. And a disapointment. I don't know what was going through his brain, but I can tell you I came quite violently to the realisation that I had simply been trying to fill a void left by M., with the closest thing nearby. Neither of us ever called the other again.

That is, until tonight.

We exchanged 'how are you's and made small talk. His little sister's baseball team is having a beer and burger night two weekends from now. Would I like to come?

I said yes - put me down for two tickets.

I had hoped that by the time I had reached the end of the story I would know what it was all about. I don't. He will look damn good when I see him, but I don't think I'll feel anything at all. I think - I hope - I will realise that I've moved on, learned a thing or two, and don't make such silly mistakes any more.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

For servers, Valentine's Day is not the candy-coated, pink-heart-shaped day you probably think of. Like a lot of things, that day is reserved for customers. Just like you enjoy the clean, atmospheric dining room while we see primarily the greasy kitchen with two years of dust under the fridge, it's my job to take a section of ten in a rush that goes all. day. long. And, of course, to do it with a smile on my face -- gee, aren't we all just so goddamn cheery today?

(Waitresses, too, look very different depending on whether or not you've caught them in the dining room or kitchen. Dining room: houseplants and smiling waitresses. Kitchen: greasespots and snarling bitches.)

It bothers me a bit that no one seemed aware that yesterday we were celebrating something much, much bigger. You see, as of about 8 a.m. yesterday, we had a peculiar cosmic alignment: yes indeed, the moon was seen in the seventh house, and jupiter lined up just nicely with mars. It would seem that the age of aquarius is here at last. For those keeping track, this only happens about once every 2000 years.

At any rate, I found myself sweeping the rather disgusting floor after a long day yesterday. A six-hour rush will leave some dirt, I tell ya, and we didn't make it home until well, well after closing. But as I swept under each little cafe-style table, I went over all that had transpired there throughout the day. A few got stood up. A few were asked to leave, or at least reminded that this was a family establishment. A few went smoothly. I saw two breakups.

Coffeeboy waited patiently with - what else? - a coffee for me to be finished. We took home the remaining chocolate-covered strawberries, but I had warned him well in advance that we weren't acknowledging the dreaded V-day that is not only a ridiculous Halmark holiday, but looks even worse from the inside. So we didn't.

He did, however, make me the single best fettucine alfredo I've ever tasted. And he did wrap his arms around me and dance with me in the kitchen, which may be in a crowded apartment but has no grease spots I can see, and we celebrated just us, the collective us, swirling around out there in space trying to make something out of the stars.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

When things are hectict and crazy and all-around shitty, I sometimes wonder why I bothered changing, oh, everything about my life. Leaving M., starting fresh on my own with a new life, blowing my student loan getting on my feet, yada goddamn yada.

Today was one of those days: oh, yeah. This is why. Life is simple. Just breathe it in.

Nothing unsually great happened, and maybe the great part was that it wasn't unusual. It feels like spring today. The cafe was steady but not too busy - just enough to have plenty of regulars to chat with and friends stopping in. Time for coffee breaks, a fun staff to hang out with all day. After work, a glass of wine with friends who happened by on the patio, people watching, waving to more neighbours and friends. The good feeling that always comes with walking home with a bag of fruits and veggies from the grocery store, to roommates who are more like family, one big dog who is SO. EXCITED. to see you, and the best boyfriend a girl could hope for.

And, now, going to help chop up said veggies for a wonderful dinner we'll share.

Oh, yeah.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I met with a friend, T., from karate the other day for coffee. He popped into the cafe while I was working, and said he really needed to talk, so naturally I worried all day until I saw him. As it turns out, he and his wife, J., are splitting up, after nearly 21 years together.

Oh, I know. This happens all the time. Thing is, though, I really looked up to T. and J. as a couple. I often told T. I wanted a relationship just like his: they seemed so in love, yet so free to have their own lives outside of each other. They were still individuals, and back when I was in my very copdependant relationship with M., that seemed ideal. In fact, watching their relationship was a lot of what gave me the courage to leave.

Maybe I idealized it so much that I failed to notice how they never spent time together. According to T., the relationship had degenerated to passing nods in the hallway, and little else.

This isn't to say that my copdependancy with M. was the answer, either. Of course it wasn't - I was desperately unhappy. What this all means, in a selfish sort of way I would never let on to either T. or ., is that I really still don't have any idea what the right balance is. And that's scary.

When I got home from hanging out with T., Coffeeboy was already in bed. I crawled in next to him, and for the first time in a long time, spent all night curled up against him.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Well. Long time, no posts. I've had some good stories, too, with the weather nicer and people wanting to come downtown more. But, in adjusting to living with Coffeeboy, I haven't found the time.

I'll share one quicky:

The other morning, while I was still alone in the dining room (I'm the only one on from 8 to 10 most days), a group of four businessmen sat down at a popular table. I usually don't mind serving the suites that wander in from the conference center a few doors down: they're polite, most of the time, and while they're the worst culprits for looking at me the same way as they might look at the plants, they orders lots, wait patiently for their skinny decafs, and usually tip decently. It's an easy, if boring, table.

But these guys. Actually, it was really only one in particular. I dropped menus off and took a drink order, then went to get their coffees. I came back a few minutes later, lattes in hand, and asked how they were doing with the menu. Turns out, they hadn't even looked at them yet.

That's cool. Sometimes you get to talking and just don't. I offered to come back in a few, but these dingbats wanted me to recite everything on the breakfast menu. Nothing is frustrating quite like, "what do you have?" when there's a goddamn menu in front of them. But I kept my poker face, and explained every last thing on the breakfast menu.

This is when Turdface speaks up. Don't we have a croissant, with some meat and cheese or something? Why, yes we do, it's on the lunch menu right below breakfast, if you care to take a look. No, that won't do, he wants a croissant, with.... gruyere! And.... eggs! Scrambled! No, overeasy! And.... tomato!

Make that four!

Aaaalright, fine. They were starting to get on my nerves, but it was slow, and Chef was in a pretty good mood and probably wouldn't crank at me. Special order, it is.

As I was walking away, though, I heard Turdface grumble, "If they can make it, why isn't it on the menu?"

Well, asshat, we don't list every goddamn possible combination of food. And you didn't even READ the menu.

Chef was cool about it, and a few minutes later, I had the croissant things. As I dropped them off at the table, Turdface says to me mockingly, "See? That wasn't so hard, now was it?"

Do not belittle the waitress! Ever! It WAS a pain in the ass, actually, and they and I were both lucky Chef was feeling benevolent enough to do it. If the place were busy, I would have been shot on sight for bringing back a special order like that. But I kept my poker face, and I don't think any of them noticed the angry scowl as I walked away without replying. Seriously. It amazes me how much crap I'm willing to take sometimes just to pay the bills.

As Turdface was leaving, by the way, he felt the need to bitch one more time at the barista because he could smell the kitchen wafting down to his table, and were we sure the fans were working? Oy vey. The smell of food in a restuarant is a GOOD thing, jackass. Would you rather smell bleach?

Anyways. What was I saying?

Right. Coffeeboy, life. Things are good. I haven't quite finished moving in yet, as there are still a few pieces of furniture to go. But I haven't so much as stepped foot in my old place in three days, so I think we're calling it official. It's nice. It's peaceful, and quiet. Right now I'm typing away while Coffeeboy is making something delicious with the groceries I bought this morning. Afterwards, I'll work on a rewrite for a contest coming up over tea, and he'll listen to CBC and sketch. Later we'll go for a walk on the waterfront, before going to bed early, because we both have to be up in the morning.

It's been good. I feel more at home now, especially since invading the bathroom yesterday. Have you ever seen a bachelor's bathroom? If you haven't, pray you never will. Oh, the lysol. Admitedly, I'm a bit of a freak when it comes to the bathroom being clean - which is funny, because I can also accumulate a dirty laundry pile like you've never seen. But the bathroom is where hygiene happens! I spent an hour on the shower alone. Coffeeboy poked his head in, and said, I bloody well quote, "I didn't know you were supposed to clean that!"

Monday, January 12, 2009

I went to a friends 30th birthday party on Saturday night. It was held at a lounge/sushi joint about a block from my - er, Coffeeboy's - apartment, and all of downtown was out in form. I spent hours altering an old white dress to be backless with navy blue corsetting, and I daresay I looked quite the babe. It was something akin to that infamous Marilyn Monroe dress, and I paired it with ridiculous shoes, and while everyone was rock'n the old LBD, I was quite proud of myself for standing out and turning a few heads.

Pride comes, of course, before a fall.

There were several key people there, like That Guy I Used To Like (yup, still cute), That Guy I Once Made Out With, That Other Guy I Kinda Want To Make Out With, and Yup Definitely Bisexual. People who, you see, I really felt needed to eat their hearts out for having ever slighted me or not returned calls.

There was a DJ, a dance floor, and a very long drink line. While waiting for our turn to order martinis - on special! - Coffeeboy and I found ourselves chatting with a mutual friend of the birthday boy. Coffeeboy and Birthday Boy have a communications firm on the drawing board right now, with Coffeeboy slated to do all the design and Birthday Boy to do...whatever else communications firms do. They swapped business cards, they promised to get together.

Finally, the friend turned to me and said, "and what about yourself? What do you do?"
Awkward pause.
I searched frantically for help in Coffeeboy's eyes, but he gave me a little nudge to answer instead.
"Oh. I....I'm a waitress."
Another awkward pause.

Coffeeboy pointed out to me later that I looked positively mortified when I said this. Why? My job is demanding, isn't it? I've survived where most quit within two months, haven't I? Somehow, even though Coffeeboy reminded me insistedly about all these things, I knew that I would never be comfortable talking about my work in that sort of scenerio. I was only comfortable when I managed to toss in that I teach karate, I write, I yada yada yada.

I know that that woman held the same view of waitresses as most of my customers: I don't have an education, I probably party every weekend, and I'm really not fit to do anything more challenging. What I'm not so happy to admit is that, when push comes to shove, I'm not always up to defending the truth. Suddenly, my short dress seemed sexy, just like my waitress persona. My cosmopolitan seemed classy, just like her as well. I wanted so badly to crawl out of my skin, of the image of myself I'd constructed, but I couldn't remember where the waitress stopped and I began. I didn't know whether I wanted to change the subject or brag about serving the entire restaurant myself.

What I did was let myself fade into the background of the conversation, watching the sushi waitress walk by in kitten heels and a pencil skirt to show off her curves and thought she was holding that tray all wrong.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The other night, Coffeeboy had his first real fuckup with me. I'm a vegetarian. I don't want to give you all my reasons, and please save me your eyerolling, shoddy logic and/or tofu horror stories, because I am so OVER debating it every time I try to have lunch. You eat your beef, I'll photosynthesize or live off cumshots or, ya know, combine my own damn amino acids like we're supposed to.


For the most part, Coffeeboy has been very understanding, and has even said that my eco-related vegetarianism is one of his favourite traits about me. He eats very little meat himself, calling himself a 'flexitarian', which is why it startled me so much when he announced with a sly smile, right after I'd finished an incredible grilled sandwich of his involving fig, gruyere, and miche, that those little blach things in there? Anchovies.

Now. I didn't yell, even though I wanted to, and I didn't pull any passive-agressive bullshit. I explained to him that I was very hurt by a) his lying to me b) his presuming that he knew better for me than I did and c) the fact that I'd eaten a fish and ew, guys, I don't know how anyone ever confuses fish with food.

And I know how to lay on the guilt. I got a horrified apology, and honest-to-God terror that he'd fucked up beyond repair. Of course it wasn't beyond repair. But I was very hurt, no matter how hard I tried to forgive him, and we went to sleep shortly thereafter on opposite sides of the bed.

Three a.m., and Coffeeboy is shaking me frantically, telling me to wake up. Through my sleepy fog I could hear the fire alarm going off, and the rest of the roommates / roommates significant others - a total of ten people or so on any given night - shuffling around, cursing, panicking. The dogs barking. The door opening, then slamming shut as everyone bolted.

By this point, I was in the first pair of pants I saw and a t shirt. Coffeeboy was running around panicked, still not clothed, still not ready to bolt.

I started for the door, but stopped. It's weird what your mind will do under pressure. Or, rather, your body; my brain was telling me, "GO you idiot!" but my legs were having none of it. I couldn't leave that room without him.

Finally, after what seemed like forever, Coffeeboy was ready, shoes and pants on. We ran down the stairs, to find the roommates in a puddle by the door to the bar, watching the manager fiddling around with the alarm.

"Sorry," he said. "False alarm."
"Guys," said one of the roommates, a big husky guy currently sleeping in the living room, "it took you fucking forever to get down here. We were worried sick."

Is it wrong that it terrifies me that I stayed? Or would it have terrified me more if I hadn't?