Yearly Archives: 2010

Could I Work at Olive Garden?

Olive Garden…

I was slapped in the face with the aroma of a bread stick a few days ago and then fell into a bowl of never ending salad, for I stepped into the wonder that is The Olive Garden. I have written before about this feast for the senses and have poked fun at it many many times. So why did I allow myself to return to this place that is overflowing with tourists and people from New Jersey? I needed a gift card to give to my parents for Christmas and they freakin’ love that place. Yes, I am giving the gift of The Olive Garden to my parents. And since I know they don’t read this, I am not worried that they will find out about their majestic gift before Christmas day.

Before I walked in, I put my hood over my head and pulled my scarf high around my neck. The Olive Garden is right down the street from where I work and I certainly couldn’t take a chance that someone would see me and think that I was going in for lunch. I had never been into an Olive Garden here in New York City and I was pleasantly surprised when I was safely ensconced inside. Unlike most New York City restaurants, the place was bright and expansive with lots of room between the tables. Most of the time here, you are crammed in so close to your fellow diners that you can pretty much bump elbows with each other as you break bread. The hostess greeted me with a warm smile and a friendly hello. Suddenly, I really did feel like family. I noticed the servers were wearing crisply starched white shirts with nice ties and clean bistro aprons. The whole corporate feel was really working for them. They all seemed happy and content and I caught a couple of them laughing together. Then I saw an old waiter who looked days away from either collecting Social Security benefits or just flat out keeling over. After I pulled myself away from seeing my own harsh future, I thought, “Hmmm, I wonder if they’re hiring. If I worked with Grandpappy Pasta over there, I wouldn’t be the oldest server at my job. I’d feel like a kid again!” Would it be so bad working for a chain restaurant? It’s not like I haven’t done it before; Houlihan’s, Pizzeria Uno, The Black Eyed Pea and Bennigan’s were all heavy on the corporate. I bet Olive Gardeners get meal breaks with free pasta and salad. They can probably eat all the bread sticks they want. But then look at who they have to serve. Oh, yeah. No amount of never-ending salad would make up for serving Roy and Loretta Jerseytown who thought they would come into the city for dinner and a show. I would puke listening to them talk about how much better Phantom of the Opera was this time than the last time they saw it. And have you ever walked passed The Olive Garden on Sixth Avenue on a Friday night? Good lord, I don’t want to have to wait on that crowd. Not that it wouldn’t give me plenty to write about.

I went up to the bartender and purchased the $75 gift card for Mommsy and Poppsy. The girl behind the bar was all fresh and clean and corporate. She told me to have a nice day and I didn’t see one teeny tiny marinara stain anywhere on her uniform. Impressive for sure. I gave her three bucks for her trouble and took one last whiff of the sweet smells of pre-packaged Italian food and Sysco products before heading back into the real world. Once on the cold dirty sidewalk, the warmth of The Olive Garden seemed so much further away than the thickness of one plate glass window. Gift card safely in hand, I headed to my job where it’s crowded with tables and dimly lit with candles which perfectly conceals the fadedness of my uniform. I’m not meant to work in a fancy place like The Olive Garden. I’ll just dream about it. Visions of chicken Parmesan dance in my head.

Back to Bitchin’ About Table 32

After a few days of writing some silly little fictionalized account of Lispy Gay, I am ready to get back to bitching. My soul is craving it. My organs are on the verge of failure due to the lack of complaining for the last few days. Off to the races.

A few days ago at table 32 (It’s always table 32) I had a group of what was supposed to be eight people but it was actually only four. The other people “may or may not show up” they tell me. They think it’s no big deal, but three people had paid in advance and I have no idea if the the four people who are at the table are those people or if I need to charge them the cover charge. I tried to explain, but they didn’t care. Or understand. One guy orders two Johnny Walker Blacks on the rocks. Two of them at once. He was thirsty. His friend did the same. I didn’t realize at this point they they were already shitfaced. The pre-show announcement happens. “Please turn of your cell phones and no flash photography, etc…” Ten minutes into the show, a cell phone rings. Table 32 of course. They guy answers the phone but since he doesn’t want to be rude to his friends or anything, he moved to a different table and had a conversation during the show. Nice, asshat. I went to the table to check on the other three and one guy says to me he wants another drink. “And what’s your name?” he asks me. I quietly tell tell him and try to move on since you know, there is a singer on stage about 10 feet away from us. “Why don chu sit down and haf a drink wiz us,” he says. As tempting as that offer was, I declined. Meanwhile, Mr. Telephone Man has returned to his seat for a hot second and then went to the bathroom, leaving his cell phone on the table. Which started to ring as soon as he left the room. Apparently, none of his friends knew how to silence it, because it rang three or four times. Nice, asshats. I made it back to the table with another drink and again it was suggested that I join them. But this time Drunky stood up and put his arm around me and leaned into my face to talk to me. He smelled like Johnny Walker had taken a bath in moonshine and then threw up. The show is still happening. I leave and then hear the phone again. A fellow server, who just wanted an excuse to give someone some attitude, went to him and told him to leave the room if he was going to be on the phone. He stumbled outside and then stayed there for the rest of the show. He came up to me to apologize for his friend’s behavior (but not his own) and then wanted to settle the tab which was $224. I ran his credit card and told him he could leave it on the bar. After he signed it, he gave the receipt to the server who had reprimanded him and told her, “No tip for you!” and pointed at the glaringly empty line where the tip should go. Great. I should have taken the free drink he was offering me.

After the show was over, he came up to me and said “I wanna tip you though.” I guess I was the good cop and my friend was the bad cop but we pool so it didn’t matter. He whipped out four twenty dollar bills and threw them in my hand giving my co-worker a look that said “this could have been for you, bitch.” She didn’t care though because she knew half of it was for her.

By this time, the audience was milling about and a couple of other people told them how rude they were doing the show. They got all pissed off and made a scene about it and the manager finally asked them to leave the club. They did, but the last thing any of them said was this: “We have been thrown out of much nicer places than this.” Uh, was that supposed to be an insult to us? Because it kinda made us think these folks are pretty pathetic. I reached into my apron and felt the 40% tip. As they walked through the lobby, I said, “Thanks so much. Come back anytime.” And I meant it too. For a 40% tip, I can deal with drunk ass losers who have no manners or tact. Hell, I can deal with that for 25%. Or maybe even 20%. But for 40%? Hell yes. No problem. Y’all come back now, ya hear?

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The Adventures of Lispy Gay #4

And now the conclusion of The Adventures of Lispy Gay. Thank you for indulging me with this foray into creative writing. Tomorrow I will get back to bitching. You can read installment #1 here. And installment #2 here. And installment #3 here.

“Mi nombre es Stefano. I want to talk to you.” Lispy Gay didn’t know who this was on the other end of the line. The voice sounded familiar, but the name didn’t ring a bell. “You know me as Steven? I deliver for Choking Chicken?” A brief moment and then Lispy realized he was talking to the very man who was the pawn in his whole blackmailing scheme. The blackmailing scheme that seemed to no longer matter because the wife of the man he was threatening was here in his home and she didn’t even care if her husband was gay. This was the worst Christmas village day ever. “Oh, hi there, tho nith of you to call. How are you thith morning?” He was careful to not say his name since Priscilla was a few feet away and listening to the conversation. Or maybe he should say the name and blow this whole thing out of the water and get back to his day of decorating. “Yo neccisito to tell you something, si?” Lispy Gay put his hand over the mouthpiece. “Prithilla, I have to take thith call. I’ll be right back.” He stepped into his craft/Christmas wrapping room and shut the door. ‘What ith thith all about Theven?”

“Sir, yo quiero to know that Sam on his way to your casa. And I want to tell you that I don’t love him no more. You can have him. He is yours now.” Lispy didn’t know what to say. So he said, “I don’t want Tham. Why ith he coming here?” Stefano, crying and sniffing, said, “Because every time I give him my special delivery in his office, under his desk, he always saying your name and not mine. He love you Lispy Gay, not me. You take him. He yours now. Beech.” He hung up.

“Oh dear, Tranny Thore Ath Rex, Tham loveth me? And he’th on hith way here? But what about Prithilla? And what about Department 56th Original Thnow Village?” He walked back into the living room where he saw Priscilla admiring his collection of thimbles, one from each state. “Prithilla, I think it might be bethst if you go home. I’m thorry about Tham, but I juth can’t help you and I have a lot to do before my mother comesth over for tea tho…” The doorbell rang. Lispy knew who it was. Nervous, he said, “Ha ha, it’th like Grand Thentral Sthathion in here today, ith’nt it?” Unable to avoid the inevitable, he opened the door to reveal Sam who was holding a present wrapped in pink tissue paper.

“Hi Lispy Gay. I need to talk to you.” His eyes focused on his wife. “Priscilla, what are you doing here?”

“I think you’re gay and I just wanted to confirm my thoughts with the gayest man I have ever known,” she said gesturing to Lispy Gay. “No offense, Lispy Gay.”

“None taken,” said Lispy.

“Are you gay, Sam?” Her husband looked down at the gift in his hand and then handed it to Lispy. “Yes. Yes I am. And I love Lispy Gay. I’m sorry, Priscilla. I’m so sorry.”

“It’s fine, sweetie. I’m good. I’m outta here. Buh bye.” She waltzed out the door closing it behind her leaving Lispy Gay and Sam alone together looking into each other’s eyes.

“Tham, you love me? Are you thure? What about Theven?”
“”Steven was just a substitute for you Lispy Gay. I have loved you ever since you gave me your resume that smelled like Chanel #5. You are the best Chicken Choker I have ever known and I want to Choke Chickens with you for the rest of my life.”
“Then why did you fire me thith morning and how did you know I wath’nt really thick?”
Sam smiled. “I was on a message board for Department 56 and I saw your post. I love the Original Snow Village and I was so sad that I couldn’t be with you to set up your village. I guess, I just lost my senses.”
You are on the Thnow Village methage board? I had no idea. What ith your thscreen name?”
“I am Tham I Am. And I have something for you.” He handed him the present.
Lispy Gay fumbled to open it up and finally he saw it. “The dithcontinued movie theater from 1985? I have been looking for thith my whole life. How did you know?”
“Well, I have been follwing your blog, “I ♥ Christmas” for three years and I knew you wanted it. I decided that I would find it for you so you would know how much you mean to me. What do you say? Will you choke my chicken, Lispy Gay?”

Lispy’s smile was brighter than the 100 LED lights that he bought for the artificial trees in his village. He hugged his newest prized possession and looked at his boss. “Oh Tham, I love you too. When I thaw you with Theven that time, I thought I would never have a chanth. I’m tho happy!”

Lispy Gay and Sam spent the rest of the day creating the most splendiferous Christmas Village ever. They made angel food cake cookies and hot chocolate spiked with Kahlua and eventually retreated to the bedroom where they locked lips under the watchful eye of a photo of Judy Garland who hung over the bed. The two had found happiness. The next morning when Patti Lupone awoke them from their first night together, they knew that from that day forward they would be together. Just Sam, Lispy Gay. And a cute little miniature schnauzer named Tranny Sore Ass Rex.

THE END

The Adventures of Lispy Gay #3

I am doing a little experiment. Today is day three in a four day serial of Lispy Gay. Hopefully, at the end of each post, you will be so filled with anticipation that you will hardly be able to wait until the next installment to find out what happens. I just thought it would be fun. Or maybe it will suck. We shall see. You can read installment #1 here. And installment #2 here. Your comments are appreciated.

Standing on the doorstep, with eyes red from crying, was a woman that Lispy Gay knew too well. In fact, he had just been thinking of her. “Oh Lispy,” she said. “I think my husband Sam, your Choking Chicken boss, is having an affair and I don’t know what to do.” In shock, Lispy Gay replied, “What in heaventh name makesth you think that Prithilla?” Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed that his dog was resting his head on a pile of fabric that was going to be the hills of Christmas Village. It seemed like ages ago that this day was all about making the biggest and best Christmas extravaganza ever and now it had become a soap opera. “Last night, Sam was talking in his sleep and he said something.” Lispy looked back at the woman and invited her inside. Priscilla continued. “He said “You do that better than my wife does, Steven.’ Who the hell is Steven??” Lispy tried to decide how to respond and also tried to figure out why Priscilla was there. They had only met a few times and he never thought she liked him very much. “Gee, I dunno,” he said. “Do you want some homemade macaroons?” She stuffed three of them into her tiny mouth and said, “You’re probably wondering why I came to you with this problem. Well, it sounds to me like Sam was dreaming about another man and if anyone knows about dreaming about men, I figured it would be you. I mean, right?” “What maketh you thay that?” asked Lispy Gay as he crossed his arms and pursed his lips while straightening the hem of his negligee. “Oh, well, I dunno…I..I just thought that…” Her voice trailed off as she looked at the pile of Department 56 spread across the floor. “I guess, I just assumed that you’re gay. You do have a miniature schnauzer.”

At this point, Lispy Gay had had just about enough. He had only been awake for a little over an hour and his favorite day of the year had been ruined. He had been fired, gotten his job by blackmailing his in-the-closet boss and now this woman was here assuming that she knew all about his sexual orientation. “Now you lithen here, mithy. I may like pink and thatin sheets and occaithionally lithen to Barbra Sthreithand but that doth not mean I am gay. Juth becauth I buy KY Jelly by the gallon and I have a dog named Tranny Thore Ath Rex doth not mean you can come here and athk me questionsth about your thupposedly and pothibly gay huthband.” Priscilla sat up straight in her chair. “I apologize, Lispy Gay. It was wrong of me to assume. So are you straight then?” Lispy took a long sip of his chamomile tea and said, “No, I’m ath gay ath a gooth. You juth hit a nerve, thath all. Tho what about Tham? Ith that what you were crying about?”

“Actually, no. If he’s gay. I’m glad. I have wanted out of this marriage for ten years. Those were tears of joy. So do you think he’s cheating on me with someone named Steven?”

Just as Lispy was about to vocalize his opinion on the whole scenario, the telephone rang. He skipped over to the pink princess phone and picked it up. “Lithby Gay rethidence.” There was a pause on the other end of the line and then a clearing of the throat. “Hello? Ith thomeone there?” Another pause. And then, “Mi nombre es Stefano. I want to talk to you.”

Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion of the adventures of Lispy Gay! And maybe you want to Tweet this too?

The Adventures of Lispy Gay #2

I am doing a little experiment. Today is day two in a four day serial of Lispy Gay. Hopefully, at the end of each post, you will be so filled with anticipation that you will hardly be able to wait until the next installment to find out what happens. I just thought it would be fun. Or maybe it will suck. We shall see. You can read installment #1 here. Your comments are appreciated.

Sam, the manager of the Choking Chicken heard the deafening sound of the dial tone after Lispy Gay hung up on him. He sat there in his office for ten minutes trying to decide what to do. A muffled sound coming from under his desk brought him back to the present. “Thanks, Steven, but you can stop now. I’m not in the mood anymore. And you’re fired.” Steven wiped his mouth and said, “Mi nombre es Stefano” and shuffled out of the room. Sam looked at the picture of his wife and his emotions got the best of him. He cried with guilt.

Back at the home of Lispy Gay, the idea of setting up his Christmas village was no longer as exciting as it was a few minutes earlier. Sure he would do it and do it perfectly, but his main concern now was to find out who had outed his blog, “I ♥ Christmas” to his manager. He had never told anyone at work about it for fear that they would make fun of him. Could it be that one of his regular readers was someone he actually worked with and they recognized that the person writing the blog was Lispy Gay? The chances were astronomical considering the blog only had ten followers, but stranger things have happened. (For instance, that time that Lispy Gay went to Target to pick up a few things and ended up in the bathroom with the electronics manager and Lispy Gay went home with “free” c.d. alarm clock; the same alarm clock that only moments ago had serenaded him with the sweet sounds of Patti Lupone. That was pretty strange.) He gave Tranny Sore Ass Rex a scratch on the belly and went to setting up the Christmas village church and barber shop.

For the next four hours, as he created handmade glitter for the gazebo fountain, his mind kept racing back to his encounter with Sam that morning. “Tham obviouthly wanted to give me a chanth to come in to work without firing me. He knowth I’m the beth athithtant Chicken Choker he’th ever had,” he said to his collection of Raggedy Ann dolls that sat on the top of his hutch. They looked back at him with their thread eyes that said “We love you, Lispy Gay.” He loved his collection of Raggedy Anns almost as much as his collection of Cher Barbie dolls. “But why did he want to fire me? I juth wanted to uth my thick day before the end of the year.” He remembered now that he had secured his job back by way of blackmail. Lispy Gay didn’t want to tell Sam’s wife what he knew about him and Steven. He just wanted his job back. “And now Tham probably hateth me.” Lispy Gay removed a silver locket from around his neck and opened it up to reveal a picture of him and Sam at last year’s holiday party. Sam had his arm around Lispy Gay and they were both wearing their “Can I choke your Chicken?” t-shirts. Sam had a beer in his left hand and his right hand, unseen by the camera lens, was on the small of Lispy Gay’s back. Lispy Gay recalled how grateful he had been that his shirt was untucked when that picture was snapped, because the feeling of Sam’s hand on his body had made him a bit too excited. Lispy clutched the locket to his chest and began to cry. What was it going to be like when he went back to work the next day? How could things ever go back to normal now that his job knew he wrote a blog about Christmas and that he had blackmailed his boss. “Choking the Chicken will never be the thame,” he sobbed.

The doorbell rang and Lispy wiped the tears from his face. It was too early for tea time with his mother so he looked through the peep hole and was surprised at who he saw. He hastliy smoothed his hair and readjusted his outfit and opened the door. “What are you doing here, you thilly gooth?”

Tune in tomorrow for the continuing adventures of Lispy Gay! And maybe you want to Tweet this too?

The Adventures of Lispy Gay #1

I am doing a little experiment. Today I shall start a four day serial of Lispy Gay. Hopefully, at the end of each post, you will be so filled with anticipation that you will hardly be able to wait until the next installment to find out what happens. I just thought it would be fun. Or maybe it will suck. we shall see. Your comments are appreciated.

The piercing sound of Patti Lupone belting an E flat in “Rainbow High” shot through the alarm clock speakers serving as that morning’s wake up call. A sleepy hand appeared from underneath the pink sateen sheets to hit the snooze button and Patti abruptly halted in mid screech. Seven minutes later, it came again and this time a highlighted head popped up from the pillow with bright eyes and bushy tail. The man slipped his pedicured feet into his Felix the Cat slippers and shuffled to the kitchen where he picks up the telephone to make the call that he knew would be happening this morning. Just as planned, an answering machine picks up and he leaves a message. “Hi thith ith Lithpy Gay calling? I am tho thorry, but I have a thore throat thith morning and a bit of a fever? I think it would be beth if I thay at home today? I tho don’t want to get anyone elth thick. Buh bye.” He placed the receiver back on the princess phone and gave himself a hug, wrapping his arms around himself with sheer joy. He now had the whole day for his favorite activity. He wasn’t going to finish alphabetizing his musical theater collection or watchevery episodeof Barefoot Contessa. No, today he had set aside to put together his Christmas Extravaganza using his Department 56 Original Snow Village. He had a collection of over 100 pieces from the the town post office to Marvel’s Beauty Salon to the cutest little trash cans that were overflowing with tiny pieces of Christmas wrapping paper. “Today ith going to be the beth day ever,” he said to his miniature schnauzer, Tranny Sore Ass Rex.

Lispy Gay went to his Mr. Coffee and made himself an extra large pot for he knew he was going to need a lot of energy this morning if he was going to complete his Christmas Village in only one day. He quickly ate a bowl of Greek yogurt with berries as Barbra Streisand’s Christmas album played in the background. Still in his negligee, he went to his closet and started to pull out the boxes that contained his pride and joy. Right when he was about to open the first piece, Dinah’s Drive In, his cell phone rang. Recognizing the number, he quickly hit the ignore button. It was his boss at the Choking Chicken, the bar b-q restaurant where he was the assistant manager. “Why ith he calling me?” he wanted to know. “I have a thick day. Thith ith not fair!” He stomped his foot on the leopard skin rug as he retrieved the voice mail.

“Uh, hi, Lispy Gay? This is Sam here at work. I know you’re sick and everything but we really need you to come in today. Maybe you can just come in for the lunch rush? Sally’s cat went into the emergency room last night and she can’t be here. We had two waiters call in sick and the hostess broke her toe and she can’t seat people. Call me back as soon as you get this message. Thanks.”

Lispy Gay was furious. He had planned this day for two weeks. He had already told his mother that she could come over that night for tea so he could show off the village and surprise her with the newest addition; a pair of ice skaters who actually glided across a frozen pond. “Thupid Sally and her thupid cat,” he whined. “And I don’t care if a hothess broke her toe. I want my thick day!” He frantically punched the numbers in his cell phone to call his manager. “Hello, Tham? Thith ith Lithpy Gay? I am tho thick. I have a fever of a hundred and thix and my throat ith thwelled up? I thimply can’t make it in today.” After a long pause, Sam said, “I really think it’s best you come in. Don’t you wanna be the best assistant Choking Chicken manager you can be, Lispy Gay?” “Of courth I do. You know I do. I love Choking Chicken. Ith my favorite thing. But I’m thick.” “Are you really sick, Lispy Gay because I’m not so sure,” said Sam. Lispy Gay looked over at the box of artificial snow, swallowed and said, “I thwear on a thack of Judy Garland albumth that I am the thicketh I have ever been. I can’t come in today.” He coughed to validate his point.

Sam cleared his throat. “Okay, I didn’t wanna have to do this, but I know you’re not sick. You’re planning to set up some kind of Christmas village today and you’re faking. I don’t even know what a Christmas village is but, I read on your “I ♥ Christmas” blog that you planned to fake an illness so you could do this. You’re fired. Come in tomorrow to turn in your Choking Chicken apron and badge.” Sam hung up.

Lispy Gay was in shock. How did anyone even know about his “I ♥ Christmas”blog? He had never told anyone he worked with about it. A tear welled up in his eye and it fell onto the ear of his Felix the Cat slipper on his right foot. “But I juth wanted a day for the Chrithmath Village. Ith that tho wrong?” He couldn’t lose this job. Not now, only two weeks before Christmas and right before he had a chance to win Choking Chickener of the Year. How could a day that was going to be so perfect already be so wrong? He decided to call Sam and get his job back. He knew just how to do it too.

“How can I choke your chicken, this Sam. Can I help you?”
“I want my job back, Tham.”
“Sorry, Lipsy Gay, it’s too late. Nothing you say can change my mind.”
“Nothing? Not even if I remind you about that time that I wath looking for thalt in the thoreroom and I thaw you in there? With Theven? The delivery boy? How would your wife feel about that, Tham? Hmmm?”
Sam didn’t know anyone had seen him and Steven. It was a one time thing. It was an accident. Not meant to happen. But it did happen. And Lispy Gay knew about it. “You wouldn’t tell my wife about that, would you, Lispy Gay?”
Lispy Gay laughed the way that Joan Crawford laughed when she knew she had someone by the balls. “Oh, wouldn’t I? Now about thith thick day of mine.”