As I mentioned yesterday we took my 77-year-old mother to New York City for the first time! It was a lot, but also not too much, but also totally different than any other trip to NYC for us. It all started when we asked Jackson what he wanted for his birthday and he said, “I want to go to the Transit Museum in Brooklyn.” That’s his favorite place, to be sure, so we were like hmm. With Covid being Covid and all that we wondered if we could pull it off and how safely. Everyone has their own idea of what is “safe” right now and in our house it’s like this: We are all fully vaccinated, waiting for boosters in December, Jackson is in school full-time in person (with a mask mandate in place), J is back to going to office once a week, usually, and we have been successfully traveling since this summer. However, I am still not willing to get on an airplane. I know, I know, it sounds dumb, but like I said, we all have our things. I am totally fine eating in a restaurant, but no airplane for me I just don’t trust others enough. So we decided to drive to NYC that’s when the idea of bringing my mom came. She was already asking if she could come stay with us for a month this year and it happened to all line up with my birthday, my mom’s, and Jackson’s. So we asked Jackson if we could bring Mama (we invited Grandma too, but she already had plans) and he said, “Sure!” Then the planning began.
When Mama got here we talked about all the things she wanted to see, and factored in all that Jackson wanted to see/do including the Transit Museum, the 9/11 Memorial, and Coney Island. Then we realized that we had never been to Ellis Island or the Statue of Liberty. Then our friends from Rhode Island were planning to join us one day, so we mashed all of this together and come up with a kind of solid plan. And for the most part, it all went exactly as planned. How amazing is that?!
The rest of the story can best be told in pictures, so I’ll let them do the talking, but in reality just know that there were some unexpected trips (did you know that there is an awesome Harry Potter store in NYC?) and we only missed one timed reservation, but it was okay they let us cancel our tickets and instead we took a hard-hat tour of the hospital at Ellis Island which was fantastic especially since we had watched a documentary on it before we went to NYC. We got to spend all the time Jackson wanted to at the Transit Museum, then I finally got to ride The Cyclone and The Thunderbolt at Coney Island which was a lifelong dream that turned out to be a terrifying nightmare and I will never ride them again! Like for real. Scariest rides I’ve ever been on, and I love crazy rollercoasters, y’all. Whew.
Now that the new year is upon us, I’ve noticed the “New year, New Me” self talk starting. I guess it’s not self talk if you are sharing it with social media but you know the deal, people (women mostly) sharing goals about how what they want to change about themselves in the new year. Most of it is weight or size related. Most of it is masked under this “I want to feel healthy” but what they are really saying is that they are unhappy with themselves and need to change. Here’s where I get my stomach into some knots. I’m fat, in case you don’t know me IRL. I am overweight. Medically obese. My BMI is too high. However you want to measure it, I am overweight and have been literally all of my life. Literally here is used literally, not figuratively. I wasn’t a skinny kid who put on weight in puberty. I was a chubby kid who put on weight during puberty, which was coincidently when I was put on my first diet too. But that’s not the story I am here to share with you today, the story I want to share with you came much later.
I worked for Ruby Tuesday. They are a family-style, casual dining restaurant throughout the country. You might know them from their extensive salad bar. I worked for a franchise in Southern Missouri owned by a man named John. Now John had some unchecked mental health issues, and can be best described as a “Mini Trump.” That is to say he was a big fish in a weird pond. Or at least he thought he was. People didn’t like to tell him no because he flipped the fuck out if he was told no. People didn’t like to tell him yes because then he’d abuse them in some way, you get my drift.
He owned several, maybe 10, Ruby Tuesday restaurants. Now owned is a stretch. You know how it is. He was a franchisee, but he rented most buildings, the company itself had control over most of his dealings, etc, etc. And he owned two of the restaurants in Branson, Missouri. First he owned a free-standing one that was open for a decade and did very well before he opened a second location in a strip mall sandwiched between Walmart and a grocery store. Why he decided to open a second one a half mile away from an already popular one is beyond me. Beyond any business class you might take. And as you can imagine it isn’t open anymore. It closed down less than a decade after opening considering it didn’t make enough money. That’s not hard to figure out, but I digress.
I started there as a server, then quickly became a bartender, then a shift leader. A shift leader is paid hourly ($13/hr back in 2005-ish) and is expected to do all the things a manager does, but obviously make a lot less doing it. I’m not sure what the hell that position was supposed to look like, but it seemed to be this thing where they said, “Oh we like you, and you are a great worker, we will give you keys and official sounding title and let you do all the dirty work for nothing for awhile so you feel important.” And I bought it. I was like 23 years old, that should be noted.
It was also a pipeline to management, obviously. You had to be a shift leader to be a manager and while I was there (about five years) I saw many a shift leader and managers come and go. There is high turnover in the restaurant business. It’s a shitty, thankless job and it gets even worse the higher up you go. Add to that the maniac I worked for, and well, there you have it.
Now don’t get me wrong, there were good things about the job, especially for a 20-something. I met a lot of great people, people who became my best friends and still are my best friends. I made it through some wack-a-doodle experiences, and I learned an enormous amount about people and myself. One does that when they tend bar, cook on the line, and watch employees smoke cigarettes in the cooler. It’s a smorgasbord of bad decisions, unruly employees, and fun. I could never, ever work in the restaurant business again, but I am glad for the experiences I had. Even the one I am here to talk about.
One day, around year three I sat down in the back room of the store with the District Manager. I was a shift leader, had been for about a year, and was doing really well. The employees liked me, the managers couldn’t function without me (there was one who routinely forgot where he parked his car), and the Spanish-speaking cooks respected me enough to allow me on the line with them. I was a good, nay great, employee and I was ready to be promoted and they were ready to promote, only one problem: I was fat.
Now I don’t need to remind you that I have always been fat. I had been the same size the day I was hired there as I was the day I was sat down and told that they would love to promote me, but they couldn’t on account of my fatness. That’s a thing that was said to me, while also being told that other shift leaders were also having this talk. There was Jodie who was missing several teeth and was so skinny people sometimes thought she was a drug addict. They didn’t like her image and they told her to work on it and then promoted her. Then there was Kyle, the owner’s nephew, who was also fat. He was told to work on his image (and he did by drinking Bud Light and taking Hyroxycut) and then he was promoted. Here’s the rub, I was told I was fat and then not promoted. Told that I had to show them I was working on losing weight before they would promote me.
Nola told me this. The DM. Now I liked Nola. She was nice and funny and she came around to our store a lot and she was very involved. And I think she liked me too. And I think she was very sad that day she had to have that conversation with me. It came from the top down, and to be fair John didn’t like me for a myriad of reasons, least of all that I was incredibly vocal about all the shortcomings at the store and the with the employees because I wanted the place to do well. But he did see that I was good at what I did, so he was stuck, I guess this little dig was just for him to have fun, maybe “put me in my place” or what not. It worked.
For the next several months I tried to lose weight. I did it blindly. I took what Nola said, which was basically “You’re too fat and we don’t want the customers to think that is on brand with us,” and I tried to get on brand. Now to be clear, I was about 195 pounds during this time. I stayed right around there. I am about 5’5″. I was fat, sure, but I didn’t have to have a wall in my house removed to walk outside or anything like that. And I was smaller and more fit than Kyle and I was actually healthy. I went to the doctor every year for an annual, I was active, but I was incredibly broken down mentally. I was depressed. I was small-minded. I was constantly berating myself. Then here was my job, a thing I was very good at, doing the same thing. Berating me, telling me I was fat, making me sad. But I went along with it.
The short of the story is that I lost about 15 pounds, nothing life changing (Kyle gained weight and was a dumbass, like truly he had a hard time with simple math and Jodie got her teeth fixed, but people hated her and I actually do think she was on drugs) and then they asked me to be a manager and I said no. Their jaws hit the floor of course, but it was the first time I felt like I did the right thing for me. The job was nuts, the hours were crazy, and if they were the kind of people who promoted the likes of Kyle and Jodie, while telling me I was fat, well obviously they were not of sound mind. I got married, got pregnant, and ended up quitting anyway about a year later, but it was nice to look them in the eye and say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” I should have added, “Y’all nuts,” but I didn’t. Also, the store itself was shut down about a year after that. And I did a little happy dance cause I am petty.
So why I am sharing this story today? It’s funny that I have never publicly shared it before. I think a lot of my close friends don’t even know the story, save Kasey and Mel and Jerimiah who were all there when it happened. I think it’s because I was ashamed it happened in the first place, right? I mean I don’t give a fuck that crazy John thought I was too fat (you should hear all the bad things I said about him, ha!) and I’m not even mad at Nola, who later said that conversation with me was the worst thing she ever had to do while she worked for him, which is hard to believe because he had to have sexually harassed her a lot. I’m not even made at Erica, the GM and one of my best friends at the time, who knew it was going to happen and didn’t warn me, instead she left.
The person I am most mad at is myself. I still can’t believe I allowed people to treat me that way. I still can’t believe that I took on others’ words and feelings and ideals of “being on brand” or their damn beauty standards or their distaste for “fat people” and I pushed it deep inside into my core and I tried to appease them. What the actual hell?! Obviously 39-year-old Missy is embarrassed and sad that 20-something Missy did that, but at the same time I didn’t know any better. I had spent my whole life being made fun of, even by people who loved me, being teased at school, being called names because I was chubby or overweight. I didn’t know I could say, “Shut up, you assholes. I’m fine the way I am.”
It was a hard lesson, but I learned it and I am glad that I did and I desperately wish that more fat girls would learn it. Maybe not in the way I did, but just figuring out that you are okay, you are good, you are perfect the way you are and you don’t need to make a change for anyone but yourself. If you are happy at your size, then shine on, girls (or guys). And if you are not happy with your size there is a whole community out there to offer support and help as you set goals and strive for them. But the point is, it is your choice, not anyone else’s. It is your decision how you live your life and don’t buy into this “Fat isn’t healthy” shit, because that’s not true. I was incredibly healthy at about 180 pounds, working out five days a week, busting my ass in the gym, all the while the doctor told me I was good to go, but “fat” according to the charts. They can shove those charts up thy ass, and so can anyone else who has an opinion about my body or my life, right up thy ass.
So, if my fatness offends you, if my fatness makes your life unhappy, if my fatness makes you sad for me, please stop and explore your inner demons, explore what makes you offended by fat people, what makes your life so unhappy, what problems you have to say horrible things to people who are just trying to get by in this life.
And for the love of all that is holy, stop talking about the weight you gained during a global pandemic! This has been a nightmare for a lot of people and you aren’t special, we all made bad decisions just to get by (I watched the entire “Tiger King” series for fuck’s sake) and gaining a little weight isn’t the end of the world and if you treat it as such, if you start to say, “Shut up” to the people who think it is, then life would be better for all of us.
What did the coffee say to the bean? Nothing, it was grounded! Hahahahaha! I have something serious to talk to you guys about: Why does the Starbucks coffee at the store hit differently than the Starbucks coffee you buy at bulk at Sam’s Club when you just went in to see if they had in toilet paper in stock, but you left with $489 worth of pots and pans, Christmas decorations, Spanish-style rice, and Starbucks coffee? This is both a real thing that I do regularly and a burnin’ question that I have about coffee. So much so that I Googled: “Why does Starbucks coffee…” and I started to type “hit better at the store than at home” but was sidetracked by the things other people Google about Starbucks coffee. Here are a few:
Why does Starbucks coffee make me poop?
Why does Starbucks coffee taste burnt? (Which led me to is it “burned” or “burnt” and that’s a whole other post)
Why does Starbucks coffee taste so good?
Why does Starbucks coffee have so much caffeine?
Bingo! I think that last one is an answer to the question I seek. I suddenly realized that when I have had a horrible night of tossing and turning why I HAVE to go to Starbucks to get coffee because the at-home Sam’s Club bag just ain’t doing it for me, I think it has to do with caffeine and that is when I found this bitch! That link there is a complete guide to all the beverages at Starbucks and there caffeine levels and DID you know that there is a class-action lawsuit against Starbucks because people think they are cheating them on caffeine? What the what? I digress.
When I go to the store I order a Nitro Cold Brew. Sometimes a pumpkin (if it’s in season), sometimes a salted caramel, sometimes just a regular old cold brew. But the caffeine levels in those drinks are wildly different. And all of them have more caffeine than my regular old ground shit in a bag at home. I know because I found this bitch! That’s caffeine levels from all your favorite drinks from all over (even Dunkin’ which y’all know I love so much I have a Dunkin’ ornament on my Christmas tree, along with all my Starbucks ones). And let me just say this, if you really wanna get jacked, you’re gonna need to start ordering a grande blonde from Starbucks. Woo-Wee! Get on that girl and get on her fast! She has more caffeine than a “Bang!” Energy drink and I don’t even know what that is, but with a name like “Bang!” it has to be good! (Meaning really bad for you.)
I assume you’re impatient with me now, but we are used to that right? I know I am used to you being impatient with me, so much so in fact that I can breeze right through your subtle annoyances now, and tell you this: Starbucks coffee hits different at the store because the caffeine levels are crazy good–or bad– depending on how you look at it. And now I’m headed to Starbucks to pick me up a blonde so I can write about 15,000 more words today!
My mouth smells like one of those hush puppies you get at Long John’s Silver. Eww. I know. It’s the middle of the night and once again I am awake and once again I am having some crazy thoughts like what at the hell does Long John Silver even mean? Is that the name of the pirate? Was he tall? Aren’t all pirates tall with their large hats and parrots and wooden legs? Also, Silver? Did he have a bunch of silver he wouldn’t share or is it his last name? I didn’t know pirates had last names. I thought they were just named like the Seven Dwarfs, Sleepy, Dopey, Crazy Scurvy Joe, stuff like that. Speaking of the Seven Dwarfs, is that still politically correct? Should it be Seven Little People? That’s a show on TLC that I would watch in a heartbeat. I’d subscribe to their channel and pay like $5 a month to see Seven Little People with bad attitudes and names that evoke their personalities. That reminds me of Ms. Juicy Baby in Little Women-Atlanta, one of my favorite shows featuring Little People. I used to like Little People, Big World but then the kids grew up and the dad got all angry and they divorced and the dog died and ehh. Too much real life happened.
I had to Google “Long John’s Silver” and it turns out I was all sorts of wrong. First off it’s Long John Silver’s, not Long John’s Silver. Then I found the part where a corporate entity tries to tell their sweet story here but I was left unsatisfied, like when they forget to give me that little packet of malt vinegar in my to-go order and I have to complain the whole time I eat my oddly-shaped fish that I don’t have malt vinegar to go with it, then make sure I write malt vinegar on my shopping list so I always have it one hand when this sort of thing happens, which in fact, happens more often than not.
We haven’t been to eat at a restaurant since March 11th. That’s seven months of cleaning up after we cook (or occasionally order delivery). Seven months. What I wouldn’t give to walk into a small road-side diner and nibble on some fries, the big, fat, greasy ones that only a roadside diner has. With the ketchup bottle you squeeze, and the endless Coke from a fountain. Ho hum.
What I really wish is not to go out to eat, but for other people to stop it. That would be nice wouldn’t it? I’d also wish other people would stop hosting parties, promoting gatherings, going to sporting events, clubbing then going to see their grandparents the next day.
In short, I wish people cared about complete strangers a little more. I wish they had the willpower to not put others at risk. I wish they could say, hmm, sitting in a small, badly ventilated place with my mask off for several hours seems like a bad idea. I don’t want to risk it.
Maybe if more people hadn’t been to a restaurant to eat in the last seven months, we wouldn’t be so much worse than we were back in April. Maybe there wouldn’t be 215,000 dead people. Man. I hope your date night, or your football tailgate, or your 25th wedding anniversary was worth it. Because if you’re doing or have done those things, you’re only adding to the problem. And we are all adding to the problem in one way or another.
Stay safe and sane, y’all. Wear a mask. I’ll be dreaming of diners…
You know when you’re deciding what to order for dinner and you snap at your husband when he asks a simple question, so you just log onto the Del Taco app and order $50 worth of burritos then storm out the door, then get upset when you get there and text him to tell him you’re sorry and he’s all, it’s okay. I know you’re under a lot of stress right now, and I love you. And you realize you don’t deserve a guy who loves you so much and you start to wonder why he puts up with your particular brand of crazy and then the line isn’t moving and it’s been thirty minutes since you placed your order and a car three cars back starts to honk at no one in particular and it makes you so angry that you start crying then suddenly you realize you’re crying alone in your car on a Tuesday night at 8:30 in the Del Taco drive-thru and all you can think is how nuts you probably look, and that your therapist would be worried about you, and then you pull up and Kiona, the woman working the window, sees you and she’s all Girl, you look like you need some extra tacos, and you’re cry-smiling as you thank her and then you drive home and your husband greets you with a hug and your tacos are good and you go to bed early because life is rough and you know you’ll feel better in the morning? You know? Your know what I mean?
Yeah, you know what I mean.
Girl, you look like you need some extra tacos. And maybe a nap. Go take a nap. You’ll feel better when you wake up. Then call me. I’m around.
Seriously. Nothing to report, other than I’ve been very busy and struggling to write everyday. A road block I felt coming, but kept just pushing away. It’s not that I don’t have anything to write about. On the contrary, I have so many things to write about. I have our awesome long weekend where we took a couple walking tours around Atlanta and learned a ton of history. I have this MFA application process I’m currently in the middle of. There’s Jackson’s middle school trip this week, and the trip we’re planning for next month. There’s new friends. Planning my charcuterie board for book club night. Jackson’s fun music lessons, geez, there’s a lot. But this is all I can muster. A post about nothing.
We did go to trivia night last night. That’s fun. We always try to beat our last score, and so far so good. We’ve been 8th place, 7th place, 6th place, and last night we came in 4th! We actually knew the grand finale question this time! It was which two countries (out of eight) do not have Spanish as their official language? Do you know? Okay, here’s the list: Nicaragua, Morocco, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize, Dominican Republic, Ecuatorial Guinea, and Honduras. Which two don’t speak Spanish as their official language?
Don’t cheat! You know it!
Yes, you’re right! Morocco (they speak Arabic) and Belize (they speak English). Jerimiah was 100% sure of Morocco, meanwhile I worked in a restaurant with a woman from Belize and she couldn’t understand the cooks. Haha, that’s how I knew Belize! She had a proper English accent because Belize was formally British Honduras, because colonialism. Wasn’t that fun?! Here’s a few more questions we randomly pulled the answer to out of our arses last night. Try your hand at them. Answers at the bottom of post.
1. What is the capital city of the African country of Seychelles?
2. What 13th century empire was ruled by Osman?
3. If supersonic speed is approx. one times the speed of sound, how many times more is hypersonic speed?
So, hmpf, there it is. I’m busy again today you guys, but I guess never too busy to boast about random knowledge. And if you ever find yourself round my parts (no, not those parts you perverts) if you ever find yourself around The ATL, then come play trivia with us. It’s fun and nerdy. Like us.
Until tomorrow when I’m SURE I’ll have something important to say!
2. Ottoman Empire
Bonus question we didn’t get right: When President Jefferson died, which former president and Jefferson BFF, did he leave his cane to?
We guessed John Adams because Samuel Adams because beer list because we don’t know American history. But it was James Madison. Which made me slap my leg and yell, “Oh Dolly! I should have known!” 🙂 But you knew, you smarty-pants!
You guys know me enough by now to know I love two things: Dunkin’ coffee and Adele. The Dunkin’ coffee feels stronger than my regular coffee at home, and it gives me a reason to change out of pajamas because I have to physically go and buy it. Adele, even when she is singing a happy song (which is rare) sounds really sad, which helps me, in some weird way, feel better on my blue days. Like Adele gets me, you know? Yeah, Adele gets me. This post is not about Adele.
This post is about Dunkin, and about how coffee in general has been playing mad tricks on my stomach and about how I’m not sure I can actually live without Dunkin in my life. Can I y’all? Can I live without Dunkin? Can I live without coffee?
I don’t want you to think I’m doing some “Caffeine is bad” sort of cleanse or something. I’m not saying I’m 86-ing coffee. But it is giving me trouble. I’m legit getting indigestion and heartburn after I drink coffee these days. At first I thought it was just Dunkin coffee, but the truth is, it’s all coffee. (Gasp!)
I posted my problem to Facebook the other day (still only allowing myself 15 minutes a day on there, and it’s been wonderful) and FB answered. They suggested organically-grown dark roast. They offered information about pH levels in coffee, and they suggested doing nitro brews and cold brews instead of regular coffee. Someone even mentioned Papaya something or other. I took their suggestions to heart and I bought an organically-grown dark roast with low pH levels. I brewed it. I poured myself a cup. I drank half the cup and the indigestion came.
Then today I said “Fuck it!” I say that, that’s a thing I say with regularity. I said, “Fuck it! I’m drinking Dunkin.” And I drank regular Dunkin cold coffee and I didn’t get the upset tummies and what not. Maybe it was the cursing?
So I dunno, yous guys. Maybe I’m just getting old? I’m pushing 40, and I hear stuff starts to fall apart. Or maybe I just got some bad Dunkin batches? But I’m not giving up on coffee. Nay, nay. Quite the opposite, I’m going to open myself up to different kinds. Expand my coffee horizons, and hope for the best.
As for Dunkin, well, I know Dunkin will always be there for me when I need them. And while I may have to miss them for a little while, it might be worth it. I’ll be sad, sure, but at least I won’t be alone. Now excuse me while I go brew some coffee and listen to Adele.
I’m sitting in a Starbucks. I just had coffee with a friend who had to run at noon to grab her daughter from preschool. I decided to sit for a spell and write on my laptop, order another drink, people watch. And the Starbuck’s Goddess has smiled upon me. There are three woman, all 60 plus, sitting in the corner next to me. They are huddled around two things: A book titled Still Life by Louise Penny, and a white folder with a homemade title on the side that says simply, Women’s Retreat. They are simultaneously talking about the book, and planning what sounds to be a church-related women’s retreat for April. They are also mercilessly making fun of some of the women going on the retreat with them, and occasionally poking fun at the woman sitting in an overstuffed chair, asleep, with a rolling suitcase at her feet. It’s disgusting. It’s not Jesus like. I can’t stop listening.
The book is a mystery novel. A 3.5 out of 5.0 on Goodreads. There’s a Chief Inspector named Gamache. One of the women is addicted to the mystery novel.
The sleeping woman with the suitcase is unmoving. I keep checking to see if her leg or arm moves. Checking to ensure she is alive. It’s cold in here. The temperature outside is a balmy 36 degrees. Winter in Atlanta has come.
One of the women refused a trip to Hawaii with her daughter and her family because they aren’t going to “the big island,” and because her son-in-law likes to decide last minute to stay extra days, and she can’t do that because her neighbor would have her dog, and what would happen if they stayed an extra day because the kids were having fun and her dog ran out of his medication, and the neighbor lost her code to her garage.
“What a disaster that would be,” says Still Life woman.
There’s a woman, Deborah, who is texting Women’s Retreat folder woman. Deborah wants to know if there is a way to join the retreat. “Is there a way?” the Women’s Retreat folder woman laughs, “Oh, I worry about Deborah sometimes.”
“She’s not techy,” Still Life woman says, “She needs help.”
“Just put her down,” Third woman says.
“No,” Women’s Retreat says, “I’ll send her the link again and she can have someone help her figure it out.”
“Maybe she won’t come,” Still Life says.
“Hopefully she won’t,” mumbles one of the Christian women.
The drive-thru line crawls along. Men and women in heavy coats, beanies, earmuffs, looking like they are about to climb Mt. Everest. Jesus, it’s only 36 degrees.
“We don’t need more testimony,” Still Life says, thumbing through a stack of papers Women’s Retreat took out of the folder.
“Her testimony doesn’t even reflect others, no one will get her,” Third woman slides a paper that looks like a schedule back toward the folder and eyes the sleeping woman.
Sleeping woman wakes with a start. Pulls a red envelope from her coat pocket, quickly, as if to make sure it is still there. She examines it and sticks it in the tote bag next to her, pulls a cracker from the meat and cheese tray she bought with a gift card when she first came in, pops it in her mouth, then lays her head forward on her breasts, her long greying hard falls down over her face. She closes her eyes and munches on the cracker.
“Do you think she lives in the hotel over there?” Women’s Retreat asks, nodding her head toward the awake sleeping woman, in the maroon sweatpants, matching coat, and slippers. Her large suitcase still at her feet.
“I can’t believe Starbucks just let’s her sit here,” Still Life shakes her head.
Willie Nelson plays, “…now my hair has turned to silver/all my life I’ve loved in vain/I can see her star in heaven/blue eyes crying in the rain.”
Whenever I miss our old home in Charlotte, North Carolina I start to crave Ding Dong Chicken. For those of you who have never experienced the awesomeness that is Ding Dong Chicken, follow me down this rabbit hole, you won’t be sorry. I first discovered Ding Dong Chicken at a local place in Uptown Charlotte called Pinky’s Westside Grill. This is one of our favorite restaurants in Charlotte, but we have a rocky history together.
The first time Jerimiah and I met for lunch at Pinky’s we ran across it while we were exploring Uptown not long after we moved to the Charlotte area. At the time we lived one county over, in a small town called Denver, NC that lacks any real places to eat good food. There were the local favorites like the Mexican place by Aldi’s or the Sports Page, but if you wanted one-of-a-kind, cool, new food you had to go to Charlotte.
Jerimiah had just started his new job and was making the 40 minute drive into Uptown everyday. On Fridays I would sometimes meet him for lunch, once school started and Jackson was securely in his fun, safe kindergarten class all day. These occasional lunch meetings were good for both of us. At the time I was considering applying to grad school in Charlotte, he was just learning the area, and we had started to think about moving into the city. We originally stumbled upon Pinky’s because of the VW Beetle that sits on the roof of the place. We liked the outward appearance of the place and we just knew the food would be tasty.
But we didn’t go that day, we went somewhere else. It wasn’t until some of the people at Jerimiah’s office were telling him he had to try Pinky’s that we actually went in one day. On this particular day it was spring, and just starting to get warm outside. The restaurant was full, which is normal at lunchtime, so we opted for the outside patio so we could get seated immediately. We don’t normally sit on patios, so I was feeling a little off already. Then there was the fact that it was our first time there, there were so many options on the menu, and I’m not great with options, and the fact that I could see inside and it looked cool and fun, and we felt banished to the patio. I dunno, I guess I am saying I let all these things get to me when I ordered, so I did what a naive person does, I sorta freaked out and ordered something I wouldn’t normally order: A tuna melt. Even Jerimiah looked at me and said, “Tuna?” Like, I don’t even really eat tuna, ever. I shook my head frantically and handed the menu back to the server. A few minutes later my tuna salad sandwich came out, along with Jerimiah’s awesome-looking turkey burger and I quickly resented my decision. I was mad at myself and at Pinky’s. But I didn’t give up.
Below is a sample of their menu, maybe you can see my frustration.
So the next time we went to Pinky’s we waited for a table inside. We soaked in the fun, cool atmosphere. We asked the server what to get. And she said, “Anything, as long as it is Ding Dong Style.” Well I had no idea what that meant but I said, “I’ll have the Ding Dong Chicken!” And my life was transformed.
Listen, I know this sounds nuts. Like Missy, a damn chicken sandwich can’t change your life, but if you’ve been following this Popeyes v. Chick-fil-a thing, you know it can. PS… Had the Popeyes sandwich, and yeah, it’s awesome. Way better than those Chick-fil-a sandwiches dripping in closeted homophobia and kindness. But still, neither are better than the Ding Dong Chicken at Pinky’s. Allow me to introduce you:
What is that, Missy?! It is a marinated and grilled chicken breast, free from antibiotics and all the gross stuff. It is smack dab between a yummy sesame seed bun (though your bread options are immense, even gluten-free if you are one of those nutcases). Then it is topped with crunchy peanut butter, sriracha, and coleslaw. It is important to know that everything is topped in coleslaw in North Carolina. I’m not a fan of coleslaw, but this one is a cilantro-honey slaw, and it’s amazeballs.
So what do I do now, that I live so very far away from my Ding Dong Chicken? I make it at home, duh! Here’s how I do it, if you want to try it yourself.
10 Easy Steps to Homemade Ding Dong Chicken
First you go to your favorite place to get chicken breasts. Mine is wherever they are on sale that week, usually Kroger. Then you buy your meat. Then you marinate your meat in either a Thai marinate, or in Teriyaki. Both seem to give the flavor you are looking for.
Then one evening, while you are trying to do a bunch of things, remember that you have that chicken you are marinating and you have to cook it that night or it will go bad. So run outside and fire up the grill.
Keep the dog away from you by shouting, “Get back, asshole” whenever he approaches. Throw a ball if need be.
Once you think the grill is hot enough (because your thermostat thing has been broken for like seven years) throw the marinated chicken on the grill.
Close the grill, throw the ball, and continue to spray paint that bookshelf you bought at the Goodwill. Remember to only spray paint in the grass because you can just mow it. Don’t do it on your deck, lest you accidentally get your thrift store patio furniture covered in white chalk paint. You realize you paid more for the paint than you did the actual shelf, right? Nevermind, what’s the dog licking on the ground by the grill?
Check on the chicken. Ohhh, it smells good. Okay, flip it.
Go back to spray painting. Should you be using a mask? Are you getting a little high off this spray paint? How do people get high off it? Is that called huffing? Is that how people get high really quickly? What was the K2 stuff someone was talking to you about the other day? Hey did you get crunchy peanut butter at Kroger?
Yell for your kid or partner or cat to bring you a platter so you can put the chicken on it to take it inside. Abandon the bookshelf, you will finish it before the next hurricane comes through.
Plate the chicken. Here is where you can really let your personality shine. Do you want to use your nice Fiestaware? Or do you prefer that plate you got to help you with portion control? No, that one will just depress you. Just use the platter.
Spoon out some crunchy peanut butter that you found in the back of the pantry (scrape off the marshmallow fluff that is stuck to the top of it, or don’t your call, might be good). Then grab the sriracha from the fridge and squirt it over the top. About this time other people will start to walk into the kitchen because the smell is so good. Your partner may say something like, “What did you make?” Take the platter, grab a knife, yell something about how you are the only one who has any damn sense in this house, and run into the laundry room to eat your Ding Dong Chicken in peace and quiet.
Oh yeah, add coleslaw if you live in North Carolina.
I like to make mad fun of those FB quizzes that people share. Not the BuzzFeed ones that tell you which Disney princess you are, those are legit (Belle here). I mean the ones that you fill out about yourself in order for others to learn more about you. I guess they are more like surveys, either way, I started doing every single one that I saw in my newsfeed in a hipster, ironic sort of way, like haha, I’m filling out this stupid thing. Then I got addicted to them. So, there’s that. It’s like that one time I was making fun of people calling their partners “Boo” so I started to ironically call my husband “Boo” and now that’s his name. He legally changed it. No he didn’t, but I do want him to, so I don’t look foolish.
Anyway, the newest survey that popped up was a relationship one (for V-Day, which we call VD Day ’round here because we suspect a lot of VD is passed around on V-Day. Also not to be mistaken for D-Day or for Hep-B Day, which are also holidays we celebrate. Not because we have Hep-B, we just swear off certain restaurants that day.) Jesus, this is getting off track.
One of the questions was: Which one of you is the “Angry one”? Or something like that. Immediately I was like him, duh. He’s so impatient sometimes. Then I was like, Hey Missy… impatience and anger are two different things. Then I was like, Hey Missy, remember that time you threw French fries at his head? Oh yep.
So here’s the thing. Jerimiah grew up in an abusive home with an alcoholic dad and somewhere along the line decided it was best not to be that sort of guy. So he’s not. And honestly, it is rare that he gets “angry”. In fact, he stays so calm sometimes, when I really want him to be angry, that it makes me angry. Then I act out. The French fry throwing was not any of that. It was though, the first and only time I completely understood the term “Seeing red”.
Let me set the scene. I was about five months pregnant. Throughout the whole first trimester I had been so sick, like vomiting-everything-I-ate sick, that I lost 20 pounds! For real, the quickest weight loss ever! You should try it. No, just kidding, not really, I think, uhh, if you are not pregnant, that is an eating disorder. So you can imagine my delight and surprise when in the second trimester I could go back to eating whatever the hell I wanted. I became, very quickly, addicted to Sonic hamburgers. Yeah. Yep. That Sonic. With the crushed ice. So pretty much every day I stopped by Sonic and got myself a hamburger. No cheese, lettuce and mayo only. Sometimes I got fries.
One particular day off from work I did not want to drive all the way to Sonic, so I asked Jerimiah to pick me up a burger on the way home. He obliged and got home to a STARVING me, about 6:00 pm. Now, Jerimiah has this habit of saying he will be home at a certain time, then not being home at said time, and this was one of those instances. He said he would be home at five and he was not home until six. So things were not going well when he walked in the door.
BUT, he had my burger in hand, along with an order of fries, so I simma’d down, now, and waited patiently for him to hand it over. He asked me if I wanted a plate, of which I said yes. I refuse to eat a burger from a box or a bag or a sack or anything else. I only eat on plates. He walked into the living room, where I had been holed up on the couch all day watching Dr. G, The Medical Examiner (because for some reason when I was pregnant dreaming about death was soothing) and he handed me my burger and fries… on a paper plate.
Hmm. At first I didn’t realize it. He handed me the plate, the styrofoam kind, that sags a little from hot food and the weight of a large Sonic fry, and I immediately tore into my burger as I bobbed my head back and forth trying to keep my eyes on the television as he walked DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THE DAMN SCREEN.
“Hey, man, have a seat,” I said, taking another bite.
He rolled his eyes and sat down at the desk in the corner to check his email.
Mmm. That eye rolling sorta got to me, but I let it slide. Because, I’m so sweet. Belle. Sweet. You know.
Then I sat up to put the plate onto the coffee table and it banged against the table and sort of crumpled a bit, as styrofoam plates do. And I was like, Hmm, this is not a plate. So I said to my husband, “This is not a plate.” And he turned to me and said, “Yes it is.” And I said, “No. It’s a paper plate.” And he said, “Actually. It’s made of styrofoam.”
And that’s the last thing I remember.
Apparently, and later the details did come back to me with a bit of clarity, I lifted my burger off the styrofoam plate, and launched the plate, full of fries, directly at him. It hit him in the head, because I was a heck of a third basemen, and he sat, stone-faced, while the fries fell onto the floor all around him. Then he turned back to the computer, as the dog ran over to gobble up all the fries.
I continued to eat my burger, in silence, while I watched him not looking at me. Then I said, “Why are you not eating?” To which he said, “I’m not hungry anymore.” To which I said, “You fucking better eat, dude.” And he said, “Nah.” Then he slid his plate to the edge of the desk.
What happened next, I don’t really have an explanation for, except that again, I was pregnant, for the first time, and I guess, hormones? I had never done this before and have never done it since, but I stood up, screamed a bunch of not-nice words toward him and the scared-out-of-her-mind dog, and turned to go to bed, but not before punching the wall, that was literally, for real, made of cinder block.
I sat in the bed for a few minutes, crying and holding my hand to my chest, while I used the good hand to finish my burger. Waste not, want not. Then I fell into a deep, deep sleep and woke up the next day feeling better than ever. Except for the near-broken hand. That’s fun to explain to the doctor, when she really is like, “Did he hit you?” and you are really like, “No, I punched a wall because he served me food on a paper plate. Styrofoam. I’m sorry, it was styrofoam.”
You’ll be happy to know, that four months later, I gave birth to a healthy, happy baby boy who doesn’t, as of yet, exhibit a propensity for Sonic or punching walls. And my husband never left me. He also didn’t eat his burger, he threw it away. And that has always plagued me, because, I would have liked to eat it.
Be nice to your partners, y’all. And to pregnant women.
Below is the actual FB survey that I filled out this morning, that made me remember this little “paper plate” incident, as we like to call it… Enjoy.
Ok couples it’s almost Valentine’s Day!
Who asked who out? Straight up, we got drunk at a house party then made out a little then he was all, “Wanna go on a date.” So… mutual?
Do you have any children together? One living human son. One living non-human son. Two non-living daughters, one human, one non-human, and at least three to four “scares” along the way. One time, no shit, a “psychic” approached me at work and told me I was pregnant with his kid. You guys! I was not. She was wrong.
What about pets? Duke. He’s a shithead and we miss Bentley every day.
Who said I love you first? He did, but it was during sex so I think it was an accident. A “sexident” if you will. Like when you are climaxing and shout out, “I want to marry you!” Never happened to you? No? Weird. Y’all need to have better sex.
Who is most sensitive? If he’s being sensitive, then I’m like buck up, Buttercup! If I am being sensitive he better leave my ass alone. We alternate.
Where do you eat out most as as a couple? Another sex question, ohh, I like it. He eats out a lot. Just realizing now this is not a sex question. La Unica, the Mexican joint down the road. They smile when we come in and say, “Hola friends, we’ve missed you!”
Who’s older? Him. Not going to say any more about that.
Who has the worst temper? I want to say him. But, I once threw a plate of French fries at his head, then slammed my first into a cement wall because he served me my food on a paper plate, not a “real” one. So… In my defense, I was real pregnant at the time.
Who is more social? No.
Who is the neat freak? I am. But I don’t actively make the house neat. So I spend most of my time complaining about how the house needs to be neat, then blaming him for my lack of motivation.
Who is the most stubborn? Him. He once tried to give me a high-five in a restaurant, I refused, and he sat with his hand in the air for fifteen minutes, until I relented because people were looking.
Who wakes up earlier? Him, because: Job. On the weekends, it is me.
Who is the funny one? Smart jokes, him. Fart jokes, me.
Where was your first date? Metropolitan Steakhouse, which sounds waaaaay fancier than it is. The tables were lit by candles, and that is it. Literally could not see each other or our food. Which is probably why I was able to put down a monstrous amount of food without him knowing.
Do you get flowers often? I used to hate flowers as a gift, mainly because of the connotation that the man did something wrong when he brought them home, so he never bought them for me. Then one day I was like, you know what, I want flowers. Mainly because I realized my husband doesn’t do anything wrong. So now I get them on special occasions and not special occasions and I can appreciate them. #Adulting
How long did it take to get serious? Probably about a year. But it took us five years to get married, so, we are both sort of “take your time” kinda people.
Who was interested first? Him. I mean, who wouldn’t be interested in me?! Look at me!
Who picks where you go out to eat? Jackson usually.
Who is the first one to admit when they are wrong? Me, but also him. Depends on who is actually wrong. Either way it doesn’t happen often. I apologize for things that are not my fault and he knows it is best just to say sorry.
Married? For long enough now that I will be granted half his retirement in the divorce. #Goals
More sarcastic? Him. (Eye roll)
Who makes the most mess? Him. (Eye Roll)
Hogs the remote? We throw it at each other because no one wants to pick. Then we end up just turning the tv off and talking.
Better driver? Him (Eye roll)
Spends the most money? The Arabian Sheik that lives in our house. So, me.
Who is smarter? Math? Him English? Me Everything else in the whole world: Jackson
Did you go to the same school? Fo shiz. We met when we both worked on our high school newspaper/yearbook. He was a photographer and I was an editor and he was my workhorse. I could always count on him to get his work and my work done. We didn’t date until we were 20, but I knew by then he’d always take care of me.
Who’s better with a computer? Jackson
Who drives when you are together? Him, unless we need to get somewhere like in a flash. Then I drive and he just closes his eyes and waits to arrive alive.
There are very little jobs quite like working at a restaurant/bar. Maybe retail, maybe some kind of customer service, but to be fair you don’t usually have to deal with drunk people when you work at Old Navy. Then again, I myself have shopped at ON a little drunk on margaritas that were made too strong, on a Saturday afternoon at Applebee’s. Of course, that was back when Applebees was still the best place to go. But, I digress.
I started bussing tables at a country club when I was 17. Now look it. This was technically called a “Country Club”, but I’ve been in real Country Clubs in my adult life, and what the Leavenworth Country Club really was, really, was a beer join on a golf course. A sub-par 18-hole golf course, to say the least.
My best friend Rachel got me the job. She was serving, illegally, at 16 because her French grandmother had worked there for years and years, and also because it was a private establishment which means all sorts of illegal shit could go on and no one would say anything. And, uh yeah, all sorts of illegal shit went on there. Not just cooks smoking weed in the pantry, either. Members routinely cheated on there spouses in the women’s locker room, “straight” men met other “straight” men in the pool shack for a good time, teenagers snuck off to hole number 7 to do it doggy-style while they hoped the people in the houses that backed up to the course were peering out their windows. Don’t worry, they were. Lots of underage drinking. Lots of it. And that isn’t even scratching the surface. In fact, while we worked there, unbeknownst to us, the General Manager was embezzling so much money that the members were routinely called to be told they hadn’t made their monthly minimum or paid their dues, when in fact they had, but you know, he stole it all. Good times. Good times.
Rachel and I were just kids though, and we didn’t do too much in way of the illegal shit, besides of course the underage drinking part and the serving alcohol part (you are supposed to be 18 to serve) but that didn’t seem to matter to many people, even Jimmy V., our high school principal. He was a member at the club and he always smiled at us as we came though the door to the poker room with a double Jack and Coke in our hand. In fact, Rachel and I routinely let Jimmy V. behind the bar to make his own cup for the road on his way out. In return, whenever we had, uhh, failed to make it to class on time, we would stroll past his secretary and smile, waiving our tardy slip for him to see. “Hey Girlies,” he’d shout in his all encompassing, good-natured way, then motion for us to come on over to his desk so he could excuse whatever mess we had gotten into with our damn Home Ec teacher. “See ya Wednesday night!”
Ahh, the joys of learning reciprocity at such a young age!
Fast forward a couple of years and Rachel was the “official” Beer Cart Girl, a prize to be bestowed upon the prettiest, thinnest, blondest of us. The beer cart was just like it sounds. It was a golf kart that had been outfitted with more rugged tires, a little more power (as much as can go on an electric golf cart) and the back seats had been stripped and a large cooler put in it’s place. It’s as janky as it sounds. I mean, it wasn’t like an Igloo strapped to the bumper, but pretty much.
Rachel fit the bill quite nicely, though she would never dye her hair a more golden like advised. She did, however, enjoy wearing short shorts and low-cut polos and she was a natural at flirting with the 60-year-old men who could be found on hole one promptly at 8 am each day. Every once in awhile Judy, our boss, would let me go out with Rachel, particularly if we were hosting a golf tournament . These were the BEST days, and here is why.
The members never dealt in cash. All their transactions were recorded the old fashioned way, with pen and paper. (Until one glorious day when a computer was installed, that we all hated very much and promptly ignored it.) So every time a member came in from the course and had lunch, or bought rounds for their whole group, or came in for Friday night’s Surf-n-Turf buffet, it was recorded on a ticket and they squared up at the end of the month.
The wait staff worked with a tip pool, and each ticket had 10% added to the total to give to that tip pool. Like this: Family of four comes in for dinner. They spend $100. They end up paying $110 at the end of the month, and that extra $10 went to the tip pool. If Rachel and I were the only ones on the shift that night, that means Rachel and I would earn $5 each toward our paycheck that week, less taxes (and your boss stealing a portion of it to support his gambling addiction). Those 10% tips were on top of our hourly wage, which I think hovered around the $5/hour mark, but it could have easily been more. I don’t remember. But I do remember when I get my first serving gig outside of the LCC, my actual fucking mouth dropped at the hourly wage. It was $2.35/hour. Gross.
Non-members didn’t have a running tab, so they were either sponsored by a member and allowed to put anything they wanted on their tab, or the more routine way, they paid for everything in cash. So when non-members were there for a tournament, or a wedding, or a day at the pool, they had to actually tip us, and usually they would over-tip for cool points with their member friends (although, can you really ever “over-tip” a server) and they tipped us in cold, hard, cash. Whoohoo!
So, a normal tournament Saturday on the Beer Cart went like this:
Rachel and I roll into work together (because my broke-ass didn’t have a car, so she picked me up every day) about 8:00 am. We are half asleep and a little hungover and her grandma is already there and she has already clocked us in. Thanks, Grandma. We eat whatever she has ordered for us, or scavenged after the breakfast rush so that Connie, the mean ass “chef” didn’t see. Usually it was sausage gravy and biscuits. Mmmmm. Then we walk downstairs to load the cart.
The cart was kept outside, but behind a fence because no one wanted to offend any of the members by seeing a golf cart parked outside… Every night it had to be plugged in so that it was fully charged. This was normally the job of the maintenance dude, or one of the cooks when they took the trash out (just remembering right now that the cart doubled as the “trash cart”, which I am sure broke at least 15 health code violations). Most of the time the cooks were too high to remember to plug the cart in, so it was always a crapshoot about how much juice it would have. Most days it was about half, so we would plug it in as we loaded it.
Loading it was a bitch. You had to load up the whole cooler with beer and water and Gatorade and whatever else you think the golfers would want out there. This meant to have a wide variety of everything. The beer was all downstairs near the cart in a room we called “Beer Alley” (but maybe I just called it that in my head) because it was a long storage room with cases of beer stacked up. It was locked, but I feel like everyone had a fucking key, or there was a hidden key or something, cause how the hell else were we always down there drinking the beer?! Who had the damn keys?!
Anyway, Rachel would usually con one of the cooks to come down and help us load that bitch up (they were all in love with her) and then I would start dishing out buckets of ice to pour over everything. Let’s be real, Rachel was the valiant steed and I was the donkey. After we got the cart loaded down with ice and beer (by this time Grandma has yelled at us for at least 30 minutes that the people on the course “want their beer”, keep in mind it’s like 9:00 am at this point). So we load up, grab our “tickets” for purchases, our cash box (which really is just whatever fives or ones the GM can pull out of his pocket when I stick my head into his whiskey-soaked office and say, “Dan, fucking wake up, dude, we need cash”), and a drink for the road. It’s morning, so usually a vodka/OJ that Rachel made when Grandma was in the bathroom. She also made a drink for the cook who helped us, because reciprocity. (Read: he was the weird one and she wasn’t going into a linen closet with his ugly ass.) Because we always keep it classy.
Rachel would drive for the most part, mainly because it didn’t matter how many times I went out onto the course, I still never remembered where hole number one was, nor did I understand the actual fucking rules of driving on a golf course, of which there apparently are. We would plan to spend all afternoon on the course, which meant our first spot was hole number 7, the same hole that, at that point in my life, had seen more action than I had. Hole number 7 (again, it could be hole 13 or 29, I don’t really know) butted up against a row of houses with senior citizens swinging on adorable back porch swings. They would watch us slide to a stop, the ice and beer shifting in the back, rocking the whole cart a bit, and then slather ourselves in baby oil, or some other kind of “tanning lotion” that Rachel bought from the “tanning salon” that she took me to (that was actually in a two houses connected by a tunnel) so I didn’t look so “sick all the time”, and I ended up getting third-degree burns from. “Maybe you shouldn’t use a tanning bed” she said laughing as she was forced to slather aloe on my lobster arms. It was her mess, she needed to fix it.
Usually I would pass on the lotions and what not, and just stick a sweatshirt over my legs and pray that the sun was nice that day. It never was. By this point we had already downed our vodka/ojs in the foam cups, so one of two things either happened. Either we were smart enough to have hide a foam cup in the bottom in the cooler, or we would just start pounding beers, either way it was time for another drink as the first group of golfers rounded the hill and spotted us. “Son-of-a-bitch,” I’d mumble as the actual guests I was actually being paid to serve started toward us smiling and waving like madmen.
The first group would load up, because they saw that we were going the opposite direction. Two to three beers each, a water or gatorade, and they’d ask if we had peanuts or some crazy shit like that, and I’d look at them like they were from outer space. Rachel would try to be accommodating and explain that we had lunch ready for them after their round, or that they could put in order in for something and we would run and grab it for them, but really, do you actually see that we are a golf cart loaded down with actual beer and maybe you should plan ahead you pieces of steaming dog shit and also thank you for my $5 cash tip, you know what, I am going to see if I can drum up some airplane peanuts for you. Wink. Wink.
The entire time I sat, stone-faced and a little drunk in the cart and recorded the transaction. Then a man would hand her a $20, and I’d look at Rachel and say, as if neither of us didn’t already know, “We can’t break that.”
“Oh, no!” Rachel would smile and put her arm on his, “We don’t have enough to break a $20. If you give me your name I will run up and get change and find you at the next hole.”
“Oh gosh no, girls, don’t worry about it, you keep the rest!”
“Oh are you sure, it’s not a bother!” She’d laugh, as she slipped the $20 in her pocket and said, “Have a great game!” As we sped off. It went on like this, hole after hole.
Our halfway mark was the bathrooms at the end of the course, right next to the main thoroughfare in Leavenworth/Lansing, Highway 7. So many times I sat in the beer cart, Rachel taking a pee break, and looked out onto the cars whizzing by and yearned for it to be three o’clock. So many times I watched as people sped by, honking occasionally, and I wished I were free from this beer cart, free from this stupid job, free from this routine. I was afraid. I was in community college by then, having drank my way out of KU the year before. I was concerned my life was going nowhere. I was afraid this was life, for Rachel and for me. Honestly, it very well could have been.
At some point on the way back up the course, the beer cart battery would become critically low. We’d gamble a bit, hit a few more holes, make $30 more dollars or so, then head in around lunch time. Then, after the cart charged, we restocked, helped Grandma in the bar for a the lunch rush, ate lunch ourselves to stave off the drunkenness, and go back out with the afternoon groups and do it all again. And it went on like this for four years.
Looking back now, I don’t regret my time there. I learned so much about friendship, about people, about working and patience. About how to have a good time all the time, even when it seemed like you couldn’t. But mainly I learned these things:
How to open my throat to let the beer just slide right down
How to drink gin. Tanqueray only, I don’t fuck with Beefeaters
How easy it is to talk a drunk girl into making out with you
How hard it is to get vomit out of your clothes, so maybe don’t fuck with the drunk girls
That straight women LOVE gay men and sort of, kind of, want to do the sex with them, even though they are married and they absolutely know that the man is gay
How to properly call into work
How to make a realistic looking police report
How to decide if the situation calls for the actual police in a hurry, of if we can get by with a call to the non-emergency 911 number
How to put out a grease fire, tip: It’s not water
How to flirt with old, white men who were once my track and field coaches in order to get an actual, goddamn $2 tip
How to talk to people who think they have a ton of money, but in reality they live paycheck to paycheck like me, but they just have a lot more credit
How to smile politely when you want to actually set a goddamn fire to the whole motherfucking place
Honestly, the best thing I learned the from my time at the LCC, was that I didn’t want that to be my life. I didn’t want to be a beer cart girl or a pissed off server for the rest of my life, and believe me we had them there. I didn’t want Rachel to be one either. I also didn’t want to be one of those gross members who spat out their orders at us like we were their slaves, and I didn’t want to be married to one of those guys who spent his whole life on the golf course, flirting with young girls, hoping that maybe one of them would flirt back.
Luckily, I am very far away from that girl today. So is Rachel. Rachel is married to a man who does not golf (thank the baby Jesus) and he’s a pretty fucking solid dude. She is also a third grade teacher in the #1 school district in Kansas, and a semester away from her Masters in Education. She’s probably gonna be your kids’ principal soon, and guess what, she knows how to make the “bad” kids feel comfortable, she knows how to teach the “lower” kids how to learn, and she knows how to work in the crappiest of circumstances, so she will be fine. And I’m super, duper proud of her.
Every summer Rachel comes to visit me, wherever I am, and we sit on my back deck and we laugh about those days, those girls, and all the lessons we learned. And we hope and we pray our kids have better fucking sense than we did. I’m pretty sure they do. 🙂
Hey Rachel, thanks for letting me ride along all those times. I love you and miss you like crazy.