The Anniversary

So I never really know what to call the day I left Vermont and never looked back. Lately I feel like this event in my life should have a name and the other night, as I stood naked in the … Continue reading

NG Vs. The Dolphin

So in my adventures I generally come across very odd happenings with animals(see opossums and rattlesnakes for more info,) more often then not my travel buddies and I like to give wild animals plenty of comfortable personal space for some pretty obvious reasons. Of course there are always those couple of people in a group who decide the best thing for them to do is to hang out as close as possible to the wild animal, this is a terrible idea and here is a story of why:

When Brian and I were living in New Orleans we had some friends who lived on the North Shore. The place where they lived was right on the river (is that what you call it?) where a Dolphin liked to hang out by their docks. This dolphin also liked to follow them Jet Skiing and generally just like to play in the wake of the boats. D and L called it their guest because he loved to hang out at their docks more than anywhere else and gave him plenty of space to play with.

Now, as I said there are always one or two people in every group who decide they want to play with the wild animals and generally these are the same people also like to get OUT of the car with your CHILDREN to take a picture with the SUPER cute Bear cubs. Because that’s responsible, right? Anyway, the first Fourth of July I had in New Orleans we went to D&L’s house. I was so nervous about going I could barely talk on the way there and when we got to the house I was shocked at how HUGE it seamed to be, just sitting there on the water. We promptly parked the truck and walked into the party where things seemed to be a whole new level of relaxed. No one knows how to relax like people from the deep south. With in minutes of entering the party we had Watermelon-Jalapeno Mojitos in hand and we walked out onto the dock so we could jump into the water, anyone who knows the deep south understands how utterly hot and humidly miserable it can get in July. With in 20 minutes of swimming we finally had company.

Now, my first response was to get out of the water. I had no problem dangling my legs over the edge of the dock, after all what are the chances of the dolphin jumping out of the water to grab one of my legs when he has no previous history of violence? This thought process of course did not extend to me getting into the water with the dolphin and when I was invited to go swim with the dolphin I politely declined. The two guests of the party jumped in and swam out. As they were swimming we saw the fin dip in and out of the water and then disappear completely, that’s when we heard them get nervous.

“Where is it?”

“I don’t know!”

“OMG IT BUMPED ME!”

Quickly they started to panic, the guy who swam out gave out a yell and then started moving as quickly to shore as he could, leaving his lady-friend in the dust as they both got to the docks in shock. He held up his arm to reveal that the Dolphin had actually bit him and it looked nasty. Dolphin teeth are sharp, long and fairly needle like, least to say they can pack a punch even when used on accident. After all Sharks are incredibly curious and as they have no hands they rely on nibbles to figure out what certain things are, nibbles for them are a limb for us, fortunately for W the dolphin was kind enough to give a warning. As cute as they are Dolphins can be violent if they feel you are a threat to them or their pod.

In the end we got W bandaged up and the dolphin stuck around for about 15 minutes before getting bored and harassing some other boaters in the area, one little girl was sitting in front of her dad on a Jetski screamed with excitement at the sight of a dolphin following them.

Least to say the guy was okay, thank goodness, and the lesson was learned.

Roofies, let’s talk about them.

*** TRIGGER WARNING!!!!!*** This post talks about Abuse, Violence and Drug Use.

Least to say my first New Years in San Diego was a little interesting, as most of you know I work in the service industry as a host and lo-and-behold I was closing New Years. For most people in retail working New Years Eve isn’t the most terrible thing on the planet, generally you get to close early and really you can still go out for at least a little while even if you have to work early the next morning. In the restaurant when you work New Years you generally are gong to be at work until 3-5 in the morning depending on the laws regarding bar closing times in the area you are in. Also on how fucked up the Bar got because you gotta clean it.

So it’s was a pretty insured bet that I was going to see some shenanigans and sure enough they started creeping in slowly which more than quickly escalated into fully blown dance party. With in no time the DJ had the place bumping, people were REALLY getting into the dancing (if you can call some of it that *cough*TMI PDAs*cough*.) Mostly it was just a lot of “Yes you can order drinks at the bar or with a server”, “no you cannot bring your drink outside,” “No, I don’t mind working New Years Eve.” “Yes, I am being sarcastic.” But soon things started getting a little *too* exciting when a girl suddenly collapsed at the bar and became completely unresponsive. Then another girl dropped, also unresponsive. My mind of course automatically went into wonder wonder woman mode, getting someone to get water, bringing the second girl a puke bag (at least she was puking,) and taking every ounce of self control I had not to kick her boyfriend out of the bar for disorderly conduct. That self control got seriously tested when he started yelling at her and slapping her cheeks to try to wake her up, I completely lost it after I watched him pick her up from the chair and drop her on the floor. The police stepped in and dragged her away and then he had the nerve to tell me what was going to happen. I promptly told him off, and felt rather okay with the fact that he promptly got arrested for grabbing an officer and trying to rip her out of their arms.  Now as a few of you know when I was living in New Orleans I was roofied and it was terrifying, but it also gave me some insight into what roofies were and what they looked like but more importantly how to deal with them.

When I was roofied in New Orleans it was intense, but thankfully I am really in tune with my body and could tell within ten minutes that something was very, very, wrong. I took a sip of my Redbull and Vodka and cringed, it tasted salty which no alcoholic beverage should taste like unless salt or olive juice or something similar is used in the making. My first reaction was to ask Brian if it tasted funny to him, he took a super small taste and didn’t really notice anything unusual, I took another sip and put my drink on the bar. Within five minutes (now up to 15 minutes after the initial dose) of placing the drink on the bar it felt like my entire world was falling out from under me. There was absolutely no way one drink had gotten me that screwed up, I had only had two drinks at the previous bar. I immediately told Brian we had to leave, that something was wrong, and within two blocks of the bar we had been laughing in not 15 minutes ago my entire world dropped for three full days. It took me almost a week to fully physically recover, I have still not emotionally gotten past the experience.  Thankfully I had Brian there who fed me, forced me to drink more water than my body felt like it could handle and held me as I tried to get control of my body back.

These girls did not have the luxury of having themselves so in tune with their own bodies, or the understanding that this isn’t something that will never happen to you. It’s very real, very scary and shouldn’t ever happen but it does. You could turn away from your drink for just a few seconds and never know and you may not have friends near by to help you. Thankfully the first girl had her best friend with her who had no problem calling 911. The second girl was not so lucky and her boyfriend (abusive ass) was promptly arrested for his actions.  As far as I know all the people who were drugged are safe and were taken by ambulance to the ER. I really, genuinely, hope that these people are okay. I hope that girl 2 ditched the douche in red plaid, I hope that the BFF’s keep their buddy system just as strong as it was this NYE, I hope the third party got just as much help as the two girls did.

Now on the road safety is always a huge concern, after I was roofied I realized just how far I needed to take that. Since that night I have carried test strips with me to every bar I go regardless of who I know and who I am with. The thought of someone taking that kind of control from me again terrifies me, but not nearly as much as my concern that it will happen to someone else when there are ways to ensure your safety more so than if you had nothing at all. Below are a couple of links to items you can buy to test your drinks:

Color changing Straws and Cups

Color changing Test Strips

I hope everyone has a safe 2014!!!

Love always,

-Nerdy Gypsy

This is why we can’t have nice things: Restaurant Edition.

So when I was a kid my mom would take me out to restaurants occasionally and we were always taught very well on how to behave in a restaurant. I have recently (the last 8 months of my life) realized that not everyone learns how they should act in a restaurant or when going out to a restaurant. Of course this bothered me before when I would see people being rude to waitstaff or giving the bartender a hard time but now that I am working in a restaurant full time it’s gotten a lot harder to hold my tongue even when going out with family members. Guys, I know it’s hard to be patient sometimes but some of the stuff you do to these people gets WAY out of hand. That being said I worked retail for almost 6 years of my life and not even Black Friday Madness can compare to how people get treated when they work in a restaurant so lets talk about having some freaking manners! I mean how hard is it to simply be nice??!

Reservations:

When you go out on a Friday or Saturday night it is often a good idea to make a reservation as restaurants tend to hit their peek business anywhere from 4:30pm to 10:30pm and sometimes even later depending on the establishment. That being said if you aren’t going to make it or if you are going to be late then CALL THE RESTAURANT. I cannot express enough how important this is. I mean if you have less than 6 people in your party it generally isn’t that big of a deal but anything above that takes a lot of time and a lot of space. At the host stand it is our job to make sure your table is ready to be sat at precisely the time YOU chose when you made the reservation so if you have a party of Ten and you come in 15 minutes late with no phone call I will probably have given your table away if there is a serious wait on our hands. It’s nothing against you but I have a business to run and people to seat, I am not going to keep a family that has been there for 20+ minutes waiting for the table you reserved but neglected to show up for. That’s not fair to them and it’s not fair to the staff who, by the way, live mostly off of their tips so you being late wastes not only our time but theirs and as a server Time Is Money. Literally.

Ordering Food:

Now I have no problem if you want to make some adjustments to your meal, I do have a problem when you have an allergy and you don’t tell me about it before your food hits the table. This happens all. The. Time. If you have a serious food allergy we NEED to know. Between needing special gloves just to prep your food, we need to cook your food on a specific part of the grill so we don’t end up putting you into anaphylactic shock because your burger touched sea food. We understand that not everyone can eat everything, we are MORE than happy to accommodate that because we WANT you to leave happy. That all being said if you come to the restaurant and then do 10+ changes to your meal simply because you are a picky eater your server may resent you. A lot. Especially if you don’t tip well. As I said before Time Is Money, so when you make 50 billion changes to your Cheese Burger (Medium rare, no onions, add garlic, add spinach, no mustard, add mayo, toast the bun, bun on side, add bacon, sub fries for o-rings) you are delaying the time on your food and everyone else’s so please keep that in mind especially if you decide to eat during one of the rushes.

Servers not Slaves:

Servers may be here to serve your food and entertain you and your family but they are NOT your slaves or butlers or personal assistants. I’ve been a server, I know what you are doing to them and frankly it is not nice. If a server is busy with another table it is INCREDIBLY rude to yell at them from a few tables over until you get their attention if they are with another table. Usually they will try to make eye contact with you and let you know that they will be with you in just one second but if you keep up your childish antics do not be surprised when your fries are a little cold. Had you let them complete the order with the other table quickly instead of interrupting the server would have probably gotten the order, stopped by your table for a drink refresh, checked their other tables and have been back from the kitchen with your food nice and hot in the time that it took you to bitch at them for not giving you exclusive attention. Servers are quick on their feet and good at multitasking like that and if you let them do what they need to do and are polite they generally move quicker and give much better service. That doesn’t mean you aren’t going to get a rough server or your server isn’t going to have rough nights where they can’t move as fast and there really is some behavior that is completely inexcusable (If you have four tables this is probably not the best time to go out for a ten minute smoke break) and if this is the case then you need to bring it up with the manager on duty immediately so it can be fixed, you still don’t have to be a jerk to the server although I wont fault you for leaving a lower tip.

Alcohol Consumption:

Who doesn’t like to drink sometimes? We all get wild and crazy and usually a little unruly but it is all fun and games, right? So let’s keep it that way and not get too drunk to function. At some point we will cut you off and if you respond badly we will either kick you out or call the police. The last thing you want is a Drunk In Public ticket. Oh yeah, and if you are going to projectile vomit all over my bathrooms because you can’t hold yourself together then at the very least tell a staff member but we’d prefer it if you took responsibility and helped us clean it up. The last thing anyone wants to do is clean up a Chicken Caesar Salad from the walls of the bathroom including us so please slow down, drink some water, relax and have fun. We aren’t rushing you.

Campers:

You people are the freaking. Worst. Seriously.

I can’t even write about you because you make me so livid. Want to have a drink and talk for two hours? Find a bar.

…. UGH!!!

Tipping:

So as I mentioned earlier Time is Money when you are on the floor of a restaurant. The time we waste running to get you the sauce you forgot you wanted for the third time could be $2-3 out of our tips which may not seem like a lot to you but it adds up quick. Especially when most servers only make $2.13 an hour. When I was serving in New Orleans I didn’t get a paycheck from the end of April when I started to the beginning of August when I moved. I relied solely on the tips that I was receiving because they tax the hell out of credit card tips and as you can imagine this made things really really hard some times. When we were in slow season I was so so thankful for my make-shift savings that I had put aside with the understanding that when slow season hit I was only going to be going home with as little as $8 a day which didn’t even cover the gas to get to work, forget paying rent or eating at all.

And finally the most important part: Restrooms:

Ladies, ladies, ladies, ladies. Let’s have a heart to heart here really quick. Do you like going into a dirty restroom? Do you like finding some strangers bloody tampon next to the toilet? Do you really want to sit in a puddle of someone else’s pee? No? Then why the HELL WOULD YOU DO THAT YOURSELVES!?!?!? I mean I get the germs thing and really that’s what toilet seat covers are for which are generally provided in any public restroom but even then you still leave the toilet seat covers strewn across the stall or the toilet paper so clawed at that it looked like it snowed toiletries all over the freaking place? Even the MENS room is cleaner and guess who gets to clean all of your mess up? The hosts and sometimes the people that handle your food. We do not have a janitor on site which means that we have to throw on some gloves, break out the mop and clean up things I cannot even describe to you because they are so. Nasty.  So please let’s do everyone a favor: sit down, clean up and be considerate of everyone involved. As for the men, we know you don’t wash your hands. That’s icky. Please stop. Germs are yucky and during this time of year sickness is running rampant, mixing bodily fluids with your food probably wont help you keep from getting the flu.

And there you have it folks! Just these little things help us help you have a better experience being served, and I cannot even express how much we appreciate the little bit of patience you give us. Happy Holidays and remember: People in customer service are giving up time spent with their families to serve you, be nice.

 

-NG

Host Stand Fun and Thoughts on San Diego.

There’s always something exciting that happens up at the host stand, whether it’s watching Shake Weight Guy (Anyone who lives in San Diego and spends way too much time downtown knows who I am talking about) or dealing with a man who clearly is coming off of some sort of drug walking around with a gun and muttering to himself. Least to say Gun guy was the other night. Let me just put it out there that the entire time I was living in New Orleans I never saw a person pull out a weapon, I saw plenty of people arrested for being drunk angry slobs but not one pulled out a gun and started waving it around. Not that I knew what to do anyway, my first response was to call Brian who is the gun Guru of the house and the conversation went something like this:

“Uhm… There’s a guy walking around in front of the restaurant caring a gun… Is that even legal here?”

“Wait, what?!?!”

“Yeah….”

“Why are you on the phone with me, call the police!!!!!!”

And so we did. I didn’t, but my manager, K, did.

Least to say I have no idea what happened to the guy but it certainly was exciting there for a few minutes and honestly I was more concerned with people’s safety than the fact that he had a gun in the first place. Was he okay himself? Did he need assistance that he clearly wasn’t getting? Was he even willing to get help? How the hell is there so much poverty here?!?!

San Diego is a pretty incredible place, it has mostly perfect weather year round and the hikes you can find here are amazing (see Black Mountain.) It also has it’s issues much like any other city. To be honest, this has been the hardest move I have made in my travels, it has also been the HARDEST culture shock to deal with. At current I am still dealing with the culture shock of the west coast on a daily level and the Poverty level here might be the hardest part of the entire move.

Perhaps it’s because there is such an obvious difference between the higher upper class and the poverty or maybe I haven’t been paying enough attention or sensitive enough to the issue for it to effect me as much as it does here. It may also be the fact that every single day I am at work I watch people dig through garbage cans, beg for change and they seem to mostly do it with a smile and deep appreciation for when they do find what they are looking for or receive that extra parking change you don’t really need. Many of them wish me well on my way to work and cheer me on at the end of the day when they see me head to the car. Many of them know me at this point, they come in and I let them use the restroom or I have volunteered with them before, regardless of how they know me (if they even know me) they all show me respect and I have no problem giving it in return. I have almost gotten into really heated arguments with people who refused to do the same even though the homeless person was just trying to help me help them get directions.

Least to say I have been working on this blog post for about two weeks now to find a good way to wrap it up but I just can’t seem to let it settle and so I am cutting it off here to perhaps be finally finished at a later date.

Halloween, Pneumonia and why I am so loyal to my job.

So this Halloween was a total bust. I went out once with my friend Rachel but other than that I stayed home sick. There’s nothing more sucky then having a bomb costume that you know you are going to rock the town with that you can’t wear because lo-and-behold you have goddamn Pneumonia and have to go to the ER Halloween evening. Talk about sucky timing. Although Halloween was a total bust in that sense it was good to find out what was wrong so I could get on antibiotics. Plus, everyone (save one nurse) was totally friendly and they all enjoyed joking around. It was nice to see real people instead of strict doctors working in the ER, if I HAD to be there at least it was going to be seriously entertaining.

So least to say Halloween was a little rough, I called my manager (We will call her K) from the hospital to let her know what was going on and she got my shifts covered and taken care of quickly. Just to make sure I called yesterday to see if they were covered and to make sure they weren’t going to need me and was promptly met with the response “No. You have Pneumonia, you need to rest. You are NOT coming into work.” To which I weakly said thank you, hung up and passed back out in a fever induced haze. Rough, but at least they care.

I’ve worked for many different companies before and I have to say Hard Rock is by far one of the best companies to work for. Not only do I get to color my hair, have tattoos and piercings, AND listen to awesome music all day but the company really does care about it’s employees. No, seriously. It does. A few months ago when I was living in New Orleans I was ruffied at a bar and it left me seriously sick for days. Not only did it leave me sick physically but it effected me emotionally in ways I couldn’t even describe. My entire foundation was shaken; I was lost, confused and pissed the hell off. Who the hell has the audacity to slip something into MY drink?!?! Why would they do that to ANYONE?!?! When I called Hard Rock Cafe to tell them about it they gave me a couple days off of work to recover and gave me a number to call so I could receive free therapy from Hard Rock if I so chose to use it. They were more concerned with me being okay then anything else which, in the end, made me want to be a better employee and made me want to strive to be better at my job. I cannot honestly say that about the majority of my other jobs in the past. I think the only other job that could ever compare to how awesome Hard Rock is, is when I worked at Victoria’s Secret but that’s a story for another time.

I am feeling better now, I am on day two of antibiotics. I am not 100% but I am at least 50% which is SO much better than I was yesterday. This post has kind of wiped me out though so I am going to go take a nap. Thank you guys so much for all of your support and I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful Halloween!!!

Dealing with Home Sickness

So you know when you have a favorite food that you just don’t eat for a really long time because you had eaten so much of it you just couldn’t stomach it any more and then finally 6+ months later you try it again and it’s right back at the top of ‘best foods in the world?’ Well that’s how I feel about Vermont. It’s kind of funny actually because when I left I swore up and down that I wasn’t going to miss Vermont, I wasn’t going to miss the cheese or the maple syrup or the soft-serve ice cream and I certainly wasn’t going to miss the snow. Now a year and a half later I find myself missing exactly all those things, especially now that I am in San Diego.

I keep looking outside expecting the trees to be changing color (they did in Kentucky) but they don’t here. They didn’t in Louisiana either, and I clearly remember on February 20th (my 22nd birthday,) sitting out on the steps in front of the ghetto ass house I was living in, in just a t-shirt and shorts and swearing it was the hottest I have ever been in my life. Little did I know that it was going to get a LOT hotter REALLY fast as Hurricane Season tends to do. As I work my way across the US and the rest of the world I find myself comparing what I am currently experiencing to the home I grew up in and I have come to a couple of conclusions:

1. Vermont is a lovely state albeit somewhat sheltered from many of the things the rest of the country has to deal with, which makes it seem like sort of a paradise sometimes. For example the amount of crime you deal with in different cities.

2. Okay so maybe just one massive conclusion.

What can I say, growing up in Vermont keeps you sheltered from a lot of the world. In Vermont I never really experienced wide spread Racism, Homophobia, Religious Persecution or Massive shootings (while I didn’t experience them first hand New Orleans has Mass Shootings about once every couple of weeks.) Sure every state has a fair amount of Political Corruption (here’s looking at you Louisiana) and economic issues but Vermont had(has?) NOTHING compared to the rest of the country. Even now I am sitting here at my desk currently unemployed, although I should be, and wondering how hard could it possibly be to get a job in a city that has 1.32 million people. Oh wait… That’s right. 1.32 million people compared to Vermont’s population 626,011. That is 2.10 times MORE people than Vermont in just ONE city. I would say that it’s claustrophobic but west coast cities are much different from east cost cities and instead of growing up they grow out.

So how does someone cope with all of these changes and vast gaps in cultural understanding? I personally just accept that things are happening and instead of fighting them, I learn from them. I wasn’t always like this though, this Christmas will be my second Christmas away from home and on my first Christmas? I fought, I cried, I screamed, I almost bought a plane ticket home and said screw traveling. That was back in Kentucky. I used to see the way people had adapted to their cities and question why some people just couldn’t get their shit together (New Orleans is a prime example of this.) Then I stopped getting angry and upset and started listening. I would sit down with the locals with a cup of tea or a beer and I would shut up and listen to all that they had to say. The stories that came out of simply listening changed my perspective on many many things including acceptance.

One story sticks out to me the most, just watching him talk about surviving Katrina was haunting to me. His eyes zoned out, as if he could see through the wall of the dark, musty, bar and simply saw himself surviving something no 16-year-old knows how to cope with. He gave me a sheepish smile as he admitted that the only reason he coped the first three nights is because he was stoned, I couldn’t blame him though as he had been stuck up in a small crawl space with a box of cereal and one gallon of water, listening to the gun shots echoing off the rooftops. That is a terror I will never know and my heart went out to him, he was still tortured by it.

As I read this blog over to make sure everything sounds the way it should I realize that I have no idea how I am going to wrap this post up. I still deal with homesickness, I am still learning so much about the differences in the world, I am still here listening and I don’t see that changing any time soon.