Saturday, February 27, 2010

Story 4, Gina Saves

It’s a busy Friday night, I have just gotten in to work. While tired and unmotivated I decide that I will persevere. I am ready for the normal Friday hustle and bustle routine, song and prance that we get accustomed to working at the Labyrinth. This is in between rushes, during the expect Friday night 9-10pm lull. This is the time in between, where the happy hour crowd leaves the bar for a short intermission where they snort their evening hungers away, then come back out to the bars, drink their way to love and get plastered out of their gords. They get wasted enough to no feel embarrassed dancing like a fool to any Madonna ton as any sensible man normally would. The snorting part is just my assumption based on the fact that at night, many of the weekend customers can often be found grinding their teeth, with runny noses.

The first time I realized how prevalent and stupidly obvious cokeheads often are at the Labyrinth when I watched the third customer in a row order a drink while he had boo gars running down their face and into his numbed, overly lips that undoubtedly were covered in the cheeriest lip-gloss Claire’s offers. When I pointed out the mess on their face, similar to the way one treats a toddler, the customer smiled, told me to fuck off and then told the bartender they were ordering from that they had a cold. Then, a second later, as he was walking away, the bi-polar bitch told me that I was “adorable.” The second that he finally walked away for good, all I could smell was the hospital smell, like that of mothballs. It made me want a sedative or at least a magical brownie to tide me over and keep me from slicing the overly manicured faces of these lovely patrons around me.

As I come behind the bar James is cleaning his bottles and chatting with Johnny about how he had seen Johnny’s trick of the week out earlier with another guy. It’s moments like this that makes me call the bar Castro high. Then Johnny tells James that his guy is like every San Francisco gay man and in an “open relationship.” Come to think of it, in my infantile experience, this seems to be true. In San Francisco, for some reason most long term gay man relationships I am coming to find are actually open ones. These couples would be committed to each other, but also openly have some thing going on side. Why this is acceptable, I will never truly grasp.

As I walk past the rambling bar gossip, I go back to my Friday routine. I stock pint glasses at every station. Even though I try to be working away in my own cocoon, I can’t help but notice that everyone around me is gossiping. If it isn’t about their boyfriends of the moment, it’s tricks and various lovers. It is kind of making me sick just listening to it and less engaged in being there. All I can think about is how I want to somehow end up at a better job than this.
I am getting to the point where I am working, but mentally 2,000 miles away. I am on a far away island watching the tide. While my physical being is there, while my metaphysical self is working through that daydream. Then Gina quickly snaps me out of it… She comes up from her station to yell at me. At this point I am already in a bad mood and want to tell the bitch to relax and that I’ll get there when I get there, but actually say nothing. She point out that she is in dire need of cold pint glasses right away. She then adds in her Gina way, “you need to wake up and start paying attention for god sakes.”
In my head, at that moment I am thinking, “bitch, get your own fucking pint glass and stop being rude.”

Gina likes being the resident belabusta , which is Yiddish for bossy person who thinks they’re in charge, even when they aren’t. That person who always has to be the leader of the group or whatever they take part in, because that’s just how they roll. What I probably am not considering or caring about is that she really is trying to get her job done so she could make both of us money. She is simply calling me out for not focusing on my job, which today is true. But because she gives me honest constructive, criticism, I should for the moment, like my co-workers, write her off as being the bitch I want to be.
I also find out later, that Gina herself she is working, stepping on eggshells because she had just been reprimanded for apparently over pouring a drink a day or two earlier by one second. Our bar’s shot pour standard is 4 seconds then. The cameras apparently caught her and now somebody is out to get her. She probably just wants to keep her job because it does allow her a good standard of living. The over pouring slip/moment in question is of course caught on the surveillance camera of our elusive bar owner who is always watching us.

I rush over to Gina’s station to stock her precious pint glasses. As I reach into the drop down of her station, Nick the MD to be/bartender is performing for some customer, being the show off that he is and bouncing his big ass around. He’s one of those black guys, much like Wayne Brady. When he works he often is not aware of his surroundings. The rest of us have developed a third eye on the back of our heads that help us maneuver our way around the Labyrinth bar.

Nick has no idea about this third-eye business, nor does he care about those around him when he is working. Being the self-elected Jew of the bar (even though he was raised Baptist), he always focuses his attention on the person with the money in their hands that is within his hand’s reach. He is almost at good at guilt trips as my mother. He can guilt anyone to investing in anything he does, from cocktails to a date. The Goy has the skills of an old Jewish woman and the money sense of a Donald Triumph.

As Nick is hitting on some customer and putting a bottle back in it’s place which belong behind him, near his register. He did this without looking. In this course he also accidentally pushes me into the pint g lasses I is putting away. This causes a domino effect of problems. This is when the nightmare begins. This action, in turn makes one of the pint glasses shatter into a beautiful glittery rain that looks like an explosion around my hand of glass dismemberment, which drizzles everywhere. Then a huge shard of glass is then push into the skin about three inches above my inner left wrist. I am so in shock that, I almost don’t believe that this happening. As I pull my arm out of the drop down cooler, I could see a piece of my flesh just dangling. I can’t see how deep the cut is, but all I can see is blood. I drop everything and run into the back room. Nick is still chatting with the customer oblivious to what just happened.

On the way to the back room, there are little trails of blood to show where I have been. In a fluster furry, I open the first aid kit that the bar has. Like a cruel joke, it’s of course empty, full of just a pile of napkins and 3 tiny band-aids, and a tampon. I have a double take moment. Being that this is a men’s gay bar, a tampon is highly unusual in our first aid kits. I would more likely expect to find lube or even glitter before a fucking tampon.

I start laughing hysterically, while still unsure as to why I am laughing at a horrible moment like this. I am a person who tends to laugh at the wrong moments. I am the guy who laughs at funerals, any religious ceremony, any of life’s generally awkward moments, when I look at any full-length mirror and during romantic moments in movies when most people cry. I laugh at the sight of bad news, and most people find it revolting.

I pick up the napkins I find to soak up the blood. James walks by and ask if I am okay, while he stares at my arm from a distance. His face look horrified. James ask me if I will be able to work the rest of my shift, and whether I have insurance. I am getting even more upset by this point. I am starting to simmer by this question and the evening’s predicaments. The fact that he has the gaul to ask me such a bazaar question as I have a piece of my own flesh dangling from my arm is ridiculous.
I go from laughing like a crazy person to complete silence, give James an evil stare and tell, “yeah, I’ll work. We can turn this place into a fucking making bloody mary bar tonight.”

As I stare at my mangled arm I begin to feel a subtle sharp, throbbing. It is getting worse with every second that I stare at the blood-infused napkin covering up the glass battle wound.
I am almost in a trance staring at my arm as Gina storms in to the back room, which seem to just be adding to my angst. My heart starts beating faster and there now is a vein on my forehead popping up that I have never seen before. Gina asks me if I am okay. She then picks up the injured arm and looks at the dangling piece of flesh and inspects it. It’s like she instantly turned into the professor from Gilligan’s Island. Maybe she will turn my arm into a radio. Gina then goes to tells James who is freaking out to get us more napkins and to “chill the fuck out.” She looks into my horrified eyes, which are now more upset and worried about loosing my job, than the actual injury. She reads me very quickly even though I try to conceal my emotions from her. She tells me that I will be employed next week and have nothing to worry about. She says that I need to relax, then show me a scar in the same spot on her right wrist. I start to think great, she is trying to fucking bond right now and turn this into an episode of Oprah, get pissed and all of a sudden calm. Apparently she has too cut her self similarly five-years prior. She speaks calmly, petting my shoulder in a way that only a woman could and tells me that I will be fine because I like her am “tough as nails.” I don’t know how true that is, but for the moment she made me feel like a tough lesbian, which is way better than I had felt before this conversation and tougher than any man I know. She hands me $20 dollars and tells me to go take a cab to the hospital for stitches and to call her later and let me know how it all turns out. She makes it seem like it was just another normal day. She has this way about her that makes me calm down. From that moment on, the pain is gone and I have adrenaline that is getting me through this.

I am waiting for four hours alone in the emergency room to get seven stitches. It’s now 5a.m. and I arrived to this mothball smelling hospital ER an 11:30 pm the day before. I find a Vicoden that I guess someone slipped into my pocket before I evacuated the bar. I don’t know who the magical fairy is that left this treat was. I don’t event take a moment to consider where it came from. I of course take it instantly and start to choke in the emergency room. Needless to say, I got to cut the line right away.

The odd thing is that, if it wasn’t for Gina I could see myself freaking out in that cold sterile place that is the ER. Because of her, I don’t feel alone in the waiting room and know that all will prevail. I’m like a little kid, excited to see what kind of scar this adventure will leave me.


  1. Yuri! Make your blog easier on the eyes and put some damn spaces in! Good to see you have a blog buddy.



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