i think i’ll take brooklyn

When I waited tables in Manhattan, the following exchange was common:

Customer (waving): Hi, hi, yeah, we’re ready to order.

Me: Okay, great. What can I get for you?

Customer: Mmmm, I think I want….

Me: …

Customer: What do I want?

Me: …

Customer: Wait, Bob. Bob? What did you get that time with the tomato and the arugula?

Me: Why don’t I give you another minute?

Customer: No, no, no, don’t go. We’re ready. Noooowww, what do I want?

While working at restaurants in Manhattan, I frequently heard things like:

Can you describe the eggs benedict?

I don’t know what I want to drink. Something strong?

What’s the burger like?

Can you turn down the music?

I’m a regular here.

Now that I’ve been working in Brooklyn for six months, I don’t hear stuff like that so much. To be fair, I’m working in a bar and restaurant that cater to a younger, much more local crowd. I don’t deal much with tourists or gallery owners, I wait on people my age heading to band practice, I pour beer for guys who tip too much and laugh at my jokes and have been wearing the same t-shirt for six months (I’m not being hyperbolic– I think one of my favorite regulars will get married and be buried in the same crusty ass Iron Maiden shirt).

It’s a relief. Sometimes when I worked, I felt like I was dealing with customers who were trying to have every lifelong need met during a single dining experience. Hand me this, I need more of that, where’s my, oh wait this isn’t, can you please, we need the, but you said this cost, doesn’t this come with spinach? I was a short stroll from the ding farm dealing with customers and their needs and wants and demands.

Now I don’t huff and puff as much as I work. There are the occasional rogues– some princes and princesses who sneak in and try to tell me they can only have grass-fed this or that, and I smile, offer them a Miller High Life, and keep walking. I don’t mind doing a job, I don’t mind supplying info or being accommodating, but life has been a little tricky for a while and when I approach a table and someone launches into a litany of no this and do you have that, I just want to say shut the fuck up and eat your burger like everyone else and if you have some desires that need tending to, put your energy into finding a therapist or do what I do and go home, listen to the Counting Crows Pandora station and cry into your pillow. Now do you want mayo with that or not?

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elsewhere

00808_fCqvcSBh5XI_600x450This house is renting for $1800 a month. It has four bedrooms and three bathrooms and lots of woods and trees and a whirlpool bath solarium. That’s $650 more than I was paying for a jelly jar-sized studio in Brooklyn with a leaky ceiling. And I know this place isn’t in the city, it’s in Connecticut, which, well, maybe everyone doesn’t want to live there. But it is a little seaside town with vineyards and I bet there are parades along Main Street for July 4 and a cute little library. But it might also be one of those insulated little places that doesn’t take kindly to outsiders, especially ones that look like me, and I might get the side eye a lot as I buy groceries and magazines and beer. And I would wave and smile at my neighbors and try to become a regular at the local watering hole, but I might just get a chilly head nod back, which isn’t totally atypical for Connecticut, or New England in general, but I would be uncomfortable and start to hate leaving the house. And I would hole up that large colonial, albeit one with four bedrooms, but all that room wouldn’t be a comfort, it would give me more space to be paranoid and imagine that the sheriff and a gaggle of townsfolk will march to my door and throw a brick through the solarium window and shatter my dreams and hopes of a life with space outside of the city, far from the subway. Okay, maybe teeny, tiny, dumpy Brooklyn studios aren’t so bad. Not a ton of physical space, but maybe there’s more room for other stuff.