The boys head to the beach in Santa Monica for the day. Troy hasn’t seen the Pacific Ocean yet. Jealous, but I have to do some things before training at Lilly’s at 5pm. I go for a run and then head to Kohls for a wine key and a black shirt. Idiot. Two things I know I need for a bartending job. Left my wine key at Colette’s at Girls’ Weekend. When I took it out I said, “No one let me forget this.” Really it was out loud to myself; why should anyone else care if I remember a silly little wine key? I can’t go anywhere without leaving something behind. And a black shirt. Seriously? I decided to put all my black shirts in the boxes to ship out in three months. Good one. Find a couple black shirts, but no wine key. Only stupid, enormous, wine-opening gadgets that no one needs. I get annoyed at the girl trying to help me. How do you carry all this shit and not have a simply wine key? She doesn’t understand how I don’t want one of these cool gadgets. God. I go to a liquor store and get a crappy wine key that sucks, but it will have to do for tonight.
I’m nervous to go in. It’s OK, I can’t. The door is locked. They open at 6pm and I’m here at 5. I wait outside, reading the menu on the window. Frenchy turns on the lights and lets me in. Hi. I can’t help but laugh when I talk to him. I love him. It’s just me, him, and some people in the kitchen. He goes around turning all the lights and starts to show me things. When he’s not talking with his thick accent, he’s whistling. I keep smiling, trying not to laugh. It’s impossible not to picture Kelly here. She would be hysterical with his Frenchy comments and happiness at life in general. He says a lot of funny things that aren’t meant to be funny. I forget, though. Usually I type notes into my phone to remember for later, but it’s my first night training. My phone is hidden in my purse and I don’t dare take it out.
It’s Saturday night. It gets busy. I have the bar, which is about 12 seats, and also the lounge area, which is another 10 seats. I think I’m shadowing Tropez tonight (that’s Frenchy). Still can’t pronounce it. Something like Troe-pear. But no, a couple sits down, and he nods at me to take them. Shit, OK. I don’t know the menu, the wine, the cocktails, or where anything is, but I get thrown right into it. I love how he is just trusting me by my resume. I tell him as we’re setting up that I have references if he wants to make a call but he doesn’t seem concerned. I love this night. I love training here. Other servers start to arrive. And they’re NICE to me. I mean, you might not understand this if you’ve never worked in the service industry, but when you’re new, people are skeptical of you. A lot of that has to do with the fact that so many people lie about their experience and really no nothing about serving or bartending. They don’t feel like dealing with new people. I know this. I’ve experienced it everywhere I’ve ever worked. I’m shocked at how nice they are. Guiollme (I just butchered his name) has been serving here a long time and you know what he does? He comes behind the bar and asks if I can make an espresso martini. He’s not asking if I’m capable of making it, he’s asking if he should tell the customer, sorry, we don’t have that. He…for no reason…respects me as a bartender. I love him. Yea, I can do that, sure. I want to use vanilla vodka in this concoction but there is none. I spot an unopen bottle of chocolate covered strawberry stoli vodka. This would be perfect. Can I open this? Frenchy in his French accent. “You are a bartender, are you not?” I love you. Yes I am. He has me pour a taste for him and Guiollme. Thumbs up. I hope he really means it. This is the best training experience I’ve ever had. I’m busy on the first night. I’m sweating. He sends me home a little after 10, telling me next time I will learn how to close the bar. It’s a French restaurant and the kitchen closes at 10, so I don’t think it will ever be a really late night here. He sends me off with the menus to study. “See you Tuesday at 5.”
This is too good to be true. Frenchy says I have to train a couple more times and then he’ll put me on the schedule. “You are very lucky you walked in when you did.” Not so fast, Frenchy. I don’t have a job yet. I’m bitter and cynical and refuse to get excited about any of this until it’s official and there’s cash in my pocket. He is so freakin nice the whole time. I meet the owner/chef – sweet. Every single server is nice to me. Asks me how I’m doing throughout the night. Not a single attitude. Is this the Twilight Zone? We’ll see. Maybe Tuesday Frenchy will become an evil warlock and curse at me and kick me out. I doubt it. It’s been a great night.
*Foster the People