Friday is my first official night working at Lilly’s. It’s also “First Friday”, which is the busiest night of the month and quite literally, the first Friday of the month. For some reason, Abbot Kinney Blvd is always busy on this night. I could say a lot right now about my first shift, but I’ll try to edit myself. The whole night is a complete shitshow. Pardon my French. It’s pure chaos. There is no order. I actually wonder if I can continue to work here.
Some of this might not make sense if you’ve never worked in a restaurant, so I’ll try to explain it in layman’s terms. While bartending, most of my liquor bottles should be in front of me, but here, most are behind me. Not only that, they’re behind a row of open wine bottles. I go for the Bacardi, and knock over an almost full bottle of wine. That’s definitely my fault. If you’re serving as a waitress, there’s tax on drinks, but behind a bar, there’s not. Example, you order a vodka tonic for $8, I tell you owe me $8. Nope, there’s tax behind the bar, so I have to print out a check every time somebody orders a drink. Tropez (who I still adore), wants me closing out my checks immediately. Of course, if I’m not busy, I will, but checks can always be closed at the end of the night when you’re done, as long as you get a card from the customer. That’s another thing – you take a card from a customer, and put it in an alphabetical card holder-thing. This doesn’t exist. Grab a cup and put them in. No organization, so when someone has to pay, I have to go through every single card to find the person.
I’m in at 5 and don’t stop until Tropez sends me home at 1am. The other bartender, Esme, stays to close. Throughout the night, Tropez looks at me with a questioning thumbs up, like, “Good? You’re doing OK?” Yea, I’m good. No, I’m not good! Nothing makes sense! I have a pile of checks that need to be closed, but I’m taking care of customers. He comes behind the bar. “You need to close these checks.” As someone is ordering a drink from me. I give up. Fine. I start to ignore the people waiting and just close my checks. Makes absolutely no sense, but that’s what Tropez wants me to do, so I do it. By 1am, I’m completely spent. I go home with no money in my pocket, because the money is split at the end of the night when they’re done. If I didn’t make at least $200 it will not have been worth it.
I mean, at least it was busy. For all the waiting people had to do, not too many customers were angry or hostile – that wouldn’t have been the case in Hoboken. I work again Sunday night so hopefully it will be better.
Saturday morning I wake up early for an audition. It’s an unpaid webisode I got through one of my acting sites. Haven’t been on an audition in probably a year, so I’m a little rusty to say the least. This will be good practice. I’m really not prepared at all – if they ask me to do a monologue on the spot I won’t be able to do it – haven’t practiced in so long.
At the casting, there are a lot of different auditions going on at once. The titles of the project are posted on a piece of paper on the door outside each room. Find mine – Wasteland. I sign in and take a seat among about 15 other girls there for the same role. A lady comes to hand out sides – this is a small piece of the script used for the audition – usually one to three pages. This is one page. The role is Laura Reins, and I have three lines. It’s about zombies. Sitting on this pew-type bench between all these girls, it’s pretty quiet. I know I’m not getting called in for a while, so I walk outside to practice. You can read lines in your head all you want; doesn’t really do you any good if you don’t practice them out loud. My first line is, “What are you doing?” as my brother is taping a zombie or something like that. I’m supposed to be annoyed/incredulous (I think). I say it over and over a bunch of different ways until I start laughing because after a while it just gets funny.
Head back inside and wait to be called. The waiting is the worst part. Allows too much time to think. Finally I’m called in. One guy doing the camera, and one girl as the reader. The reader is the person who says the other lines with you. She actually puts effort into it – some people just say them really flat. Camera guy asks me to slate and say the role I’m auditioning for (to slate is just to say your name). Then start when I’m ready. It’s quick. I have the tendency to get more nervous as the audition goes on, so by the last line I feel shaky. I thank them and I’m out of there. Eh. It was OK. Not great. I know I won’t be getting a callback. I’m glad I went.
Reach my car, and there is a $53 parking ticket. Sweet. This is the kind of thing that will ruin my entire day, usually. I try to let it go. There’s no point in getting mad at something I can’t change.
At night, Mike and I head in to Hollywood for his work holiday party. Yes, he’s only worked one day. Fine by me. Will there be food? “Yea, probably.” Free drinks? “I think so.” Then let’s go. I picture heading over to the buffet and stuffing my purse and jacket with food to bring back to the apartment. We reach the Cat and Fiddle. Cool bar. We’re sent into a back room where his employees are gathered. Looks like a bunch of teenagers. Most of them are just out of college and interning for their first time. I don’t usually feel old, but here I definitely do.
We meet a bunch of interns. Katie is my favorite. She immediately reminds me of a friend from college, Jen Depet. Bubbly, sweet, incredibly funny and friendly…and short ha. She wants to be a TV producer. “I grew up watching TV, I love TV.” Did you just say you grew up watching TV? “Let me rephrase that. I grew up watching every TV show possible.” We get a drink from the bar – not free. No food to be found. No wonder Mike was invited on his first day. Before we leave, Mike says bye to Zig and introduces me. He’s not how I pictured him. I thought he was going to be this tough, average height, scruffy, jacked guy. He’s tall, lanky, and clean-shaven. Everyone says he’s a hard-ass. He’s drinking a Guinness and looks to be thoroughly enjoying himself. He apologizes to me as soon as he meets me. “I’m sorry, but I have his ass for four months.” Fine by me, Zig, as long as you get him a job after that.
We head home. Starving. What can we eat. I can make some corn and mix it with the leftover rice? “No.” Yea, that doesn’t sound appetizing to me either. Let’s stop somewhere. Once near our place we start looking and find a pizza place. It’s really….bright. And loud. We get out of the car and the music is blaring outside of the shop. We go in. It’s so bright. It reminds me of Molfettas! That was the late-night pizza place we’d go to in Hoboken after a night of drinking. I hated it in the beginning and would rather go to any other pizza place in Hoboken, but Molfettas was the only one near our apartment that stayed open late. By the end of my two years living there, I developed a fondness for the place. The last thing I ate in Hoboken was a plain slice from Molfettas.
Mike orders a “Philly” cheesesteak. God knows why. I get a plain slice. It takes…forever, like 20 minutes. I don’t get it. It better be worth it. Says a large pie is $5. What? That’s a deal. If it’s good. We bring it back to the apt. Mike’s is sub par, but the pizza slice is huge and delicious. This might be the new Molfetta’s.
We head to bed. It’s FREEZING in the apt. We put on layers. I keep on my tights and put sweats over top. Mike wears his wool hat. We intertwine our arms and legs for body heat – seriously, it’s that cold.