Lean on Me

Bartending at The Turtle Club

Mike has a meeting tonight at Zig’s house with all the other interns and they have to bring something to eat. So he’s not paying you AND he wants you to bring food? Bring Ramen. “It has to be something healthy.” Carrots! We have a bag of carrots in the fridge. Mike does not take my advice and picks up some cookies instead. Because those are healthy.

Since I have work, he drops me off before his meeting. First, we stop at Abbot Kinney Pizza Co. for a slice. This stuff is so good with its everything bagel crust. Mike has the Spicy Chicken, marinated in tequila and lime with jalapenos and mozzarella on tomato sauce. I go for the Four Way: sliced tomato, red onion, bell peppers, romano, parmesan, mozzarella and fontina on an olive pesto sauce.

It’s a slow night at work and Tropez is in rare form. He asks if I checked out the apartments he told me about. I’ve been trying to find a place to live with no success, but I have not checked the place he told me. Truthfully, I couldn’t really understand where he was telling me to go. I just kept shaking my head yes like I understood. When I tell him I haven’t, he huffs and puffs at me. “Oh, I need a barback.” He’s mimicking me. As if him trying to help me with an apartment has anything to do with me complaining to him that I need a barback. I laugh, of course. OK, Tropez, seriously, draw a map and show me where they are. I plan on spending all day tomorrow looking for a place. I hand him a pen and my notepad. He starts drawing this map and I nod and yes him. When he’s finished I still don’t know how to get to this map, so I ask him where it is in relation to us; to the bar. “OK, this is Abbot Kinney.” He draws the road. “You follow it all the way around to this stop sign. At the stop sign, you’ll go right. So you put on your right blinker so the cars behind you know that you are going to go to the right. Then you look both to ways to make sure no cars are coming, then you turn the wheel to get onto Main Street.” What a smart alec.

Later I find myself leaning on the bar and Tropez walks by me. I immediately stand up and think of Nuttle. We worked together in Hoboken and he always used to say, “If you can lean, you can clean.” Ugh, I hated it. I started as a server there before I started bartending, and at that point he “trained” me even though I like to think I already knew what I was doing. Nuttle was an asshole when I first started working with him. Bartenders naturally don’t like servers: they’re like these needy people who won’t stop asking you to make them drinks. He always gave me a hard time and we had it out one day. Nothing big; I actually don’t remember what happened but I was really mad and told him. He (eventually) felt bad about it and told me not to take it personal. People always say that.

Turtle Club Christmas Party with Reed, Joe, and Nuttle

Anyway, Nuttle ended up being one of my favorite people at Turtle Club. He’s definitely the most professional person I’ve ever worked with and he treats everyone the same. He made a lot of jokes about men being better than women which he knew pissed me off, but like most people, he learned how to press my buttons. He said some things that I won’t forget. “If you wouldn’t serve it to your mother, then don’t serve it.” He said this about fruit garnishes, but it could be true for anything. And I think it all the time when I’m working.

Even though Nuttle was a couple years younger than me he felt like an older brother. When I left he told me to definitely use him as a reference and slipped me some cash. “You and Mike have a drink on me when you get out to California.” A small gesture can mean a lot. It did. I miss Nuttle and his anal-ness and especially his organization and cleanliness. I’m working in opposite world now.

*Bill Withers

5 thoughts on “Lean on Me

  1. Lindsay, I have been following your blogs and really enjoying them. You make me feel like I,M LIVING IN cali. kEEP UP THE GOOD WORK ENTERTAINING us back here in cold NJ! We just got back from FLA so my blood hasn’t changed yet! LUV YA, Mary Kay

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