Sunday morning I run to the market for bread and eggs to make breakfast for the four of us. I pass Lauren’s car and notice that the huge space in front of her and the huge space behind her looks even worse in the daylight. Hey, Laur, you said last night that you believe in karma, right? “Yes.” Then you should probably move your car up. She does.
Scrambled eggs for Lauren and Mike and soft-boiled for me and Sarah, with toast and a side of strawberries and avocado. It’s not difficult to make, it’s just difficult to move around and set up four plates instead of our usual two. I try not to stress out as I usually do, but towards the end I drop the spatula covered in scrambled eggs on the ground and almost lose it. Now they’re all looking over, checking what I’ve got going on for breakfast, and I can’t handle it. Go away, I’m not done yet. Lauren is very sweet when I finally tell them they can eat. “You’re such a good cook!” Before she even tastes it. I’ve definitely messed up my eggs – cooked them a little too long. Sarah’s are probably not great, but she insists they’re good.
Kelly O calls as soon as we finish eating, so I walk outside to talk (I don’t get much service in the apartment). She’s on her way home from the shore because apparently, it’s raining. Reef (Kelly’s 4-year-old nephew) has been sick anyway, so they’ve been hanging out inside for most of the weekend. This morning, she finally went for a walk with Reef to the toy store, just to get out of the house. They walked by an old man trimming a rose bush and Reef stopped him. “What do you think you’re doing? You’re killing that plant!” Kelly tried to contain her laughter as the old man didn’t respond and continued trimming his rose bush. She then tried to explain to Reef that he was trimming off the bad parts. But she didn’t call to talk about Reef. She wants me to pick out a piece of jewelry from Reef Beads because she’s going to send it to me for my birthday. You don’t have to do that Kel! I was definitely going to buy a bracelet, anyway, so I’m excited. Reef Beads is a new company Kelly’s sister-in-law, Brittany, started and it’s doing really well in South Jersey (this is really just a plug). I hope to bring the trend out to California.
Mike stays at the apartment to relax while we head out for the day. Can’t blame him; we’re doing shopping and a lot of walking – two things he doesn’t like. Besides, I have work at 6, so he has to take over as host when I leave. The three of us make our way to the beach, and walk all the way to Santa Monica Pier. It’s a perfect day for a long walk. It’s crowded, of course, but we weave through the masses, pausing a few times to check out the incredible views and snap a few photos. Once at the end of it, we stop into Mariella’s – a Mexican restaurant – for margaritas and guacamole.
I tell them to follow me and walk past the line waiting outside. If we’re going to the bar, it’s fine. Unfortunately, there’s not three spots open. I’m not sure what we’re going to do when a manager walks right up to us and seats us at a high table. Score. People were probably maybe waiting for a table like that, but oh well. Sarah is paranoid that we’re going to get in trouble. She has everything planned out for what she’s going to say if they approach us. And I thought I was bad.
We take the boardwalk route back to our place and stop at Venice Ale House. This reminds me of a Philly bar – lots of microbrews on tap and chalkboards everywhere. I like it. We sit and have a beer and then we’re off, stopping at another shop for some Venice shirts. Lauren and I get tanks, and Sarah orders a light sweater – they don’t have it in her size and color, so they order it. I’ll pick it up next week and bring it to Florida next month when I see all the siblings (except Sarah) for my cousin’s wedding.
We continue on our way. I’m hot, tired, and forming blisters on my heels from my shoes. Sarah and I trade for a bit since she has on flip flops, but she’s soon complaining of uncomfort, so I switch back. It’s getting more and more crowded and I’m moving faster and faster. I know Lauren would probably like to take her time and go in more stores, but all I want to do is get back to the apartment. I also need to be back in time to get ready for work at 6.
We’re back at 5 and I have an hour to relax. Sarah and Lauren lay down. I definitely fall asleep on the couch for about five minutes, and am miserable about going to work. I don’t want to work. But I have off Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, so I have that to look forward to after working 11 straight days. Corrinne and I are super busy tonight, which is always good.
Sarah, Lauren, and Mike come in at almost 10. I only have one table left who needs to pay. I give this four top of French people the tab. Corrinne asked me earlier if we should add 15% to their bill…because they’re French and they suck at tipping. Corrinne is French and she suggests it. I’m not being prejudice. Yea, sure, whatever you want to do. I go to pick up their bill and this one French guy starts questioning me. “Why is there 15% included? On the menu, it says gratuity is for six or more and we’re only four.” Yes, but we include 15% for high bills (their bill is around $250). “We’ve been in America for weeks and this is the first time this has happened.” Well we include 18% for six or more people and this is only 15%. It’s not really my decision, it’s just the way this restaurant does it….and it’s only 15%. “Isn’t that up to me to decide how much I tip you? We had a great meal and I don’t think it’s worth this much of a tip.” Again, it’s only 15%. You don’t think our service was worth even 15%? “That’s not the point. It should be up to us how much we tip.” This is going nowhere. The rest of them are just staring at me and this guy. What a fucking cheap asshole. Sarah and Lauren and Mike are waiting for me at the bar and I still need to close. I just want to leave. Corrinne and Francis left already, so it’s just me. I don’t feel like dealing with this.
If you don’t want to tip that much, then don’t. There’s no manager here so I don’t have anyone to talk to you about it, so just do what you want. They leave and I know their tip is going to suck. Yup. 6%. You have got to be kidding me. I call Corrinne about 12 times and she doesn’t answer. She never answers her cell phone. I don’t think she really knows how to use it. The next day when I finally get in touch with her, she’s mad. “Of course 15% is included!” She rambles on and I wish she was there last night to tell them this. It’s not written anywhere on the menu, so technically, I guess they were right. Cheap, rude, and right. Fucking asshole foreigners.
I try not to let it ruin my night, but proceed to tell Sarah, Lauren, and Mike about the whole thing. They’re pissed off for me, but what can I do? It’s over. We had a good night besides that, so I just have to let it go. Not an easy feat. We watch the Olympics as I’m closing the bar and they tell me about their night: walked to Venice sign and then to Nikki’s. Sarah and Lauren thought some bum lady was going to kill them, and then they all almost got hit by a firetruck. Mike was just going to point them in the direction of Lilly’s so he could walk back to the apartment and finish his laundry, but after their scary encounters, he walked with them to my bar.
I’m ready to leave but now we’re really into the gymnastics. We’re just waiting to see who makes it into the all-around: Jordan or Aly. It’s nerve-wracking and terrible and I feel so bad for Jordan when she doesn’t get in – not that we see the score. All we see is everyone looking up, waiting, and then they know, but the audience at home never sees the score. It’s so frustrating. I look at Sarah. Are you crying? She only nods and wipes at her tears. OK, time to go.
We walk home and Lauren is starving. OK, um, I think I have a pizza menu somewhere. Yes. It’s kind of expensive. Domino’s it is! We order online which is somehow very exciting. I shower and continue drinking with the rest of them. Mike is extra silly tonight and when he realizes we ordered pizza gets even sillier. The Olympics are still on, so obviously we watch. Sarah and Lauren are the first ones asleep tonight. Mike and I lay awake chatting and I know he’s going to pay for this tomorrow. He has an early call time. I have the next three days off.