(So glad I Google Image searched this restaurant. What is this cheese shit advertising?)
McKenna’s By the Bay. Doesn’t that just sound pretentious and awful? Well it was ten years ago, and I am pretty sure it still is today.
I wouldn’t really know because I only worked there for less than a month before I was fired. Wanting a job after my freshman year of college while I moved back home for the summer, I applied to be a hostess at this new ocean side restaurant just half block from my home on the border of Orange County and Long Beach.
McKenna’s By the Bay wasn’t even on a bay; it’s part of a cape cod-esque strip mall in the middle of a marina that smells like dead fish. The restaurant feels like it’s slumming it, and making sure everyone knows that it’s just visiting. McKenna’s By the Bay is one of those dimly lit seafood steakhouses that charges extra for the butter on your baked potato. But still, I liked the mahogany wood railings and I had enjoyed myself a few months earlier when my father took me there for dinner on Valentine’s Day after some fratty asshole ignored me all day.
When I came in on my first day just to fill out paperwork, I realized that I knew one of the bartenders. His name was Scott, and I had worked with him at another restaurant a few years back, while during high school. Scott was fucking Disney dreamy with a full head of thick dark brown hair, green eyes, and a winning smile. I had such a crush on him when we worked together at Finbars Italian Kitchen, when I was just 16 years old. At that time, he was 26, which was scandalously old for a high school junior. Still, he flirted with me. Whether it was pitiful indulgence or genuine statutory creepiness, it was probably weird either way.
But now, at McKenna’s By the Bay, I was 19 years old, and he was 29. I was totally into it, and sincerely believed there was a real chance at making him my summer boyfriend. Let me be clear at how absolutely disgusting this thought is to me now that I am almost 29 years old. If my friend told me he was thinking about macking it with his 19-year-old co-worker, I’d say, “No. No. No….Nononononono.”
Once Scott saw me too, his eyes lit up. He seemed excited to see me, walking over with a big hug that lifted me off the ground. The lead hostess, we’ll call her Kaley because I can’t remember her name and that sounds about right for an Orange County bimbo, glared. She had straight blonde hair, icy blue eyes, and mean thin lips.
Awwww shit. This bitch was going to have it out for me and my bouncy ponytail.
I worked three to four days a week, making reservations, showing guests to their seats, and learning the fine skill of inventing wait times. I made sure I had clean black slacks and a crisp white shirt with a tie every shift. I hated wearing the orthopedic non-slip shoes, but I have always loved any sort of uniform because as an only child, I relished being part of a team. I also made sure to keep lip-gloss in my purse for touch ups before I sauntered by the bar every night to shameless flirt with Scott. Still. So. Gross.
One day, about four weeks into my McKenna’s By the Bay career, I showed up for my dinner shift at 4pm. As I started to put my things away under the hostess podium, I realized that there were three of us, when there should only have been two hosts working. A gangly weird dude I didn’t know very well, we’ll call him Caleb, because I have never known a Caleb, was there as the support host to Kaley, the lead.
“Why are there three of us on the floor tonight?” I asked Kaley.
“You should talk to Agatha,” she said smugly. The manager’s name wasn’t Agatha but we can call her Agatha because she was short, fat, middle aged, and awful.
As I stood there confused. Agatha came out to the front and looked directly at me. “What’s going on?” I asked.
She told me to come with her and led me away about five feet from the podium, to stand right in front of the cook line. “You have to leave; we’re letting you go.”
“What?” I said in disbelief.
“You don’t need to work today, we’re firing you.”
“On what grounds?” I demanded.
“You were unprofessional with the customers,” she said.
“Who told you that? I was never unprofessional with anyone.” And it was true. I had never been unprofessional. I was a lot of things, but unprofessional was not one of them.
“Well I have reports that you were.”
I was fuming at this point. I had been wronged! At 19, I had already been working in customer service for three years, and only ever received praise for my customer relation skils.
“You know what’s unprofessional Agatha? You letting me come in on time, prepared to work, and then firing me on the floor in front of staff and customers. I don’t know much, but I know that’s unprofessional,” I said as if I was a television lawyer.
She was stunned. “Well, I’m just the messenger,” she said calmly.
“Then I won’t waste your time,” I said.
I grabbed my things, including my sexy lip-gloss, from under the podium while Kaley looked at me innocently. I wanted to fucking punch her fucking button nose into her brain. What a little suck up asshole. I knew she had made up some lie about me because she hated that Scott liked me and not her. Well, not like liked me, because get real that’s gross, but in my 19 year old brain, he was in love with me and she was just jealous.
I stormed out of the McKenna’s By the Bay and got about 50 feet away from the front door before I turned around and stormed right back in there. I couldn’t take this lying down. I was the one being mistreated here, not the customers. I wracked my brain for any incident that could have been perceived as abusive of our customers. Maybe. MAYBE it was a large group that gave me attitude the week prior, but I still did nothing overtly rude other than an exasperated sigh.
I marched back in, right up in Agatha’s face.
“Agatha, can I talk to you outside,” I asked. Still giving Kaley my best evil eye, because she was, and probably still is, a hateful snake.
“Alright,” and she followed me out.
“Look, I’m sorry I was so upset earlier, but I just don’t understand.” I just couldn’t let this one go.
“We had some reports of you not treating the customers the way we’d like them to be treated here at McKennas By the Bay.”
“Well, don’t you think you should have maybe come talk to me about it first before just embarrassing me in front of everyone?”
“I suppose I should have,” she replied, clearly trying to get out of my grasp.
“Yeah, that was a pretty awful thing you did. And I am pretty sure Kaley hates me and told you some lie about it, and you didn’t even bother to see if it was true.”
Boy did this lady have metaphorical egg ALL over her face. Getting told by a 19-year-old smart ass. I had never felt so big, so justified.
She looked at me sheepishly because I’ve since learned that’s all you can do sometimes when you fuck up.
“Whatever, I don’t even want to work here. I hate wearing a tie,” I said, and I walked the half block home indignant, but smug as shit thinking about how I’d been the mature one in the situation.
Two days later, I got another job at a coffee shop where I got to wear t-shirts and eat broken scones. I was the only girl who worked there, and instead of a hot older bartender, there was a fat little unhappy Korean man, so I knew I probably wasn’t going to get myself into very much trouble there.
Guest post by my dear friend Will Deutsch on his 30th birthday today.
It’s my Birthday and I’ll post if I want to.
1. If you want somebody to read something, make it into a list. You guys frigging love lists. ABOUT ANYTHING. If it is in list form you will read it. Seriously, most of my Facebook feed is just links to lists. Case in point, you’re reading this.
2. The 20’s goes in three phases:
Phase One (early 20’s): Nothing turned out how I thought it would. Phase Two (mid 20’s): Nothing turned out how I thought it would and I am angry/ stressed/scared.
Phase Three (late 20’s): Oh I get! NOTHING IS REALLY EVER GOING TO TURN OUT HOW I THOUGHT IT WOULD BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE CONTROL OVER EVERYTHING/ANYTHING. So I should learn to relax.
3. Build a backbone, not a wishbone.
4. John Lennon was right: karma is instant. That’s not to say that every jerk you come across is going to get punched in the face, but rather that having been a jerk myself, it doesn’t feel good the moment that it is happening. I’ve never been intentionally mean when I was feeling really great about life and my place in it. That is to say, when you see the jackass: pity him/her as their attitude is their punishment.
5. Don’t be a jackass (yes, it took well into my 20’s to learn this).
6. Friends are like teeth: if you ignore them, they go away.
7. If there is such a thing as universal truth, it exists in cliches. These are ideas that are held to be so true, that they’ve become mundane in their repetition. So pay attention to bumper stickers.
8. Go to the dentist. Go to the doctor. Floss. Eat a salad. Skip dessert. It’s a long life. As Mickey Mantle once said ‘If I’d known how long I was going to live I would have taken better care of myself.’
9. If you work as an artist of any kind, people (usually much older people) will occasionally give you a look of deep concern and pity when you tell them what you do. Do not be offended by these people. It is envy disguised as sympathy. Everybody wants to tell you what you can’t do because they couldn’t do it.
10. To that point, you can be an artist and still eat three meals a day, have health insurance and contribute the maximum amount to your Roth IRA. But you have to be smart/work hard. There’s a difference between a day job and a fallback plan. The former allows you to do what you want the latter prevents you from it. It’s okay to tell people what your day job is. I guarantee you that almost every writer/actor/director you meet in this town has/had one. And if they’re not a total douche they’ll respect you for it.
11.The best way to have what you want is to want for very little. And frankly, you don’t need much.
12. When you are stalking somebody else late at night on Facebook, gazing at their pictures, try to understand that somebody has done the exact same thing to you.
13. Dance (though technically I learned this one in my teens).
14. When you feel like a depressed human being completely incapable of experiencing the happiness and think that you’re messed up, realize that you have the capability to be happy as well. And when you are, you will have earned it. And there are few things in life more admirable then somebody with an earned happiness.
15. Its not for nothing. What I mean by that is that all of your hard work, dedication and follow through to doing what you want to do has both merit and value. And I don’t mean that in a ‘slap it on a bumper sticker kind of way.’ I mean that logically there are only two options when you follow your dreams: either you will succeed or you will fail. Simple as that. Now, if you succeed….great! That’s great. But what if you fail? What if you spend your lifeblood attempting to achieve your hearts deepest desires and you fall flat on your face? Where is the god damn value in that? And having fallen flat on my face many many times I would say this: When you do so, you have two choices, you can keep going or you can quit. Now…if you keep going…more power to you…you will be left again with two possibilities success or failure. But what about when you quit? When you say: Fuck it!!!! I’m done!!!! I’ve done everything I can/am willing to do and I can do no more! I am finished!
And here is my argument:
If you truly follow your intuition/dreams/passion and you fail and fail and fail and fail until you can no longer go on…you will have finally made peace with it. You can finally go on living the rest of your life no longer wondering what might have been and moreover you can fully inhabit the life you choose precisely because you chose it. Having a dialogue with your dreams is not always about success…sometimes the nature of that dialogue is failure but the point is that you were honest/authentic/brave enough to have that conversation. And you will have something much richer than happiness. You will have contentment. Because that thing/ that voice that wouldn’t shut up that caused you to go down this path in the first place will finally have quieted.
16. There will be people on your Facebook that you literally don’t remember who they are but you randomly friended them one day. Inevitably, these people will wish you a Happy Birthday.
17. You’re going to die. So nothing in your life matters. BUT you’re going to die. So EVERYTHING in your life matters. Who you become is how you delineate what matters and what doesn’t.
18. Things don’t get better. You do. And sometimes things actually get better!
19. Guys, nobody needs to smell that much cologne on you.
20. I’ve been wrong about many things, I could be wrong about most of these.
Have you seen theSkimm? It’s a startup that raised $1.1 million to help busy professionals get easier access to news. Just over a year ago, roommates Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg decided to quit their news producer jobs at NBC to start up this business aimed at providing a daily dose of headlines to people on the go, curated by professional journalists. What was the genesis of this new company?
Zakin spoke with Mashable in a recent interview:
“We saw that our friends — primarily our girlfriends — would come to us and say they were too busy to find out what happened in the world today. We really served as information concierge for them.”
It’s no surprise that their main demographic is other millennial women, despite their claim that the service is not gender specific, citing that theSkimm has a “huge male following.” Tell that to the smart, string-of-pearls wearing, iPad wielding female silhouette hanging out in the logo.
Mashable describes the service:
Each day, the newsletter breaks down a select few big stories into bullet points that emphasize the key takeaways. TheSkimm also frames certain news items as playful talking points to help readers feel and sound more informed.
Hmm. Interesting choice of words. “Feel and sound more informed,” but not actually BE more informed. Is theSkimm all about appearances? Sounding smart at cocktail parties? Possibly. Zakin and Weisberg are planning on investing their new capital in hiring engineers, designers, and more journalists to blow this out beyond a newsletter. They want to create a “lifestyle brand,” which doesn’t much seem like a reliable breaking news source.
I work with a team of busy, professional women, some of whom are also badass mothers. Not once have I seen any of them ever experience difficulty staying informed on a breadth of news, from the latest developments in Egypt to fluff like the Kardashians. These ladies are on it, not only because it’s their job as PR professionals, but also because they are highly intelligent women who have a desire and the resources to educate themselves on a daily basis. None of us finds this a difficult feat worthy of whining to our friends. And for those who do, I’ve got to tell you; there’s no such thing as a quick fix or service to remedy prioritizing Facebook over CNN.
That’s not to say it’s not a good idea in theory; it’s more the execution that makes my inner feminist cringe. Please take a look at the content, or even the tweets. It’s meant to condense information and headlines, but it really just simplifies, or dumbs it down for the average busy girl on the go. And on Twitter, that info is wedged in between tweet promotions encouraging followers to enter a yoga clothing shopping spree.
Look, I’m not saying it’s all bad. A newsletter run by real journalists that offers important digestible information within the context of a larger story is a great idea, albeit it doesn’t feel terribly different from my own personalized Twitter newsfeed. However, I might have put more credibility into it if the journalists were still, well, journalists sending out breaking info from the newsroom, which is another thing that makes me a little peeved. These two millennial women had good jobs at a good news station where they had the opportunity to make a difference for females in the workplace for several years. Sigh. Millennials. We’re not all entitled; I promise.
In fact, I’ll be the first female millennial to admit that I am not as savvy on current events as I should be, but I’d like to challenge myself to be better in more proactive ways than signing up for a service that sends me simplified curated headlines. I have the ability and the wherewithal to actively seek out and read full-length news stories on my own. That’s the real issue, making it a priority. I need to change my lifestyle to fit personal education and growth through current events, not the other way around.
Hey, can we just talk about the shower, and how it’s a safe place?
For an emotionally stunted robot like myself, it’s one of the few physical locations that allow me to drain my feelings (pun completely intended). In general I have a difficult time identifying and recognizing THE FEELINGS, especially negative ones. I internalize emotions so deeply that even I can’t find them anymore. It’s typical of my partner to notify me of when I am upset before I even realize it.
Bad feelings and confrontation are physically crippling for me. Sometimes I become paralyzed by my own emotions to the point of not being able to speak. I just need a lot of time to process, and I can rarely express myself in the moment. I wish I was that girl who could just yell at her boyfriend every time something upset her. But no, I have to be a stoic asshole who bottles everything up until I end up crying over a wrong order at Subway.
The only place that it’s somewhat easy for me to talk about how I feel in the moment is the shower, which is where I like to hold emotional summits with significant others.
Here’s why I think regular old showers are the best place to have the most important conversations of your life: