Thursday, November 28, 2002

good, bad, ridiculous. The shift started off fairly slow, I was bored, and my usual antsy ready-to-serve mood, chattering like I'd just had 3 cups of coffee, straightening stuff out. I knew I had to settle in and just read or something to pass the time, as it's the day before a holiday, it will most likely be a slow night. So I settle in and continue to read Holidays on Ice, have my first few chuckles, and off to the side (from the restaurant side) a man approaches, huge smile saying something like "HEYA DADDY-O!" He most definately didn't say that, but more likely got my name wrong and it just sounded like Daddy-o, but it was Eyebrow Man, walking past me behind the counter, and around to the front, to look in the mirror and comment that he lost his leather cap. I of course said a big hello as well (no reference to daddies, though), he gestured towards his coat as he seemed to be talking to no one in particular, opened it to reveal a sloppy white t-shirt with some sort of big logo I couldn't read fast enough, pointed at some paint on the inside of his coat, zipped up, and said something about a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. It all happened so fast, him swooshing past me, only inches away for a brief second (I estimate the distance at 8 inches, an "educated" guess), then stopping in front and blabbering about something I couldn't quite understand as I was kinda stunned and staring (and hopefully not drooling). Only 2 nights earlier a friend had emailed that just maybe Eyebrow Man had been hanging about on purpose. NAWWWWWW! was my reply, of course, but this made me wonder. Nothing clear, but still that happy gee-maybe-he's-queer-and-better-yet-interested thoughts that gave me the calm smile I enjoyed for a few short hours.....

Sometime after 10pm, one of the guys who sometimes does deliveries, sometimes busses tables, etc, came into the takeout side, and was just acting a bit goofy. As it was slow, and my co-worker had already left the take-out side for the night, this guy took up space in front of one of the computer terminals. I had left my station for a few moments, came back and he had some weird screen up, and I just reached over and said NO, and closed the screen off. He mumbled something in Spanish - he knows barely any English at all, I know NO Spanish at all. A few moments later, a couple of other guys come over, they start kidding around with each other, but all in Spanish. At one point I try to interject something, a lame joke, no one reacts initially, and the guy who had first come in says "Maricon, Maricon, Maricon; Punta punta punta" and the three all titter and guffaw. Probably directed at me, and probably with the "he-doesn't know Spanish it won't hurt" intention, but you can't live in New York for more than 2 weeks without knowing those words. Pissed me off, but I let it go, figuring what the fuck, why make a scene, he's an ass. 10:30, 3 rather drunk guys come in, approach the counter, laughing and stumbling over each other, and try to place and order, one repeating or one-upping the other. Eventually they get the order clear, I punch it into the computer, he gives me his credit card, i ring in through and have him sign the slip, telling him it will be about 10 minutes. Thankfully, the drunks go outside into the cold to wait. Meanwhile, the Spanish-speaking co-workers had meandered away, but soon had come back. The drunks came back in, I told them it would be a few minutes. Then the order was ready, and one of the delivery guys packaged it, and called out the order, handing it to the guy who had placed the order. One of his friends see the obvious Hispanic-looking guy doing this, points to his friend grabbing the package and says "this guy here, he MARICON!" laughs, gets a laugh from my co-workers, and says it twice more. I'm standing on the other side of the counter, but barely 18 inches away, and say loudly: "You know, some people find that word to be very offensive" He shrinks away as the pal who was being called the name says "what he say, what does it mean??" Continuing to be loud, I said "It means FAGGOT, and it's quite offensive" I see everyone look down at their shoes nervously, as the customer says "Oh Jeez, he didn't mean it, he's really drunk, gosh I'm sorry, he didn't mean it, I'm really sorry" and they all leave. Meanwhile, all 3 co-workers, the Spanish-speaking guys, have slowly walked away, into the restaurant.

I'm alone, but for 2 customers a few feet away waiting for their food, a bit shaken, but glad I spoke up. I have no idea what the Spanish-speaking guys think, I don't know if I really care much, but I keep hearing my own voice saying "faggot" loudly, angrily. A half hour passes, not much activity but for me doing my nightly cleaning up, and as I sit back for a moment to relax, a waitress and the night manager are over in my area doing some of their clean-up, and she looks down and says: "Are you wearing two differnet shoes?" Of course I look down and say "NO", then look again, and she is right; we all 3 burst out laughing. Two different worn-out Timberland boots. When I leave shortly after midnight, the Spanish-speaking guys are still hanging around, at a table, drinking beer. I didn't say goodnight, neither did they.