Archive for the Uncategorized Category

We’re Going Out, But You Can’t Have A Good Time.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 21, 2018 by beccasteinhoff

Growing up I hated doing things. I hate doing things now, but I hated it then too. Reverse psychology was one of my parents sharpest tools, and ‘We’re going out but you’re not allowed to have a good time’ was a mantra in the household. That was their way of saying we know once you get there you’ll have a good time but you make such a goddamn stink getting there this and every time. I still do this and I am gifted at it. Unfortunately I no longer think of this as a personal deficit. As an adult I prefer to think I’m excellent at doing nothing.

Obviously I was out sometimes or else there would be no memoirs for these mantras, but you can go ahead and assume all other moments of my life were spent lounging as much as possible.

I can only imagine how annoying it must have been to have a child that would fight tooth and nail before doing any of the fun stuff they had planned. Probably feels a lot like having a girlfriend that doesn’t want to go out.

I just don’t think a talent for lounging around like mine should go to waste. Not only do  I enjoy wasting a whole day or week to a television series, but I am exceptional at it. There’s room in society for people like that now. We binge watch Netflix. We put butt imprints in our couches. We eat pretzels and nutella. We order delivery and tip well.

Since I have to fight myself even when I want to go out, I just remember that once I get there I’m not allowed to have a good time. That usually helps.

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How Does It Feel To Be On The Wrong Side Of History?

Posted in Uncategorized on March 26, 2018 by beccasteinhoff

For a time I worked in a highly conservative restaurant in the DC area. I didn’t typically  advertise my beliefs at work at the time but my political opinions were more unwelcome in this place than most. Did it bother me that the guests and I likely disagreed on matters including but not limited to gay marriage, basic human rights, gun control, etc? Sure, but I knew better than to bite the hand that fed me and speak up.

At first I was happy to keep my perspective to myself. The only thing people wanted to hear out of my mouth were the specials. It was a presentation 15 items long but I had it down to 90 seconds with 3 laugh breaks. I knew I had done my job well when no one needed to look a full menu, ever.

I attempted to compartmentalize the desire to truly converse with the guests. I didn’t want to stop and think of where the (good) money I made was really coming from because I knew deep down it was a dishonorable place. The hardest part was the people I served there. They were largely wonderful. It would have been so much easier to hate them if they weren’t so nice. Nice and rich! What a combo. I managed to provide good service to these people as long as I didn’t think too critically about where their money was made or the leanings they held.

Over time spent and rapport established, it occured to me some of these regulars would actually be interested in having a genuine dialogue. Hope is a beautiful thing and keeping my mouth shut was as poor a skill for me as it was a priority to this restaurant.

I was serving 2 regulars at the bar. Their preferences were routinely unbearable, and before I get to the point please allow me to demonstrate for you just how much brain power was devoted to these men routinely.

They both liked iced tea. One was simple, he liked his unsweetened, but he drank a whole pitcher of it every time they came in. the other liked his sweetened and though he drank far less of it, he wanted no lemon and no spoon cus think of the nasty germs of me touching that spoon to give to him and use. Drink-a-gallon of unsweet guy used to like simple things like pasta, but soon took to ordering what lemonless, no spoon, sweet tea guy ordered. a spinach salad with shaved parmesan (NOT CRUMBLED), chopped basil (NOT JUST WHOLE LEAVES, CHOP THE BASIL FOR HIM), add slice tomato and grilled chicken on a plate (NOT IN A BOWL YOU IDIOTS). Somehow it never came out 100% right.

They always had me recite the specials before ordering one of the same 3 things (not from the specials). Their order takes a couple minutes to ring in, modified to all hell, complete with kitchen spanish notation to explain what exactly TF they want. You can do that all you want people, but don’t be surprised when that order comes out 90% at best.

At the time, gay marriage had yet to be legalized nationally. During the NFL draft season Michael Sam, a top draft pick, had come out and as I recall, it made him the first potential NFL player to be openly gay. They were mansplaining to me how this would affect his draft pick, and without properly considering what side of  issue they were on, I couldn’t contain a brazenly honest sentiment.

 

“I think we can safely agree that whether you’re for or against gay marriage, people who are against it are on the wrong side of history.”

 

Turns out, we cannot safely agree on that. Man, what a great way to swallow a bug. That comment was so unwelcome I saw lightning strike right through the center of my tip. Their faces recoiled as if they had just shot a firearm. I truly thought we were in a society where we could collectively acknowledge how dated this “marriage is for a man and a woman” concept was . But no, I was apparently the asshole there and it was time for me to shut up, refill the teas, and put it on my list of things to wonder if I should have said later.

Given the chance to see those men again, I would pour some sweet tea down their shirts and ask them how it feels to be on the wrong side of history AND covered in sugary tea. Except now I would just wish them love and light and hope they could one day discover their true love for each other, like I always suspected.  Hey and now they can get married! They should have me marry them, because I remember all of their entitled preferences. If one of them gets sick from ingesting too much tea, the other can go visit them in the hospital and have all the same rights as straight couples.

Ode to Gilmore Girls

Posted in Uncategorized on September 2, 2016 by beccasteinhoff
     I think my love of the show Gilmore Girls is getting a little out of hand. I watched the show when it was on the air, and when it was on the air I was about 5 years younger than Rory so I looked up to her. I have been watching the show on a loop since it stopped airing. I have lost count of how many times I have watched the entire series, but on a loop for the last 14 years is a lot of loops. I never get tired of it. I know exactly whats going to happen, who Lorelai or Rory is with based on which season, which heart attack Richard is on, what color hat Luke is wearing, which school set they’re using. I bet I could map the town of Stars Hollow. Never once have I looked around and said, ‘hey maybe this is too much love for a TV show,’ but I’m here to say it now. It’s too much, and I don’t care.
     I don’t care because I feel that I’ve passed the point of a love of a TV show. It’s a lifestyle that I love, a fictional place that I want to live in and be a part of which is the mark of a great show. They are characters I want to know, and I think they would like me too. I think I would fit in, and I would get a good welcome wagon from Miss Patty when I got married and moved there. I think I know what I would order from the diner, and I know I would probably be going to Dean’s state school and not Yale, but I could still crash in Rory’s dorm for a few nights before Paris kicked me out. And I still don’t care that this all sounds crazy.
     Gilmore Girls helped me out of a very dark period in my life. Some 10 years back, I was so sad and lonely after making a very controversial feminine decision that many women have had to make before me. A surgical procedure which we shall not name but know it must not be done after the first trimester. That’s right I went to an abortion clinic, to play a rousing game of penuckle of course. And afterwards, there is nothing that would console me except eating a whole cheesecake on the tray it was sold to me in and season after season of Gilmore Girls. Take me away from my life, I said, and they heard me. No judgments, no arguments except the formidable arc where Rory and Lorelai weren’t speaking because Rory had gotten off track (tough love baby). I don’t know what I would have done without them in that time.
     Now, I know better than to watch this show around men. It’s been a house rule of mine for as long as I can remember. When there’s a guy in the room, we watch something else. Any man that follows up this rule with “well I actually like watching Gilmore Girls” has something else going on. They are gay, or they have already been subjected to too much of the show to turn back because some poor schmo woman before me has broken the cardinal rule. I don’t try and talk men into watching this show, or as my current boyfriend says, “these pigeons squawking in Stars Hollow.” I get it. its two smart, very quirky women talking very fast and you already have enough of that in your life living in my world and I’m so OK with that. It’s not for you to disparage anyway. It’s for me in my time when I want to forget about him and the outside world anyway.
     I’m watching it right now, as I write this. I’m watching it because my boyfriend is out of town. He didn’t know that by leaving for a little over a week that he challenged me to watch the entire series over again before his return, but that’s what it is. I’m watching it right now because I had picked up somewhere around the 6th season to watch a specific episode (the ousting of a tyrannic Yale Daily News Editor), and suddenly found myself at the series finale, for the best “interesting tribute” speech from Taylor the series has to offer. My two favorite episodes to watch back to back are the series finale and the pilot. Watch the girls jump from fully formed and saying goodbye to young and cheery eyed and saying hello for the first time. The sets are weird, Luke is still into health food, and Rory is still kind of mild mannered. Lane still has a dad and the theme song hasn’t been introduced yet.
     I’m watching it right now because someone at Netflix heard my prayers and made more episodes. I don’t think the creative directors of that company realize the good deed they are doing for me and thousands more women like me. They are giving me something truly special to look forward to. Sure they are giving me more of the characters I love to love so much but it’s more than that. They are giving me another season of fantasy to escape to over and over again for the rest of my life. They are giving me the closure of wondering who these women ended up with; how their life turned out, so I can know it’s OK whatever happens in my life. They are giving me more to discuss with the women in my actual life I love discussing this show with. They are giving me a warmth in my heart I am only a little ashamed to say comes from a TV show. They are giving me something that I don’t mind saying was made only for me when I know it was made for every woman that feels exactly like I do.
     I don’t know how they expect me to wait until November 25th to watch the new season, but I already know what I’m grateful for this year.

That Bitch who said Faggot

Posted in Uncategorized on July 30, 2016 by beccasteinhoff

It was a full room, as it is most nights at this venue, but the crowd was not very quiet or respectful of the comics. They were loud, and chatty, and rude. At the time, whenever I had a rude, chatty, and loud crowd I would start my set with something abrupt to get them to shut up, and when I had their attention I would move from there. In theory this is a good tactic, but my joke on this night was night the right way to go about it. It was the middle of the summer in a stuffy basement, and I opened my set with, “I know I’m hot the same way I know I’m drunk, I start calling random people faggot.” It’s gotten laughs before, even in this room, but not on this night. It worked, oh it worked. They were listening, they were quiet, and boy did they hate me. I trudged through my set to radio silence, walked off the stage and felt promptly like shit. I ordered a half priced burger and sat in the back, and who needs ketchup when you have tears to add flavor to your meat.

About an hour after my set, it becomes clear to me that this crowd is loud and shitty and disrespectful because they are only there to see their friend, a guy who’d only been onstage once or twice, so he went way at the end of the show, and they were getting very impatient. Oh, and he is a prominent gay guy in the community. He gets onstage and proceeds to tear me apart. I’m pretty sure he abandoned any material he had pored over to make sure this entire room of his friends hated my guts.

“Is that bitch that said faggot still here? what an unfunny cunt, RIGHT ROOM FULL OF MY FRIENDS?”

The room explodes with applause, because yes that bitch was an unfunny cunt, how right you are my good sir.

I lift my head from my burger of sadness as if to say, yes I’m still here.

I let him do it. I let him use his time on the mic to talk about how terrible I was, and how dare I use such an offensive word and hurt him. I guess he doesn’t realize that ripping someone to pieces onstage like that is just as hurtful and offensive, but I’m not going to heckle the guy while he heckles me from the stage when the room is on his side. What I did do is oh so much worse.

I waited until the show was over. I went up to him and said yes I’m still here. Yes I said that but I wasn’t saying that word to you, and that you were also offensive. I said that this just an open mic, a place where we go to try new things and see what works and what doesn’t. He told me to be funnier, I told him to be nicer.

Or at least that’s what I planned to say to him before I walked up to him. I believe it went something closer to “you fucking asshole, you think you’re so much better than me blah blah blah. I have plenty of gay friends blah blah blah”

“I have plenty of gay friends?!” Really?! That’s what a racist person says about having plenty of black friends when they are trying not to sound racist!

I left the show very upset, too traumatized to go back there for some time. I was afraid to see this guy or any of his friends there again, and I haven’t done this room since, only partially by choice.

Should I have said that word onstage? Probably not. Did I mean it offensively? Definitely not. Should I be allowed to say any word that I want onstage in the name of funny? Definitely. But the rule is this: If you have the nerve and the wit to say it onstage, you have to have the resolve to back it up when someone calls you that bitch who said faggot.

Restaurants: Wars That Cannot Be Won

Posted in Uncategorized on July 22, 2016 by beccasteinhoff

Friday night, 7:30 at a popular turn-and-burn restaurant, when serving guests efficiently had potential to feel like hand to hand combat. I remember admiring those coworkers who appeared to always have their cool, especially when they were in the weeds.

The bartender served drinks for her two-top. She tapped in their order with one hand, poured my service ticket with her other, all without taking her eyes off the screen.

The phone rang as she sent her order, and was her job to answer it.

She picked it up and took a to-go order in 10 seconds flat (a new record).

She felt my piercing newbie gaze on her, and took another precious 10 seconds to get right in my face.

“It’s a war out there kid. and it’s us, or it’s them.”

“Yeah! and I think we’re winning!”

A bar patron piped up to ask, nay demand for more water.

She picked up the water pitcher and threw down another service ticket.

Under her breath, I hear her utter to me and no one else,

“I don’t think we’re winning, but we have to KEEP FIGHTING.”

I dropped my drinks and turned back. All water glasses were full. She was already taking another to-go order with one hand, her other balled in a fist.

Put On A Bra, You’re Going to Starbucks

Posted in Uncategorized on April 8, 2015 by beccasteinhoff

I don’t know what to write about. its 1:03 now and I’m going to keep typing nonstop until 1:10. I should have sipped my coffee first but whatever. I refuse to turn the TV on, I don’t want any music on, I opted to stay here and struggle to make coffee as opposed to going to starbucks with my computer and having them make me coffee while I write. that would have involved getting dressed, bra and all, putting my computer and any other notebooks I have in my backpack, getting in my car and going to starbucks. it would have been fine except for the bra thing. I really hate those. It’s like it’s strangling my favorite body part. It’s a necessity though. when those things roam free trouble happens. everyone knows when I’m cold. I cant bounce around or move at all. It’s mesmerizing. I think I’ve caused car accidents. Clearly once I take my bra off in public, the men lose their minds and the weemens get mad at me for attracting all of their mens into my life. They trick me though. they act like they’re not looking because they’re looking without moving their faces. They have perfected this and they think we don’t know. what just cus you don’t turn a head, mouth agape, drool spilling out of your wide open mouths as you think wow that woman with the magical titties deigned to walk out here without a bra. What was she thinking this is the best day of my life. Well yes that is what I was thinking. But mostly its strappiness hurts my back fat, but no one ever wants to talk about my back titties. front titties only. You cannot have them sir they are not for you. Just cus I walked out here without my bra on does not mean every man who can’t even look at them straight on in the face with their eyeballs can touch them. You must have balls to touch my titties. Granted if you have balls and the balls to ask me, yeah I guess its ok. i mean i’ll consider it. You had cohones. You had juevos to ask, or to at least look head on, while you watched me see you do it. You perv. So no. I avoid all this. I wear a bra in public. It’s for the greater good that I do the things that I do. You are so welcome, america

.And that’s why I can’t just walk into a starbucks without the proper attire. No shirt no shoes is RIGHT.

Restaurant Ethic: An Exercise in Futility

Posted in Uncategorized on March 20, 2015 by beccasteinhoff

Waiting tables for a living can be quite stressful if you don’t keep your mind in check. Here is my favorite coping mechanism mantra:

“We Serve Biscuits”

After over a decade in the restaurant industry, I’ve honed the mantra “We Serve Biscuits” to a tee. In a nutshell it means relax. It means everyone will eat, so there is no point in me getting stressed about whatever is going on or wrong in my evening. The longer version is “We don’t save lives. We don’t fly planes. We serve biscuits.”

Sometimes when I or someone around me is stressed the fuck out about being busy, I remind myself of this in whatever way I can. I’ll go to grab a jug of milk and in my haste I will drop/spill/break something. “oh god, I don’t know if the milks gonna make it. Get me 3 towels stat! We’ve got to stop the spilling!” If you’re happy and secure in your position like I am, this is a mantra that means calm down and don’t worry. If you’re unhappy or insecure or just plain like to stress the fuck out, you will be offended by this. You will think it means “My job is not important.” You will think I am undermining your life’s work. But if you think I’m saying that to you, keep in mind that we both do this job. We are standing in the same place as I say that.

I don’t think working in a restaurant is unimportant (I don’t think this is a double negative either). Everyone’s gonna eat was an earlier version of the mantra. It means “why are we stressing, everyone will have their food if you’re stressing or not. let’s everyone calm down.”

It also means that wherever you are, wherever you go, you will always find work in a restaurant. Everyone eats, every day. 3 times a day! If you can find a restaurant that serves good food, you can find a way to feed yourself and your family. You have picked one of the wisest professions in our society. Great job. I’m adept enough to know that I have way more skills talking to strangers, making them feel welcome and providing them with already made food than I am making them food that would look and taste burnt or bland.

So when I’m up to my elbows in the weeds, been triple sat, my apps are taking 20 minutes and a coworker next to me broke up with their significant other and can’t stop scowling, I spill red wine on my shirt at 5:30 with the whole night ahead of me, and the wine glass broke on the floor, I can’t find my busser or anyone to help me, and I drop the wrong check at the wrong table, as the owner of the restaurant walks in and sees a mess, I try my best to remember. I Serve Biscuits.