It’s been a couple of experience-filled days, and before I forget, I need to write this down.
FRIDAY: I served a couple from Australia, Anne & Dickey, for about 5 hours, from 6:45 – 11:45pm. We close at 10:00, but in their defense, they did tell me early on that they were ‘here for the long-haul’ (not usually something a server is excited to hear, by the way). So, they took their sweet Aussie time, enjoying the Australian wine we have by the bottle (Laughing Magpie) and ignoring their menus for about an hour. After eating, they moved to the bar, which was nice so we could reset their table, but terrible because its much easier to linger at a bar than at a table (there’s alcohol at the bar, readily available). After a bottle of wine, a beer, four double mixers (two per), and two “Raging Orgasms” (the name Anne gave to the drink she had me make, which is simply Kahlua, Baileys, and Cointreau), we got to talking.
And first impressions.
They were honest with me, especially Anne, about how she looked at me when she walked in and secretly hoped I would not be serving them, based on my appearance (namely, my year-beard). She told me how she did a lot of self-talk when I came to the table and introduced myself, telling herself that it was still going to be a good night. But, I grew on them, and they nicknamed me “Ned”, after the famous Australian outlaw Ned Kelly. I told them about how I have been keeping this beard growing mostly in order to challenge people who make snap-judgments about people based on what they look like. Dickey told me about his tatooed lesbian daughter and how she is a “friggin saint”, and how they have done a lot of work with her to help her accept herself in the past few years. Dickey resonated with my desire to challenge assumptions. The best part?
They’re going to be regular customers based on their experience with me, the food, and the restaurant. In that order. Success!
SATURDAY: What do you get when you put Kurt Cobain, Enrique Iglesias, and Courtney Love in a band together, and change Kurt and Enrique’s voices (unfortunately and surprisingly, not Courtney’s voice)? The Head and The Heart. THTH is one of my favorite bands, and my good friends Zach and Elise treated me to a concert in Chicago last night at the Aragon Ballroom featuring Phox and THTH.
Phox was the opening band, and they were refreshingly good and tight (a word in music meaning they were in sync, not to be confused with N’Sync). Then came THTH. Literally, the three main members of THTH look exactly like Kurt Cobain, Enrique Iglesias, and Courtney Love. It was bizarre. Kurt had his blonde hair in a samurai looking pony tail and wore jeans, a t-shirt, and a hoodie. He even crowd surfed during the first song (if you know THTH, you know that is super weird). Enrique had on matching denim shirt and jeans, the shirt being tucked in with a bedazzled belt and pointy shiny shoes. And Courtney had on too-tight clothes with her shock of bleached blonde hair messy and unkempt. In terms of first-impressions THTH was a strange ensemble.
THTH put on a good show, despite the fact that the drummer was terrible at keeping time, alternating between rushing and playing too slow on virtually every song. If I saw him in an alley afterwards, I would have told the drummer that he had great energy and I would never play with him on a Sunday morning at my church. It was that bad.
However, like I said, THTH puts on a good show. Apparently, given the fact that the show was sold out, with at least 2000 people in attendance, THTH is more well-known than I thought. Absolutely everyone, with a few exceptions, was familiar with the entire THTH catalog. Which meant that 2000 people were singing at the top of their lungs throughout the show, which was spectacular to behold.
What I learned from watching THTH perform was this: A good melody and a good recording can lead to at least five years of fun – writing and recording and performing music for a living. Will that happen to me? Not likely. But THTH gave me hope that it’s possible to connect with teenagers, parents, and everyone in between through music.
Music is a very powerful force, and I will always seek to use that force to tell a good story, no matter who is listening. Likewise, food and drinks are powerful forces for making real connections with people. The most real things in life – passion, art, and food – lead us into making real and lasting connections with one another. Here’s to more of the real stuff of life, and less football.