Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I have decided that my boss's new mission in life is to get me drunk.

She's really an interesting person and I'm glad that I know her. I almost wish I wasn't working for her so I could be out of the "employee" category and in the "friend" category because friends get free food and employees get lectures on why Asking Customers Questions Is Bad. She spent most of last night trying to take care of a very obviously sick dove we found on the doughnut shack's outdoor tables. The poor thing was puffed up to half its size and it showed no interest in the large pile of cracker crumbs she gave it, and it was perfectly willing to get on her hand and let her put it in the live trap she not-incidentally covered with a silk sari. It probably is not alive now, which makes me very sad because it was a cute dove.

Most of the time she is in dictator mode, in which the correct response is nod and get out of her way. Every once in a while, though, she reveals that way down inside she has a core of fluffy marshmallow, and this, in my case, manifests in her ongoing campaign to get me drunk.

Admittedly, she has an ulterior motive. People ask me about "good red wine". IMHO a good red wine has sugar in it, and has been cut by sprite and peach nectar (AKA Sangria). I wish that merlot tasted as good as it smells, but I can't quite get past the fuck this is grape juice that's gone really bad factor.

White wine is worse, because there are a few kinds that I actually like. We have an incredibly good Riesling that our local grocery store carried for about three minutes, long enough for me to decide this is My Brand. Mom smokes Pal Malls, my brother is a Guiness guy, I like R10 Brahmen with a little bit of rose water syrup. And now the only place I can get it locally is at work. Anyway, every time I try a white wine that I don't like, my brain automatically fills in the flavor I really want, and I stare at the lovely blue bottle and yearn tragically for its sweet, sweet flavor. (which really is sweet)

Yesterday we had a wine rep show up, and after the "This is what my boss wants me to sell" conversation (a Zinfindel that no one will drink because it is summer and the heat index is already in the triple digits) they got down to business. It was a really, really slow Monday, which meant that all the make-work stuff we usually do, we couldn't because we were out of food. I had already dusted all the glasses, stamped all the menus, and my standard make-work, organize the beer shelves, I had already done on Thursday. So I am standing there with absolutely. nothing. to do. The boss brings out a bottle of "green" wine, which is identical to white in appearance, but not so much in taste. She thumps two glasses down in front of the wine rep, fills both with a nice swallow of wine, and hands it over to me.

"Try it!" she says.

I try it. I think I inhale wrong trying to explore the flavor and start choking. I get a long drink of water, wait for the burn to die down, and try another sip. I don't choke, but the burn is definitely a feature of this particular vintage and I have no idea how to sell it, except to say "dry" and "not sweet."

A few weeks ago she went to Hawaii for a family emergancy. She came back with a case of champagne, where the grapes "had been pollinated by bees carrying orange flower pollen", and she filled two glasses (filled!) and set one down in front of me. "Try it!"

And hey, it was really decent. A little on the too-sweet side, but very bubbly and something that could easily be improved by a little rose syrup. This is when I realize that I am developing a taste for wine, something that I promised myself I would avoid because I couldn't imagine ever drinking this much rancid grape juice.

Another thing she brought out yesterday was the rose wine. No one tried it (thank god. I probably would have gotten plastered) but the bottle she chose to show off was the same rich, ripe pink color as a Lisa Frank folder, and she handled it as if the fake-gold label were real gold leaf. It is a bottle I have been eyeing for several weeks because it looks really good. Now I know it is not only incredibly good, but probably something that could pay for a lot of dental work if you sold it.
Also, her employees who are drink-legal can have one alcoholic beverage a night, for free, without having to ask. And if you don't take her up on it, she will begin making suggestions.

I have decided that wine, to her, is like a book to me. I read very quickly, so a book suggestion for me is a two or three hour occupation. Other people? That's their free time for the next week, bound up in nice black ink. She knows wine. I know wine is something you keep in a glass as a prop so other people will think you're really an adult, but that you don't have to drink if you don't want to. A woman yesterday ordered a "Santa Margarita". I had no idea what this was. The boss knew not only that it was an expensive Pinot Grigio, but that it was an unwarrentedly expensive Pinot Grigio, and that it had become the Tommy Hilfiger (her words) of the We-Have-Too-Much-Fucking-Money set, and, because the customer ordered "Santa Margarita" and not Pinot Grigio, she didn't know anything at all about wine but wanted to pretend that she did. Go get the customer a glass of our house Pinot, charge her half price for the first glass, and see if she didn't like it better.

She did.

(Also, this particular customer announced she wanted to order her appetizers by saying "We're getting Appies!" Guys and girls, if you go into an upscale-pretending-to-be-casual restaurant and order "Appies", the only reason the waitress didn't puke in your lap was because she really wants your tip.) (Seriously. Who says that?)

At this point my boss and I are at an impasse. After the Great Mother's Day Champagne Tasting, I refuse to have more than one glass of anything while on the premises. She continues to make suggestions about wine I ought to try, which I continue to dodge on the excuse that I am working and she is not paying me to drink. However, there are hints that she may abandon alcohol as a point of attack and move on to food.

This is horrifyingly scary.

Last night she made something involving smoked eggplant and flatbread and let me try, and I spent the rest of the night ducking back for another piece. The backup cook already knows that I will take all the overcooked shrimp they make. I have yet to dream of our incredible curry, but that was only because I only got to have it once.

My job is humiliatingly difficult, and yet I am surrounded by food so good, it's practically pornographic. And if my boss decides to fatten me up, I am totally fucked. And fat.

God help us all.

1 comment:

  1. '"Appies", the only reason the waitress didn't puke in your lap was because she really wants your tip.) (Seriously. Who says that?)'

    New money. Don't mock, just learn what not to do when it's you.

    And try a cider or perry. From what you say cider may be too dry/sharp for you, but perry is a nice low-key drink.

    "And if my boss decides to fatten me up, I am totally fucked. And fat."

    *Sigh* Why do people give me straight lines like that? Must. Bite. Tongue.