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Published: April 3rd 2011
Saturday & Sunday (26-27/03/2011)
Oh. My. Word. Working 8pm to 7am is definitely something new for me; which is exactly what happened Saturday through to Sunday. I arrived at De-V in the evening and took over duties of serving the guests inside. It was a very relaxed section, but with three very annoying and interesting obstacles. Two poles supporting the floor above and half of the section raised. I was looping around poles with the tray swinging above customer’s heads and my feet dangling over the edge of the precipice for half the evening. Thanks goodness for my now-enlarged pinky and thick-thumb. No mess and after cashing all bills, the tables were cleared for the evening dance-floor. Much to my dismay, I saw none of the dance-floor and Disco Stu was sent to do the outside stragglers for the rest of the night/ morning.
Around 4am I was caught sweeping my section by the manager and he angrily shouted for me to stop what I was doing and come and have a drink. Hmmm… anger might not be the right word, but he was certainly confused as to why I was still hard at work. I’m still getting used
to the fact that at a certain hour (one I never seem to know of) work stops and drinking begins… then to be followed by cleaning and cash-counting in a far less-sober state. We ate leftover sausages and rolls and delved into the vats of white-beer. At around 5am the cleaning began once again and by 06h00 we’d sat down for a last goodbye-beer. The birds chirped and the bunnies hopped away as my snot slowly froze forming long icicles down to my legs which were furiously pedaling for bed.
Sunday was a write-off with me emerging from my slumber at around 3pm. I watched some T.V. and then tried to explain to O&O how half a mountain bike had landed up in their garage. I’d found it on the way home that morning (after cycling past 2 other stolen bikes left in the bushes) and had aspirations of combining it with a road bike to spawn the ultimate commute-bike; one with breaks on the handlebars, gears and with road-tires. However, Opa wasn’t at ease with these illegal activities taking place on his property and my dreams of earning extra cash with Disco’s Discount Chop-shop were quickly silenced. He
gave me a cloth to wipe-down the bike after I’d placed it back where I found it; to eliminate any traces of finger-prints, sweat and spittle that might’ve been on the bike after my laborious ride back home dragging it behind me. The confused looks I got when leaving the bike back in the bushes were only matched with what I can imagine were O&O’s expressions that morning when they’d discovered it.
Another shift was served at De-V with no major events. I did meet someone who finally recognized my accent (because I was speaking English to him). He was an American who works with many South African pilots. Kiff story.
Tuesday saw me end up in the hospital again. Luckily for once it was not due to a skating injury, but to help at the Catharina Hospital in the staff-restaurant. I cannot believe the stories that keep these women going at lunch time. We talked of ugly babies, inadequate husbands and trying to reverse caravans into garages. What scandal. I also had my first taste of “karnemelk” which I think is sour-milk or something. It tasted like something a female ogre
had deftly squeezed out of her boobs. I think the name “karnemelk” comes from the sound made by the female ogre during production: “kaaarrrnnggguuhh”.
I ended work at around 16h30 and was quite happy at the chance to go shopping for some hockey shoes. I made my way into the city and visited the shop that had the shoes I wanted. Alas, they didn’t have any in my size. I was then sent to another store at the other end of Eindhoven. However, the only shoes they had, which the salesman thought were on special, were too expensive. He then recommended a store which was on the way home (a back-route) which had lots of hockey stuff. It had taken me two stores to find out there was actually a specialist hockey retailer. No thanks goes to the coach and players. So I made my way to this store, only to be cheekily miss-called by De-V. I quickly swung-by for a shift-change and then headed intrepidly (without-map) to find some shoes. I arrived 3 minutes too late and they were closed. Bummer. Hockey was going to be done in my Salomons, which actually ended up coping quite well.
Another shift at De-V was served. After my shift ended I grabbed the staff-discount on the supper and had a good chat with a girl who’s worked there on-and-off for the past 4 years. She’s now living with her boyfriend just outside of Eindhoven and finishing studies. What was interesting is her remark on the friendliness of the other waiters, and there was actually a staff meeting about it at one stage. It was good to know at least I’m not imagining things. The meal was superb (they cook really nicely there) and I got a bonus starter because someone had made a wrong-order.
My last day of duty at the hospital. Today I heard of the death of one of my co-worker’s sisters and the tragic fact that due to her brother not signing the will she was unable to get a share of the money left behind to be able to buy a bigger diamond ring. Another co-worker then piped up about how she could use the money, but her renovations were going smoothly and her trip to Greece with her partner for a month, in a month, was also going great. What wasn’t great, is that I lost my one glove whilst cycling home. Problem was, was that I only realized it when in the middle of Eindhoven and had to cycle all the way back to the hospital to retrace my route. Someone must have a fetish for gloves, as I didn’t manage to find it and hadn’t left it at the hospital either. This extra mission cancelled my hard-work and efforts to finish in time in order to visit the hockey-shop. So I returned home minus glove, boots and minus moral. Moral was boosted by a super-yummy supper from Oma and the fact that I could lie-in tomorrow with work only starting at 9pm.
I was awoken at 07h30 by the doorbell ringing profusely and O&O’s panicked hustle-bustle to get out of bed. The carpenter had arrived to fix a bit of the roof, and my bedroom window. So much for the lie-in. I ambled down stairs and sunk into the lounge-chairs for a bit until Oma told me they were first going to work on the roof, then my window. I crawled back up the stairs and slithered into my still-warm bed for a couple hours more relief.
These words and some post took up the most of my day. I also did a bout of shopping for O&O and took back the old glass bottles. That was a saga. I first went to the last teller in the row and hauled out a bottle from my bag, she pointed behind me and said, “No, over there”. So I shuffled over to the next counter and started unloading all bottles. Once they were all on the conveyer belt the woman behind the teller asked what I was doing. I told her I was bringing back used-bottles for cash and she further directed me to the bakery, where she carefully explained that I could put the bottles through the magic wall and get a slip afterwards. I asked her why she’d given me the time to unload fully on the conveyer and then decide to tell me, but she had no answer. Turning to the man next to me I asked if he knew what you’re supposed to do to which he replied, “Yes”. However, he’d also decided to watch me unload everything and not tell me. Great. When I returned to another cashier (unable to face the previous one) a man was busy packing-in his groceries. The cashier then promptly asked him to pay so that I could get a move on. After assuring the man I was quite relaxed they got into a debate about him taking so long, and the fact that there ‘might’ be customers coming, which might actually cause a rarely-sighted cue to form. The debate took longer than him having to pay, and I left the supermarket bedazzled at the audacity of a cashier to talk to a customer and the impatience of the Dutch.
At dusk I cycled in to De-V for work. It was a beautiful evening and I thought to myself, “what perfect braai weather!” Big mistake, biiiig mistake. Beautiful evening = 5+ hours of walking with fully-loaded trays, trying to decipher hastily-scribbled orders and dealing with drunken customers. A beautiful evening directly translated into Dutch means working your friggen ass off, and then some more. I was put on Island-terrace duty (the terrace situated an extra 10m away from the restaurant). All I had to do was take the orders flowing in from the waiter with a pin-pad on the island to the designated tables. A bit difficult when everyone decides to move about! Added to that walking with a fully-loaded death-plate through the crowds in front of the restaurant is a task in itself! However, I surprise myself every time I work there. I managed to get through the night, wrist in-tact and confidence too.
At the end of the night the jugs, rolls and sausages came out once again. I’m not talking about a fat stripper, but the gratuitous amounts of beer and food we were given after our shift. I held back on the beer, as I’m set on getting a bit fitter for hockey. I did have to have a few though, as it was my duty to sing for my colleagues as the new waiter (a bit Coyote-Ugly-ish). This involved me standing on the bar, microphone in-hand and crooning out the words to one of my all-time favourites: Californiacation by the RHCP. The only thing that was ugly-ish was the singing, but the applause after suggested me squeaking the guitar-solo was a good idea. I headed home swiftly after using the stage back-door to avoid the on-rush of fans outside. I had another shift at De-V the same day at 16h00.
I was awoken at 13h00 by a call from Tom at De-V asking if I could come earlier to help with the mad-house. The 20°C day had the Dutch going crazy on the terraces and I had to go in to work at 14h30. It was once-again mad. I have to admit to “spinning” a bit at some stages, and it’s then when you forget the little-things. Sometimes you forget something because you know it won’t really matter after a smile-and-chat, but other things just get lost in the fray. De-V were a bit naughty and kept me on until 1am when the crowds started to disperse a bit outside. That was fine by me, as I’d had enough of wading through the drunken public and the desperate-smoker’s (who weren’t allowed to smoke inside) fog in the doorway.
I met up with friends from JMW at a pub down the road and ended up getting a lift home with a bunch of totally random people later that morning. I’d met them whilst sitting outside with my friends. When it began pouring with rain they suggested I lock up my bike and, since they were heading to Waalre, get a lift with them. I judged their dodgyness and deemed it safe to clamber into their Peugot. I had a moment whilst they took the back-roads when I thought I might just have to give up the 5€ I had with me, but it turned out to be a much quicker way home; which I will never be able to remember.
It was a big week this week with heavy work and lots of experience being gained. I’ve noticed just how impatient the Dutch are (when being push-aside by customers wanting to sit at a table I was still cleaning) and am beginning to see why there’s this primary outer-shell of discontent-until-pleased. It’s just a coating of mean to be able to wade through a public used to getting what they want when they want it. The Dutch-friendliness does exist, so long as everything’s going ok. I’m still coming to grips with the fact that I’m supposed to barge through conversations and mealtimes to grab glasses and ashtrays, but I think the bustle of summer will take care of that “softness”. I watched the hockey side’s match I play with today and I think I scored major brownie-points. We’ve decided to get pizza tonight and this caps a brilliantly-lazy Sunday. Om nom nom
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