Sunday, 22 July 2012

September 2002

What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you? 
   When high school graduation finally came to an end  I impatiently waited for an acceptance letter from the only university I applied for.  King’s College had this incredible program that would allow me to read the most amazing literature on the planet, write, listen to amazing professors and dabble in some journalism.  My parents compromised that I could go to college five hours away in the city as long as I contributed to the cost of living in residence.
    I went to class from 8:30-12:30 then hopped the bus to the mall where I worked in a women’s clothing store for eight hours only to return to my dorm room to immerse myself in my schoolwork into the early hours of the morning. 
   I had a cousin who was managing a bar downtown. One afternoon at lunch she came to my rescue and mentioned to me that there was a restaurant opening in the same building as the bar and that she would try and get me an interview with the owner. The idea of working less hours and taking in a lot in tips was too good to pass up.
 I had a bad feeling about it from the start. The owner shook my hand an introduced himself as Phil. He was tall and thin with his black hair slicked back with greasy gel and an arrogance about himself that was as palpable as his cheap cologne. He smiled from underneath a thin moustashe, and seemed to be undressing me with his eyes. He stared at my chest the entire time.
 During my second shift a group of middle-aged men in cheap suits with briefcases came in as I was stocking the bar. Phil ushered them to a table before taking a seat with them and called me over. He put his arm around my waist and introduced me to his ‘business partners’ and told them I would take care of whatever they wanted. I stiffened as he slapped my butt and told me to take care of the drinks. I was disgusted! As I was pouring the glasses I asked Becky, the other waitress, if she saw what happened. She laughed.  “Oh you just got groped! Get used to it!”   I told her I was planning on telling him off but she cornered me. “Listen, I know he’s a scumbag, always wanting us to wear these skimpy skirts and show us off to his sleazy friends. But so what he cops a feel every now and then. These men have money and they throw a lot of it around here.”
  From then on I tried to avoid Phil as much as possible. I would busy myself with work and always gave my tables away to the other girls whenever he was entertaining his shady friends. I don’t care how good the tips were. The thought of his greasy hands and beady eyes made me physically nauseous. 
   One sunny fall afternoon the restaurant was bustling with people, many of whom were enjoying their lunch out on the patio tables.  I was walking towards the patio with a tray piled high with nachos smothered in cheese, salsa and sour cream when - BAM! My face collided with the glass of the patio doors. The nachos were clinging to my clothes. The cheese was running down my chest.  My face throbbed.  I could feel warm blood running down my face. The couple who had gone outside last jumped up and started apologizing profusely for closing the glass doors, which we always kept open for easier access to all the patio tables. The lady was stuffing napkins in my hand telling me to bend  my head back to stop the bleeding. I apologized like crazy for wearing their meal while holding napkins to my face and picking the plates off the floor. I kept my head down willing myself not to cry and look even more of a complete mess.  Everyone in the restaurant was staring at me. I was mortified standing there full of food with a nose bleed when Phil comes over. He grabbed some more napkins and started to wipe away the cheese across my breasts.  
“Get OFF me you pig! I can’t take it anymore! You treat us like a bunch of strippers with your disgusting groping and your sleazy friends! I can’t take it anymore! I QUIT!” 
   With blood running down my face, tortilla chips and salsa smeared all over me I walked back to my residence humiliated and crying. Later, I found out that I had a hairline fracture in my left cheek.  At the time I had no way of knowing the most embarrassing thing to ever happened to me would also turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. If I had not quit I’d have never started working at in the little bar my cousin managed known as ‘The Tickle Trunk’.

I never would have met the father of my son. 

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