New York, Sunday July 9
Woke up with head feeling like basket full of snakes, their slimy slithering
bodies writhing and contorting inside my head into thousands of tiny unbreakable
knots. Stood up and took one look at the mirror. Inexplicably, half a dozen
multi-colored beads hang round my neck. I play with them, wondering where
the heck they could have come from. Look quite pretty but kind of inappropriate...
like they came from some far away carnaval... Gots to make the coffee thinking
brainee make hurtee...
Aaaahhh the soothing beans from Uncle Juan Valdez have returned the feeling
in my left arm and jogged my memories too... Ohhhh, it all came back to
me in a flashI can't believe the day I had yesterday... Body is still ingesting
the alcohol consumed last night or should I say until wee hours of the morning.
Feel so thirsty for a big tall glass of chilled Coca-Cola Classic but only
thing I have in the fridge is some dubiously dated orange juice. Settle
for tap water even though have seen Erin Brokovich twice.
Am completely humiliated.
It all didn't start out so bad actually. Manny and Bruce were supposed
to come pick me up after my last shift and go for a drink to the Bayou,
this funky New Orleans bar (or as the natives would say N'Awlins) to have
some hurricanes and fried alligator finger food or some other type of delicious
monstrosity. Showed up at work in high spirit and immediately, Teresa barked
at me to go wait on Table B in my section, on the upper floor of the restaurant.
I walked up the steps and towards the table. Given my astigmatism, and the
fact that vanity prevents me from wearing my glasses unless I absolutely
have to, it wasn't until I reached the table that I recognized my customers:
Cinnamon and Peerooz, and another couple. I recognized the guy in the other
couple: It was Joe, a trader friend of Peerooz's. Standing there with my
waitress uniform and white sneakers, my hair hastily swept up into a bun,
holding pen and paper pad ready to take down orders, while they were sitting
there all glitzy and glammed up as usual, I felt my entire body break into
sweat. The only thing that made me feel a wee bitter was the sight of Peerooz's
ears turning beet red. Then again, I thought, he is probably not feeling
bad for me but just embarassed that his friends have discovered his "ex"
is a mere waitress!
-- "Weeeeeeeelllll now! I'll be daaaarned..."
This is of course Cinnamon speaking in her infuriatingly nasal voice,
her little pug nose turned up at me, a jubilant smirk on her pretty mouth.
Her hair and eyes are as albino-ish as ever, her skin so pale that her blue
veins protrude visibly from under it. Given her paleness, I really wonder
if there is blood flowing through those veins or just merely water. She
already seems a bit inebriated. I guess this is not their first stop of
the night. She continues:
-- "Spaz... is it?.. Is that your name honey? I always have such
troubles with these Eye-ranian names... heeheeheeheeheehee..."
She breaks into stupid giggles as I try not to look at Mr. "Peter"
a.k.a. Peerooz sitting there avoiding my glance.
-- "Have you decided what you would like to drink?"
But she won't let up. Oh why do I suddenly feel like I'm in high school
-- "Hey Spaz... Are you really a waitress here? Karoline said she'd
seen you in here last week... and... IT's TRUE!... heeheeheeheeheehee...
Peeeeter (She turns to Peerooz) I thought you told us she was a lawyer?
What happened? Job market that horrible?... heeheeheeheeheehee..."
I can't help but give a quick glance to Peerooz with a feeling of pity.
Poor man is so obsessed with outer image he couldn't even bring himself
to tell his friends I was a lowly paralegal back when we were "dating".
What must he be suffering tonight!
-- "So have you decided what you would like to..."
-- "Yes Naz thank you, you can just bring us a bottle of red, whatever
you think is best."
This is Joe speaking, thankfully interrupting this nightmarish interrogation.
I just realize this is the same Joe that was supposedly dating Cinnamon
way back when. And now they are all out on a double-date as if everything
was hunky-dory... People are so strange. I thought I was supposed to be
the actress here, but they are the ones acting on a daily basis, smiling
at each other, dating each other, backstabbing each other, and then going
on as if nothing is out of the ordinary. I am about to leave when Cinnamon
chimes in again:
-- "Wine? Oh yaaaawwwnnn... How boring Joey... No I think I'd like
Repeatif? What is she trying to say? Oh god! Is she trying to ask for
-- "A nice A-Repeatif... Bring me a Green Lizard will you hon?"
I bite my lip to stop the obvious joke from exiting my mouth. A Green
Lizard indeed. Slimy drink for her slimy personality. Actually I take that
back. I feel sorry for her. Who is to tell who was the woman scorned in
this bizarre lust triangle between Peerooz, Cinnamon and I. For all I know,
in her eyes, I am the Other Woman who threatened her happiness. I sigh:
Why is it that women have the instinct of hating each other instead of their
cheating partner? Cinnamon seems especially young, and her attitude certainly
does not belie her immaturity. Let her have her little fun at my expense.
I am bigger than that.
Fabrice, my French co-worker, senses at my discomfited face that some
tragic love story is unfolding at Table B upstairs and offers to replace
me. But I reassure him this is more farce than tragedy. Besides, I want
to believe I am a strong enough person to survive through this dreary episode.
The rest of the evening gets only worse. With every new Green Lizard,
Cinnamon gets more vocal and obnoxious, returning her perfectly fine drinks
and food a few times just for the pleasure of having me at her beck and
call. I don't know how such a tiny frame can withstand all that alcohol.
The louder she gets, the more diners turn around and become aware of her
drunkenness. Peerooz however has not said a word to me all evening except
to place his order, nor does he seem inclined to control his drunk fiancée.
As I drop off Cinnamon's fifth Green Lizard, she practically shoves her
engagement ring, a beautiful platinum and diamond design, under my nose
and asks me how many carats I think it is. Unfortunately for me, I know
as much about carats as I do about carrots.
-- "Umm...I don't know...10...?"
Cinnamon is so happy she is besides herself. Heeheeheeheeheehee, she
breaks into another seemingly uncontrollable fit of giggles and knocks her
drink off the table in the process. The sound of the glass shattering brings
the restaurant to a halt. The waiters are frozen in place, the diners have
abandoned their chit-chat and their eyes are all fixed on the little drama
playing at Table B. In the deafening silence, Cinnamon's voice can be heard
distinctly amidst her giggles:
-- "Heeheeheeheehee... Gawd Peter, how could you ever go out with
this... creature... she is SO STUPID!"
I think I have finally hit my last level of tolerance. Even rent money
is not worth taking abuse like this. My first instinct is to take my tray
and introduce it to Cinnamon's cranium. But before I can put the plan into
motion, a voice is heard out of the blue:
-- "Why don't you shut your trap, you eight shades of white trash."
The voice is Joe's. The funny thing is he is not screaming. He is not
even looking at Cinnamon when he said this. He is just staring intently
at his wine glass while continuing to play with it, making circling motions
on the table. He has said this with a very natural tone, almost bored-sounding.
Like a grown-up chiding a little spoiled child. To my complete amazement,
Peerooz is still silent. Cinnamon though is outraged. Thankfully, she has
taken her focus off me and is now directing it to her table companion.
-- "Peeeeeter... Are you gonna let him talk to me like that? Well
I take this opportunity to quietly slip away. Teresa is downstairs scowling
at me. Oh great! Of course she is going to blame this debacle on me as usual.
Guess I'm fired... AGAIN!
Peerooz has finally gone into motion and is trying to lead Cinnamon away
from the table as gently as possible. But she is having none of it.
"COWARD!... YOU GODDAMN COWARD!...," she screams at him and
snaps his hand away. She attempts to march down the stairs herself but her
drunkenness and Manolo Blahniks are a deadly mix. She loses her balance
momentarily on the stairs and grabs onto poor Fabrice who unknowingly is
on his way up carrying a tray of lobster dishes for his table. BANNNNGGG,
all the plates and food come crashing down, splashing on both Fabrice and
Cinnamon. She just walks on though, with not even a glance at the chaos
she has created. Peerooz is following her sheepishly and has the actual
nerve to drop a few dollar bills on the ground where Fabrice's lobsters
When Manny and Bruce came to pick me up, I couldn't even bring myself
to tell them this story. Instead, Fabrice, who decided to join us, did the
honors while I was inhaling one hurricane after another. Oh! Now I remember
where those beads came from! In honor of the N'Awlins carnival tradition,
each patron gets a beaded necklace with each order of hurricane. I count
the number of my necklaces sheepishly123... Yikes... Too many to continue.
I am so ashamed of myself. It is NEVER a good idea to drown your sorrow
in alcohol. It is actually quite ridiculous as alcohol is a depressant and
will only make you feel worse! Gosh, I better keep these beads around my
neck as a stern reminder of my sinful behavior in manner of Albatross hanging
round Ancient Mariner's neck!
I am bouncing off the ceiling, onto my walls, then onto the floor again.
I can't believe it! Eva Braun just called me (on a Sunday no less, maybe
I misjudged her!): Apparently I got the understudy part for the maid role
in the off-off-off Broadway play I auditioned for. I am happy as Homer Simpson
at the sight of free donuts: WOO-HOOOOOO!... WOO-HOOOOOOO!... Off come the
N'Awlins beads and into the air they fly!
Rehearsals start tomorrow.