I work with heaps of cool, cool cats at SP. I really think that most of them deserve a quick mention, as they have been a huge part of my life for the last 10 months. So, let me introduce the rest of the bloody crew to you. In small doses...
If you could imagine a really handsome Pee Wee Herman, that's Mark. People in New Zealand love to kiss on the cheek when they greet, but I've become accustomed to greeting Mark by kissing him smack on the lips, which, at one time, would have been way outside my comfort zone. His favorite words are 'lady!' and 'mongrel!' or 'minge!' or 'minger!' He'll say 'Hurry up, Lady,' or 'Watch it, you mongrel,' to just about anyone. But he says it in the most fun voice. He's never cross, and is a brilliant manager.He and his partner Phil have been together for a couple of years, and are really, really cute. Mark is one of my favorite people to work with because he's so clever, funny, simple, and easy to get along with. Whenever I'm at a table taking an order or carrying drinks, he comes up from behind and unties my apron so that it falls off mid-stride. Real funny stuff.
(photo: coming soon)
Andy is special. He calls me Wendy Forearm, he says 'You're aMAYZEing' to everyone, and he gets finicky over the smallest things. When I started at SP, people warned me about Andy, but he has always been one of my FAVORITE managers. He's really handsome and quite kind. Like Mark, he is one of my favorites to work with because he just gets it. Plus, the stuff he says is SO hilarious. He's almost as funny as Pene (see bottom). He and his (very hot) partner Clinton have also been together for awhile. Today I was at work having lunch with Christian and I was telling Andy how much I was really, really going to miss SP when I left. Andy's reply? 'Yes, babe. Nowhere in the world will you recieve such severe sexual harassment as this. Well, no, wait. I have a lot of friends all over the world.' To which I smiled and said, 'Thank God.'
(photo: Clinton (Andy's partner), Andy, myself, Jade, Christian)
An exceptional human being and brilliant manager, Jade is a midwife in real life. SP financed her time in midwife , which worked out well for her. We try to catch up for a beer now and then, and one time even had a 'beer lunch' where we drank a lot of beer before going to work and having to do a shift. Made the night go really, really quickly. Funny enough, for the person I worked with the least, she knows more about my goings-on at work than most people. We share a couple of secrets worth keeping. She is really great, really nice, and an exceptionally hard worker. Jade is someone you could learn a lot from.
(see previous photo)
We have three guys named James at our restaurant. Betty is a James, our bar manager Olga is a James, and Burge is a James. He's Burge because his last name is Burgess. He missed out on a female nickname, but I'm not sure why. He has a son named (of all things) Detroit. The name is Burges' ex-partner's boyfriend's drag queen name, which, of course, seems reasonable (??). I reckon Burge is a bit bi- as although he has a partner of a year, he tends to be a bit of a ladies man as well. Of all of the people I've met in New Zealand, I've never had anyone speak to me as explicitly as he does, but I LOVE it. To be honest, it's very liberating to work in an environment where things like that are said and accepted, and it's all part of the fun. Burge is one of my favorites.
(photo: Burge giving me the bird)
Sweet, short, bald, handsome, tattooed, and gay. We all know him as American Joe, but secretly is a New Zealand citizen with an American green card. His marm and pa are both lawyers, so Joe grew up a rich boy in a nice part of NYC and has been all over the world. He's a photographer by trade, and a brilliant one at that. I really enjoy Joe's company, and he is very, very intelligent. Recently, we went and saw Shrek 3 together, which was a blast. Afterwards, we went shopping together, and we saw some shirts at one of my favorite stores (female clothing stores, mind you), that we liked. So we both headed to the dressing room to try them on. The lady looked at us like we were CRAZY, but it was hilarious.
(photo: Joe and I trying on clothes at Supre)
What a doll Aroha is. Well, at least I think so.
At first I had a tough time getting to know her. Since then, though, I find that she's quite charming. Very smart, very talented, and a very good waitress, Aroha is the girl that everyone loves to hate. I have become quite fond of her, though, and here's why. No matter what people say to Aroha, to her face or behind her back, or no matter what people do, Aroha moves forward happily without being to bothered by it. I really respect that about her. She is picked on for the sake of being picked on, and she is disliked because it's easy to dislike her (and easy to follow the crowd). But really, she's lovely, and has become one of my favorite people at SP.
(photo: Aroha and Betty)
Nathan (Nay Nay):
Have I told you yet about Nathan? He IS SPQR. He is the local peformer, and we all love him for it. He is WILD. But not only is he a performer, but a great waiter too. He has drive and initiative, and one of the most outrageous mouths I've ever heard. Customers come just to be waited on by Nay, and he does them proud each time. Nay Nay is an SP god and legend, and always will be.
(photo: Nathan telling me hello)
Pene is by far the most incredibly funny person I have ever met. I think his first language from birth was sarcasm. Blatent, crude sarcasm. He says THE MOST offensive things, and his humor and his wit are unmatche. I am usually in a FIT of laughs when he is near. He has a smart-ass comment about EVERYTHING. And it's usually derogatory...
Quotes from Pene:
"They're not people. They're Asians.' (describing the two new customers on table 12, to whom I was taking water and menus)
'That's what happens when you tickle a bottle of wine. Treat it like a lady and open it.' (when one of our bartenders broke the cork while trying to open a bottle of wine for a table).
'Someone put her next to the fireplace so her hair goes up in flames.'
'A table of Americans? It's an invasion! Wasn't Iraq enough?'
(in a text to me a few weeks ago) 'Don't go changing. you and your hilarious company are always welcome at my table. Just don't bring anyone ugly. xx'
(photo: coming soon)
Just an honest, hardworking guy. He's another manager, but is also a server too. He picked up the crap manager shifts when Andy and Burge didn't want them any more, but he's a real trooper about it. One of the nicest guys I know, he's easy to wokr with and get along with. I've always enjoyed Pete.
(photo: Aroha, myself, and Pete)
American, pretty, hispanic, very popular, quite loud, talks all the time, but a genuinely nice person with a great big heart. She gives Americans a good name. But back to her heart - she's been known to pick up strangers and take them places, she'll talk to anyone who will listen, and she always makes sure people feel welcome, no matter who they are and where they're from. We recently spent time together bowling, playing pool, and drinking beers over quiz night at the local pub. She and her Kiwi boyfriend Ollie are super cute. I reckon on sheer personality alone (her degree wouldn't even matter), Claudia will go far in life. Word... to yo' motha'.
(photo: Boopsie and I with our friends Brian and Adrian)
Last but not least, there's Olga. She's another James, actually. She's an older, balder, bartender/manager/head person at SP. For the first two months, I thought we all called her Ogre. Luckily, the two sound similar enough that I don't think my mistake was ever noticed. I don't have a lot to say about Olga, she can be quite hard to get to know, and it takes awhile to get into her good graces. But, nearer to my time at the end, I felt like I reached this point, which was a relief. We have a standing agreement that this Thursday, when I come in for ONE final drink with all of my random friends, she'll play my favorite song for me on the way out the door. I can't wait...
(photo: Olga, Jeff, and Betty)