Lookin' Good at 58

Monday, January 5, 2009

1982 Or the Year of Rock Bottom

Okay to continue on with my work history we are now heading into 1982 in which I affectionately refer to the year that something happened that changed my life. What happened was that moment in time when either you hit a low point and continue on going in a downward spiral or you turn it around and start making some decisions on how you are going to live the rest of your life.

As you may recall last week I was leaving the Ramada Inn Discotheque and heading to the bright lights of Toronto. What happened after this I can hardly recall. In the next 15 months I moved 3 times and had probably I am guessing about 5 jobs. I ended up going back part time to the Ramada Inn disco , worked at a couple of private clubs downtown , helped open up a restaurant featuring fancy drinks which turned out to be such a disaster when on opening day nothing was ready and people just came in and vowed they would never return again.

I worked at night and tried my hand at sales during the day selling storm doors in new residential areas , along with windows in areas where there were older homes. I am not quite sure why I tried to get out of the industry during this time but I think it was because I saw myself moving on to something better , whatever that was.

But during this time there were family issues that were confusing me at the time , I couldn't land a real good job bartending anymore because I moved downtown and had no contacts which helped me find most of my previous jobs , my work history was lousy with no consistency. Also the economy was heading into a recession so the job market was freezing up. Money working at the private clubs was an hourly wage so there was no tipping going on which bled all my savings from the previous couple of years.

I landed a job as a bartender at the Badminton and Racquet Club of Toronto , went back to the Ramada Inn , worked at another club called the Dunfield Club. The latter lasted a week. The first club I left and went back to after I had a short stint at the Boulevard Club.

It was the cold winter of 1982-83 and I got this job as a waiter learning how to do Caesar Salad at the table , Chateaubriand , Cherries Jubilee , etc.. It was a pretty posh club but there was only one particular problem at the time which kind of made me feel left out of things.

I was the only straight guy there!!!!

The rest were homosexuals. Okay like Seinfeld says on his show , there is nothing wrong with that. I would usually be picking up the Maitre'd to give him a lift to work. He was Spanish and his name was Des and on the way I would pick up another waiter named Remy who was French. Well you know if Des was not outside waiting for his ride , Remy was not going to be waiting either cause they were an item.

Well my 3 month probation was up and I was drinking like a horse on the job. We had the liqueur trolley and then upstairs was the bar we would order drinks for the members on their signed chits. Well I would go to the bar and write beer please on a chit and the bartender would know it was for me , he would give me a beer and in about the time I took to walk down one floor I would have guzzled the beer. Then the wine would be flowing from the parties we would do.

One particular night me and this Polish waiter were doing the head table for the Mayor of Toronto and the federal energy minister Marc Lalonde who was in Trudeau's cabinet and the Mommesin red wine was flowing. The speeches started and we started drinking the red wine like no tomorrow. We finished the dinner and started cleaning up when Des says how about some liqueurs so we started drinking Grand Marnier.

All of a sudden I started throwing up. Too drunk to drive I get into a taxi and it must have been -15C ( 5F ) outside and all I am wearing is a vinyl leather jacket. The fake kind. I get out of the taxi and get to my door and I realize I left my keys at work in the change room. I get into another taxi and head back and the nightman thinks I am some sort of predator and doesn't let me in. So I am stuck. I go to the Polish guy's place and his wife ( he was straight ) says he is asleep and go away. He said to me a couple of days later he didn't remember going home that night.

Well I spent the night at a donut shop slumped over the counter. Daylight came I went back to work and got my keys and went home cold and wondering what had become of me to get into such a mess. I called to say I wasn't coming in that night but they said I had to so I did.

It was time for the probation to end and now for my raise in my hourly wage. But first we all had to go out for a beer after work a couple nights later so everyone decided to head to this bar called Mushrooms which I never heard of. Yes it was a gay bar and that was when I found out that the cooks , doorman , and some other waiters were all gay. It wasn't my scene so I politely went home and vowed I wouldn't return there again. I think they had a different raise in mind for me at the time. HA!

That is when I returned to the Badminton and Racquet Club where only about 80% of the service staff was gay. They left me alone but I noticed when I left I found 3 notes with phone numbers on them all with best times to call. Christ almighty!!! If only they were girls!

My third move was out of the city to North York and a room. It was now Spring of 1983 and I was so broke that I was contemplating putting my car insurance on the credit card. I had just turned 24 at the time and I wanted to do something so I was looking. I needed a change big time. Toronto did not have that positive effect I wanted. Up to now I was going in circles. Yes I had a few good opportunities but you know sometimes you think you can conquer the world and you keep thinking that no matter what you do you will make the right decision. I made some bad decisions that year which caused some change. Change for the good that is.....

So then I answered this ad in the Globe and Mail one day.......

Jobs so far between 1981-early 83

I forget Troika restaurant in Montreal (2 nights of which I was so under qualified )
Willows Inn
Holiday Inn
Credit Valley Golf Club
Bristol Place Hotel
Ramada Inn ( twice )
Badminton and Racquet Club ( twice )
Dunfield Club
Boulevard Club
New restaurant
Old restaurant service bar
A few sales jobs 2-3


bulletholes said...

Man, I used to paly a mean game of Badminton. About 5 hours a week!
Heres a little story from NY Eve 1982 you might like...
And if you look at the post that follows that one, I tell how I found out my best friend was gay.

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

Bulletholes...I read the two posts and they both said a lot about the times back in 1982.Now things are wide open.

bulletholes said...

Yeah....thanks for taking the time....I'd be pleased for you to add me on, i will probably do the same4 next time I take some time...i have several new friends and you seem like one to me.
Hey, what happened to Mike the Waiter?

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

Bulletholes...that would be great. I have you on my blogroll right now. You know I was thinking the other day about Mike the Waiter. I don't know what happened. I hope everything is okay.He hasn't commented or posted in a while.Haven't heard from him since before Xmas.