Emigration Diary: Bottoms Up!
I have been promoted from hostess to waitress. Neither term is politically correct, I know, but it doesn’t seem to matter here. I think the former sounds a lot more glamorous too, but the reality is the latter makes more money. So here I go; movin’ on up.
I don’t think I would have taken a job in a restaurant in Ireland. I worked in a few while I was in college but since then it never would have occurred to me to apply. Even here I consider it temporary. I’m still waiting to hear about the teaching course and another dream position in publishing where I’ve advanced through the initial stages of interviewing, but in the meantime this suits me. It’s local, it works well with my childcare arrangements, I like my colleagues and the regulars and it’s a pleasant place to be.
If you enjoy people-watching, the restaurant/bar business is one to be in. I’ve seen blind dates, date-night dates, custody arguments, people eating with families one day on a date with someone else the next, middle-aged couples getting over amorous at the bar, little old ladies drinking martini glasses full of neat vodka in the middle of the day. It’s a small town, if we don’t know someone’s story or whatever the current gossip about them is, we simply make something up. It’s a fun game.
People here have a noticeably different relationship with alcohol than in Ireland. Plenty of people here have one glass of wine with lunch, or one cocktail at happy hour and then go off about their day. I don’t think I ever experienced people in Ireland drinking cocktails at 3pm who weren’t either still at a bar or home in a sorry state at 10. Bartenders are a lot freer with the measures here too. I found this out the hard way when I drank a lot more than I thought one night and suffered the whole of the next day. I can only imagine what bars in Dublin would be like if publicans were so free with their spirits. It’s not that people don’t get drunk here; they do, and dangerously often drive home. It just seems less messy somehow. Perhaps it’s the attitude, perhaps people just handle drink better, perhaps they know when to stop, perhaps all that is just an illusion. I am always surprised when somebody orders a straight up martini with their sandwich or has a few rum and cokes on a business lunch. I certainly wouldn’t be able to get on with my day if I started drinking spirits at lunchtime. I don’t think I want to try that aspect of this new culture I’m experiencing, I’m not sure it’s safe. I’ll stick to my glass of wine after the kids go to bed, thanks.