Showing posts with label Work. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Work. Show all posts

When last things don’t work out

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Last week at work was supposed to be five days of upfront honesty. That man who comes for a bottle of Shmernoff every week stinks and has seriously bad breath. Your man (that most Irish of sayings!) who once was begging not to sell alcohol to a woman who was supposed to come shortly dressed in a beige coat should try to get some serious help for his wife (whom empathizing with her husband I actually didn’t serve that time) instead of asking the staff of a local off-licence to help him out. And all those of you with that uberconfident expression on your faces and the banal “I know what I’m looking for” as you grab any bottle of any Barolo or anything Grand Cru or Reserva sitting on the shelf are nothing but pitiful snobs trying to dazzle in the vanity of your husbands, wives, lovers and colleagues.

Last column for “Metro Eireann” was supposed to be equally straightforward, yet focusing on Lithuanians rather than the Irish – I’ve complained enough about them to be deported to the furthest East.

The finale turned out to be quite different though. My area manager decided to send me on very sudden holidays – with less than an hour’s notice. And as for a column – to cut the long story short – I became aware that I ended up focusing on myself rather than on Lithuanians in general and somewhere halfway through answering whether three and a half years I had spent here were not in vain I stopped writing because I didn’t know the answer. My last column was never finished and the reasons behind that vanished in the crossfire of emails exchanged between myself and the deputy editor of the newspaper.

On the other hand, I can hardly complain – I have plenty of time for books, movies and more movies and my sister’s kids, but the way my career in enology ended was a bit of a slap in the face. Two days before I was told the news my wine shop was held up by an armed masked guy. While he was stupid enough to rob a place on a Monday night when most of the Euros are safely chilling in the bank coffers, he was relatively courteous as he said “thank you ladies” when he got the cash from the tills. Gentleman, huh?

I happened to be off when this happened. The girl whom I replaced as an assistant manager worked in the shop for five years prior to leaving it and during that time the place was held up about five times – once thrice in a period of a year. Syringes and screwdrivers mainly. Never a gun - unlike this time (Gardai still don’t know if it was a real one and I doubt they’ll ever find out). Perhaps a coincidence, but that girl was never there when the incidents were happening. She said it was because the robbers knew she was crazy. “It won’t happen to you either, because they know you are crazier than me”. Whichever was the case, indeed nothing happened in more than three years I have spent in various Oddbins shops. They say that dogs attack the people who are scarred of them – does the same apply to robbers?

Either way, it was our new manageress who was behind the counter when she was greeted by a wild West-like “Hands up!” Ever since she started working in June I didn’t get along with her. At all... Well… why should I – she was spying on me on CCTV as if she didn’t have better jobs (besides, those cameras are there for security measures, not to play Big Brother). Have I mentioned that she’s always stressed? So voilĂ  – the shop was robbed and obviously she’ll need some time to recover (as will another girl who was working with her on that night). My suspicion is that she asked the area manager (who doesn’t boast too much people management skills) to send me on holidays (even though I don’t have any left), because she doesn’t imagine her recovery with me working alongside her.

Whichever way it was, I’m on holidays and she’s recovering. I hope this time does her well. I’m enjoying mine. Sometimes the days get a bit too self-reflective and it is probably inevitable before leaving the country where I’ve spent three and a half years, especially when you consider the pensive Lithuanian nature. Perhaps I might write a book about my experiences in Dublin some day. I’ve made a bet with one Irish guy that I’ll have it written and translated to English (not many books in Lithuania are) before he releases a proper CD (not a homemade disc which could only be found in Road Records). The thing is the bet was made before I heard him playing in Whelans. I guess I should hurry up writing otherwise I’ll end up buying a bottle of vintage Krug which we bet on.

 

A few remarks about Ireland after spending here 4 days

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It is not easy to get used to the fact that I don't live on my own anymore. I'm a bad housemate and even worse as a roommate. I have to have my space, where others can't set their foot in. I have to have my cell of meditation where I can mumble to myself, scribble to you, perform in front of mirrors and indulge in reflective solitude.

A selfish kick-off for a monday morning.

For the past four days I have been sharing a room of my own with my best friend who after a few years of hesitations, persuasions and dubieties finally boarded "Ryanair" flight to Dublin. And for the past four days my 80 sq feet or so have been flooded with expectations and visions with spells of regret. Although visions prevail. Despite the troubles that emerge because of severe intimacy. On the other hand, my friends observations shed light on some things which I started to forget or got so used to that I barely even notice them. These are as follows:

***
A trip from Dublin Airport on Bus No. 16A. Somewhere around Phibsborough she exclaimed with childish disbelief:

Look! Walking in slippers!

***
Somewhere in town she suddenly scowled with disgust:

The stench of pee!

I hardly even noticed any...

***
After a job interview she was surprised that by the end of it the interviewer called her by name. She remarked it felt very personal.

***
Despite the fact that Eastern Europeans keep slagging off Irish about being fat, my friend was wondering, where are those fat people?

***
TO LET. At first she was thinking these are signs for public TOILETS with the letter I pealed off. I wish...

***
Everybody is nuts about anything organic.

***
In terms of salaries food is inexpensive.

***
She admired the fact that there are zillions of small shops.

***
Wine lists in the restaurants describe wines rather than just stating "Torres Esmeralda" or "Concha Y Torro Cabernet Sauvignon".

***
Pennies is great!

***
"Guinness" is tasty!


I think she'll be just fine in Ireland, won't she?

 

Observations from behind the counter. Part I

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Working in a wine shop sometimes turns out to become a rather intimate experience. Simply by observing the amount or the kind of booze Mr X or Mrs Y are purchasing I can tell if they are having rough time. Or if they wear sunglasses on a muggy afternoon. Or if they are in a terrible rush and tuck a naggin of "Smirnoff" in a pocket asap.

For instance.

Ann Marie is not doing great. As a matter of fact, she is perpetually grumpy, even on a sunny day. On Thursday she is going to a hospital to have an eye surgery. I keep trying to cheer her up, yet she is already superstitious and wary of doctors.

Naggin of "Powers" man is better now. On most days he is our first customer. "Keeps the old heart going", says he and gives a smile. Almost on a daily basis. The heart is old indeed - about 70.

There is also a woman living next door to a shop. Her boyfriend pays her regular visits (although I haven't seen him for a good while) and whenever around he pops in to our shop. Anyway, the woman always seemed to be smarter than the guy (I know I sound like a bitch). A few weeks ago she was cooking something in a sherry sauce. For him, I suppose. She came looking for a bottle of sherry - that's how I found it out. It was peculiar when he entered the shop asking if I could suggest a nice bottle for him. "You'll have something in a sherry sauce", I muttered and added "damn you Lina" inaudibly to myself since I realized it is not an appropriate thing to say.

Oh, and obviously there is a Hot guy. Whom I don't consider hot anymore... Although after he dropped by all sweaty after playing tennis I started thinking of changing my mind.

And then the curly "Super Bock" fella who had shifted to "Tyskie" for a while. He is one of those customers I really like. Needless to say, mainly because he likes the music I play. Unlike that ancient self-loving fossil who sarcastically exclaimed "Is this radio? Do you like THIS? Who's this?" to Joanna Newsom.

It's Joanna Newsom.

Where are you from?

Lithuania.

Is she also from Lithuania?!

She's American, you moron.


I obviously omitted the last words. Next time I will play U2, sorry. Hope this makes you happier. Customer friendly music, you know.

Observations from behind a counter are doomed to be continued since they are innumerable and they make the time go by quicker.