Mind games

Posted: February 24, 2015 in Life-thingies

When I was growing up and living with my parents, my mum would bake bread every Sunday. She still does in fact, I am just rarely there to witness it. Every Sunday she would be in the kitchen, radio on, quietly humming along and kneading dough for buns and loafs. She would roll out the buns, nice and round with practiced hands. Repeating the same roll-scoot-scoot-roll over and over, like she was kneading out the rhythm of a foxtrot.

In the windowsill her wristwatch and her ring would sit glinting, the sure sign that she was hard at work. They had been exchanged for the old washed-out apron with the vertical stripes and the stains of a thousand home-cooked meals.
When a familiar song came on the radio her clear voice would search for the words and fade in and out of the passages she knew. At noon the radio station would play the bells from the city hall in Copenhagen and the smell of freshly baked bread would be wafting throughout the whole house.

The bells ring out the oldest written melody in Denmark, “Drømte mig en drøm i nat” (Dreamt a dream last night). It is not an elegant melody when played on gigantic bells, instead I always found it to be rather haunting, but a strange thing happened once I moved away from home. Whenever I hear those bells, I smell freshly baked bread.

The first time I remember it happening was on a bus filled to the brim on a hot August afternoon. The bus smelled anything but nice, more like sweat, cigarettes and diesel, but the radio was on and the clock struck twelve and suddenly the smell of my mother’s freshly baked rye bread was wafting through the air. I closed my eyes and I was standing right there in our kitchen with the cracked floorboard by the door and my father’s million bottles of oils and vinegars in the windowsill. I sniffed at the air trying to retain the image, but it only lasted for a moment and I was back on the cramped no. 41. If only the other experience had left me as quickly, it was not nearly as pleasant.

A moment ago I was watching a movie, X-Men: First class to be exact. The first few scenes has a young Erik Lehnsherr (later Magneto) in a concentration camp. An Evil Nazi German wants to experiment on him and learn about his mutation. The scene was in German and as I had not put on subtitles I had to concentrate to understand what they were saying. As Evil Nazi German spoke of Evil Nazi things, I could suddenly smell the car-deck of the old Great Belt ferries. I felt nauseous and trapped.

Now normally I have no issue with people speaking German. I might even understand some things if they speak slow and clear. I don’t recall German ever making me nauseous, but something about Evil Nazi German’s voice or inflection made me remember the frequent messages in multiple languages announced over the tin-can PA and the terror those foreign words made me feel.

I know those ferries no longer sail, haven’t for 17 years, but the fear they made me feel as a child is still very much alive inside me. The seemingly endless sea-sickness, the cramped car-deck that made you feel like you were trapped in a maze of sedans, the distinct smell of oil, seawater and exhaust and the constant fear that we would sink and die. I was utterly terrified and I just experienced all that again. The mind-numbing fear of a small child roaring through my adult head and rooting me to the spot.

Man I need a smoke!

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, a story of what love hate (and drugs) can make you do.

It was a little past 4 in the morning at the Big Gay Party and we were closing up.
The DJ had played his last song and was unplugging a myriad of cables. The bartenders had cried “Last call!” and were mopping up the dregs on the bar top. The floor guys were doing the same thing they had all night; running from the kitchen with empty trays and returning with them brimming with bottles, glasses, lemon slices, straws, lime wedges, chewed up gum and other delicacies. The cloakroom girls were slowly drowning in the rising tide of guests in dire need of their coats, caps and handbags the size of a small car.

As I always do at that particular time of the night, I positioned myself slightly down the corridor that leads to the cloakroom. From there I could catch people drunkenly trying to get back to the bar and I had a decent view of any trouble that might arise.

Closing time is a tricky time. The potential for trouble naturally increases when the entire party crowds together in a narrow hallway. People are drunk and tired, but still hyped up from the mood and the music. They know they ought to head home, but at the same time the morning bars are tempting with their siren song of “Just one more. Postpone the inevitable loneliness and have just. one. mooooore!”
All the little insults, the shade thrown, the stinky eyes sent throughout the night coupled with alcohol, tight quarters and pushing and shoving, run the risk of turning a small misunderstanding into a fully fledged brawl in this pressure cooker environment.

As I stood there, keenly watching the crowd and trying desperately to forget my sore feet, one or two stragglers passed me from behind. The staff check every room carefully to see if anyone has stowed away and usually someone has. Most often in the bathrooms.
Suddenly I heard what could only be described as an anguished roar coming from behind me. I spun around just in time to see a girl rushing down the corridor at full speed. A small bull dyke coming straight at me, fast and with a burning hatred glowing in her eyes. All I had time to do, was to try and step aside, but I wasn’t quite quick enough.

She hit my left shoulder hard. I reacted instinctively, wanting to get her away from me. I wrapped my arm around her waist and pushed her backwards.
Now I am not really sure what happened. Maybe I used more force than I meant to. Maybe she was smaller than I thought. Maybe the adrenaline and pain kicked in and I lost control. Maybe I have latent mutant super strength. I don’t know. All I know is I ended up sending her flying across the floor. It looked like something out of an action movie and I was horrified that I might have hurt her, but at the same time proud that I did something that looked so cool.

We were instantly surrounded by bouncers and as they picked her up and asked her what the hell she did that for, she looked at me with those dazed, glazed, bad trip eyes and mumbled “Sorry, I thought you were my step-dad”.
After checking she was otherwise okay, all that was left to do, was to find her friends and have them take her home.

Poor girl!

And poor my shoulder when I woke up the next day! Ice packs are not just for athletes. Sometimes chubby lesbian bar-managers need them too.

The following party she showed up, even though she was obviously banned. She didn’t make a fuss and she told the bouncer she hadn’t come to party, she just wanted to speak to me if I had a moment to spare. Naturally I took the time. She was very apologetic and said the incident had opened her eyes. She would try to cut down on the partying. She was nice. She had even bought me a chocolate bar as an apology.

I like chocolate!

I have mentioned them a few times before, but I feel it is time to tell you guys a bit more about our bouncers. At our Big Gay Parties we always have 3 bouncers to help us deal with troublesome guests and other strange happenings. The two of them are Mickey and Bob, the third is one of a revolving cast of local bouncers.

Mickey is only slightly taller than me (I am 171 cm tall (5′ 7 for the Handegg enthusiasts, 2.5 arşin for the Ottomans)), but he is extremely muscular. I don’t mean body builder muscly, though I am sure he goes to the gym often, no he is big in the scary kind of way. That way where you know he could put you on the ground before you even realized you’d done anything wrong. You take one look at him and decide “Nah I don’t feel pouring water on a grease fire is in my best interest”. The funny thing is, Mickey is the biggest joker of the group and I rarely see him without a big grin plastered on his face.

Bob is older than most of the other bouncers and is generally kind of quiet. I’ve never actually asked, because these are not the things we talk about, but I’d say he is pushing fifty. He is in charge of booking, payment, all that administrative stuff. Bob is just an all ’round jovial guy. All smiles and laughter, even when he is dealing with fights or people being dicks he is always happy. It is a great attitude to have when dealing with drunk and angry folks, because it’s hard to stay mad at someone who is kind and smiles at you. I think that might also be why he is the only one of our bouncers who doesn’t wear a stab vest. He says he has never been stabbed, so wearing the vest would only invite bad luck.

Mickey and Bob have been with us for at least 10 years and so naturally a lot of our guests know them pretty well. Both the nice ones and the troublemakers. This is extremely advantageous because it creates a safe atmosphere and at the same time I don’t have to tell them who to keep an eye on. They know that way better than I do.

All our bouncers like to joke around and that is never more evident than when they have a new guy on shift. Some well-meant hazing is inevitable and some of our regulars get in on the fun from time to time. It usually falls into three rounds of trials.

Round one:
The bouncers are all straight males, very masculine, rough and tough. So when a new guy shows up for his first shift at The Big Gay Party he is often in for a bit of a shock. First off because Bob likes to not tell them in advance that it’s an LGBT party. Then the guys will continuously ask him if he’s okay, anything troubling him, does he have any questions? Some of the bouncers have never even met a gay guy before, so watching them being thrown head first in the deep end is hilarious. They are flabbergasted and completely out of their comfort-zone, all while trying to act cool because it’s politically incorrect not to be 100% LGBT positive. Oh the laughs!

Round Two:
Quite a few of our regulars are very feminine guys who love themselves a good hunk. Watching them giggling, making lewd comments and sending hungry looks at the new guy is a local pastime here. The more he blushes the higher the cackles ring out over the crowd.

Round Three:
The finale consists of Mickey being an asshole and taking a gaggle of drag queens aside and buying them a round or two to shamelessly hit on the new guy. He is overrun by sloppy come-ons that just get worse and worse and usually ends up stumbling over his words and running away to the back-stage area. Poor guy.

After going through all of that he is rewarded with many manly pats on the back and shoutings of “You’re one of us now” from the others and I make sure he gets a beer as soon as we close. (For the record we’ve never scared anyone away. Yet.)

Our bouncers are really great guys and it’s clear they love their work. Oh and watching 3 tired bartenders and 3 big bouncers chase each other around the empty rooms with ice cubes at the end of a long night is pretty friggin’ great!

The Perfect Roommate

Posted: January 4, 2015 in Life-thingies
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Since moving away from home I have lived both on my own and with roommates. I enjoy both, but I think living with a roommate suits me best. The only problem with having a roommate is, they usually suck. So here are some mean and very one-sided descriptions of my four roommates.

Roommate number one: The Smelly Sharer

I received my very first roommate at a boarding school. There were 6 small houses on school grounds and we were about 10 people in each house. I lived in house number six and shared a room with Agnetha. She was extremely social and had spent a year hitchhiking and squatting around Europe. We got on pretty well in general, but she was in the habit of sharing absolutely everything and since she had hardly any stuff, she mostly took and hardly ever gave. She also didn’t believe in showering quite as often as the rest of us, and washing clothes happened very rarely so I blessed my terrible sense of smell. She was pretty cool at times though. She basically nursed me back to health over 3 days after a terrible allergic reaction, so thank you for that Agnetha.

Roommate number two: The Ghostly Guy

My second roommate came two years later while I was at university. I had to move quite far away and I didn’t know anybody in the area. I got a small dorm room that had a shared bathroom with the room next to mine. The guy who lived there was nice, but bland. I think we talked maybe once a month and it was mostly “s’your turn to clean the bathroom”. I don’t even remember his name, but he was neither good nor bad so I guess that was all right.

Roommate number three: The Batslut

After that I lived alone for a while, but my apartment was shit and ridiculously expensive, so when I met a girl at uni who seemed kind of cool and who needed a new place, I figured we’d give it a shot. That was both a big mistake and a great thing.

We found an amazing apartment in the city centre. It was big, almost 100 square meters (1076 square feet) and when we shared the rent it was incredibly cheap. We grabbed it, moved in and settled quickly. Both of us had also just started dating someone, she had picked one of my good friends Neil, and I had unwittingly jumped aboard a train to Crazy Town (but that would take a while to resolve). Unfortunately my new roommate quickly dumped Neil in a not-very-nice fashion and he was kind of broken up about it so we didn’t hang out for a while. After this she got sluttier and battier every week. A string of unfortunate guys spent the night and she would have violent mood-swings all the time. Luckily after about 3 months she decided to move out and try to live on her own.

Now I was still dating Crazy Town and it was actually going really well. So well in fact that I invited her to move in with me. We totally u-hauled and I learned my lesson. In the beginning it was fine, but after about a year things went south. I have no desire to explain further except to say that she dumped me completely out of the blue and I pretty much fell apart.

I was left with a problem. I still lived in that amazing apartment, but there was no way I could afford it on my own. I had to find another roommate and my solution was simple. I called up Neil. He was living in some shitty dorms in the suburbs and I knew he wanted to move out, it seemed like a good fit. Our conversation went kind of like this “Hey Neil, CT dumped me and I need a roommate, you game?” “You mean I get to live in your awesome apartment? Fuck yeah I’m game!”. And that’s how I got my fourth roommate.

Roommate number four: The Punmaster

Neil and I have been living together for 3½ years and it’s great! We are mindful of each other, we respect one another and we both take equal responsibility. He can’t cook and I hate cleaning so that works out nicely. We both spend most of our time in our rooms on the internet, but we still hang out and have friends over for beers or dinner together. We both have a terrible sense of humor and it’s common for one of us to break out in a cheesy 80’s song only to have the other roll their eyes and promptly join in. I am so happy with our living arrangement and really, to me, he is The Perfect Roommate.

Merry happy!

Posted: December 24, 2014 in Life-thingies

Tis totally the night before Christmas and all is chill.

This tiny post just to say merry Christmas and all that. I will see you all very soon right here on the blog (that’s right I ain’t dead).

Hugs, kisses and roast pork for you all.

Love from Neo.

Greetings from the summer-heat. (Hah, suck it Aussies!)

As you might know, I am Danish (not a danish, just Danish) and being of the superior Scandinavian heritage grants me the awe-inspiring power to understand several languages beyond my native tongue.

What I’m saying is; since I speak Danish, I also mostly understand Norwegian and Swedish. Growing up very close to Sweden taught me to become pretty proficient in what I would call Scandinavian. A mix of all three languages in an attempt to make myself understood. This comes in handy since one of my jobs is in tourism and Swedes (for some reason) love taking their summer holiday in Denmark.

This morning, I was awoken by the jangling sound of my phone ringing (actually it doesn’t really jangle as much as it plays the Dr. Who theme). Bleary-eyed and hoarse-voiced I answered with my, perhaps more guttural than usual, ” ‘s Neo”. A voice replied in what was more a question than a statement “Hallo?”.

I quickly recovered “Hi, what can I do for ya” (in Danish). The voice, now more sure of itself replied “Jag ville veta om det var så att vi kunde komma ut på en guidad tur idag?”

Aaaaand my brain was nowhere near awake enough to understand anything she said. So I did the only thing I could think of, I asked her to repeat, in english. Slightly embarrassed I booked their tour and hung up.

10 minutes later she called back, she hadn’t received the booking email I’d sent yet. This time I was awake enough to rock some Scandinavian and I think I only confused her further going from Danish, to English, to Scandinavian, but we managed.

Language is fun :)

It’s been very, very hot here lately which is great for beer-sales and so I called the brewery today to order more beer. I waited through their usual on-hold mix of bad 80’s pop music, as I went to open every window I could find and turn the air-con down so low, it started shivering in anticipation. Still waiting, I returned to my desk quietly humming “Together we can take it to the end of the line, Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time (ALL OF THE TI-I-IME)”, when the music abruptly clicked off and a nasal voice cut in with “Order and Shipping, this is Bonnie, how can I help you?”.

I gave my name, the name of the business and our customer number and started to list the order I wanted to place when she interrupted me “I’m sorry, we don’t seem to have you on file. Would you like a sales-rep to come out and discuss a contract with the brewery?”.

I politely tried to explain that we in fact had been with the brewery for about 5 years, already had a sales-rep I spoke with quite frequently and that I knew they had us on file since I ordered from them only two weeks prior.

Bonnie would have none of it.

I like to imagine Bonnie as a thoroughly middle-class, middle-aged kinda gal. Actually, just the kind of woman who would use the word “gal” to describe herself. I picture her in a summer dress with large, colourful flowers, her breasts big and heavy as they nearly spill out when she leans forward. Her belly beautiful and round, perfectly matching her wide hips and thick thighs.

I see her as just what a woman is to me, round and warm and full of laughter. But right now she had no time for smiles, she could only spare the moment it took to tell me I was in no way in her system. And that was the end of it as far as she was concerned!

I tried to explain again, but her screen told no lies and I was merely a faint voice in her ear.In the end I hung up and called our sales-rep, Matt.

Matt’s what anyone would call a “great guy”. And he is just that, a great guy! He’s the kind of person who’ll strike a deal and make you feel like you really got the biggest possible outcome, and maybe you did. He’s the guy you call and everything is just possible. You want 5 girls in tiny elf costumes for a Christmas-themed party in July? You call Matt, he delivers! You want 50 kegs delivered Sunday night to a small cabin in the middle-of-nowhere? Give Matt a holler, sure enough the kegs show up! He’s a great guy all right.

So I called Matt and I asked what the hell was up, he promised to check it out and call me back within half an hour. Not five minutes later he was back in my ear. “Uuuuh I dunno man, something’s gone FUBAR in Order and Shipping. They can’t find you anywhere in their systems. It’s like you’ve never even been entered.”

We shuffled some ideas and a few “Computers man, they’ll be the death of us all” comments back and forth before I managed to convince him to take my order until we sorted this out.

With the promise of beer safely on the way, I leaned back in my chair and mentally prepared to tackle the books. I was only just opening the safe and taking out the boxed money when my phone rang. Just like that, Bonnie was back with me. Her nasal pronunciation crackled through the speaker “Hi, yeah can I get your customer number again?”. I repeated and she asked for my name and the name of the bar and then went straight on to “So what’d you want to order?”. I stopped her to ask if she had managed to find me in the system and her only answer was “Yeah it seemed like you’d ended on the “no-sale” list”. I could get nothing more out of her and so I just placed the order and thanked her for finding the file.

After hanging up I immediately called Matt, I wanted to make sure we wouldn’t get a double order and this “no-sale” list was intriguing. Matt told me list was where they put the bars who didn’t pay their bills on time or with which they’d had other problems. I was astounded. How’d we end up there? We always paid our bills on time and we weren’t a drug den or a gang hangout.

Well it turned out the brewery had recently fired an employee for racist and homophobic slurs and Matt suspected him of putting the only gay bar among their customers, us, on the list to try and force us away from the brewery. He apologized profusely and made it very clear that homophobia was very far from the brewery’s policies. I told him there was absolutely no need, the fact that they sponsor 10k to our participation in Pride every year (and their selection of on-hold music) was more than enough proof of their good intentions.

In the end, all was well (except for the employee who got fired I suppose) and my beer was on the way. Moral of the story: Don’t be a fuckin’ dick, okay?