I don’t go into the city limits very often because I have an unfounded assumption that if I do, and I’m not in the theatre district, I’m going to be stabbed. I know this is very unlikely, but TV, guys, it makes me assume everyone has teen girls tied up in their basement and anyone who looks like they are really rich (or really poor) is a millionaire drug lord.
I’m also not sure why the theatre district is safe. Maybe it’s not, but getting stabbed is worth it for a good musical.
Anywho, my work had our Christmas party last night, on January 18th because we’re really good with planning things. Since everyone in the “Pittsburgh office” works from their homes, we’re essentially a bunch of strangers who see each other in real life once a year or less. A few of the people live close to each other and hang out more often, but I’m a crazy renegade who lives in the suburbs 30 miles outside the city. I’ve met most of my coworkers 0, 1 or 2 times prior to last night’s gathering. Laura and I were the last to arrive, of course, having the longest commute, and because Dexter decided to take a massive poop right when we were about to leave.
I generally feel like we’re regarded as awkward people by my coworkers because we don’t see skyscrapers when we look out our living room windows. I don’t think the others understand the joys of not living in the filth and full-of-people-to-stab-you-ness of the city. The suburbs are great. There’s a parking lot for every place you need to be. Everything isn’t old and falling apart. Graffiti isn’t found on every wall and bridge. There aren’t 600 people everywhere you want to go (unless you’re trying to go to Olive Garden.) And it’s easier to raise a family with those good old-fashioned American values.
My coworkers and I are all fairly bad with real-life communication because we’re people who stay in our houses all day, so when you put a bunch of us together in public and have us try to not talk about work (the only thing we know we all have in common), it’s pretty special. There’s a lot more time spent dealing with awkward pauses than actually generating real words from your mouth. It’s like when you’re at a funeral and you’re trying to talk to people about something other than the dead person you both now know.
The gathering was at a Pittsburgh place called Church Brew Works. They make beer in an old church. The big beer-making barrel contraptions are in the sanctuary area which is blocked off by big plexiglass walls like a zoo gorilla pen, they use old pews as seats, most of their beers have churchy names, and that’s basically how they roll. I took a photo of the beermaking area because I thought if you photoshopped the walls into a sky, added some gears to things, a zeppelin flying and some fire shooting out somewhere, it would make a great steampunk city skyline.
Many pizzas were consumed at this establishment, including Pierogie Pizza, Wild Boar BBQ, some cheese thing with slivered almonds on it, and other unusual varieties. They were tasty.
After a few beers went down the hatch, even us weirdos were able to communicate. But by the time we were all mentally lubed up enough to be comfortable, the night was abruptly put to an end. Our party consisted of 11 people and 2 kids (because kids aren’t people). There were 8 pizzas, and each grown person consumed at least 3 beers. I don’t know how many dollars that would amount to, but I bet it’s enough to buy a whole lot of tube socks. That didn’t stop some manager woman from coming to our table, throwing down about two dozen drink cards and asking us if we’d leave because she had another party waiting.
Whaaa? We were befuddled. We all got up and two minutes later our holiday party was over as we scattered to our cars, amazed that we were just kicked out of a place because they wanted a table. Nobody in our group was acting unruly, we had given the establishment a good bit of money, and there was an empty 10-top in the middle of the place that we walked past on the way out. The last round of beers was ordered just 15 minutes prior to our eviction, so it’s not like we were just sitting there taking up space. We were likely to have ordered yet another round shortly.
I’ve never been asked to leave a restaurant before. Buying us off with some drink cards wasn’t real encouraging, because I don’t think I’d want to return somewhere the staff thinks it’s cool to ask paying customers to leave. I like their beer, but I can buy it in local stores.
My employment background does not contain any time working in restaurants. I’ve never waited tables, managed anything in a restaurant, or washed dishes. But I’ve eaten in thousands of them and generally understand business. Correct me if I’m wrong, but if people come to your business and give you money, it’s usually in your best interest to allow them to remain there and continue doing that, right?