by Clarie Clare
Christine tries to adjust to the full time pressure of a downtown bar
|Hellish Week at Jabbie's
Friday 3 July 2020
(18 Nov 2018)
So, a week or so after the non-conversation with Mommy, Chris bought her first Velvet Underground double special import lp. It had "Sister Ray" on it, which made it invaluable to Christine because every time she forced herself to listen to it, she thought, hmm, too bad I can't plug this into the back bar's jukebox and play eight solid minutes of artistic feedback to my favorite co-worker, then maybe she wouldn't start with that dippy Vera the tap dancing waitress routine. Yeah, maybe that would shut her up.
* * *
It was a perfectly hellish week at the downtown bar and restaurant, Chris working extra shifts for her compadre Sister Ray, and by Friday afternoon, the owner was threatening to fire her again for not having the right uniform on. She totally surprised him by bursting out into hysterical tears. Since she had put in 10-12 hours everyday, there was no chance to wash her uniform, since she only had one white shirt. "And you get paid for doing the laundry too!" he exclaimed, like 30 cents every day you worked was "payment". Chris, out of her mind with exhaustion didn't know it was the one card she had up her sleeve: crying.
The boss said, get her out of here! like what a disgrace you are! I can't work you to death without you bursting into tears over it!
Buzz, the dining room manager, had to lead her away to the closest bar down the street and there her and Buzz talked it over. "He's an asshole, Chrissy, can't you see that!" Buzz said. "How could he not know I worked almost 50 hours this week, what the fuck is his problem?" said Chris back to her. "He's the boss," said Buzz shortly, but saying it like it meant he didn't have to listen to any of the waitress's complaints because working yourself to death was the privilege only Chris had, but deep down, Buzz was glad someone else was calling out the owner on his lousy labor laws, the concentration camp known as "Jabbys Restaurant and Bar". "Jabbys, as in "jab" was the right word," but Chris got a little high and her Buzz did what he really didn't want, which was bonding over the beer, and then Christine was ready to go back to work, her in house privilege. The shift on that Friday night lasted into the 14 hour category, but at least she didn't have get up and come back to work until Monday. "I just covered sister Ray's shifts all week, plus my own, can't he understand that?" "No," said Buzz evenly, "he can't. He only sees the nose in front of his face, and the greenbacks piling up, you wouldn't believe what a nice house and wife and two little girls he has in Deerfield Park." "Ok, Ok, I see how you mean, we don't live the same way he does, so it doesn't matter how he treats us," said Christine, blowing her nose on a napkin. "Right," said Buzz, "now you're catching on, congratulations." "So, the best thing for me to do is get a college degree and get the fuck out of restaurants." "Right again." said Buzz.
But the chicks who worked in the offices did not seem any happier,
Hellish Week, con't
Saturday 4 July 2020
(18 Nov 2018)
The one good thing was Chris had tons of extra loot on her from working almost 70 hours that week, so she said, that's it, it's now time for me to jump back on the el, back downtown and go straight to Rolling Stone records and sprung for that import album of the Velvet Underground. $12.00, about half of what Chris made at a good lunch, so it was a lot. But, so what?
It, in turn, ushered in a new era for Chris and her art theories, but it was a rocking beat nobody else got close to. Laurie met Chris downtown, before she swept into the record store. Laurie still lived at home even though she was 3 years older (and wiser) than Chris, so she couldn't believe Chris was splurging on a double lp of a group she never heard of before. Ever.
"It's not just any import. It's the Velvet Underground, and this is the only way you can get their music these days," explained Chris.
"Who are they? Laurie wanted to know, nobody puck or new wave, that was for sure.
She was totally perplexed by Chris's choice of music.
"A band from New York City. They rehearsed in Andy's Factory in the 60's."
"It's what the book Popism is all about. This is an important ________ ."
"For someone who hasn't any money, you sure spend a lot on luxury items. You wouldn't think of paying $12.00 for designer mascara!" said Laurie.
"But this isn't something that will ever be thrown away."
Laurie wondered, why if Christine was always doubting herself, second guessing her self, did she always had a nerve for music nobody else was listening to? Could it be her strange friend from Columbia College, Robert?
* * *
The cover was white, no pictures of the band, with a pretend Warholian Pop Art of painted outlines of coca-cola bottles on it. (Fitting, thought Chris, since Jack the Asshole is always correcting me to no write coke on the checks since they might sue him.)
"I prefer to remain a mystery; I never like to give my background and, anyway, I make it all different all the time I'm asked. It's not just that it's part of my image not to tell everything, it's just that I forget what I said the day before and I have to make it all up all over again. I don't think I have an image, anyway, favorable or unfavorable.''' Andy Warhol
* * *
It says on the back of the double lp that Andy found his own band, named them the Velvet Underground, but the real story was the V.U.'s fully formed, found Andy instead. They were they could rehearse in the Factory space, so they packed up all their equipment, all their amplifiers, drum kit, guitars, cords, electric violin, drugs and settled in to be produced by the Pope of Pop himself, Andy. (Lou quipped later, "and if you really lived out in the boonies, you thought Andy Warhol was the bass player.") Anyone lucky enough to read Popism knew this already, but the book appeared and then disappeared off the shelves of bookstores because the V. U.'s and the Silver Sixties had not come around to be popular once again.