The christmas tide is nearly upon us! Here in adelaide, my lack of festiveness persists and it seems most likely that the day of rejoycing will be just another day with the only difference being no work/gym/buying stuff. A couple of the restaurants in chinatown are open on the 25th so perhaps I will go to a chinese restaurant, that's definitely not something one usually does on christmas day.
I am not entirely a scrouge, I have had flashes of festivity; I went food shopping in Coles today and was co-erced by the christmas themed advertising and offers into "treating myself" with stuff I wouldn't usually spend money on, I got a pack of mince pies, some Finest thick brandy cream, some nice expensive vintage cheddar, a tin of pineapple pieces and some hot mixed nuts from the market. A couple of bottles of wine in addition and all of these things made me feel a bit christmassy and excited for the day, then i stepped outside and bent double into the Hot Wind, in 42C heat and my christmassy stirrings literally evapourated. I am sitting writing this entry in my room, with a fan on full-blast aimed straight at me, in my underwear because to wear anything more is just unbearably hot.. now didn't you want to know that?!
I actually don't really mind about not feeling christmassy. It makes a nice change to see how the season is conducted over here, it is cool to be walking around in the 40C's while F&F back home have the equivalent temperatures in Farenheit. It is interesting to discover that without cold and grey and hats and gloves and a chance of snow, christmas is just not as christmassy and that all of those things are an integral part of the christmas package. Obviously Aussies would beg to differ, because this christmas is the only one they know and for them christmas IS beach and sun and BBQ and those things make it all the more christmassy but for me it is just TOO FAR removed.
I only had to buy one present, for the "Kris Kringle" at work, which is Secret Santa to the rest of us.. I drew Matt, one of the owners of the pub, a mid-40's man and yes, I groaned with despair when I looked at my bit of paper and read out his name.. it is hard enough buying presents for the middle-aged men in my life that I have known for 26years, the prospect of having to buy for one whom I knew only very barely and was my BOSS to boot (so it couldn't be too rude) was dread-filling! I agonized over it for ages, then decided to just wander and see what grabbed my eye.. it actually turned out okay. Matt's wife/partner/not sure had a baby about a week ago, his first kid. In the Discount Variety Shop (YES, It is AS GREAT as it sounds, a treasure trove of the cheap and tacky and downright bargainous, think massive knickers and farting bottle-openers and multipacks of lighters, I got a cheese grater for $3, some hooks to hang on the back of my door for $2 and some lens-cleaner for mr lappy for $2.50. It is a brilliant place, if I ever get married I might have my wedding list there).
Anyway, I dropped eye upon a hideous ring, with a huge, tacky, gold glittery $ on it in a box saying "Big Daddy.. get your bling on wit dis ring on".. daddy stuff, PERFECT! That took up $4 of my $10 budget, i spent another $1 on a gift bag then wandered past the giftshop/smokeshop and would up getting him a nice cigar and a lighter to go with it.. people ALWAYS smoke cigars to celebrate stuff like having babies. I don't know if he smokes but he's the kind of bloke that would have a cigar, for sure. I've actually got $1 left of the budget, so I'm going to keep an eye out for something for a dollar, I'm pretty sure I'll be able to get an individual chocolate in the shape of a christmas pudding, or something like that.
I have done a couple shifts in the Adelaide Hog's Breath now, which is conveniently located just three doors down from my flat, on Gouger Street. The essentially Hoggies stuff is the same, it took me about three minutes and two tables of customers to get back up to speed with what I was doing, but the attitude of the management couldn't be more different to that in Airlie Beach. Hog's is a chain that puts great importance on consistency of the dining experience from branch to branch so OF COURSE you have to do things a certain way, the spiel is important, attitude, order of service and stuff but the manager here has such a laid-back and relaxed way of adhering to that. He prints out the stats for the local stores every week, to see which members of staff flogs the most 'extras', which sell the most prime-rib steaks, who sells the most desserts etc to encourage us to up-sell but it's more like a fun competition than Leonie's "You SHOULD do this, you SHOULD get that". Of course, the presentation of the restaurant is important and Hog's here looks just as good as the one in Airlie, without the anal-to-the-point-of-insanity "The salt and peppers must be in line with the overhead lights, the tablelegs must be in line with the floorboards" crap that the manager at Airlie was so hot on.
In the middle of a busy service, the manager here will often speed past and tap me on the sholder, to check I'm all ok, or just flash a thumbs-up to check everything is under control, see if I need any help with anything.. this is WAY better than the dragon-lady who would sit at the bar and get pissed while the staff were run ragged on the floor.
I gave my Hoggie's uniform to one of the other girls when I left airlie, thinking I'd never need it again. The girl was glad because she had already had to pay $40 for an apron and a shirt that WASN'T EVEN NEW. By comparison, when I told the guy at Adelaide I no longer had my shirt, he said "no worries", gave me another and didn't charge me for it. Just THAT kind of change is what makes all the difference.
Working at Hoggies is quite hard sometimes, it gets busy, you have to look after many tables at once, but this restaurant is not as understaffed as Airlie persistently was (and here they pay me $17.95/hr before tax, which is a darn sight more than the poxy $15.49 at Airlie, and that for working under LESS manic conditions), so it's a bit easier and each waitstaff is able to give their customers the level of service that they expect in Hog's Breath.. it is gratifying to have the time that you are ABLE to give the customers the high level of attention that after all, Hog's policy is AIMING for.
Also the staff help each other out, staff always help each other out, we did at Airlie, where the other girls I worked with were what made the experience a much better one than it might otherwise have been, they were great. They do tend to stray from their sections here a bit, I often come to a table of mine to find someone else serving them, which is a little bit frustrating but it's also nice, because to help someone else out is a nice and friendly thing to do and is just TYPICAL of the atmosphere here. I'm well gald to have the chance to re-write my hoggies experience in my head, or not re-write it because every experience is unique and part of you, but to broaden my hoggies impression and I'm very glad to learn that they are not all like Airlie and that it can be a fun and rewarding place to work :)