JERK OF THE WEEK: Weird Food, Terrible Music and Rude Service
There are three celebrations for every birthday in my family. The first takes place on the actual night of the birthday, where I go to dinner with my parents and sister (as we did recently in the Seven Deadly Jerks of Bravo! entry). The next is scheduling a dinner for all of our relatives. It's a nice way to get everyone together so that they can give us money, which we ultimately have to give back on their birthdays. It's an endless cycle of money exchanging, where the cheapest person is the only winner. The third celebration is a party for friends, which usually takes place at my house. I was so drunk at my birthday that I could barely speak to my guests. Good times.
My sister didn't have a party for herself this year, but she did manage to have one of those dinner parties for all of the relatives. These usually take place at a restaurant near my house where a gay Portuguese waiter hits on me every time I'm there. The food is excellent, so I'm willing to ignore that a man there eagerly wants to insert his wang into my buttocks. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Unfortunately, I received some horrifying news prior to my sister's birthday. She planned on having the dinner somewhere else because she wanted to try something new. Now, if you expect me to go on and on about how trying new things is the worst thing ever, you're wrong. Because the worst thing ever is sushi, and my sister happened to request dinner at a local sushi place around the corner from my house.
It's safe to say that I was horrified. Sushi is the worst. First of all, it's disgusting. Second, I'm not a fan of eating raw cats and dogs for dinner. Maybe that doesn't make me cultured or worldly as pretentious people living in metropolitan areas strive to be, but cats and dogs are our pets. They're not meant to be eaten. What if I opened a restaurant where I served raw human beings? Wouldn't that be bad? Or would these same a**holes pretend to like my food by saying, "Oh my, this is like sooo worldly, and I feel so cultured!" Douche bags.
Well, the good news is that I didn't have to eat raw cats and dogs for my sister's birthday. I'm not sure why, but she changed the location to some shish-kebab restaurant. This was an upgrade, but only a slight one; this joint was a shady Russian place, which meant weird food, terrible music and rude service.
I was so skeptical of this restaurant's food that I ate two slices of frozen meat-lovers' pizza about an hour before dinner. I then naturally had to drop a deuce, which made me about 20 minutes late.
As I parked, I noticed that there was a Perkins right next to this shish-kebab joint. I stared enviously, as I saw people in that particular Perkins eat their delicious food. "Why, God, why!?" I shouted, looking up at the sky. "Why can't we have our family dinner at a normal restaurant like Perkins!?" A couple of people saw me and looked at me strangely, but I didn't care. I cherish all of my dinners, and I knew this particular one would not be particularly pleasant.
My ears began to bleed as soon as I walked into this restaurant. The music was that loud. A fat, mustachioed man wearing a black t-shirt was signing in the corner. His song of choice was Yesterday, by the Beatles with some weird Russian techno music playing in the background.
This singer had a thick, Russian accent, so here's what his rendition of Yesterday sounded like (along with techno music): "Yestoorday, all our trrrouble seem so far avay! Now looks like it herrre to say, oh I belief in yestoorday!"
I approached the table and was greeted by everyone. I imagine that they commented on how I was late, but I honestly have no idea. The "music" - I'm not sure it really qualifies as music, but let's call it that - was too loud, so I couldn't hear anyone.
I was naturally thirsty from the meat-lovers' pizza, so upon sitting down, I immediately reached for my glass. Except there was no glass. Someone had taken mine, so I had nothing to pour the flat soda (**) into.
(**) Flat soda is standard in Russian restaurants because Russia hasn't invented carbonation yet.
No big deal, right? I could just ask the waiter for a glass. Well, I did just that, and the waiter didn't acknowledge my request at all. He simply looked at me darkly and walked away.
If you think this type of behavior is strange, you really shouldn't. This is typical Russian rudeness. As Crazy Horse Girl once said to me, "If you go into any American store, you'll be greeted warmly, and they'll ask, 'How can I help you?' If you go into a Russian store, they'll just go, 'Vhat you vant?' almost as if you're bothering them." This dynamic apparently works the same way in the restaurant business.
I sat patiently for what seemed like 10 minutes, but the waiter didn't return with my glass. I enviously watched my relatives quench their thirst with water, flat soda and wine. I, however, was so completely parched that I was beginning to lose it. I grabbed something they were using for a napkin holder, which resembled a glass. I tossed the napkins aside and poured some water into it, but immediately saw the water turn light brown. There apparently was some dirt in these napkin holders, so as it turns out, all of our napkins were dirty.
I would've announced this, but I had much greater concerns. I needed water badly. Here were my options:
1. Drink dirt water.
2. Drink water straight out of the pitcher.
3. Wash the napkin holder in the bathroom so I could drink out of it.
4. Wait for the a**hole waiter to come back with a glass, which no doubt would be laced with poison.
5. Drink the blood coming out of my ears.
6. Die of thirst.
I was about to break down in tears when it suddenly dawned on me that I could go to the bar and request a glass. I walked over, nearly collapsing in the process, and saw that there was this unbelievably hot brunette waitress standing near the bar. She had one of those flowers in her hair, which I think is pretentious, but whatever. I was super thirsty and didn't care.
Flower Waitress: Vhat you vant?
Me: I need... I need... water... water...
Flower Waitress: I look on table. You have vater zere.
Me: No, I need a glass.
Flower Waitress looked at me suspiciously, almost as if she thought I was hiding something.
Flower Waitress: Vhat happen to glass? Vhat you do to glass?
Me: I never had one! I just walked in.
Flower Waitress continued to look at me suspiciously. She said "mhmm..." and grabbed a glass for me.
SUCCESS! I sprinted back to the table, grabbed a pitcher of water out of someone's hand and suddenly had the urge to dump the entire thing on my head. But in an attempt to act civilly, I quickly filled my entire glass with water and chugged it down. Water had never tasted so good.
Now that my thirst was quenched, I concentrated on the food. There was some bread... but I didn't recognize anything else. There was this brown, pudding-like substance that I would eventually call "poop pie" as I wrote down Jerks of the Week notes on my phone.
My sister, perhaps realizing that I looked a bit apprehensive, suggested that I try some sort of salad.
My Sister: It's good, Walt. Try it!
Me: I dunno, I don't trust Russian salads.
My Sister: You'll really like it!
Me: It doesn't seem to have Ranch or blue cheese salad dressing.
My Sister: It doesn't, but trust me, you'll love it.
I trusted her. I carefully smelled it and placed some of it into my mouth. Five seconds later...
I had to spit it out because it was so disgusting. I can't even appropriately describe its disgusting taste. It's like they decided to use cat urine instead of Ranch salad dressing. I suppose the silver lining was that I wasn't actually eating a cat.
The "music" continued to blare intermittently. The fat Russian singer kept taking breaks, perhaps to stuff his face with poop pie. My frail ears enjoyed the brief reprieve.
Before I knew it, unfortunately, the fat man returned. He began singing his rendition of Money, Money, Money by ABBA. Instead of "money, money, money must be funny in a rich man's world," he'd sing, "mahney, mahney, mahney, must be fahnny een a rrrich man's wolf." I'm not sure if it was his accent, or if he really thought the lyrics called for a "rich man's wolf." Just because Robb Stark had a wolf doesn't mean that all rich men possess one.
His next song was a Russian tune named Takaya Zenshina, which I guess can be translated into "what a woman," or something like that. As soon as this song came on, my sister demanded that everyone hit the dance floor. "This song is about a man who met the most beautiful woman in the world and he fell in love with her, so everyone has to dance to this!" she announced.
I wasn't having any of it. I absolutely hate dancing more than anything in the world, so I was happy I didn't have to do it because I didn't bring a date. However, this did not prevent my mom from approaching me on her way to the dance floor and suggesting:
"Ask your cousin Megan to dance! She doesn't have a date either!"
Hmm... should I ask my cousin to dance to a love song when I hate dancing in the first place? Hmm... Yeah, I'm going to go with no... but perhaps if we moved to West Virginia, I'd have another outlook on it. Not that there's anything wrong with West Virginians banging their own cousins. Just saying.
Megan ended up going to the dance floor with my other cousin Polina - women can do that, apparently - so the only people remaining at the table were me and Polina's husband Chris. Like me, Chris despises dancing, so we high-fived each other because we got out of doing something incredibly boring that requires taxing levels of geometrical equations.
Also like me, Chris wasn't fully enjoying himself because he didn't trust any of the food on the table. I then offered a suggestion.
Me: Hey, we should figure out a way to get some Perkins.
Chris: I agree.
Me: We should say that we have to go to the bathroom, sneak over to Perkins, order food there, scarf it down quickly and then come back here.
Chris: That would be awesome!
We didn't do that, but I totally would have. I don't know if Chris would've joined me, but if he had said "come on, let's go," I would've sprinted out of this place, walked next door and actually enjoyed a delicious cheeseburger or chicken parm sandwich.
To be fair, the food at this shish-kebab place wasn't all bad. They eventually brought out these things my cousin Steve likes to call "fancy Russian tacos," which are giant shells with some sort of meat and cheese inside. There also happened to be a float with some sort of red substance in it. There were also green basil (**) leaves on top of the red substance.
(**) Being a complete idiot when it comes to food, I'm not completely sure what basil is, but I hear it from time to time, and I imagine it being green small leaves.
This seemed like ketchup, but was it really ketchup? I asked around, but people seemed to be ignoring me. I poured a little onto my plate, and... it was ketchup! Huzzah! I wasn't aware that Russians had invented ketchup yet, but they've apparently made the discovery. I don't know why they had to pour it into a float and place some basil (??) on top of it rather than just handing us a Heinz bottle, but I guess it doesn't matter.
I smothered my fancy Russian taco with fancy Russian ketchup and stuffed it into my mouth. NOM NOM NOM!!!
I was in the middle of scarfing down my second fancy Russian taco when I poured more water into my glass. I took my eyes off my plate for one second, and it was gone!
The aforementioned Flower Waitress grabbed my plate, which still had half of a fancy Russian taco. I had to chase her down.
Flower Waitress: Vhat you vant?
Me: Hey, can I have my plate back? I wasn't done.
Flower Waitress: I already take plate.
Me: But I was still eating!
Flower Waitress: I already take. Zey bring you new plate.
Me: But I had half a fancy Russian taco left!
Flower Waitress: I already take plate. Go back to sit.
It figures - I finally found something I liked to eat at a Russian restaurant, and they took it away from me before I was finished.
I slumped back to my seat. The very second I sat down, the fat Russian singer returned from yet another poop pie break to begin shouting very loudly into the microphone. I lost it. As soon as I heard his horrible voice, I yelled, "STOP IT WITH THE F***ING MUSIC, GOD DAMN IT!" Unfortunately, this "music" was so loud that no one heard me.
I then noticed something. The TV in this restaurant was showing some sort of Russian music videos. There would be something different every three minutes, but nearly every video contained some sort of attractive Russian girl. Finally, something to distract me from my bleeding ears!
One of the videos in particular caught my attention. It had a hot chick in lingerie stripping. She didn't get naked, but she eventually was in her bra and panties, which was pretty damn hot. What made this video unique was that there was a man in a giant gorilla costume with a bandage on its chest dancing with her as she stripped and danced around.
I had no idea that Russians were so kinky! I've tried desperately to find this video on the Internet so I could show it to all of you, but unfortunately, I've had no success in that regard.
They brought out more edible food like rice and potatoes. There were other weird substances that I dubbed "vomit pie" and "diarrhea pie," but I was able to avoid those.
While eating the rice and potatoes, it suddenly dawned on me that we didn't have any shish kebabs, which was weird because the name of this restaurant had the words "shish kebabs" in it.
Well, they eventually brought us some shish kebabs - during Hour 3 of our meal. I don't know why Russian restaurants insist on having 5,000 courses, but that's how they roll.
I'm not a particularly big fan of shish kebabs because it neither has cheese nor ketchup. I still had one, but I was more eager for the cake. You see, it was a Saturday night, so I had to cover football the next day. I wanted to go to bed early, as did Polina, who had to get up at 6 a.m. for work the following morning.
Both Polina and I agreed that we'd leave as soon as the cake arrived. This was hours ago. It seemed as though the cake would never come. I don't know who started, but she and I began chanting "CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! CAKE!"
My mom overheard us - the fat singer went on another poop pie break - and came over.
Mom: What, you're trying to leave?
Me: Yeah, I have to get up early and work all day tomorrow.
Mom: But it's your sister's birthday.
Me: I know, but we've been sitting here for more than three hours!
Me: So? I'm not trying to go to bed at 4 a.m. when I have to work 16 hours tomorrow!
My mom finally conceded that I should leave when the cake arrived, but she took the opportunity to criticize my attire, as she does sometimes.
Mom: Why are you wearing white socks with dress shoes?
Me: What do you mean?
Mom: No one wears white socks with dress shoes!
Me: I don't care.
My mom slapped me for being a smarta**. Whatever. I'm a grown man, and I can wear what I please! Besides, she's very lucky that I actually stayed instead of sneaking off to Perkins.