I was in dire straits and needed cash flow. I had convinced myself that if I was going to get a temporary job, I should pick the worst place possible that’s accessible but also have the lowest probability of running into any of my friends.
I decided that area was Hollywood and Highland. If you haven’t been, it’s the Skidrow of Los Angeles. It’s infested with portly middle America tourists and the streets are lined with costumed superheroes that could double as crackheads. Perfect!
My first stop was the Hard Rock Cafe. We used to take a lot of family vacations when I was a kid, and I loved visiting this restaurant. I wasn’t into music, but I have fond memories of walking around and seeing guitars on the walls and the memorabilia in glass cases that probably wasn’t worth anything.
“Hey! There’s a kleenex that Michael Jackson used at the Grammys!”
I remember after one meal, I convinced my parents to buy me a gift store hat emblazoned with “Hard Rock Cafe - Miami.” I imagined impressed girls would be flocking to me at school, attracted by my new flair. “Wow, you’re so cultured. Let’s make out.”
Any leftover childhood magic was killed in about forty-five seconds. I walked in and approached a young girl behind the counter. She looked to be about 22. She had a sparkling smile but upon closer look, I realized it was the sunlight reflecting off her adult braces. She stared lifelessly into oblivion like an inanimate Chuck E. Cheese robot.
“Hi. Can I get an application?” I interrupted. She snapped into reality and eyed me up and down.
“What position are you looking to apply for?”
“Uh, what’s available?”
“How do you walk in here and not know what position you want?!” She screamed.
I couldn’t believe that this girl who I could have babysat for in high school was giving me employment advice.
“Is Senior Vice President of Marketing available?”
Needless to say, she didn’t find me funny nor did she give me an application so I decided to move on.
My next stop was the Roosevelt Hotel. I sauntered into the sleek marble-floored lobby and was immersed by peaceful silence. A smiling bellman approached.
“Hey, how can I help you?”
“Are you guys looking to hire?” I asked.
“This could be your lucky day. We’re looking for a night desk attendant.”
In that moment, I fantasized about working my new dream job as a night desk attendant. I’d be all alone for hours. Nobody would bug me. Just me, typing away on my laptop through the night. Maybe I’d have an affair with one of the beautiful hotel guests visiting from Europe. We would enjoy a morning cup of coffee in her suite, holding hands while watching the sunrise.
The bellman slipped me his card.
“You’re gonna love it here. I’ve been here a while.”
“How long?” I asked.
“Well, let’s see… I moved to L.A. in 90' to be a writer and have been here ever since.”
“You’ve been here 20 years?!” I asked.
“Yeah, I guess so. Time goes by fast!”
“Do you still write?” I asked.
“Nah, I gave up that shit a while ago. I’m a bellman now.”
I took the card in horror, walked out and threw it in the garbage. I didn’t want to be a career bellman (Not yet anyway) and decided to keep looking
I ambled down Hollywood Boulevard in the sweltering heat and scanned potential businesses to attack. Hooters? Nah, too much temptation. Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum? No, too creepy. And then I saw it. Probably the one place I would never set foot in even if you paid me. Buffalo Wild Wings!
It was a weird entrance. I approached a small black metal gate and looked for a front latch to no avail. After about three minutes of wrestling with the gate, I figured out that I had to poke my arm through the hole and press a red button on the other side in order for it to pop open. I then walked up a small set of stairs and entered through glass doors.
A manager wearing a headset and an oversized Buffalo Wild Wings black football jersey ran up to me, flailing his arms.
“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?” He screamed.
“You just entered through the emergency fire exit. You could have set off the alarm! No one has ever entered that way in the eight years since I’ve been here.”
“I didn’t know where the main entrance was.” I explained.
“It’s right over there.” And he pointed to a larger set of glass doors which was like ten feet from where I entered. I really didn’t see it. I think he thought I just got off a boat from India, from a village where doors didn’t exist.
“Well, what do you want?” He asked, still exasperated.
“I’M HERE FOR A JOB!”
He stared at me like I was out of my mind. In fact, he didn’t even answer me. He muttered something to himself and disappeared into the kitchen.
Truth be told, I applied to 40 food service jobs in L.A. and didn’t hear back from anybody. I ended up being a barback at a restaurant for three months, but only after I made up a fake resume that claimed I worked at Applebees and also had someone who worked on the inside vouch for me.
I learned a lot that day. Mostly that people are dicks, but I was proud of myself that I was willing to suck up my ego and do what was necessary. I plan on never working in a restaurant again, but if by some chance there's a turn of events, and I'm serving you at Buffalo Wild Wings, know that I may be going through some dark times but respect the fact that I haven't given up.