hugely irritating people [fiction]

quote from saturday’s writing session [fiction]:

The manager of the restaurant is a guy named Steve with floppy blond hair, his wallet in his front pocket, and by the looks of things he doesn’t wear underwear, some long bits down one side. He also could do with a good eyebrow wax. Linda, the daytime head waitress has slept with him, apparently. Though that’s not saying much, she had also made out with the pastry chef in the walk-in cooler. Thus far, she’s not interested in you.

Steve is watching you. He is smoking at the back door.

You have the usual exchange: you’re late, sorry my alarm didn’t go off and I had my kid this morning, you don’t have a kid, I overslept, no you didn’t, it won’t happen again, it’s happening more and more.

“If anything, you’re trending downward,” he says.

Speaking of trending downward, tuck in your dick. You think this, you don’t say it. You’re not that stupid. Though to be fair, you may still be drunk. Suddenly this strikes you as hilarious, what if you DID say it. What if you spent all of today, just for one day, saying ALL of the things that you think, about all of the fucking hugely irritating people, the prep cook who drinks vodka from a plastic water bottle all day, the pastry chef with her gayness turned up to volume eleven, the hostess with her fishnet tights (in this weather?), the guy who sits at table 104 every afternoon and orders the same fucking thing every time. Jambalaya. And he wants the same waitress every time (Jessica, of the big red lips). What if you said everything. Every fucking thing. Starting with Steve: Please, do us all a favour, buy some underwear.


*your comments and suggestions definitely act as motivation to keep going; don’t discount the power of community, of reaching out, supporting and being supported*


Question: How irritated were you when you were drinking (past-tense)… Did you have a moment (or twelve) of saying things when hungover that should have been left unsaid? Share a brief line or two. I need ideas for the story…


I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • Sooooo… hits the nail on the head and brings back really bad work memories. One time my manager (I worked at a bank) was asking us to stop the chit-chat… oh… she wanted us to be professional? and I snapped because I was hungover and in no mood to work so I snapped to attention and said “ya vol herr commanand” (she was German… and I thought I was being funny… like someone from Hogan’s Heros). It went over like it should have… like a lead balloon… that got everyone to stop talking and go back to work or looking at their shoes or anywhere but at me and the manager… who then took me into her office and wrote me up and chewed me out. I was so embarrassed!

  • The manager of the restaurant is a guy named Steve. He has floppy blond hair and carries his wallet in his front pocket. By the looks of things he doesn’t wear underwear. Steve could do with a good eyebrow wax.
    Linda, the daytime head waitress, has slept with him. Though that’s not saying much because she’s been known to make-out in the walk-in cooler with the pastry chef. Thus far, she’s not interested in me. But Steve is watching carefully from where he stands smoking at the back door.
    Steve and I have the usual exchange.
    “You’re late.”
    “Sorry, my alarm didn’t go off and I had my kid this morning,” I say, improvising.
    “You don’t have a kid.”
    “ I overslept?” I don’t intend this as a question but that’s the way it comes out.
    “ No you didn’t.”
    “ It won’t happen again.”
    “ It’s happening more and more,” he says dropping his cigarette butt on the pavement. “If anything, you’re trending downward.”
    In the narrative you switch voice and verb conjugation from you-familiar to first-person (I think this is because you know in your heart of hearts that this story should be written in first-person).
    Toward the end of the dialog, you added the needed quotation marks. Those need to begin at the top of the dialog. Add some dialog tags to the conversation between you and Steve to indicate who is speaking. (The above additions are just placeholders; suggestions to show where you should insert the dialog tags).

    Delete, move, or clarify this This clause is dangling so the reader cannot determine what it relates to—underwear, hair, pocket…

  • I love it! It is hilarious and spot on… I just came from a shift at a restaurant and all of those archetypes exist in the business. I am grateful that I am in a place that I can now step back and watch the drama unfold rather then getting wrapped up in it.

  • Things that used to get up my nose…some of my not so lovely responses…that I can think of!

    1) “What, are you deaf? DON’T make me say it again…grrr. Am I not speaking properly? NOBODY EVER hears me around here”
    2) Argh, you NEED me to get up and look for something for you? No, I don’t INSTANTLY know where i is. Do I look like a stock controller to you? Why does EVERYONE think I ALWAYS know where EVERYTHING is?
    3) Why do I have to do and think of EVERYTHING, are those arms of yours painted on?
    4) Road rage – “W in T actual F are they doing? (waiting in car park for someone to get into the parking spot)”.
    “Where did you get your license mate, off the back of a cereal packet?”
    “Seriously, couldn’t drive a greasy stick up a dogs arse!”
    “Is there any particular reason this person thinks they need TWO lanes?”

  • I often made worse mistakes when I was hungover. I’d sleep with men waking up beside, who I wouldn’t even when I was drunk. Yikes. Sometimes the pain of a hangover would morph into me feeling loose and expansive and funny, but too often, I was stuck in bed + near a toilet.

    I’m impressed with your consistent creative output – different projects + ideas, but with the same core ideas.

  • The two people closest in my life are still struggling with the drinking thing, on it and off it, and I notice how irritable they get, so easily. That driver was wrong, that waiter was rude, that employee was incompetent, that bath was cold. It’s tiresome. They probably find it tiresome that I don’t join in complaining as much as I used to. I feel like a placid kitty looking over at a tiny dog barking at nothing all the time. (and often feeling better than placid!) Deep breaths. (day 249 today)

    • I get this too MAGS. It is all part of the wind up. I don’t join in either as I just get worked up, and for what? I have even told my husband that would prefer to not be wound up right now, thank you 🙂

  • Oh shit, I also can’t remember many of the nasty things I said when hungover. But it was a lot and I was always raging in the mornings. All stupid shit, I would get mad at the dog for stepping in front of me and scream at him. (Duh, he’s just a dog.) The simple things would set me off.

    I’m on day 5 today and honestly I’m having the exact opposite effect today. Today I am furious at all the people who let me down. The booze was always a reason to put it off “I’ll deal with that another day, today I’m going to get drunk and have fun!” Sober me wants to call these people out. Things I could backburner before seem so important to how I became a lonely drunk (but with happy giggling voices in my head! So I could ignore the shit.) My two best friends didn’t come to my moms funeral….it’s ok I’ll get drunk and have fun. My boyfriend just called me a bunch of names…it’s ok I’ll get drunk and forget for today. The list goes on and on.

    I’m going to take no action today, at least not initiate with these people. Today I am working on making it to the 100 days only.
    Has this happened to anyone else? What did you do, if so?

  • I really enjoyed this piece of writing the most so far! As for speaking my mind, I’ve never had a problem with this sober, but when hungover, I was so shameful, I didn’t say a word. I focused more on my faults than anything after a hard night of drinking. Glad I am moving away from that happening again.

  • Right? Before my days of drinking I used to be such a patient person. While drinking after a bottle of wine night I was always the “I can’t take much more of your shit” person. Well now I am older and wiser and 780+ days with no alcohol and I actually have some head space in my dry brain to decipher what’s worth telling someone off about and how….”hey brother in law, don’t disrespect my husband…. he is to nice to say it, but your 30 year old kids aren’t welcome to stay for a week expecting to be waited on hand and foot and it’s because they think it’s ok to pass judgement on my husband about his parenting skills (which are beyond reproach btw)and their need to criticize his religious beliefs.”
    The hungover me said nothing for hours (ignore it, numb it, be preoccupied with booze, don’t defend my hubby or personal space) then explode with “your fat ass holier-than-thou pretend youth minister of a son who doesn’t support himself can kiss my ass.”
    True story!

  • Oh. I had a pretty wicked tongue in the past…The worst scenario was when I finally had enough of my manipulative, inappropriate drunk (the irony) of a boss who expected his staff to hang out with him/have dinner with him, “be his pal” etc.. I quit that gig, but before doing so I called him a codependent drunk sack of shit, among other things, in front of the employees during a “happy hour” he hosted. Not such a happy hour.

  • The constant sense of irritation is something I definitely don’t miss, and didnt even realize was a side effect of drinking. Irritation with my daughter’s bath taking too long, not getting to sleep as fast as I’d like, people driving badly, myself not able to lose five (fifteen) pounds despite doing *everything* right (except cutting out the wine), the glasses of wine not coming fast enough to the table, or even the check fast enough at the end of a meal…

  • “Shifties”- the free booze you get after you suffer through yet another sexually degrading service shift. Drunken regulars loved my lips. They used to say, oh ya… she’s got DSL. My manager would imply I should wear tighter clothes, run away to Paris with him, then feed me shot after shot. Ugh, I blame my entire drinking problem on food service. Not really, but I did consistently drown the days and so did all my co workers.

  • To my sister while drunk: “Let’s discuss a few things that bother me about your ‘look.’ We’ll start at your sneakers and work our way up to the banana clip.”

  • When I was hungover I usually told everyone in the universe to piss off!
    When I was drunk I told everyone in the universe that I love them.
    Now that I’m sober I do both but with a lot more consideration!

  • I told my friend her daughter had kissed a boy….I didn’t know she had….I was joking. They were both upset at me and my daughter . I was drunk and joking

  • I feel this way about people when I’m sober. Hahahaha
    Love it.
    I honestly can’t remember shit I’ve said hung over. I did however have to take a cab to work once bc I was still drunk the next morning and the blower I had in my car (post DUI) said I was still drunk…. so that wasn’t humiliating
    good times.

  • This is very similar to a situation I was involved in. Please write more like this! Love your work xo

  • Sounds like typical restaurant workers, my husband’s a chef, he’s always got stories to tell. Including people showing up to work drunk, not just hungover, but plowed. He’s worked at 2 different restaurants since we’ve been together. Both places offered employee drinks at the end of their shift.maybe you could have scene involving employee drinks, maybe the main character really will say everything they really think about others, could be hilarious, and an eye opener for them.

  • Alcohol ramps up the “somewhat” annoying to HUGELY annoying….. with some sobriety you might be able to watch this with detached amusement

  • I don’t miss those days of feeling ‘off’, feeling endlessly put-upon, constantly flirting with the Big Question, “What if I just said screw all of this?!” I still have those moments, but now they are just moments. Splashes of irritation instead of constant droning annoyance. In sobriety, I am still chronically late. Pretty sure it is an incurable condition at this point…

  • Arghhhh – I never want to eat or work there !!
    Maybe a table full of well dressed happy shiny sober people can come in ?? That would probably annoy her as well though ??