Sun Stories: Haley – Lightning in a Bottle

“Now with what I’m describing you’d think that this young lady is a perfect little angel.

Quite the contrary.”

I got a text from Achilles (See: Sun Stories: Achilles, 2016 to Present – The Bronze God) He asked if I could work open to close today. That’s 10am to 8pm, on your feet, running around the salon for 10 hours. I agreed, because I have a flexible schedule at my other job, and I think he may have come down with a cold. On top of that it’s been thunder storming all day, and he probably doesn’t want to come out in this mess.

So I’m at the salon, and it’s a pretty quiet day. You’d think more people would come out to tan on a rainy day, but it’s the other way around. They come when it’s warm and sunny out.

I’m just standing behind the counter writing my blog on the computer. When in walks this cute 19-year-old girl. Raven hair, blue eyes and fair skin. She says my name, and I do a double take.

“Don’t you recognize me because I’m not tan?”

“Oh my god! Haley!”

I come from around the counter and she goes in for a big hug.

“I missed you!”

From mid April until the end of August is our busy season at the salon. We can’t provide the level of service that our customers deserve with only one person on shift at night. So Achilles usually will bring on a second person at night to ease the flow of clients. Haley had been working every summer at the salon since she was 16 years old.

Haley has a sister Elisa that’s a year younger that she is. She comes into tan but never worked here. Elisa’s cute, but Haley’s beautiful. There’s a difference.

Haley was also a straight A student last year in her senior year. Beauty and brains. A deadly combination. She wants to eventually go to medical school to become a doctor!

So Achilles brought her back again last summer to help out at night. I wondered how that was going to go. Me, a middle-aged man working with a senior in high school.

Well I’ll tell you how it went. It went fantastic! Working with Haley from day one was glorious. She’d been doing the job for two years prior, so she knew everything about the salon. We ran the place like a well oiled machine. I’m driving in the sales. Haley picks up on how I ask every customer if they need lotion or protective eyewear. She starts pitching it to every client thereafter. She’s like lightning when she works. Super fast and really efficient. She knows exactly when to put the laundry in the washer and stays on top of the time when to get it into the dryer. (I love her South Philly accent. Instead of saying “towels”, she pronounces it “tales”. It is to adorable!

“I’m so sick of these tales! I hate the color and they’re too hard to fold and they don’t fit under the counter right!” she would say.

Working with Haley was a total riot. We would take care of the clients but had a lot of fun working together.

On time this weirdo douchebag guy comes in to tan. Haley asks him what kind of bed he wants to tan in. (Stand up unit, or lay down)

He says: “How about a four-poster.”

Haley is silent but I look at him with a hard eye and say: “Dick. She’s in High School.”

Shut that fucker right down.

I see Haley like a daughter or a niece. Gotta protect the young ladies around us.

I told Achilles about the incident and he also gave them his own personal warning to the guy. I don’t know what he said or did, but we never had a problem with this asshole again.

One day told her that out of everyone I knew, she and my daughter Lorelei, are the only people I know who don’t use profanity, which I find very refreshing. Haley responded by saying that she doesn’t curse around parents. (Apparently this is the same story with my kid.) I like that!

Speaking of her parents, she said her dad is a bit of a curmudgeon, but her mom is a total sweetheart. Her mother would always drive up to the salon at closing in her truck with their dog and pick up little Haley. Her mom is kind of hot. But I love that she would always come and get Haley and make sure her daughter got home safe!

Haley went down the shore after graduating from high school with honors and went to work as a server at Mack’s Pizza in Wildwood, NJ for the summer. She told me they originally want her to work a bunch of hours but she told them she was down the shore to have fun, relax and enjoy her summer. She was still making around $800 a week slinging slices to the hungry tourists.

“It’s the most money I ever made at a job in my life!” she squealed to me today.

Currently she is in college and working part time at an Italian restaurant in South Philly.

Now with what I’m describing you’d think that this young lady is a perfect little angel.

Quite the contrary.

Sure, she’s a great student and is a really well-behaved kid. But technology is much better than when I was a teenager. She has a fake ID that looks exactly like a DMV issued drivers license that says she’s 21. She showed it to me and it looks better than anything I’ve ever seen. That’s so she can get served and go into bars and nightclubs.

She’s a good girl and has a nice guy she is seeing, and she behaves herself. They play it cool and are careful when she and her friends go out. They mostly just like to hang out somewhere and drink beer like teenagers have done for decades.

I love the paradox of the brilliant, beautiful student that has a touch of. I can trust that in a woman.

I remember she would bring her laptop into work and do her homework sometimes. The customers didn’t know what she was doing, and could care less. They just want to hop into an available bed and get their tanning session, and get on with their day. But I know Achilles doesn’t like any of his employees focusing on anything but the clients and what’s going on in the salon. I get it. It’s his business and the salon is his livelihood. But Haley is such a good student with high aspirations, and I never said anything because she’d been working there off and on for three years. So I didn’t care what she was doing because at the time I didn’t know what his arrangement was with Haley after all of that time.

Besides she was always all business when it came to being on point in the salon every night. She made my life easier and I absolutely loved working with this lovely, lively girl. She’s so full of life and apparently I’m good at making her laugh.

When she worked the Saturday shift, (Which is from 11am to 6pm) sometimes her  classmate, Lia would come in and hang on the couch and keep her company. I get it. It’s a 7 hour shift and teenagers get bored easily. She’s a pretty black girl and she’d sit on the sofa and hang with Haley, bring her coffee and snacks to pass the time because weekends are slower than nights during the week. I mean, I’ve had friends come and hang at the salon and chat with me while I’m working. On any given night, Church will swing in and hang for an hour until we go to the bar after I close up shop. (See: Church – 2012 to Present – Brand Ambassador)

But Achilles found out this black girl was hanging out on Saturdays and wasn’t happy with it. Again… it’s a business and his livelihood and didn’t want a bunch of kids hanging around in his salon not doing anything. I get it. He’s right, but I went in once on a Saturday to make sure everything was cool, and to tan. (I like to tan on days I don’t work. It just feels better) I had the pleasure of meeting Lia. She’s a lovely young woman who has been accepted to Yale!

Yes. I said Yale. You don’t get into Yale being a crazy reckless youth. This girl is going to go on to do great things in her life. She’s sweet, charming, and obviously very intelligent and focused on her future.

So my girl Haley surrounds herself with great people and I’m really proud of her. She gives me hope for the future youth of America!

Oh, and she has the exact same birthday as my daughter, Lorelei! Haley is 11/17/97 and Lor is 11/17/96. Two  Scorpios. Don’t mess with my girls or you’ll get stung!

I was so happy to see my former co-worker today. It made my 10 hour shift on my feet running around on a very rainy day just a bit sunnier. Haley is a ray of light that I am happy to have had the opportunity to work with and have in my life.

Oh… one more thing. Haley isn’t on ANY social media. Just doesn’t see the point of it. Hope!

Seeing her today inspired me to write about her, and I am now going to publish another piece about our adventures at the tanning salon. I’ll give you a little hint: While we were working together we came up with official rules for the salon, based on some of the stuff Achilles would lay on me about how to run the salon. We also created lists of clients we loved and hated. But the funniest list we made was the “Things that Annoy Us.” You may not get all of them, and I will explain what they mean in this future post. But if you’ve worked in retail or the service industry, you should be able to relate.

I love Haley, and didn’t realize how much I missed her smile and laughter until today!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

 

Roman – Rock and Roll Bartender

I introduced myself and gave him my card. (I’m in sales. Automatic behavior) I’m sure he didn’t give a shit.

I started hanging at Square 1682 because of Carly. (See: Carly – 2012 to Present – The Mad Baker) It was our time to commiserate and share stories and just enjoy each other’s company. But along the way you start to love the staff too. Roman was my first.

I was sitting at the bar one night waiting for Carly. I started chatting with the bartender on board. He was 30’s, dark hair, a little long, medium build and a no-nonsense kind of guy. Not a big conversationist, but an attentive barman.

I introduced myself and gave him my card. (I’m in sales. Automatic behavior) I’m sure he didn’t give a shit. I told him his lastname was unique and I only knew two girls in my life with that last name. I knew them in my senior year of high school at Wildwood High School.

I was in American lit, and there was this girl Lisa with the same unique last name as this fine bartender. I would be reading Bell for Adano and checking out her lovely shapely stockinged legs and I knew she knew I was looking at her but she knew I would never have her. I was just a guitar player in a band. But… I was a straight A student in English and American lit, because I love words.

I told him about Lisa in my American Literature class in Wildwood back in 1980, and her younger sister Maria, and he said they were his aunts! God, I’m old. But I love this amazing connection! Lisa was in my class and a delicious brunette and her sister Maria was a blonde that was in my lead guitarist’s math class. Amazing. James was totally into her too.

So this guy who lives in Jersey and comes over on the PATCO everyday to work as a bartender is connected to a very old history of mine. Instant respect.

Roman is also a musician. He works the bar, and has been doing more work in the office when it comes to ordering product for the bar. But there is more…

This is a Kimpton hotel. Every night in every Kimpton hotel in the world at 5pm they serve free wine and cider in the lobby to all of the guests. Have I been a slob and drank my face off for free at those happy hours with my friends, of course. I have brought guests and everything. No one has ever said anything to me. I have drunk oceans of free wine at the expense of the Kimpton family. They either don’t notice or have accepted me as a regular. Regardless I’ve done it but I don’t do it anymore because it’s a bit of a weasel move.

On Thursday nights Roman plays guitar live in the lobby for everybody for an hour set. It’s really good. I work at the salon on thursday nights so I have not been able to see him perform in over a year and I really miss it. He is fantastic. The guests are sitting around chatting, stuffing their heads with delicious greasy truffle popcorn and slugging wine and Roman is singing his heart out. I have shot video of him performing Elton John and sent them to Michelle (See: Michelle – 2007 to Present – A Brand New Day) so she can enjoy the power too.

Roman’s a good guy. Married. Nice pretty wife, and they just welcomed a happy baby boy into the world. So, rock n’ roll.

I love when life works!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly

 

Sarika – Song of the Black Widow

God, she’s beautiful. I couldn’t find a stock picture on the internet to capture the delightful beauty of this girl. She is so pretty. Indian. Exotic. The type of beauty you’d almost pay for to be seen with at an event. She is probably one of the most beautiful women I know in Philly. But she recently reached out to me to come hang at a happy hour and a brand new place in Rittenhouse, called Scarpetta. Smith and Wolensky’s is gone and now that place is here. It’s in the Rittenhouse Hotel. She also mentioned that she wants me to come up to her apartment and check out her new place at the Dorchester. I am so glad I have reconnected with her. This vacuous she-devil is such a good character for this work. I am a huge fan of lovely Sarika.

I got to Scarpetta around 5:30. They’ve done a nice job with the place. It’s dark and intimate. The bar looks the same but they’ve opened up the place a bit. There’s only the one bar, but they have a lounge in the back and there is a dining room upstairs. I look around for Sarika but I don’t see her. I’m chatting with the manager and then I look out the window and see her walking towards the building.

Sarika looks amazing as always. We grab a couple of drinks at the bar and sit in this cool little area by ourselves near the window. Rittenhouse Square looks beautiful. It’s all decorated for the holidays.There are strings of bulbs in the trees and the whole park twinkle with light. She is having some sort of light pink beverage that I didn’t catch the name of, and I’m having the old-fashioned. Normally, cocktails are around fifteen dollars, but during happy hour they’re half price. So that’s something I can live with for now.

I ask her what she’s been up to and she says she’s been going on a lot of dates. Turns out that weasel she wanted to bring to my eighty dollar a plate New Years party last year has been gone for a while. I remember she was so into that guy. Apparently they were together off and on for two years. She says she wasted her best years on him and now she’s old. She’s 28! Come on Sarika, you are still but a child. She said he was a jerk to her and probably never loved her. I get her laughing, and start thinking that the black widow isn’t so bad after all. She may be smart as a whip, but she’s still a young woman navigating her way through love and life. I even joke that she probably has a blood-red hour-glass tattooed on her belly.

I do love pretty things, and she is no exception.

I tell her she looks great as always. She has been in some sunny destinations lately, so her skin is a darker brown than normal. I like it. It makes her look even more mysterious and exotic. I mention it and she immediately asks if I think it looks ugly. She always says things like that. She is so smart but so immature at the same time. She’s also a bit of a chatterbox. I think most men can’t handle that and don’t like a girl who talks too much. I don’t mind it. I like a girl who has things to say and experiences to share. I love to talk and entertain a woman, so it’s nice when I have a chatty girl so I don’t have to do all of the work. Women like a good listener and I grew up with three sisters. But what I can’t stand is what Carol used to do. Just babbling on nonstop like a tire spinning in the snow. (See: Carol 5/2014 to 8/2016 – There’s No Fun In Dysfunction)

I once read that women speak up to 20,000 words a day, compared to men, who speak only 12,000. So when we get home…We’re done!

It is puzzling how a woman this strikingly beautiful can’t keep a man. But the more you’re around her the more it makes sense. She says she’s been finding men on an app called J Swipe. It’s like Tinder for Jews. I asked her why that app? She said Jewish men normally appreciate women more, have good jobs, and have money. Sounds like she’s hunting for a husband. I think one of the challenges Sarika is facing is that she may be viewed more as a conquest. A creature to be captured and checked off of some list, because she’s so beautifully exotic.

She said she went out with a guy on Monday and even had a date with a pilot after our happy hour. So I assume I won’t be getting a tour of that gorgeous apartment in her building tonight. Sarika has a very busy life. She travels a great deal for her job as a scientist. I know she was formerly an engineer, but now I guess she’s a scientist. She makes great money and spends her other free time hopping on planes and taking little trips. It sounds like a fun life with all of the dating, and jet setting vacations, but it almost seems like she doesn’t want to be alone in her apartment. She’s crazy dating now. It’s good that she’s getting out there and meeting people after two years wasted with weasel man. But again, I can see men wanting her because she’s so beautiful, but she’s kind of annoying to talk to for any length of time. So if they get the opportunity to sleep with her they may not stick around.

Sarika is very intelligent and a nerd. I have taken her to Science after Hours at the Franklin Institute in the past. She loved it like a child. We went to see Jurassic World last summer, and Guardians of the Galaxy is her favorite movie. If my friend Duncan finds that up he’ll probably move up here from North Carolina. You would think guys would find that hot. A pretty girl who likes guy stuff and sci-fi, but it hasn’t worked. Maybe one of these many men that she is meeting for dates, will be rich and just marry her as a trophy wife. But sadly, people are funny about race in this country. They may want to sleep with a hot girl, but they may not want to bring and Indian woman back home to meet the family. I personally I have nothing against it. If you have been reading this blog, you know I love all different kinds of women. As Hank Moody says in the show Californication, “I got all your albums. I love you all and you and you included, Sarika.”

My buddy Church shows up at Scarpetta. I’m happy to see him. Once Sarika  goes on her date at One Tippling Place up the street, he and I can go to Square 1682 and have a drink. Church knows everybody in the restaurant and bar business in this town, so when he orders a drink and the server brings it over, she says, “This one is on Nathan.” He’s the GM there so Church got the hook up. I get another drink, but Sarika is only having the one so she doesn’t show up drunk for her date at 7:00.

While I was waiting at the bar to get my drink, Church chatted with Sarika. I was a little glad that it took the bartender a little time to get to me and make my drink. Normally I don’t like that, but I thought it would give Church a chance to talk to Sarika.

I get back to our little area by the window. We all chat a bit more. Sarika has to go soon, so she heads back to the ladies room. Church tells me she wouldn’t stop talking and it was driving him crazy. He’s been on edge lately, and listening to Sarika go on about something was annoying him. He said something to the effect, “I wanted to put a gun in my mouth.” He said she is so vacuous and self-absorbed and all she talked about was herself.

He once said that about another attractive girl who talked a lot. He was in a car with her and she was talking non stop and he said, “I wanted to leap right out of the car while it was going 70 miles per hour down the highway.”

Sarika returns, and I put her coat on for her. I tell her I will pay for the one drink she had. She tells me she’ll get me next time. I give her a kiss on the cheek good-bye and she’s off. I get the bill for my two old-fashioneds and her dainty drink. It should come to over $22 plus tax. I look at it and it’s only $15. So I got the hookup because I was with Church.

Dude certainly has the power.

I think next we’ll do a happy hour with my friend Carly.  So the night went well and again without incident.

So maybe my pretty little arachnid is finally growing up.

I love Sarika. She is beautiful, and I enjoy her company, if nobody else does, and I can’t wait to see her again.

(Oh… and if you’ve somehow found this and other stories Sarika, I’ll understand if you cut me off. The truth always hurts more than fiction)

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly

My Family – Lorelei – 11/17/1996 to Present – The Apple of My Eye

When I began writing this story, I thought I would only cover certain topics. Mainly, my life in Philadelphia over the last ten years. The focus of Phicklephilly is romance and dating. But while on this journey, I realized my life is rich with so many other great characters, I should add them to the Phicklephilly universe.

So let me introduce you to my lovely daughter Lorelei. She turned 20 years old two months ago. Lor has always been a sweet, and easy-going child. Now a young woman. I am very proud of her, and its great watching her grow up and flourish. She’ll be occasionally popping up in my stories.

Her mom and I divorced when she was three and a half years old. She lived with her mom, and came to me every other weekend. This went on for many years. I’m not going to go into all of the details of my divorced life because that’s not what this forum is all about.That blog would be called, Nightmare in New Jersey.

One thing I never agreed with, was her mother putting her on ADD medicine when she was a little girl. But happily when Lor  was thirteen she came told me that she wasn’t going to take that shit anymore, because it wouldn’t allow her to perform in a dramatic way on stage. How fucked up is that?

Let’s have big pharma brainwash a bunch of stupid parents, and turn their creative and rambunctious children into dull robots, and life long drug addled customers. Just so we can make even more money for the stockholders. Pure evil.

There once was a kid whose teachers described him as unreachable. A boy lost in his dreams. Yea… that dude was Albert Einstein. Let’s crush any future Einsteins or Leonardo Di Vinci’s with a bunch of drugs. Shame on you all. And damn you all for what you’ve done. I was very proud that my daughter had the foresight to see what that junk was doing to her body and mind. So she kicked that shit years ago.

Anyway, Lorelei had become tired of the grinding frustration of living with her mother in New Jersey. Her mother’s 2nd ex-husband after me, was usually the blame, but once they divorced and he went back to Arizona, she was out of excuses. My daughter was and A – B student who was a beloved member of her high school’s theatrical group. She was lead soprano in a musical in 2014, and co-star of the musical they performed her senior year in 2015. This was a good kid. You have to wonder why life with her mother was so hard. What do we ask of our children growing up? Do well in school, and behave yourself. Lorelei was doing that and more. But I was married to that harpy for 8 years, and I know what kind of fresh hell it can be for anyone to live with my Lorelei’s mother.

My daughter was having stomach disorders, and anxiety living with her mother. Being in that hell house with her mother had for years been an extremely difficult place to be. Sad thing was, I split after 8 years, her second husband amazingly lasted a full ten years before he left. But Lorelei couldn’t leave. She was a child. She was like a prisoner under the ragged claws of her mother. But once she reached the age of majority she wanted to escape. She turned 18, and by February of 2015, she asked if she could come live with me. “Daddy, I’ll sleep on the floor if I have to if it’ll get me away from her.” Of course she wouldn’t have to sleep on the floor, and I would never turn my child away. So I told her to come live with me in Philly.

There was an obvious shit storm that ensued. Her mother likes to control everything, but lacks any real control over her own life. But my daughter was 18 years old. She could do what she wanted. She could vote, buy a gun, and serve in the military if she wanted. So technically, there was nothing her mom could do about it. She fought it of course, but I think we even had my daughter’s high school on our side. They realized her mom is crazy and were fed up with her nonsense as well.

But all aside, I forgive her mother. It takes too much of ones time and energy to hold a grudge against someone. That is some bad energy that you have to maintain everyday. It’s just a waste of time. You only have to forgive once, and your mind is free.

Lorelei would get herself up at dawn everyday at my house in center city. She would walk in the winter weather to the PATCO station and take the train into Jersey everyday by herself. In the beginning she actually was having anxiety attacks at the end of each day, because she was expecting something bad to happen. She discussed this with me, and it seemed like a form of post traumatic stress disorder from living with her mother. I understand that. You never knew who, or what you were coming home to. I reassured Lor that nothing was going to happen. I was putting her on an allowance, and if she needed anything to let me know. I was always here for her, and she was now safe. All she would be coming home to would be her Dad sitting in his chair, sipping a glass of wine and watching Netflix. Nothing more. In a few weeks she settled in just fine. She’d get up and go to school in Jersey every morning 5 days a week. She did this until she graduated in June of 2015. She graduated with good grades on a Friday, and started working as a hostess in restaurant here in Philly the following Tuesday.

She has since gone from vegetarian to vegan. She eats a balanced diet, and is lean and fit. Her stomach disorders are gone, and she no longer takes any of the medicines her mother put her on. She works at her job and likes it. I let her live her life.

I love her very much, and would do anything for my baby. She’ll always be the apple of my eye. My one and only daughter. My immortality in this world.

I have always believed it’s not as hard as everyone thinks to be a parent. Just give your children love, good information, manners, consistency and discipline. I’m sure there is more to it than that, but that’s a decent foundation.

I always looked at parenting this way. I am the Archer. Lorelei is the Arrow.  I need to be firm when I hold the bow. But I also need to be flexible like the string. I must cast the Arrow straight and true into tomorrow, for that is a place I can never go.

Tomorrow belongs to our children. Try not to fuck it up.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday at 9am EST.

Instagram: @phicklephilly

I publish new Dating content every Monday at 9am EST. I publish Updates and bios and stories about Non-Dating related characters, such as male and female friends, on TuesdaysWednesdays at 9am EST.