Tim and Jeremy are both waiters at a restaurant in downtown New York City. During slow times at work, to stave off boredom when it is slow, the two young men draw pictures. These pictures are made using ink and what is called the "Triple Dupe Pad," a book of paper used to place orders in the kitchen. The drawings usually take about a week to make, all the while also being used by fellow employees to take orders; this sometimes leads to other collaborators or in a couple cases, to the loss of the work. The drawings are then scanned and colored in Photoshop where they come to life in stunning technicolor! The subject matter varies from piece to piece, as they are made over a long course of time and under various moods and states of mind. They all retain a playfulness that serves as a coping mechanism after spending a night catering to the endless needs of hungry patrons.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

#40 "Motivationally Speaking" July 31, 2011

(Click here to make the picture LARGE!)

When I first started working at the Cafe Loup in February of 2002, one could still smoke in restaurants and bars in New York. We had a smoking section up front and you could smoke at the bar as well. Some of the bar tenders smoked behind the bar and we as waiters could smoke at the bar, right at the end closest to the Waiters Station. It's funny to think that at one time, you could be waiting on someone not two feet away and take a cigerette break right in front of them. They wouldn't even mind, and in more than one case, someone would need something, notice you were smoking and give a gesture indicating that whatever they needed could wait until you were done with your smoke break. When smoking was going to be banned, all the smokers were in an outrage. We thought that we were going to lose a ton of business at the Loup. People were talking about how it would never catch on, that the smokers would win, that the ban would be overturned and the smoking sections would stay. Well, the ban came and went and I think the only customer who we actually lost was Dany Levy. Lloyd would lament the loss as, "She was using me for my smoking section." Ten years later, one forgets that you could smoke in restaurants; it seems insane that you were ever aloud to in the first place. I am a smoker of many years. I quit in December, but even as a smoker, I have a hard time imaging that past reality. I think of all the people who complain about the music being loud and all kinds of other insane complaints and I can't believe that these people ever went out to eat while smoking was allowed in restaurants. I guess people didn't know any better at the time and so it was a given, and it was part of going out. That is really the only explanation I can think of. That, or they were the people who initiated the ban. I personally like that this happened. I remember going out to bars back then and waking up nauseous at the smell of my clothes and hair. Everything always smelled like stale ash, and I was one of the people who was contributing to the problem and loving it.
So here we are ten years later and one can still smoke at the Cafe Loup, but you have to know when. It's one of our awesome little secrets that when it is found out by a non-regular, is news so good, it's as if we told them they won the lottery. These people get so excited, they wax nostalgic about how smoking and drinking go hand in hand and that's the way the world should be. They talk whimsically of dividing the country into two states, smoking and non-smoking. They look off into the distance of the back bar and talk about the old days, the good old days and the nights they can't remember anymore. Granted, this is a very secret and hard to come by secret for the customers of the Cafe Loup. We, as employees, were never banned from smoking inside the Loup. We have always been able to smoke there, and as long as Lloyd continues to smoke, we will always be able to smoke there. We can't take our smoke breaks at the bar during service anymore... well, actually, we can and do just that at certain times of the day. We smoke inside during service, and the customers are never aware of it. It's at times like this that one really thinks about the secret lives of New Yorkers. So much happens behind the scenes of every place in New York, one can hardly comprehend it. Smoking is just the tip of the iceberg. 

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