Saturday was my birthday. Well, the Saturday before that was my actual birth day, but I was too busy going to a rock festival to plan anything then. Except Liam Gallagher singing Wonderwall to me - and 35 000 other people. Plus, a week late is nothing: I was supposed to finish writing my book in 2013. And now look at me: I'm a (semi) professional blogger.
I booked the top floor of a nearby bar for the party: there was 25 of us, as per the Facebook event I setup 6 days prior (again, I'm a planner) and I knew the place pretty well: my girlfriend and I celebrated the last - and our first - Valentine's day there, while a soccer game was playing on the big screen behind us and a bunch of British-level drunk supporters heckled said screen. Unforgettable.
Before that, my last effort in organizing anything - and setting up a Facebook event: counts as work, you have to pick the cover - was the small dinner party we threw to celebrate our civil union earlier this summer (our relationship somehow survived Valentine's day). We had gone for another favorite of ours, a nearby Italian place, and we were supposed to get a private outdoor terrace, but the manager messed things up and we ended up having dinner inside. To make up for it, the guy ended up giving us access to the bar area which was closed to customers that day, so it was not all bad. Still, I hate surprises. Unless they're gifts.
So, this weekend, I was hell bent on having everything go smoothly: the bar was less high brow than that Italian spot, and the guy I had on the phone seemed more capable of remembering basic information, such as geographical location, but you never know. Also, he'd offered me a happy hour discount on drinks all night, which was sure to please my guests (no all of them drink soda, unless it's a mixer). My girlfriend and I still got there a little early just to be sure: the room was all setup with a nice "Happy birthday" sign on the wall - and no screen to be seen. Things were looking up.
A while later, as guests were starting to arrive, I got down to the bar to order myself a lemonade, because nothing says party like fruit. I asked one of the bar tenders:
Me: Hi, can I get a large lemonade please?
Waiter: Sure, it will be 13 euros.
Me: That's full price. Your colleague told me we had happy hour prices all night. Unless you discriminate on soft drinks, which wouldn't be nice...
Waiter: He said that?
Me: Yeah. Over the phone. 5 days ago. Also, the bar tender confirmed it when we got in.
Waiter: Let me check with him.
Me: You do that.
This summer, at the restaurant, I was within seconds of getting outright angry at the manager for (almost) f**king up my civil union party. This time, the occasion was arguably less unique (you get birthdays every year), but I was also less patient: my love for the hospitality industry will only go so far. The waiter came back:
Waiter: OK, all sorted! That will be 10 euros, please.
Me: Here you go.
And I found myself slightly disappointed that the guy caved in that easily. I guess I'm not quite over that Italian idiot.