Luca Belletti

Product Manager living in London (UK)

doll

Tom of Finland action figureVia TOM: the Rebel Tom Of Finland Action Figure (click on link, mouse over image, gawp at dollhood). “Durable and flexible”, the sales pitch says.

I know one particular 11 1/2 inch doll’s eternal fiancĂ© that is already bending over in anticipation.

safe

Mixing languages up: a sign of old age or an indication that moonlighting as a translator to make ends meet is taking its toll? Discuss.

While struggling to argue the case of our overpriced icecream (one pound seventy for two and a half teaspoonfuls – Hannibal Lecter’s defense attorney had an eaesier job) to an outraged French cuntstomer yesterday, I told her (in French) that it was all natural and contained absolutely no preservatives.

As she replied “Well I bloody well hope it does not!”, I realized I had told her that we could proudly claim there are no condoms in our icecream.

spam

I have just received an email from Maxwell O. Robinson. He wants to talk to me about “Pain, Deprëssiön, överwëight? cwuavp”

Not sure what cwuavp is, but I’m sure I’ve got that too.

havs

Dr Bitful smirks, hums a pathetic tune and gestures dramatic fiddle-playing whenever I pop yet another painkiller, but the symptoms are frighteningly spot-on.

Can you make cappuccinos wearing anti-vibration gloves?

ahoy

There’s a security guard where I work. I call him Captain Birds Eye* (not to his face) because of his looks and age. No, Captain Bird’s Eye is more youthful. Needless to say, I do not feel incredibly safe there.

Nevertheless, the old sea dog rescued me yesterday after I collapsed again (under the weight of an A-board, this time), and said “You know, you should eat more, you’re very thin”.

As my weight recently went up to fourteen stone, I can only deduce that the security guard is blind too – or has a very bizarre (and flattering) idea of thinness.

*Capitaine Igloo / Capitan Findus.

want

  • A new battery for my laptop, so that when the power chord accidentally slips off, the machine will not switch off.
  • A new power chord for my laptop, that a) does not slip off so easily and b) does not stop working out of the blue and make the machine switch off (see above) because of a wrong contact in the jack.
  • Or a new laptop.
  • One of those new O2 mobile PDA XDA thingies. I can wait for the new model to come out, I’m not in such a hurry.
  • Or a new mobile that lets me store more than 10 reminders and 10 text messages.
  • An iPod. Or any sort of MP3 player with a memory for more than 15 tracks. Because I’ve had enough of a MiniDisc player that needs to be shaken during every other song to unblock it.
  • A new digital camera that can be stored into a pocket and can take decent pictures.
  • A job where I can sit in front of a computer with a fast-ish connection, rather than lugging my laptop around and connecting from work at 28800bps through my personal One.Tel account. That’ll explains the lack of hyperlinks lately.
  • And – of course! – a new job to be able to afford the above.

Today I feel my technology is inadequate. Well, one always gets what one pays for.

grin

I thought I had developed the perfect technique not to let cuntstomers’ rudeness affect me – by showing a perfectly inscrutable face until I could tell whether they were friendly or going to bite, and acting accordingly.

It got to the point where cuntstomers would approach me and say “Tea!”, I would silently turn around, brew it, then put it in front of them and ask “Milk?”

You know what though? That was just not me.

This afternoon, I smiled and said hallo to a cunstomer whose good disposition had prompted me to do so; it turned out that he was only talking cheerfully into his mobile through an earpiece I had not noticed.

In the end it did not matter. I felt slightly sorry for his loss (I have a lovely smile, you see) and kept smiling. As a result, by the end of the day my tips were up twenty per cent – to sixty pence!

I am such a slut.

till

Reminder: should you happen to faint at work, by all means do not hold on to the cash register for dear life. It is not glued to the counter. It is bloody heavy, even when all it contains is some meagre Sunday takings.

Ouch.

fang

Last Saturday morning I was incredibly jovial and thrilled at the prospect of the first Whole Two Days! In A Row! off in over one month.

Then the phone rang, KG5 sounding very hungover (again) said she could not make it at work. Nobody could replace her so I worked Two More Whole Days! In A Row!

This weekend it won’t happen – I’m in the foulest of moods already and nothing could make it worse. Don’t come near. Grrr.

drop

I’ve now seen it all. A cuntstomer yesterday asked (well, gestured, while saying a few words in what I believe was Turkish) for tea in a thimble-sized espresso cup. I told him it’s the same prize as the 8oz cup. He insisted. He got it, even if the bloody bag could not fit into the cup. The cuntstomer is always right.

fist

Doctor’s diagnosis for my numb fingertips: anything from dermatitis to severe neurological damage. Must wear vinyl gloves at all times at work to avoid all contact with cleaning products, with extremely hot or cold water, with money, cuntstomers’ (spelling mistake completely intentional) hands, dust, dirt and the like. Working in a coffee shop does not help much either.

If after four weeks the symptoms persist, then I could be allergic to vinyl gloves.

The episodes of collapsing might be due to standing on my feet 12 hours a day 7 days a week, combined with the stress of dealing with people all day long. Incredibly bright doctor wrote “Holland & Barrett” on a sheet of paper and handed it to me.

If only I could afford to go to Harley Street.

myth

On behalf of all coffee shop workers, I feel compelled to to cast some light on a few misconceptions:

1. we don’t need to heat up your milk so much that it is scorching and you will be unable to drink your latte for at least half an hour. It’s just one of our little revenges for special customers who are particularly nasty;

2. we are very good at looking incredibly busy while pretending not to have noticed you. Now, if you had said hallo upon coming in, instead of staring blankly at us when we said good morning to you, we’d be greeting you back with a smile and a nod and stop tidying up the imaginary mess under the counter;

3. when you pay your coffee entirely with 2p and 1p coins and we say “Ooh looooovely, thank you ever so much for all this small change, we’re always short of it”, what we really mean is “Shit, thanks to you stingy MF I’ll have to leave work one whole minute later in order to count all your useless little coins when cashing in tonight. If I wanted change, I’d get it from the bank in nice pre-counted little bags. If you really wanted to get rid of it, couldn’t you use the jar in front of you with “TIPS – THANK YOU” marked on it? Every little counts, you know.”

…and breathe out.

cows

You’ve certainly heard of trains being delayed because of the “wrong kind of snow” (as opposed to…?).

Well, I have just learned that a couple of times per year cappuccinos are a nightmare to make because milk refuses to froth properly. I called the coffee machine service people thinking there was something wrong with the steamer, and was told this usually happens when the cattle switches from summer to winter feed.

Fascinating. Could I please have my life back now?

numb

This is getting serious.

I’ve lost all feeling in my right hand. It started as pins and needles in my fingertips, then worked its way as a dull pain all the way to my right shoulder.

Today I woke up with the inability to grasp anything in my right hand, which is rather annoying if one is not left-handed and one spends seven days a week operating a coffee machine that’s built for right-handed people – strong right-handed people.

I can’t even touch-type any longer – so much for my eighty words per minute speed that I’ve been advised to remove from my CV not to look overqualified (!)

I’m seeing the doctor this afternoon if I manage to book an appointment so quickly.

Ever so slightly worried. And if I ever have to give up playing the piano I’ll sue the coffee machine manufacturer.

But I had the best wank ever this morning.

temp

I loved going to work this morning.

OK, when I say “I loved”, I actually mean “I did not wake up as I normally do at 4:30am in a pool of sweat when the alarm clock interrupts the usual nighmare featuring a hold-up at work by three armed criminals who shoot me down to get to the till.

Today I went in at nine like most office workers, plugged in my laptop and emailed my line manager a few Excel spreadsheets with weekly takings and stock situation, then emailed the head office the number of hours to be paid to staff this week.

I then went to the bank with the weekend takings, and to the post office to send off the past week’s invoices to be paid by the company’s accountant.

I stopped at a stationery shop on the way back to work and bought files and plastic envelopes, and finally put some order in my paperwork.

My brain was tingling with excitement, going all “Ooh, seems like I’ll be summoned to do some work soon!”

And then it was ten thirty and all I could look forward to was spitting into people’s lattes until 6pm. I don’t do that, really. Although…

shut

Dear customer who walked into the shop yesterday evening and enquired if we were still open, what part of “Sorry, we are now closed” exactly don’t you understand? The fact that one shutter is closed, the other is half way down so that I don’t choke? The wet floor? The pungent smell of pine disinfectant? The two huge and smelly garbage bags ready to be taken out? The dismantled juicer, all 328 parts of it washed, rinsed and laid out to dry before being put back together again – in itself, a 45 minute long process? My visibly pissed off face?

Jees.

wake

I am sure that, just like I used to up to a short while ago, you have often wondered

“Why is my coffee so expensive? Surely it can’t cost so much to produce, after all it was handpicked by underage labourers, roasted and packaged by underpaid factory workers and prepared for your pleasure by bar staff on minimum wage.”

and

“Two pound bloody ninety five for a stupid cheese and ham sandwich?”

Don’t tell anyone, but the reason is that you are all so obnoxious to us catering staff that the only way we can face another 12-hour day after a 5-hour sleep is to do huge amounts of drugs. And drugs are not cheap, hence the mark-up.

There. Burst your bubble, eh?

save

Did not grace the stage at the White Swan with my wobbly love handles in the end, in spite of Ian‘s foolproof 9 steps to winning an amateur strip contest. Was rescued from fainting from the fumes in the bin room at work by boyfriend on a white charger who took me home to his, put a pizza in my stomach via the oven and put me in his bed via the bathtub.

If I was not so tired I’d attempt some wordplay on the boyfriend on a white charger thing.

Must. Hit. Sack. Now.

Oh, and the pins and needles feeling in my fingertips might not be one of my regular ministrokes (hypochondriac? Moi?). My flatmate (who’s worked in catering all his life) says it could be a reaction to some cleaning products. It has to be that antibacterial spray I use all day to sanitize the air around foul smelling customers then.

dead

I hope nobody has taken tomorrow morning off to come see me strip tonight. I still want need to do it, but after not sleeping at all last night, doing another 12-hour shift today and having to be back at work tomorrow morning at 6, I definitely do not want to collapse on stage and be carried to A&E stark naked but for a cockring.

Even if, now that I think of it, I would love to see the nurse’s face when I get there.

rage

Impolite people in general make me furious. And whenever customers at work treat me like the scum they think I am (approximately five times per minute), I discover homicidal urges I did not know were within myself.

A few days ago, after dealing with three people in a row who came in, looked at me, looked at the price list and then thirty seconds later finally said “I want a large hot chocolate” (or walked out without aknowledging my presence) and charmingly smiling my way through hours of abuse, I finally took all my frustration out of the fourth unfortunate person who walked in and said nothing.

For your information, I am the unbeaten world champion of the fine and underratted art of not showing one’s real feelings. If I say to you “don’t worry, I understand if your pet hamster is feeling a little bit queasy and you had to cancel without letting me know, it can happen to anyone, hell, it happened to me the other day so I totally understand, no worries, I’ll see you some other time”, what I really feel is probably something along the lines of “you f**king piece of shit, I do backward flips to find a couple of hours to see you and you bastard don’t even care”.

But I digress.

So, woman #4 enters the shop, looks at me, looks around, finds the price list, reads her way through the jungle of flavoured what-have-you’s, finally discovers that tea is “only” one pound a cup, turns around, looks at me and mouths the word “TEA” with exaggerated lip movements, while pointing at the machine behind me with one hand and making a distinctive “dipping teabag up and down” gesture with her other hand.

The poor woman was dumb – as in “permanently or temporarily unable to speak”. I can only hope she was also deaf (sorry madam), so that she could not have heard my repeated and increasingly louder “Hallo? Halloo? HALLOOO??? as she walked in.

bare

Rent is due and I’m one hundred pounds short.

Wednesday night is amateur strip night at the White Swan. Ten pounds for entering the contest and doing a full strip, and one hundred pounds for the winner.

This is grotesque: I was better off when I was unemployed.

And I’d rather suck cock for a fiver than serve another skinny decaff cappuccino to a haughty bitch who probably cannot even spell “haughty”.

See you on Wednesday night then, come and cheer for me. I’ll be the stripper with the “sweet-Jesus-how-low-have-I-fallen” look on his face.

slow

Wow. Kylie‘s new track. Hypnotic. Co-written and co-produced by Icelandic songstress Emiliana Torrini (yes, Icelandic – well, alright, Italian father in case you had not guessed).

Emiliana Torrini has therefore just gone from writing some of my favourite lyrics such as

On a mission for my summer kiss
I close my eyes and wet my lips
But then I miss
And you laugh at my face
(from Unemployed In Summertime)

to making Kylie sing

Slow down and dance with me
Yeah
Slow

Wow. Still, it’s Kylie. She could sing her shopping list and gay men all over the world would flock to the dancefloor and shake their booties as if gold hotpants were going out of fashion.

weed

As of today at 01:38am, I have saved not spent 1,500 of the Queen’s finest pounds by stopping smoking last February.

Needless to say, I am chuffed. There was no need to wake up at 2am to celebrate and not be able to fall asleep though.

Well, at least this thing got updated.

fire

Dilbert strip

Uhm, perhaps I should consider subscribing to one of those online courses from LearnDirect – I’m sure there’s an international human rights treaty out there that forbids me to take my first steps in team management by experimenting on live humans.

But it’s so much fun.

gaga

From a promotional leaflet that popped out of my copy of the Independent today:

“I’m glad to be associated with Fitness First. You can’t beat health and fitness – know what I mean”

Frank Bruno

Oh yes, and I’m sure Fitness First is likewise thrilled to be associated with Mr Bruno now.

Somewhere in this UK there’s a newly unemployed marketing executive. Surely they could have seen this one coming, couldn’t they?

bang

You know, when your barista knocks the coffee out of the espresso thingy against that metal/wodden drawer really hard, it’s not absolutely necessary. More often than not, the loud noise serves as a useful cover-up for the filthy names he’s calling you under his breath.

And now I have RSI – as in Repetitive Strain Insults.

wail

If you went to the launch of a new coffee place in London’s Baker Street yesterday, chances are you drank bitter tears along with your prosecco wine.

That is because a while ago a woman at the job centre who I can only describe as a c- oh forget it, I’m not going to stoop that low. And whining is useless.

Let’s just say I’ve had tooth abscesses that were less painful than this.

reds

Come one, I know you missed my little rants about Berlusconi the Wonder Prime Minister.

Speaking in front of a group of U.S. economists on Wall Street, he said that people should invest in Italy because:

1. he did himself invest all his money in it, and

2. the Italian Communist Party is today only at 16% (from 34%), and its leaders deny ever having been communists.

Oh well, if that’s the case then I suppose one should totally overlook the fact that the Italian government changed 57 times in 50 years, shouldn’t one?

sack

Today, for the first time in my life, I had to turn into the unpleasant manager from hell and implement cuts by reducing the number of working hours of three employees. I felt like shit (me! Niceness personified”! Mister I’d-do-anything-to-avoid-a-conflict!).

I have a strong feeling that tchin-tchaah is very likely to be Korean for “f**king big-arsed bastard”.