Monthly Archives: June 2016

SHOW ME YOUR LIFE

I’m at the Mews, it’s a Friday night, early show, actually, late show just got cancelled, so going to have the evening off.  Might as well have a couple drinks.  Friends are at the bar, we do some shots.  Jameson.  I’ve got a beer behind the bar, I’m sipping on that.  Some more friends come in, let’s do some more shots.  Think I’ll have some scotch now, sip on that.  Oh it tastes so good.

There is a MAJOR difference between drinking behind the bar, and drinking at the bar.  When you’re working, you’re moving around.  You can do shots, you can have some cocktails, and it won’t affect you.  Or so you think.  Oh sure maybe I lose my patience with some drunk customers.  Sure.  But I’m cool.  Just havin’ some fun.

About 8 o’clock rolls around, show’s almost over, a bartender from another bar I work at down the street comes in.  Hey Clint.  I hear you don’t have a late show.  Why don’t you close down the bar, then come work for me at the Lift.  Easy money.

Dang it.

The thing about me is I love making money.  I love counting out all that cash at the end of the night.  This slacker comes in, wants to party on a Friday night, give me their shift, I can make $150-$200 in 4 hours, not including wage.  I mean, what am I gonna do?  Just go home, and drink some more.  Sure, why the hell not, I’ll work for you.  See you down there at 10.

Problem is, I WASN’T planning on working past 10pm.  Let me explain.  I know how I drink, what I’m capable of, what I can handle.  I quit drinking at 9pm, clean up the bar for an hour, I’m good to drive home.  I’ve even got a breathalyzer.  I check that, make sure I’m under the legal limit, get down to .07, I’m golden, baby.  But wait.  I wasn’t planning on working past 10, this might change things up a bit.  What the hell.  I’ve been doing this for YEARS, I’m a pro.  I’ll rock this out, then go down to the Lift, make that money, no problemo.  Piece of cake.

What the hell, I’ll keep on drinking now.  I can handle it.  I’ll stop at midnight, then have three hours to sober up, before I drive home.  A perfect plan.

LET’S DO A SHOT!!!!!

I get done at 10, huh, I’m kinda feeling drunk.  What the hell.  This ain’t my first rodeo.

I get down to the Lift, all my friends are there, let’s PARTY, then

Blackout.

Cut to:  I’m laying on a couch in the dark.  Where am I?  Seems a bit familiar.  Oh.  I’m back at the Mews.  I check my watch.  It’s 3:30 in the morning.  What just happened?  Whatever.  Just another night at the bar.

The next day, it’s Saturday, I’m back at work, it’s around 5.  There’s a band on stage, playing another song.  The bartender I worked with the night before at the Lift walks in the door.  Hey, Johnny!  What’s up, my man?!?  He says,

Man, you fucked up last night.

What?  What do you mean?

He says, you don’t remember?

I say, actually, now that you say it, I don’t.  I remember ‘till about 11, then nothing until 3 in the morning.

He goes on to tell me the gory details, fills in the blanks.

He says, you told my BROTHER that when blank comes back into town, that they’re going to FUCK.

Oh no.

Why did I say that?

He says, I don’t know, but it really pissed him off.  He wanted to KILL you.

Oh that’s horrible.

You gotta know something about his brother.  He’s like the nicest, sweetest guy you’ll ever meet in your entire life.  To piss him off is like pissing off Mother Teresa.  It’s just something you don’t do.  And if you do do it, you’re a straight-up ASSHOLE.

I say, oh that’s terrible.  I’ll apologize to him.  Did I do anything else?

He says, yeah.  You did.  You told Bridgette, with Brandon (her husband) standing right next to her, to SHOW YOU HER TITS.

Oh God.  No I did not say that.

He says, yes.  You did.

I’m actually inclined to believe him.

Later that night, much later, later than it’s ever been before, I’m standing in my small half-bathroom, staring at myself in the mirror.  I just shake my head in disgust.  What the HELL am I doing?  GETTING DRUNK AT WORK SAYING ALL THOSE TERRIBLE THINGS.

I vowed right then that I’d quit drinking at the end of the month.

No.

I’m quitting RIGHT NOW.

July 15th, 2016 will mark four years sober for me.  Not a small feat for a bartender.  And honestly, I don’t miss it in the least bit.  What seemed like a sacrifice at the time, became the biggest GIFT.  So many AMAZING THINGS have happened since I got sober.  So many new opportunities that would NEVER have happened if I had kept on drinking.  Alcohol can be a great, beautiful thing, and it can tear your life apart.  I have a lot of respect for alcohol, I know it’s stronger than me, so I just don’t have one sip.

Life can be tough, I know, trust me.  I’ve experienced it.  But know that if the time comes, and your life is out of control, quitting drinking has the potential to turn it all around on a dime.

So if you ever find yourself at my bar, and are ready to take the plunge, I’d love to talk about it with you.  And I’ve got plenty of non-alcoholic drink ideas for you I’ve honed over the past four years.

Not advice you’d expect from a bar blog,

But there you go.

 

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My Son’s Gay

I’m at Noce, behind the bar, end of night, things winding down, people closing tabs, saying their good-byes.  Singer from Chicago.  Phenomenal voice.  You know what’s cool about jazz?  The band and the singer had one quick rehearsal before the show.  Can you imagine that?  It’s completely different than any other music played.  You meet up at the club, pass around some sheet music, let’s play this song, and this song, and then you play them.  As a singer, you can tour around the world and have a different backing band every night, if you want.

There’s a couple stragglers, a musician and his girlfriend are sitting at the bar for a night cap.  I overhear her say, my son’s gay.  My ears perk-up.  This could be interesting.  I go over, get into the conversation.

How old’s your son?  When did you find out?

She says, he’s 13.  He told me at the grocery store.  He was talking about a friend’s father, how he hates gay people, and then he says, he would hate me, because I’m gay.

I said, that’s so cool.

She says, he’s really open about it.  Almost too open.  He says, do you think this guy’s hot, mom?  I think he’s hot.

You know, I’ve got two boys.  I’m a pretty open minded guy.  If either of my son’s turned out to be gay, that’d be fine.  I could care a less.  I just want them to be happy, find someone to love.  I don’t think it’s really that big of a deal anymore.  I have some neighbors that are gay across the street from me, and my son asked, are they roommates?  And I said, they’re together.  You know, two guys can love each other, just like a guy and a girl can.

Victory Is Overrated

I had a really fun day today.  The first productive thing I did was to go look at a house.  Being a real estate agent can be a cool thing.  I can pretty much go look at any house on the market whenever I want.  I usually spend an hour a day going through new listings.  If something catches my eye, and I have time the next day, I’ll go look at a random house.  We call it “previewing” a house.  Yesterday I found this really cool pad out in the boonies for $400,000.  I don’t really have a client right now that is looking for a $400,000 house, but you never know what tomorrow might bring.  And also, I just like going to look at houses.  Gives me ideas for my future “dream home.”  So today, I go look at this house, it’s really secluded, by a pond, 4 bedroom, lots of light, lots of character, built in 1974.  I actually had a helluva time finding it.  Siri only got me so far.  But once I found it, it was fun walking though, and imagining myself and my family living there.

After that, I was off to Noce. Tuesday is usually my day off, but I got a last minute call from my boss about a private party in the back, and I thought, what the hell, I’ll bartend it.  Sometimes it’s just easier than trying to track down a bartender to do it, and hey, the money is usually good, and it’s easy.  Right now, I actually prefer bartending the private events in the back.  I take my time, I set up the bar, and it’s all me.  I’ve been kind of missing the interactions I get from customers in the main bar area.  When I bartend the front, most of my interactions are with the cocktail servers, and they’re just ordering me around.  I need a this, I need a that.  The music is going, and that’s kind of the focus, so I have few conversations with customers.  In the back, it’s chill, everybody’s in good spirits, and I end up having some good conversations, and make some connections.

Tonight, being election night, it was a party for a local politician that was running for Congress.  Super cool guy.  He came up to me, introduced himself to me, and during the course of the night, we had a lot of conversations.  African-American, tall, good-looking, intelligent, articulate, I was really impressed.  Through our conversations, I learned that he’d been working on his campaign well over a year.  Lots of hard work.  When he gave his speech at the end of the night, I learned that he was a high school dropout.  He started from the bottom, and worked his way up to the top.  It was very inspirational.  I wish I had met him before, because I would’ve voted for him.

Unfortunately, he didn’t win, but had a lot of grace, and showed good sportsmanship.  He approached me after his concession speech, and I said, congratulations, man!  You must feel accomplished!  He said, at the moment, I don’t.  As things were winding down, and I was packing up the bar, I went down to the walk-in cooler, and grabbed a bottle of champagne.  When he approached me to say good-bye, I handed him the bottle, and said, this is from me.  He smiled broadly, shook my hand, and gave me a big thank you.  I said, hey, man.

Victory is overrated.

And I meant it.

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Laser Focus

A friend of mine is at the bar, we’re chatting.  She just recently started taking ADD meds.  In this day and age, with all the tech, I’m surprised the world’s not on ADD medication.  I ask her, oh, how’s the meds working out?  Can you tell a difference?  She says, Oh my GAWD.  It’s like I have laser focus, I get so much done.

To-do lists.  Boom.  Boom.  Boom.

I’m At Noce Right Now

I am at Noce right now, kind of slow, gives me a chance to catch up on some work on the computer.  I’ve got my own spot by the bar.  Who’s got a better job than me?  I’m kicking it here, sun is streaming through the window, great live jazz on stage, make a few drinks, make a few bucks, life is good.  Been actually a pretty hectic day up until now, so feels good to be able to sit down, relax a bit.

My son had a “moving up” ceremony today at school.  I really love the school he’s in.  It’s a Montessori school, so he hangs out with all the progressive, hippie/hipster kids. It’s all about “learning at your own pace.”  My son is in a classroom of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders.  He was a 3rd grader this year, hence, he’s “moving up” to a new classroom/new teacher.  When school starts again, he’ll be with 4th, 5th, and 6th graders.  I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when he mixes in with the older kids.  I’m real proud of him.  He’s a great kid.  Smart, and very sweet.  Unlike his dad.

After the ceremony, I went back home for a bit, then ran some Noce errands.  Had to go to Costco and Walmart for food supplies.  It’s a major bummer.  Two of the three snacks I’ve been stocking at the bar are no longer available, so I’m scrambling to figure out an alternative.  Have to find something tasty, and cost-effective.

Arrived at Noce a little bit before 4, to let in my back bartender, and set up the front bar.  My job has become a bit more complicated recently with all the parties we’ve been throwing in the back.  I’ve got to stock for TWO bars now, and have a bartender.  Not as easy back there, because everything is movable.  I don’t have guns, or any kind of coolers, so have to stock everything day of.  Luckily, we have this amazing walk-in cooler in the basement that keeps everything cold.  There was a moment there in the beginning, where the GM said to me, do you really think we need a walk-in, and I was like, yeah, it’ll be nice.  Now, I don’t know what I’d do without it.  If I ever run out of beer or wine that needs to be cold, I just run downstairs, and grab what I need, and it’s ready to sell.  At my old job, no walk-in meant you run out of beer, you need some time for it to get cold.  A walk-in cooler is expensive, but SO worth it.

At 4:45, after stocking the front bar, getting it ready for the night, I hightail it to a quick showing.  As some of you know, I recently got my real estate license, and have been actually doing really good.  A little bit of luck, and I believe I’m suited for the job. I’ve learned that it’s a lot about listening.  I try to keep my mouth shut as much as possible.  I don’t know A LOT about houses, but I’ve been studying people my entire life.  Buying a house/selling a house can be a stressful experience.  I don’t have it all figured out, not by a long shot, but I believe in the idea of home ownership, so I believe in the product I’m selling.  Right now, the market is a bit frustrating, because there’s not a lot out there to choose from, but I’m in it for the long haul.

I called my cocktail server on my way to the showing.  She says, first off, I want to say  congratulations.  I say, uh-oh.  What did I do?  She says, I see you started up your blog again!  I’m like, uh-oh.  How’d you find out?  She says, actually, my daughter found out…

I actually didn’t tell anyone I was starting up the blog again.  Even my wife.  And I denied it three times to her.  Did you start writing on your blog again?  I say, nope.  Oh, I saw, someone said online…  Nope, that was just, I don’t know, about one of my old stories.  I mean, I didn’t imagine it would go completely unnoticed, I just don’t want to make a big deal out of it.  This is really for me.

My cocktail server said a funny thing.  She says, I’m glad I’ve read your stories.  You seem more human now.

I did take a walk today around my neighborhood.  About a 45 min walk.  And in the distance, I see a young girl approaching me on the sidewalk.  Oh where do I look?  Do I look down?  Do I look straight ahead?  Maybe to the street.  Why does it matter?  I look straight ahead.  I don’t want her to think, who is this weirdo approaching me, looking at me.

She gets to me, I smile, say, hello, she smiles, says, hello, then walks on by.

 

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