Monthly Archives: August 2017

Pouring A Drink With A Jigger

I have a super anal-retentive manager I work with at the bar.  I actually really like her.  I have never met anyone that is so by the book.  I mean, she doesn’t budge.  For example, if she sees me pour ONE DRINK without a jigger, she gets on me.  For 12 years of my bartending career, I never used a jigger.  But when I got this job at a hotel bar, I HAD to start using it.  It was definitely a learning curve.  But now I’m used to it.  I kind of understand the positive side to it.  With a jigger, every drink is the same.  There’s a consistency to it.  Without it, it can be all over the map, depending on who you’re pouring for.  Sure, back in the day, if a friend came up, who treats me right in the tip dept, I’d pour it heavy.  My thought is, I’d rather someone comment that the drink is too strong, rather than too weak.  However, when you are required to use a jigger, every drink is made the same.  Ok, ok, I do do a little trick in front of the customer.  I’ll pour the liquor into the jigger, but when I pour it into the glass, I’ll keep on pouring into the jigger as it tips, making it a little bit stronger.  People watch, and appreciate it.  At the end of the day, because of this kindness, the “guest” will probably drink more if they believe they’re getting a good drink, and put more money in the register.

I have had a number of meetings with my “by the book” manager, and I have to say, I always learn a little something from them.  My manager is truly smart, knows the service industry, and throws at me some profound thoughts.  She cares, and that’s inspiring.  When you have a manager that doesn’t care, it can be a shit show.  But she’ll bring up the most minute things that “I need to work on.”  Sometimes they’re so ridiculously small, that I have to laugh.  But I’ve grown to take her comments in stride.  That’s not to say she doesn’t annoy the hell out of me.  But like I said, she occasionally says profound things that make me think.  And it can be the simplest of concepts.

The other day, we’re having a meeting, and we’re discussing the stringent rules of the hotel.  There’s a reason why this hotel is so successful, and part of the reason is that the employees have to step up, and follow the rules.  Otherwise, bye-bye.  So in this meeting, she says,

Why WOULDN’T you follow the rules?

I had to say it back to her.  Hmm.  Why WOULD’NT you follow the rules?  Brilliant with the simplicity of it.  There is no rational reason why you wouldn’t follow the rules.  You learn the rules, you follow the rules, and then for the most part, your job is secured.  You don’t?  Well, there’s going to be a problem.  And as most of you know, without rules, there’s chaos.

So why wouldn’t you follow the rules?

I don’t know.  You tell me, non-jigger pourers out there.

 

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In Praise Of Dumb People

I’m doing some afternoon bartending at the hotel, I’ve got around five people at the bar.  I listen in on conversations occasionally when it’s slow.  Always possible material for my writing.  Middle-aged man is speaking to a younger guy in his early 30’s.  He seems to have strong opinions from his lengthy experience on Planet Earth.  Oh everybody’s got advice, don’t they?  I’m actually getting sick of advice, as of late.  It’s usually BAD advice, in my opinion, and distracts you from what you should be doing.  Going with your gut and instinct.  Not what some 50 year-old did in his life.  And they usually give you hypocritical advice.  BUT they learned from their mistakes, didn’t they?

He says, I always told my kids, life is hard when you’re smart, but really difficult when you’re dumb.

At first glance, this “saying” seems to be a truism.  Sure, you want to be smart, right?  You want to be able to carry on an intelligent conversation.  But have you met a lot of highly intelligent people?  Yeah, they’re the ones that are usually the most miserable.  “Dumb people” actually seem to enjoy life more.

I say, to him, I have to disagree with that statement.  I’m really smart, and hate everything.  There’s like three things I like in the world.  But dumb people?  THE WORLD IS THERES.  They’re not all pretentious, and are content and happy with a lot of things, in my estimation.

His saying of how it’s easier to be smarter than dumber?  I think “ignorance is bliss”, if you’re going to use a cliche, overrides it.

And again, don’t listen to advice from old people.  They are giving advice to you that might’ve worked in the 50’s.

The world has changed.  And dumb people rule the world.

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The Path Is Ours To Make

Sometimes when it’s slow behind the bar, and there’s a few people at the bar, I like to open up, and engage a patron in a philosophical conversation.  I’m not much of a small talker, for the most part, I like to talk about meaningful stuff to me, and things I’m thinking about at the present moment.  Last night, there was a young man at my bar, and I threw it at him.

Are you a religious person?  He thinks for a moment, then says, yes.  I am.  I’m a Christian.  I say, great.  I’ve been thinking about a concept recently.  And I’m not saying there is, or isn’t, a higher power somewhere.  But what if our brains have been conditioned over time to believe that there is someone watching.  Perhaps, someone controlling our destiny.  If you believe in the idea that God or whoever has control over our life, giving it direction, isn’t that perhaps a egocentric, or, in a way, a selfish view?  If he is giving you this or that, wouldn’t it affect someone else, possibly in a negative way?  Let’s say you get the job you’re interviewing for, over someone else, and you believe that there was a “God influence”, then that would mean that God was working against the other applicants for the job.  And that would mean that he has preferential treatment for you.  That, for some reason, you are more important or more significant or luckier than the next guy.  I have a problem with that.

I ask, do you ever feel completely ALONE?  He says, no.  I don’t.  I say, I’ve always kind of felt the same way.  That someone is watching, or in control of my destiny.  But, like I said before, evolution may have caused part of our brain to believe that there is some control from a higher force.  Maybe in a past incarnation of man, they didn’t have that, and perhaps, that man had more chaos in his life.  Because he didn’t feel the presence of God, and felt alone, perhaps he didn’t feel accountable for his actions.  Therefore, the chaos, and lack of a possibility for a society with rules, and cohesion.  If we didn’t feel this presence, mankind would not progress.  Maybe that form of man died out because of it, and a new man, with this God-presence feeling, arose from the ashes.

He says, I’ve never really thought about that.

I say, so recently, I’ve been trying to control my brain into believing that there’s a programming involved, and it’s been liberating.  To believe that there’s, in actuality, no one watching, that I can have some privacy, that there’s no one judging me, and that I can have full control over my destiny, instead of some other higher force.  That I can stand on my own, and not wait for destiny to play its hand.  I can get up in the morning, make my own decisions on what path my life will take.  But like I said before, even with this theory, I’m not negating the idea of a higher force.  I’m just saying that we are in the driver’s seat.  That we, and we alone, control our destiny, and regulate what we do and do not do, and are responsible completely for our actions, and how we follow societies rules.

He says, hm.  I’ll have to think about it.

Then he went back to his laptop, and answered more emails.

 

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You Look Lonely

I’m doing banquet bartending for a wedding.  Bartending a wedding is pretty cool.  And can be lucrative.  There’s four bartenders tonight, so its thinned out a bit.  But everybody’s in a merry mood, and there’s hot chicks getting their drunk on, which is always entertaining.

There’s a lull around 10.  I clean up my bar area, get it organized, then stand there, and stare forward.  Nothing else to do, my busy work is done.  I am completely against being on my phone during work.  It just looks unprofessional when you see a bartender on Facebook.  Leave that for after work.  And actually, it’s a great excuse to NOT be on my phone.  Who doesn’t have an addiction to their damn phone?!?  It’s hard not to.  It’s a great way to feed that need for attention.  It’s like any drug that makes us feel good for awhile, getting a text, an email, a like.  It’s a disgusting rabbit hole I’m trying to curtail.

But now here I am writing, posting on a blog, to get attention.

I’m standing there, staring forward.  It’s kind of peaceful, I clear my mind.  To be honest, yes, I’m an actor, and I really do hate TV.  I know it’s cliche to say, oh, I don’t watch TV, but truth be told, I do hate it.  I keep busy with staring at my bedroom wall, writing, walking, and working.  I suppose I need to come up with some kind of hobby, but every time I do, I get obsessed with it.  Chess.  I took lessons for six months, it stressed me out to no end.  I can’t just have fun with something.  I have to do it to death.  Just pound it into the ground.  I smoked cigars for a year.  But, yeah, could I smoke one a week?  Nope.  I’ve got to smoke three a day.  Yeah, that’s an expensive habit.  Finally quit that habit, because your clothes reek, and your wallet is empty.

I’m standing there, staring off, breathing, meditating, a wedding goer comes up, says, you look lonely.  I say, do I?  I’m happy here with all my imaginary friends.  She smiles, and orders a drink.  Basic vodka tonic.  No problem.  She leaves, I go back to staring forward.  After five minutes, another partygoer comes up, says, you look bored.  I say, not really.  And is it so wrong to be bored?  She says, no.  I don’t have TIME to be bored, I’m so busy.

Now here’s the rub and what I’m getting to.  I notice that people have this HUGE fear of being bored.  Why not sit in a room, and stare at the wall, and be bored?  Relax your mind.  Meditate.  Because THAT’s when things come to you.  You fill the void with Facebook, and TV, and other shit just to feel not-alone.  But let me tell you.  You are basically doing the same thing as I am when I’m staring at a wall.  But what I’m doing is better.  Most of the things we fill our time with is garbage, and a detriment to our well being.  Because people are so afraid to be “bored”, they fill the void with negative things.  Drugs, alcohol abuse, etcetera.  All because they are afraid to be bored.  Give yourself a break, people!  You’re going to wake up in the future and realize that no matter what, you’re alone, and you’ve always been alone.  You’ll be standing there at the assisted-living center, looking out the window staring off in the distance wondering where all your buddies have gone.  How about right now shut it down?  Be ok with being bored, and so called lonely.  See boredom as a good thing.  See loneliness as a chance to get closer to figuring out why you’re here.  Or at least, why you’re not here.

I finish making the drink, she leaves, and I go back to standing there, waiting for my next customer, and also, kind of just to fuck with people, and see how many of them say, oh, you look bored.  Want some company?

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The Racist

I’m behind the bar at the hotel.  Got called in last minute to cover a shift for a fellow bartender.  I guess my fellow bartender had a death in his family.  Happy to help, he’s a great guy.

I get the bar set up, one guy is already there.  I go up to him, he asks for a vodka cranberry.  Sure, no problem.  I make him the drink.

We get to talking.  I would say he’s from a small town in Iowa, by the way he looks, and he told me.  He’s wearing what I believe to be a Nascar shirt.  He tells me he’s an electrician.  A solid occupation.  Better than bartending, I’ll tell you that.

He asks me, you like track racing?  I think for a moment.  My answer could help or hurt my tip line.  I say, honestly, um…I don’t quite know what that is.  But, no, car racing really isn’t my thing.  But it seems cool.

The thing about the beginning of the shift, there’s always that first guy that sits down, and you have to talk with this one person, because there’s no one else to help.  It can get awkward and exhausting, depending on the customer.  This guy, well, I’m trying to look busy cleaning and organizing, so I don’t have to talk a year with him.

He finishes his 3rd vodka cranberry, he asks for another one.  I make it, set it down, then he says, you know what I like about this place?  I say, what’s that?  He says,

There’s no black people.

Oh boy.  Here we go.

I can’t even remember the last time I met a straight-up racist.  At least one that ADMITS to it.  They’re a strange, hateful, ignorant breed of bird that I like to stay away from.  Yeah, of course, we’re ALL racist, up to a point.  But I clearly have a handful of black friends that I care for and love greatly.  And also, I voted for Obama TWICE.  And you definitely can’t be racist if you did that.

Just to clarify, I say back to him, you don’t like black people?  He says, no.  I don’t.

I say, ok.

Wow.  I just can’t believe this guy.  Yeah, I’m white, but I could easily be married to a black woman.  And yes, I said before, some of my closest friends happen to be black.  I don’t want to be on my high horse, but that’s just WRONG to put that out to someone you don’t know.

Minutes later, he says, can you run my tab?  I say, sure no problem.  I run his tab, it’s around 30 bucks.  I put it in a folder, hand it to him.  I say, fakely, hey.  Thanks for sitting at my bar!  He says, sure.  Thanks.

He signs his slip, leaves, I look, it’s a 2 dollar tip.

Great guy.  Racist…and cheap.

The perfect combo.

 

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