Of Bars, Booze, and Bartending - Proving "Coughlin's Law" Invalid Since Feb '05

Friday, July 08, 2005

7-7-05: Champagne Toasts, No Caviar Dreams

It's been a horrible day. Watching the events unfold in London does not put one in the proper mood to go off and be chipper and amusing to all.

I arrive to work, exhausted by the news of the day, feeling sorrowful and overwhelmed, so I'm pleased by the distraction of significant changes to the beverage menu for Friday night's rehearsal dinner in the banquet room. It's a big party, and at the last minute, the hostess, the groom's grandmother, has phoned and decided she wants a champagne toast, after all.

Our GM is in a panic, so I just tell him to give me her number. We have less than two hours to place a specialty order of bubbly.

"What are you going to say?" he worries.

"I'll just ask her if there is a particular champagne she has in mind, because I need to order it for her," I reply, irritated at his hesitation.

"But she said she'd call back."

"She hasn't called back. Give me her number or she's getting White Zin for her toast," I snap. I just need something to do. Badly.

The phone rings and rings, and finally someone picks up, without saying hello. It's an older man, and he's yelling at somebody. I can't really make out what he's saying, but damn, is he angry.

"Hello...?" I interrupt.

"I don't care, I don't care, I DON'T CARE!!! GET THE PHONE!!!" he yells, his voice trailing off.

A smile breaks over my face and I decide to keep listening. It's the first laugh I've had on this horrible day. You have to be thankful for the little things.

After much background commotion, a cracking female voice comes on the line. "Can I help you?" she snaps.

I'm thinking, Hey! Isn't that supposed to be my line?

"Ma'am, hello, it's Jennifer from the restaurant. I'm calling to confirm your champagne selection for tomorrow evening's banquet."

"What? Aren't you people supposed to take care of that?" she says. I can hear her hand rustling over the mouthpiece as she attempts to conceal her side argument with her husband.

"Yes, of course," I say, and it's hard to hold back my laughter. "Is there a particular champagne you had in mind, though?"

"Oh for God's sake, how the hell do I know?" she literally yells. "Asti Spumante, Jesus, I don't care, do your job!" She ends the conversation with a swift hang-up, and I laugh uncontrollably. It's cathartic, and inappropriate, but that's emotion for you.

I really wish I had recorded the conversation. The two of them were a real piece of work, and I can't wait to meet the happy wedding party tomorrow. Good Times.

After I recover, I call my trusty wine rep and order a case of crap Asti. The episode turns out to be the brightest spot of my day.

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Britain tonight.

I saw a film today oh, boy
The English Army had just won the war
A crowd of people turned away
But I just had to look
Having read the book
- The Beatles, "A Day In The Life"