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

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Frosty the Freak

My apologies for the length between posts. The holiday season can be hellish to bartenders, and I've been exhausted. More importantly, as much as I wish this could be a daily blog, the truth is that bartending can be as tedious and predictable as it is interesting and fun, and sometimes I just have to be patient until some worthy stranger happens upon my corner of booze, brass and wood.

Tonight was that kind of night, and I was amazed to discover there was no full moon. Couldn't judge by the caliber of bar customers.

Very Nice Guy is one of the first customers of the evening, and politely requests a "beer list," which I find cute. He's a little nervous, but sweet, and asks to see a menu. I set him up with cutlery, salt and pepper, and bread, and he finally admits, sheepishly, that he's waiting for a blind date and isn't planning to eat at the bar. While trying to help me clear everything away, he knocks over the salt, which might have been his first clue that the night would go badly.

He's nursing his Michelob Ultra (Mich Ultra... why???) when his date arrives with an enormous shopping bag. It's the first time they've met in person, but they have an odd rapport which suggests an internet hook-up and a few phone conversations. She asks for a pair of scissors before she orders a drink, and she quickly employs them to rip into a cardboard box in the bag.

Then she whips out a three-foot animatronic snowman, and, ignoring her nervous date, installs the batteries. She dumps all of her package remnants on my clean, shiny bar.

I find it just delightful when patrons hand over their trash to me as if I were some sort of handy receptacle.

The snowman looks kind of like this, but when she turns him on, he lights up, and one of his hands swings a string of well, honestly, they look like anal beads. I don't really understand what they are supposed to be. He sings "Frosty the Snowman" while his hand just goes crazy, swinging these beads around. I don't get it.

She decides he needs a seat. She pulls a barstool close to her, sets him on it, and asks for a drink. For the snowman. As I prepare a highball of water and lime for the doll, her date looks on with horror.

Our POS system allows servers to send me messages from all over the restaurant, which print as chits in red ink. They rarely abuse this tool, and management frowns upon it, but tonight, they're piling up like crazy. Each time I hear the printer, I choke back tears and laughter while pretending to busy myself making drinks. A sampling?

"Those seriously look like anal beads"

"Frosty the FREAK"

"Put them in my section and I'll fucking kill you"

For close to an hour, she fusses with Frosty, laughs at Frosty, makes conversation with Frosty. She even answers for him in her best Frosty-voice! She shows Frosty off to other customers who are beginning to pile in. "This seat is TAKEN!!" she cackles to onlookers eyeing the stool. She throws her head back in laughter with regularity, and doesn't much acknowledge her poor date, Very Nice Guy, who tips me nicely as the hostess takes them, and Frosty, to their table. The remaining bar customers look at me as if she's my fault, or something.

I wonder if she always brings a holiday-appropriate doll on her blind dates. Perhaps that's her version of a way out of a bad date, an "emergency phone call from a friend," if you will, only in the form of a really obnoxious animatronic snowman.

I also wonder if she's ever had a second date. In her life.

Ya know, I don't believe there's a "War on Christmas," but, after tonight, I'd consider enlisting.