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

Friday, May 12, 2006

Cover of the Rolling Stone

I've had a really great week, and the weekend looks promising. Business has been on the upswing, June weddings approach, with abundant rehearsal dinners, and all is good.

The week started on a bright note when the
1,000th issue of Rolling Stone showed up in my mailbox. I brought it into work, and we all gazed at it as if we'd just taken blotter, trippin' on a black light poster. I'm not one to get all giddy about a magazine cover, but Jann Wenner really hit it out of the park with this one. Too cool. A nice gift to RS subscribers and readers who suffered through the Britney-n-Boy-Band, let's look more like "Blender" era.

I had the pleasure of serving
Belgian Eddie tonight. He ordered his Gentleman Jack, neat, and complained about my pour. Eddie's so predictably obstinate. At one point he called the GM over, saying in his cancerous growl, "Tell your bartender to pour some actual liquor in her drinks."

My GM stood dumbfounded, as per usual, while I said, "Eddie, if you want a double, order one. I take instruction well."

"Then you charge me double so that you can get a bigger tip," he argues, making eye contact with my boss. That's our Eddie, with that absurd accent, reminiscent of a Euro-trash bad guy in a straight-to-DVD thriller, always trying to make me feel like a Dickensian scamp. He's so proud and full of himself. And idiotic.

"Eddie, if you order a double, you pay for a double. Order a single, pay for a single. A double is a single times two. It's not that tricky," I snip, while serving my tipping customers. Our GM sees a chance to help a server with her twelve-top, and makes a graceless escape.

Luckily, the bar gets so busy that I can avoid Eddie. The guy gets under my skin. He shouldn't, but he does, he knows it, and it's why he keeps coming back. Sadist.

Just as a nice businessman thanks me for my hospitality, another arrives in a bad mood, Bluetooth attached to his ear, rude as rude can be. "Something light," he says to me, sliding me into his conversation with some invisible person. I'm not even certain he's addressing me. Bluetooths kinda creep me out.

I have no earthly idea what he means, and since it appears I cannot address him, I gesture the best "what the fuck?" I can muster. He gives me a "huh?" look back. I act out a "drink, or menu?" gesture back to him.

I'm a mime. A humiliated, bad mime. Brilliant.

He finally hangs up, I guess, and decides its time to actually speak to me. "A light wine!" he snaps, and, surprised at the sound of his voice, I reply "White or red? Would you like to see the wine list?"

What is it with customers who think I'm a sage? It is my goal to please you and give you what you want, but you have to work with me. It won't hurt. I promise.

After perusing the list, he asks to taste four different wines. Not all at once, mind you. One at a time. He crinkles his forehead after each taste, and chooses another sample. I feel like a Pour Girl in Sonoma (not that there's anything wrong with that; the weather is nicer and they probably get vacations and benefits). The exercise turns into a Bob Barker shell game, so it cracks me up a bit when he gets his tasting all mixed up and ends up choosing the house Pinot Grigio. Snicker...

"I know what I'd like, but it's not on the menu. You'll make it for me, won't you?"

"I can ask Chef. What's your pleasure?"

"I want the swordfish, blackened. Lightly. They won't overcook it, right? Just put the fish on a Caesar Salad. And some bread. Plain butter."

If there's one thing Chef hates making, it's an entree Caesar Salad. "If they want a fucking meat salad they can go to fucking Wendy's" he preaches, and often. He'll make it, but he'll make you suffer for asking. I type a message to the kitchen about the blackened swordfish salad, adding "see me," and set off on the Walk of Shame toward the swinging brown doors.

"He wants the swordfish. On a Caesar," I explain. I bite my lip as Chef says, "Can he handle the fish, or does he want me to cut it up?"

"Don't make me go out there and ask," I beg of hinm. Chef makes hilarious Italian gestures at me. It's fitting with the mime theme of the evening.

When Bluetooth Man leaves, it's in a dash. He fuddles with his wallet, chatters away to nobody via the ridiculous device lodged in his ear, throws down cash, and bolts for the door. When I count it, I'm not surprised, having witnessed his exit. A $2.00 tip on a $25.00 tab. He was digging the cheap Pinot and the amazing service.

Belgian Eddie and Bluetooth are merely monkeys in the wrench to an otherwise good and lucrative week. As much as I adore the fun customers and generous tippers, the poorly-behaved always leave a more lasting impression. Doesn't that suck?

Thanks to spotting Michael Stipe, way in the background on the trippy Rolling Stone cover, I had the loveliest song in my head tonight, and it gently carried me, floated me, through the evening. I'm so thankful for the little things.

Sometimes I feel like I can't even sing
I'm very scared for this world, I'm very scared for me
Eviscerate your memory
Here's a scene, you're in the back seat laying down
The windows wrap around to the sound of the travel and the engine
All you hear is time stand still in travel
Feel such peace and absolute stillness
Still that doesn't end, but slowly drifts into sleep
The stars are the greatest thing you've ever seen
And they're there for you
For you alone you are the everything

- R.E.M., "You Are The Everything"

Edit: My baseball crush, Bronson Arroyo, pitched eight scoreless innings against Washington tonight. Ken Griffey Jr. came off the DL to hit an 11th inning three-run game-winning homer. The Reds seem to be the tonic to my salty mood of late. Fantastic.