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

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Some people are just intolerable. I've been doing this bartending thing for awhile, and I've met all kinds, but the really rude ones still just blow me away.

It's a pretty busy night, and even though it's hectic and I'm not spending the kind of time I want to with my customers, I'm thrilled when Baseball Doug comes in. I haven't seen him in weeks, and he's really just the best; the kind of regular that can make a bad night good, the kind of regular all regulars should aspire to be.

We start chatting and catching up when a couple takes the barstools nearest the server station. It's one of those May-December things; he's a little overweight, grey, and sweaty, and comes off as wealthy, while she's youngish with hilarious cartoon breasts, the kind you can't help but gawk at. I can't wait to tell the guys in the kitchen to come out and ask me for orange juice just so they can bear witness. I tell Doug I'll be right back and ask the couple what they'd like.

"Ummm, wine list!" she says. She actually snaps her fingers and it makes my head jerk involuntarily. I forget that some people can tell when I'm annoyed with them, but she's the kind of woman who enjoys it.

They end up ordering our cheapest Pinot Noir, which surprises me. Two glasses instead of a bottle. I serve them, and scurry away to talk Detroit Tigers with Doug.

I'm in mid-sentence when I hear, "Excuse me!" Now, "excuse me" is certainly a way to get attention at a busy bar, but not a good way. Doug smirks and I head over to them.

"We want the big glasses," she says to me. I probably sound like like a wiseass when I reply, "For your Pinot Noir? You want the balloons?"

"Yes," he answers this time, serious as the heart attack he looks like he could have at any moment. It pains me to appease them, but it's the path of least resistance and since it will get me away from them faster, I choose it.

The bar gets busier and as I'm taking a new, polite couples' order, she barks out to me again. This time she prefers to shout "Hey!" Without taking my eyes off the nice couple, I give her the finger... the index finger, the universal bartender sign that I'll be with you in just one fucking moment so please try to control yourself while I help another customer. When I finally respond to her emergency, she asks, or, rather, commands me to pull down a bottle of Barolo from the rack. It's one of our best bottles and when she tells him that it's her absolute favorite wine ever, I'm surprised she can tell it from a bottle of Genesee. She knows it's expensive, that's for sure.

As I stand there awaiting her next order, the hostess arrives to take them to their table and I'm off the hook. I hand him the check, she snatches it away and says... wait for it... she actually says, out loud, "If we transfer it to the table you don't have to tip her."

She's the kind of girl who never gives a thank-you wave when you let her into crowded traffic. I hate to admit it, but she got under my skin. Him not so much, but they do seem perfect together.

Enough about them. Go Tigers! And get out there and enjoy Tall Stacks, everyone... what a kickoff; even the rain felt good.

I was born by the river in a little tent
Oh just like that river I've been running ever since
It's been a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will

It's been too hard living, but I'm afraid to die
'Cause I don't know what's out there beyond the sky
It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will

- Al Green, "A Change Is Gonna Come"