Sunday, December 18, 2005

Miss Saturday Night

If you have read this blog for any period of time, then you know I'm a part-time bartender. And when I say part-time, I mean Saturday nights only. I have a career that I love, and I don't really need the extra income, but honestly, the money ain't bad, and I like the social outlet that working there provides.

The bar I work at is your average neighborhood shithole. A dive, if you will. The tile on the floor hasn't been replaced since it was installed in the early Fifties, and the urinals in the Men's room frequently decide against flushing. I still swear that Jimmy Hoffa is buried in the basement, which, of course, can only be accessed by a trap door in the floor behind the bar.

Just two blocks away from Wrigley Field, it is by far the least Wrigley-like bar in a six square block radius. It's the kind of place where you're more likely to find Black Flag on the jukebox than Dexie's Midnight Runners. In fact, I'm quite certain that if Come on Eileen were to actually play in the bar, the regulars might form a revolt and tear the place down.

The regulars. Ah yes, my dear and faithful alcoholic compatriots. They run the gamut in terms of dress, occupation, lifestyle & wealth. On any given Saturday night, I serve construction workers, Starbuck's baristas, stock brokers, web designers, unemployed actors, musicians and school teachers. While diametrically different, they are all tied together by one common thread. They love to drink - hard. Cosmpolitans and Amaretto Stone Sours are definitely NOT in their vocabulary. Give 'em an Old Style, a shot of Jameson and a cigarette & they're happy as clams. And keep 'em coming!

While I really do enjoy working at this bar, there are a few things that, from time to time, drive me absolutely batty. I can put up with people complaining about the dire state of the bathrooms. It don't blink an eye when someone says, for the three-hundredth time that evening, that the balls are stuck in the pool table, and I'm barely phased when a customer tells me that someone has puked by the Golden Tee - again. But some things...some things really piss me off, and I'm going to list them off for you.

1. Regulars that believe they own the bar.

For some reason or another, there are a handful of regular customers that believe they have some say in how the place should be run. Randy, for example, has been coming in since, oh, 1990, and never fails to offer up his special brand of Heineken-induced bullshit. "You haven't given me a free beer yet," or "Trix, gimme the remote! I wanna see if Desperate Housewives is a re-run." Now, if Randy were a quiet, unassuming guy, I might be more apt to take his crap. But he's not. He's THAT guy. You know him. He's always right, and he always knows a better way to do things. Randy is the worst kind of customer...the one who's so obnoxious he actually chases new guests away. If he asks me to change the channel from the Bears game to Law & Order one more time, I'm going to shove his bottle of Heineken down his throat.

2. Sorority Girls/Fraternity Boys

While I am quite certain there are a few exceptions to the rule, for the most part, college kids, and in particular, those involved in the Greek system suck major ass. Mind you, we don't get many of them in my place, but when there's a Cubs home game, EVERY bar is busy in the neighborhood. If they don't want to wait for an hour to get in to The Cubby Bear (vomit) or John Barleycorn (double vomit), they'll inevitably find their way in to my domain. But the rules of etiquette in those two hell holes are markedly different than my bar. For the record, it is NOT acceptable to:

a) pay the bartender for your beer with your laundry quarters.
b) piss in the trash can (even if the urinals don't flush).
c) spill your beer and then ask for a free refill.
d) dance on the pool table.
e) puke on top of the bar.
f) chug beer from a pitcher.
g) ask if you can drink directly from the tap.

All of the above are ground rules for a serious ass-kicking, and our regulars will be more than happy to oblige. And one more thing...why the hell do sorority bimbos insist on going to a BALLGAME in stilettos? That just annoys the piss out of me.

3. Bad Tippers

Do I really need to explain this one? Here's the deal. I don't work in a corporate hell hole, where I'm forced to be pleasant to every customer who is kind enough to grace me with their presence. If you leave me fifty cents on the bar, you can be certain that you WILL NOT get served again. Take your chump change & shove it up your ass. You obviously need it more than I do.

4. Husbands of my friends staring at me...while their wives are sitting next to them.

I've posted about this before. Look, beyond the fact that it's creepy, you're wives & girlfriends are my friends and it's just plain disrespectful. If I'm wearing a low-cut shirt, it's not for your personal enjoyment. It's for cash, plain & simple. Don't ask me to bend over to pick up the dollar you dropped. Don't tell me about how you think your marriage is a mistake. The bottom line is, you're married, and therefore, off the market. Not that I'd ever be attracted to the likes of you if you were single, you fat fuck.

and finally...

5. I'm a bartender, not an idiot.

This one just kills me. People always make assumptions that because I'm a bartender, I've got to be an idiot. It's as if I hold a lower value on the social ladder, and so they feel free to talk to me as such. I must be a single-mother, ex-crack addict dropout without an education, right? Wrong. Here's the truth. I'm a highly-educated woman with a full time career, who happens to like my job as a bartender. I'm also the bitch who just spit in your drink & took a ten dollar tip off of you. So while you're slaving away at your 70 hour a week law/PR/trader job just to make ends meet & pay off forty grand in student loans, I'll be on an airplane to Rome, enjoying a Chianti with the cash you just paid me.

So, that's it. I can only hope if you have ever found yourself doing any of the above, that you'll think of me before you consider acting that way again. And please, stop on by if you ever find yourself in Chicago on a Saturday night. Just look for the 50 year old Old Style sign hanging out front.

If you're nice, I may even buy you a beer...

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