You Never Know…

It was a sweaty July night 2004.  Maroon 5’s Songs About Jane was blasting from the CD player of my 2001 Toyota Camry.  My best friend and I had just blatantly lied to her mother about our evening plans.  Sorry Mama, we didn’t watch Miss Congeniality again.  We went hunting for a competitive game of Fuck the Dealer. At this point, we had developed a fondness for hockey, and lucky for us our high school team was good! I think it’s safe to say we were their biggest fans!  They loved to party and if you could get passed the whole, smelling like an ass all the time things, they were a lot of fun.

So, one of our super smelly, yet amazingly sweet hockey friends had let us know about this party that would be mostly hockey guys. One other thing you should know about hockey guys is that while they are the sweetest, most protective humans on the planet, they are also bat shit crazy!  I mean, they voluntarily play a sport that is known to cause loss of teeth.  They encourage fighting…on ice…while they’re wearing blades.  There is a certain level of rage required to take the ice.

Now, this was long before smart phones and a GPS was something only salesmen used.  So, we got actual, old-school directions….written down….on paper. The directions took us to a part of town we had never been before.  It was insanely dark and you could almost hear the sound of banjos playing in the background.  But Adam Levine’s sweet, sultry vocals kept us calm.  That or we were so young and naive to think anything of driving in the pitch black to a place we’d never been to party with people we barely knew.  I’m choosing to believe the Adam Levine thing.

We got to what we think was the driveway to said party.  “This can’t be right.”  We drove down a long, muddy mess of a driveway.  “Where the hell are we?” my friend asks.  To which I replied, “We’re either going to have a GREAT time, or we’re going to die.  Either way, let’s roll!” This is one of those moments, in hind-sight, that makes me terrified for my daughter.  We could immediately tell from the people stumbling out of the small A-frame cabin that these folks got the party started long before we got there.  So instead of being “fashionably” late, we were “stone cold sober while everyone else was hammered” late.

We walked through the front door praying we would find someone we knew.  Instead we were greeted by a couple in the midst of a lovers quarrel.  Now, my memory fails me as to what they were fighting about, but I’m fairly certain I can assume it was over something incredibly stupid.  The girl ended up outside crying with her girlfriends encircling her saying things like, “He’s an asshole!” and “You can do so much better!”  You know, the things girlfriends are contractually obligated to say in a situation like that.  The guy however, took a different approach.  He ripped his shirt off, shouted FUCK THAT BITCH, and started wrestling with one of his guy friends in the kitchen, which was also the living room, and a little bit the bathroom.

At this point, we should have made an about-face and bolted for the door, but being 18 and incredibly stupid, we saw a guy too hammered to keep inventory of his beer stash and a deck of cards.  Who wants to play Fuck the Dealer?! Where many would see a potentially dangerous situation, we saw an opportunity.  What can I say? We’re opportunists!

Needless to say, things thinned out pretty quickly after that shit show.  Which was fine by us. Fewer people equals more beer.  On the way back to my house, we recapped the evening, “How crazy was that fight?  Why did that guy not have a shirt on?  That girl must be psycho! Was he really fighting that guy or just playing?  Are we sure that was his place?”

Well, last week my friend and that guy celebrated their 5th wedding anniversary.  I am so proud to have been there the first time they met, the day they got married, and to welcome their two children.  While she still enjoys a solid game of Fuck the Dealer, he rarely removes clothing and screams FUCK THAT BITCH anymore.  They have established a life that’s built firmly on love, laughter, and understanding.  The way he looks at his bride is what every girl hopes for her best friend.  Sometimes Prince Charming rides in on a white stallion. Sometimes he rides in with an empty case of Busch Light on his head.

Happy Anniversary, you crazy kids!  Don’t ever stop being you!

 

P.S. that tiny A-frame cabin would turnout to be their very first home together.  The kitchen floor was still stained with his blood from that night.  Nostalgia.

Tips From a Retired Bartender

It feels like a lifetime ago since I was last slinging cocktails behind a bar.  And if I said I missed it and those were the best years of my life would you think less of me as a parent?  Wait….I don’t care.  Those were the BEST days of my life.  I stayed up all night.  I slept all day.  I got all the attention I craved as a self-conscious 20-something.  It was a great life.  There were, of course, some down sides.  People being the main one.  I Hate People

There are a lot of people when you work in the service industry.  People who have never worked in the service industry.  On the rare occasion that my husband and I actually get to go to a bar, I still pay attention to how bartenders/servers are treated by the general public.  Same bar problems; same bar place. If you’re in your late 20’s and beyond, please pay attention.

Always Tip.  Your argument for not tipping is invalid.

Drink In Your Lane. Chances are in you’re in this age group you at least have a job.  Maybe not a great job, but a job none-the-less.  You’re, for all intents and purposes, a grown up.  Please act as such.  Walking up to the bar in your $200 jeans, $150 shoes, $600 purse and asking what the specials make a bartender want to punch you right in your outrageously debted face.  Now, I understand drinking on a budget.  Why do you think you can find me on any given Friday wine drunk as fuck on my couch watching the new season of Better Call Saul at 10PM? However, don’t drink some disgusting concoction that is only on special because they got a case of shitty flavored vodka for free and need to get rid of it.  You’re not in college anymore.  Order a Well vodka and soda, and move on.

Read the menu.  That’s why they’re there. A bartender’s time is precious.  Especially if they’re busy.  They make their money off tips, so volume is key.  If you don’t know what you want, just ask them to come back around, or backup from the bar until you’re ready.  DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT ask the bartender what they have on draught, make that poor bastard rattle off all the craft beers with small descriptions of each, and then order a Jack and Coke.  Read the fucking menu!  Anymore, bars are really good about describing what beers and booze they have.  Granted, if a bartender isn’t busy, they would probably be more than willing to talk IPA’s with you, but if the bar is 3 deep, decide what you want before you get to the plate.

Leave your Wolf of Wall Street impression at home.  giphySo, as a young professional you might be kind of a big deal within your company, industry, region, whatever the case may be.  And good for you.  Buy a round for your friends and celebrate.  But overall, the rest of the people in the bar, including the bartender, don’t give a fuck where you work.  There is nothing worse than some cocky bastard walking up to the bar, pushing people out of his and making a spectacle of himself to get a drink. “Do you know who I am?” “Don’t worry, I know the owner here” “I work at XYZ Company, this place would be nothing without us.” It does nothing but makes everyone hate you in every way… and assume that you have a very tiny penis.  It is a great way to get ignored….for the rest of your life.

Make a connection. At the end of the day, bartenders are people.  They want to be treated as such.  Ask their name.  Spark conversation, preferably interesting conversation.  If you create that connection, you will get served immediately.  You might even get a free drink or shot out of the deal.  It’s basic human nature.  We help out the people we like.  The girl who hangs over the bar to get your attention and then leaves you a $0.50 tip is going to get ignored the rest of the night.  The girl who makes small talk while the bartender is obviously annoyed by the one guy who is trying to order for 20 people, will always get served as soon as he sees her walk back up to the bar.  Shocking!!  Bartenders don’t want to be treated like shit.  It really is that easy.

In conclusion.  Tip your bartender.  Know what you want. Get to know them.  Don’t be a dick.

The more you know