The Bartender’s View

 A few weeks ago, I found one of the funniest video’s I had seen in a while. See below for “Sh** People Say to Bartender’s”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McMWRA4Tzw0

and laugh with me..or at yourself if you have ever asked for a “FUUNN DRINK…For REAALLZZ”

  I work at a Country Club,so the clientele is pretty much the same people day in and day out. Except for weekends like the one I just finished where the young members (between 24ish to five years older than me) bring their guests and they pay a fee for open bar and golf all weekend. Fun times…fun times….We the bartenders get to watch them binge drink the night before the game and then give them Bloody Mary’s at six a.m. and all the beer they can drink on the golf course. When the games are over they hit the pool…and clear out whatever is left at the pool bar. Even though it is a different sort of atmosphere then a pub or a bar, the experience provided to the paying party is the same, just in a more posh environment. The girls talk the same, from the time they are ten until they are …however old they get continuing to talk like Kim Kardashian. Sometimes it is more than my ears can stand.

  “Can I getttt a Orange Crushh”?(ten year old)

  “Can I gett….do you havvvv cranberry?? OH FUNNNN, can I get a vodka cranbarry?”
  The tones and added vowel sounds cannot be typed out but any reality show featuring heiresses or uptown girls or valley girls has the same voice. It is like they cookie cut themselves to look alike and somehow in some form of weird osmosis they acquired the same voice. 
  Then there are the medical school reunions or award ceremonies. Ever hear the bar joke that starts “a sailor, a soldier and an airman walk into a bar”? Well I have actually seen that happen…on two occasions. The same event every year. A marine officer, naval officer, and an army officer. The interesting things never really come from them, they just do what they do-flirt and use their super polished manliness to get us to make drinks that we are actually not supposed to make at the country club…and of course we do it. “Honey, I’m serving my country here, you mean I cant get a scotch neat…I wont tell *wink*. A girl would have to be a stone to not give the man his drink. It’s the wives…or girlfriends or fiance’s of those men that always cause the scene. they get drunker,louder and overall just obnoxious while the men are in their circle probably insulting each others branches. I often wonder what exactly is holding those relationships together, then I see the women dancing together in curious ways and I shut my mind down in order to not ponder the thought a second longer.

   Diet Coke. The only non alcoholic drink that the place would fold without. I hear them discuss how it has been proven that aspartame kills, causing Alzheimer, cancer and the like but please give them ten more and their children too…cant have those calories…

Calories…need a fun drink, without too many calories, not allot of juice there are too many calories. Can you make a “skinny” drink? Do you have “Skinny Girl” vodka? The boss finally gets Skinny Girl but he only gets the tangerine flavored for some reason.
 You cut yourself on something every day…opening champagne, opening Grey Goose (aluminum foil wrapper cuts), wine opener cuts-or stabs. If you have natural nails, you cant grow them too long you might lose one painfully after opening five hundred beers at a wedding or ball. Alcohol and soda spill on your hands all the time also dries them out no matter how much lotion you use. I had to break my life long trend of just having great nails and shamefully subjected to paying for a manicure once a couple of months ago. 

   Polishing glasses for the night shift because they pretty much refuse to. I polished glasses for three hours today. The budget wont allow for one of those bar glass steamers that would cut the time to a minimum of…um…never heaving to polish glass wear again..but year after year management tells me we cant have one, yet they come and find water spots on glasses and sigh in desperation…I just stare off in the distance and act like they are invisible. Hey at least I am the bartender that does the glasses..otherwise you would be forced to get a glass cleaner right?

  Then there are the monotonous things that we hear. Every day. “You guys are so great” Thanks you are awesommmmmeee” “What do you have that’s good? “Can I see your wine list? (then they order a wine that they order all the time anyway) “Do you have a drink list?” (Then they order a vodka tonic..the staple of the club). People also have the perception that a bartender gets trashed every weekend. You know,,,because that is how we keep our jobs as responsible bartenders…by getting trashed all the time. If anything, as a bartender my whole perception of alcohol and getting drunk and the “fun” therein is tainted because of my job. As a bartender who sits through classes on how to perceive if someone is intoxicated, and how to slow the process of intoxication and the measures to take if someone IS intoxicated, I very rarely can say that I have actually been intoxicated. As a person who bar-tends for a living, I generally drink wine maybe one-three glasses, after a hot bath at the end of one of these long weekends, only that much if I’m not working. I have only been “out” for drinks three times with my girl friends. Even then, there is that moment that I internally know..if I have one more I will be sick…and I hate being sick. We know the tricks to keep from getting sick. Take a break from the drinks, and drink water for a while. Bar nuts, pretzels etc. If you haven’t drunk an enormous amount, eat something. If you plan on getting drunk don’t drive and again…drink water through the night and you might just wake up with a head ache and dehydration for days after but you wont be hugging the porcelain god the next morning. If you are out with people you don’t know well enough to know how they hold their liquor..don’t drink just watch them..you might have to drive (or maybe that’s just me). Maybe the job of bar tending makes getting “trashed” not seem like all that much fun, we don’t want to look like silly or ridiculous like some of what we see. All though, I have not had to deal with a bar brawl or some of the things I have seen outside of the bubble of the country club scene, where every one is a professional drinker and sometimes I don’t know how they can walk out of the building alive, I have seen intoxication and people oblivious to their surroundings. Once we were hosting and bar tending a non member party, an old man fell and likely broke his hip. People walked around him and the medics to get to the bar. I shut the bar down. 

A side note here…
 A recovering alcoholic told me that alcohol was an amplifier. It is. I don’t know how some people numb or drown their sorrows or regrets with it. I tried that but it didn’t work. Anything you try to forget just gets louder. If I was embarrassed or hurt then whatever had embarrassed me just replayed in my mind…over and over. If I tried to stifle an emotion than that emotion just came out louder. If I just wanted the thoughts in my head to be quiet..they just got louder and found their way to be expressed to people who really did not care to know, and who might have lost respect for me. Never write someone dear to you a drunk email…it might ensure you never see that person again. Thank God that I am not prone to alcoholism, two drinks is really all I can handle and that is the truth. Getting drunk to forget you are sad only makes you sadder. Getting drunk when you are happy just makes you obnoxious.That is what I see too, if people are happy they get happier and they love you (the bartender) If they want to get drunk and that is their goal -they have a mission and just keep coming to you. Once a man was so intoxicated I gave him plain soda water and lime for the rest of the night. He was so drunk he didn’t notice and he kept telling me how awesome I was. That actually was kind of funny.

     Being a bartender is not to be taken lightly, and it’s not a super fun job. We aren’t all rock stars, and in Alabama with all its archaic rules that have nothing to do with preventing intoxication, it can be stressful. Some think that it must be awesome because they think that “I don’t have to do the same thing every day”. Yes I do. See video above. People are the same everywhere.In my environment I often think of the Miranda Lambert song “Only Prettier”, in all honesty some people may hate my thick southern dialect, and given that I work in the end of service industry that is catering to people who HAVE more. I could be anywhere, and they are just having their escape from their monotony…(all though they ARE at the club almost every day) Every job has its monotony. So without further ado, I’m off to have my second Captain and Coke (spiced). Here is to the moments in this year that were not monotonous and to the people who made that so. You know who you are.

    

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