Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Bartender

A bartender finally done with his night was full of energy. He walked along the Avenue in the direction of traffic between the moving cars and parked ones while hailing for a cab. It was classic rush-hour cab hailing tactics, but it was before seven in the morning on a Saturday. I was initially nervous when I saw him on the street. He was a big enough guy; if he weren't a bartender he could've been a police officer, a firefighter, or a hired goon. It turned out he was a nice guy and he was anxious to dump his stories on me for the ride uptown.

I told him I thought about being a bartender too; I heard they make good money; I have friends who do that gig.

“Yeah it’s tough though,” he said.

I told him how I saw many similarities between the cabbie and the barkeep. We have to deal with a multitude of any sort. However the cab driver has a little more ability to avoid certain people, and the bartender deals with drinkers all night long.

“Well just this night. I had this guy who threw a bottle at my head,” he said.


“Yeah, and he hit me while my back was turned too. So I jumped over the bar and punched him in the face, and dragged him out of the bar.”

"Don't you have bouncers?" I asked.

"Some places don't. Mine does, but they just watch the front. I have to maintain my bar in the back." He paused a second, “And that was just one of the things that happened tonight, it is typical.”

This was one of those special fares that might have mistaken this for an episode of taxicab confessions. It was as if he knew I wanted all the stories I could get.

“But you,” he said, “I wouldn’t want your job. You got your partition open. Once they come in, all they have to do is stick a gun to your head and BAM! It’s over.” He shaped his hand like a gun and poked it through to the front half to illustrate his point.

“Uhh, yeah, well I wouldn’t be here if that happened, so eh, so far so good eh.” I retorted.

He was in his mid-thirties approaching forty and was planning his own way of settling. He and his girlfriend lived in the Upper-East Side and he was thinking of owning his own bar in the neighborhood.

It was a nice ride and he kept me entertained the whole time, plus he added 5 bucks in a tip. The bartenders know how to do it. Although maybe I should've recommended he drink some calming tea, rather than whatever it was he was on.

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