Monday, November 29, 2010
what remains of our first month
We woke with a late start on Thanksgiving morning. Minds foggy with hangovers. Bodies weary from the odd hours we keep these days. The bloody mary morning started without us. Seems we weren't missed, however, as the bloody mary mix was flowing well before we arrived and there was only a gallon or so left of the six (or so) gallons of mix PerryA had whipped up.
Phew. That morning was the true test of the mix recipe we'd devised. Seems it's here to stay. That's one concoction down.
The Bartender and I are accustomed to awkward Thanksgivings. When playing a part in this industry, it's more than likely that you will be working on this holiday. Previous years, I spent the meal with my family and drove tepid leftovers home for him to eat after his shift ended. This year, my siblings have moved states away and my parents met with other family members at their cabin, a few hours travel from here.
Up until the afternoon of, we couldn't say until what time we'd keep the bar open. Or, if we chose to pause for the meal, what time we'd reopen for the post-meal crowd. As the room mellowed mid-afternoon, we locked up for a few hours. Spent the remaining moments before his night shift between his brother's house and his dad's, where he fell asleep from pure exhaustion.
We headed back home (together!) at around 3:00 AM. Waking for work the next day was brutal. The desolate roads and almost empty parking lot were not encouraging. An early release allowed for a lunch spent together on the couch, followed by yet another nap (noticing the trend here?) before he left for work. Again.
With crossed fingers (and toes) I tell you that we are starting to surface from the maze of this beginning. Days shy from the first month marker, the paint has dried around chatting patrons. The mammoth jukebox is replaced by a smaller wall-mounted cousin. The new bar sink is being set in place by The Bartender. He is finishing the sign with a friend. We are selecting a draft tower to replace the crooked basketball tower that currently resides there. (I never would have thought so much goes into picking a draft tower.) I've replaced the 4-pack wines with a house red and white that I may feel somewhat proud of.
We are nudging our way into a new routine. Cherishing the few moments we share each week. Growing used to being at the bar on "nights off" because that's where we now find our friends. We have added a new member to the bar family. And, yes, we are starting to feel like a family. Delving into this business together, with care, has done that to us all.
On Saturday night, we were seated at the farthest end of the bar. Friends he'd grown up with but hadn't seen in many years were surrounding him with talk of what's new and memories of what once was. I was focused on devising a few holiday-themed cocktails with PerryA. During a moment's pause, I caught sight of: a woman grooving her shoulders and swaying her hips with eyes closed in sync with a song she clearly had chosen; our newest member dancing along with a regular between shots of pool; our dear painter lad intently discussing life since high school with another friend; and, PerryA sashaying behind the bar between servings. While musing internally about these coinciding moments, I felt content.
I realized then that I enjoy being on "this side" of the bar more so than in the mix of the drinking. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a night out just as much as most in this bar. This moment was the first time that I took to stop, pull myself away from the thinking/worrying to simply look around at what this bar is right now. The change is already set in motion. The lot of us are creating this room. This scene. And, we have much more to offer. In time.