Bar Night – July 10, 2007

little black bar duck

I am utterly wrecked. Those following along on Twitter got frequent updates on my night from hell.

It started out as any other bar night, with my bands showing up fashionable late. The bar hosted Tyvek, Plexi 3 from Wisconsin, and The Frustrations. I always ask that the bands be there by nine so they can start by ten so I can be home by one-thirty. I am not a musician, as are not the other barmaid and Bossman. While yes the bands are working hard through their twenty-minute sets, I’m working my ass off behind the bar from the time we open until the time we kick the last of the happy drunks out. It’s a tiring profession and a hat tip to any and all bartenders all over the world who slosh drinks for a living.

My bands showed up at about nine-thirty and went on about ten-forty-five, which means I ghet asked every five minutes when the bands are going on. Already we have an unhappy boss.  It was hot pretty much from the start and as the AC fans aren’t working, I’ve got an industrial fan that I keep in my trunk – I dunno why – and a patron that attended an even last week thought ahead and brought a fan of her own. It wasn’t nearly enough, especially after we had to close the back door, kept open for circulation, because of the noise. We usually keep it open for circulation, but the bands get so loud, the neighbor’s complain – as they should – and unhappy neighbors means a bar doesn’t stay open too long.

To say I was sweating like a New York waiter would be an understatement. I try to keep things fairly loose when I dress for the bar, but not slutty or sheer as I have enough problems without showing (more) skin, but I that night could have been naked and still completely miserable. The other barmaid and I took turns stepping outside for fresh air and it was easily 30 degrees cooler outside than in. I was happy I at least chose to wear something light that wouldn’t show how hot I was. Sweat stains just ain’t good for the tips.

While the bar was mostly kids and their excessive drinking, we had a few neighborhood people wander in. This is good as we like to see the people drop by – except last night we had Creepy McGross and his handler. A lot of our locals are Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian, Polish, German, etc… It’s Hamtramck, MI. They are only outnumbered by Middle Easterners, Paskistani Indians, or Muslims. It’s a big melting pot for such a small town. A big, scary melting pot with potential bullets.

Anyway, Creepy doesn’t speak English terribly well but through his grunting and gesticulations I was able to figure out he wanted to buy lots of drinks. His handler, a local guy, probably Serb descendant, lets me know that his buddy is very generous and to ignore him for a while. Between sets they both try and make small talk and I’m as polite as I can be without losing the three dollar tips he’s throwing at me, but it *is* crazy in there and I *am* busy. I get the kind of small talk which proves the chatter isn’t there for conversation so much as a trip to the alley. Yes it’s hot in here, no I’m not dateable, I *am* pretty, thank you. I carry off all of this with a smile. I’m not allowed to carry knives. Anymore.

So the handler takes off at some point probably due to the heat or the fact that I’m not going home with him and Creepy stays put. He needs to use the restroom but it’s on the other side of the bands. The loud bands with the jostling kids and the snaking wires looking for a puddle of beer for a good old-fashioned electrocution.  He puts his hands to head as if to say “this bar, she is loud” and I can only shrug.  Hey, it’s what the kids like. He leaves and is gone about five minutes. When he returns, he wants to buy the ladies* at the end of the bar a drink, but they kindly refuse offering all sorts of excuses to me. I always ask ladies first if it’s okay for someone to buy them a drink. I tell them that saying no is good enough for me. It saves me times from having to make a drink that will be wasted and it saves the Don Juan money. I’m thoughtful like that. Only one girl all night took him up on his offer, but I knew she could kick his ass if she needed too.

Creepy has only had two drinks since arriving but he was probably drunk when he walked in. He likes touching my hand and like our friend Djoko thinks it’s cute to not let go. He disappears for a second time outside and when he returns the Bossman is a few steps behind him. Bossman gives me the hand swipe across the throat motion and it was already clear to me that this one was cut off. Bossman tries to make Creepy leave, buy Creepy waves him off. It looks like it’s going to get ugly with Creepy giving me looks to save him or something, but when the Bossman says all done, he means it. 

The other barmaid asks if I want to step out for some air and I am grateful for the break, both away from the bar and away from Creepy.  The bar is rather small, so there isn’t a designated employee area.  Stepping outside is just that, stepping out side of the doors, standing underneath the awning, and watching the traffic on Conant go by.  While I’m out there, Bossman says that Creepy is cut off – just in case I missed it inside, and he says he’ll be back.  He starts walking down the street.

I enjoy my smoke and the cooler air. There are people standing outside with me also getting a breather from the sweatbox inside. At the corner I see a police cruiser pull up, followed by another – parked all cockeyed. This is the advantage to the bar – it’s literally down the street from the police department.  Makes for quick and easy extractions.

 Bossman walks up with four cops in tow  – and I mean big cops, the kind of cops you see in movies, all top heavy and buldging, just looking for someone to bury their batons into – and into the bar they go. You can imagine the atmosphere inside.

The band hesitates for just a  moment and continues, just a  litle skipped beat, and people are chatting nervously. Some rush outside because clearly someone ratted them out, while others rush inside to see what’s about to go down. These aren’t rave kids by any stretch, but a police situation is still a police situation. No one wants a fire hose turned on them. 

I assure people who are now outside, extremely nervous, and probably carrying things for personal use that they shouldn’t worry and things are fine and we had an unruly patron. I know that’s what the cops are for, I’m not an idiot.  Partying kids are the least of these police officer’s worries, and besides, who wants to book a bunch of party kids anyway.  It was too damn hot.  Next out of the door is Creepy, his hands up, flanked by two cops and the Bossman helpfully points out where Creepy had been urinating along the front of the building. Right out front in view of the street and people enjoying the night air and a smoke or two. I watched them walk back down the street to disappear around the corner. 

And this loser kept touching my hands. Ugh.

Needless to say, that one is banned.

Got home closer to two-thirty that  night because it took forever for the bands to breakdown and get out. Made plenty to make up for the heat and I’m really hoping the Bossman can have it fixed by next Thursday as STEVIE comes in (always a fun time) and the 24th we’ve got The Lobotomys, Birthday Suits (from Minneapolis) and The Frustrations again.

It’s taking longer to write this than it should because I’m sure I’m just completely dehydrated. Headed home and back to bed for a while.

By the by – I was told that unakite is a good substitute for hematite. Comments?

*Minor footnote – one of the ladies I saved from Creepy and his Incredible Expanding Wallet ended up being one of my new co-workers at Lush a few months later. My life is full of little foreshadows like that.