Saturday, April 24, 2010

It was the last train home

I wasn't keeping track of time because I always leave before things become an issue but for some reason I thought it would be grand to visit all of my bartender friends that were working Friday night and that caused me to catch the very last train.

The pillars of Boston society do not ride the last subway train.

The dude that was chatting me up pulled out a bottle of rum that had about two fingers worth of booze at the bottom and offered me a shot. I told him that I was all set. He then moved on to someone more interesting. Someone with a back tattoo. Someone who insisted that the train waiting just outside the station was waiting because he just clocked some guy in the mouth and the authorities were waiting for the police to arrive. He also decline a shot of rum.


My regular bar is not my favorite bar anymore but I still feel some sort of obligation to visit. The place was busy for four o'clock Friday; all the chairs at the bar were taken. I was slid a beer and stood by the railing for the downstairs bathrooms. A manager stood beside me and asked if I wanted him to add a chair at the bar. I told him that I didn't mind standing.

There was only one customer that I recognized and he is disliked by the bartender and I find him to be annoying; but there was plenty of distance between he and me so I felt assured that any interaction with him would be brief.

I got the chair at the bar by the taps, four chairs away from the guy I knew but that didn't last too long as that guy relocated right next to me. I knew then that my running conversation with the bartender was over. She once joked that I wasn't even supposed to wave at the guy much less talk to him. But what was supposed to do? I could hear only half of what he was saying and I only asked him to repeat half of that.

He would wave at the bartender to get her attention and she was doing her darnedest to ignore his empty glass. He mentioned that he thought the bartender hated him. I just shrugged.

"Can I ask you something? And you don't have to talk about it if you don't want to but I've seen you leave generous tips and do you think it helps you get better service?"

"I don't know," I said as I hardened my outer shell.

"Because I've left generous tips and it doesn't seem to make a difference. I also don't want to just leave a big tip and have it seem - I don't know, weird."

"I tip on what I get or if it's a slow day. I don't care if the percentage is high. If you order two beers and leave a ten, that's over 150% tip but it's only six bucks. I tip to make me feel good; to make certain I'm doing right by them. I don't tip to get anything out of it."

I then put my elbows on the bar and drank my beer. He was quiet for a moment. I may have thanked God.

"That's a good answer," he said but I didn't hear him, I only caught it after I asked him to repeat himself.

"What is?" I asked.

"That you tip for you."

I heard, "Oh, we're still having that conversation?" from the smartassed part of my brain. I just shrugged, took a large sip of beer and got even more irritated because he seemed to be indicating that what I said were just words and not a part of my soul.

I out lasted him but by that time Janel was counting her cash drawer. We only got to talk for a moment. I had shown up to decompress from a busy week but I got no relief. So I headed over to what is probably going to be my new bar.

One of the owner's was smoking outside.

"Hey, how's this Friday going for you?"

He smiled and held out his hand and said, "It's better last week. No trouble but it's busy." I shook his hand and he then tossed his cigarette and lead me inside to get me a beer. I didn't see anyone I knew. I was looking for the best free chair at the bar when I was poked in the shoulder.

"Hey, Steve! I couldn't see anyone I recognized until you just got my attention. I was worried about were I was going to sit."

"Timmy. I have a seat right here waiting for ya."

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