Flat Jackie


flatjackieAt some point last night, as I tried valiantly to meet the demands of my customers — an act which feels, more and more, like a Sisyphean endeavor — I took a few precious seconds to observe my co-workers. Thankfully, they appeared to be as frantic as I was. It is always nice to know, in the throes of madness, that one is not alone.  If even one of them had been, say, leaning up against the coffee station enjoying a snack, it is quite possible that I would have lay down and let that big rock that I was, metaphorically, pushing just roll right over me. Flat Jackie.

I will admit to taking a few precious seconds and flirting with the idea, as I rounded the service bar to replace the third dropped steak knife for one of my clumsier guests, that instead of heading toward where we keep the cutlery, I could take a hard right and walk straight out the front door. It is a lucky thing that my belongings were in the back storeroom and that the temperature outside was a balmy -2°F — a temperature no doubt colder than the proverbial witch’s tit. (Those poor little witchlets!)

Having no desire to become a human popsicle, I remained indoors. Life is full of tough choices. Better, I thought, to be ornery and warm than light-hearted and frozen.

In the midst of attempting to access, from the dark recesses of my brain, recipes for the Bahama Mama, Planter’s Punch, and something called a Jack Honey Tea, I noticed that other thoughts were hovering around the edges of my consciousness. I pushed the most obvious ones away. (Who orders this shit in February? What kind of an idiot drinks this nonsense at any time of the year? What in God’s holy name is a Jack Honey Tea? Who ever heard of such a thing?) Using what felt like the last shred of mental acuity that I had left, I did what any decent bartender in my position does, I made them up. I have a theory, borne of experience, that if it’s the right color, they’ll drink it. They almost always do.

Having, at least to my satisfaction, successfully navigated the drink recipe dilemma, I remained troubled by a much larger question, “What”, I found myself asking (possibly aloud) “the fuck am I doing here?”

Fortunately, my job being what it is, there is very little time to engage in deep, philosophical conversations with oneself (or anyone else). If things were different, if time was not of the essence in my line of work, I fear that I would spend most of my shifts pondering such questions and, as a result, that I would find myself, on an all too frequent basis, awash in a puddle of my own tears.

It is probably a good thing that bartenders cannot expend energy on things as esoteric as philosophy; that we must, instead, use our time to concoct dumb drinks, recite the beers on tap to the latest in a long line of literacy-challenged cretins (the flavors are on the handles, you beer connoisseur, you!), or to muddle mojitos for the groups who want to fool themselves into believing that the mere act of consuming this silliness will magically transport them to South Beach. It will not. Get on a plane.

Such is the life of the lowly restaurant worker. Such is my life.

I fear that one day soon I will be flattened by my own rock. Flat Jackie.

13 thoughts on “Flat Jackie

  1. katsbynp says:

    I love your theory which after working many years ago as a cocktail waitress is true. Thanks for the smile brought on by your post.

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  2. I did it for years and it does absolutely suck but think of it this way. Every time I go into a restaurant I think of you. I smile brightly and joke with whoever it is pretending in my mind that I am talking to you! You are doing a great service to the ones who provide that service hopefully I am not the only one!

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  3. There really is no excuse for drinks with fruit in. As for the beer list,, it drives me to the point of violence in my local when some bone idle git asks what beers they have on draft. I’d reply with the names of the three bitters. This would prompt the question, ‘No, what lagers do you have?’at which point I’d split hairs and say that lagers aren’t on draft, they’re kegged.

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  4. Jack Honey Tea. Oh, the mind boggles. Just think of how that could be made. And probably is.

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  5. Dr. Margaret Rutherford says:

    I have worked as a cocktail waitress – and I don’t get why folks order some of the things they do either. I hated carrying those huge syrupy drinks, that always had a bunch of fruit or a long straw to customers. Much more apt to spill the damn things. Funny post that made me smile. Thanks!

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  6. robing34 says:

    I wonder if your method of making up drinks when you can’t remember the recipe is how new drinks happen. I think I’ll bring my bartending book with me when I start asking for the weird stuff.

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  7. susanintheboonies says:

    If it’s the right color, they WILL drink it.
    Good call on staying warm, too.

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