I have come to realize that I have arguably the worst position possible at the bar (Henry Africa’s). I now understand that every day I come into work there, I am the most hated person in the bar. This is because I work behind the bar, I dress like a bartender, I help make a lot of drinks, I have soft welcoming Calabrese/Pippin fusion facial-features, but I can not make your drink. Not only can I not make you a drink, but I can not even make eye contact with you.
I am the hunchback of Henry Africa’s cursed to roam behind the bar looking down at the floor in shame at all times. When I make eye contact with anyone, they immediately get excited and lean over the bar to order a drink from me. I then try to explain that I am forbidden from making them the smart cocktails that everyone else behind the bar is making for other customers who are not being jerked around by casual eye contact.
It turns out that this really irritates a lot of people. To attempt to mitigate these uncomfortable situations I tried making light of them. When anyone asked me for a drink I would say “sorry, they don’t let me make drinks here anymore” and when they asked “why?” I would always respond, “Because the last drink I made killed a man.” I had this conversation 10 times with 10 different people and none of them ever laughed. The 11th and final time I tried this, the conversation progressed as follows:
Scene: Henry Africa’s bar where our hero has just made eye contact with an unsuspecting patron:
Patron: “hey can I get two vodka red bulls?”
The hunchback: “sorry, but you’ll have to ask one of the bartenders for a drink”
Patron: “you are a bartender”
The hunchback: “no, they actually don’t let me make drinks anymore”
The hunchback: “the last drink I ever made killed a man”
Patron: “Fuck you”
Patron walks away and our hero drops his eyes to the floor and anticipates yet another night where he will cry himself to sleep
That is a true story and happened word for word. The only lie was the part where I cry myself to sleep at night. That is impossible because I don’t go to bed after working at the bar until 6am, so I cry myself to sleep in the morning.
Here is another true story, this time I didn’t even make eye contact to start it off:
Scene: Our hero has his eyes down as he washes glasses as fast as he can. He looks up to see three attractive women standing directly in front of him. The alpha female stands in the middle holding her middle finger up.
Alpha female: “fuck you”
The hunchback: “what the hell? Are you kidding me?”
Alpha female: “fuck you”
The hunchback: “I’m just washing glasses why the hell are you giving me the finger?”
Alpha female: “you served those other girls first”
The hunchback: “I haven’t even looked up from these glasses for five minutes”
Girl #2 with a drunken voice: “It’s her birthday”
Girl #3 with a drunker voice: “Yea it’s her birthday”
The hunchback: “well it’s my birthday tonight too, and I’m working. So stop cursing at me for no #$%@*&% reason”
I was lying because it was not my birthday, but it shut them up.
I would like to say something to any girl reading this right now who has ever stepped foot in any bar… STOP. Whatever is your instinct when you are in a bar; from now on do the exact opposite. You are all terrible to deal with. If you just do the opposite of what you normally do, everyone will be happier.
The only exception to the general rule of thumb at the bar (general rule of thumb = shit on James) occurred when I was trying to take all the empty bottles out through the dance floor the other night. Normally nobody moves out of my way, but this time there was a bridal party of some sort and everyone held up their arms and made a tunnel for me and cheered every time I had to walk across the dance floor. This was a welcome change and a nostalgic through back to youth soccer games.
Girls in wedding scenarios are nice. They are an exception to the rule.
Also I’m not called a “barback” as I would be in the states, but rather they call me a “glassy.” I find this more degrading.
“I should have known. They used to call me Mr. Glass”
PS: More bar stories that involve me triumphing to come. They involve me becoming the judge in a cocktail competition and me making fun of the Brazilian bartender incessantly so as to make myself look cooler to the group. The actually call me “Captain America” or “Maestro Calabrese” both nicknames I rather enjoy.