I HAD A DATE NIGHT a few weeks ago. Don’t worry; it was with my wife. We went out pretty late for our age, about 9 p.m. It’s sad when nine is considered late to socialize and relax. You and I both know, 9 p.m. ain’t s**t. But when you’re in your forties, have at least one child, and work for a corporation (like moi), chances are 9 p.m. is one hour before bedtime.
There’s a Jazz club in downtown San Jose called Café Stritch. We went there, but it was crowded. The only space available was against the back wall. Didn’t feel like standing all night. But the music they played was great. In hindsight, we should’ve stayed there. Had I known what was about to happen; we would’ve stayed.
WE WALKED DOWN THE STREET to a bar called 55 South. Not a fancy place. It’s a dive-bar some genius added Home Depot wood paneling too. After the paneling, they wired some 1920’s replica light-bulbs and decided those updates transformed the place into a craft-cocktail establishment.
There were fifteen people inside when we entered. Can’t blame the emptiness on anything besides the fact it was too early. But it was so empty I thought… cool. We’ll get served quick and relax. Just chill. I escorted my wife to a small table where she sat. Then I moseyed to the bar to get a drink.
TWO BARTENDERS WERE WORKING, and all the bar seats were full. I approached the closest bartender, then waited behind a pair of ladies who were seated in front of him. They watched him as he prepared drinks, and they snapped pictures, saying.
“Wow. Oh, my God.”
These ladies were captivated. So, I thought to myself… this guy must be doing something cool. What is he doing? I peeked through the space between the girls because… I wanna be amazed too.
Then I watched the bartender. But he wasn’t doing anything besides making two drinks.
Before I berate this guy, let me confess. I’m not a bartender. I don’t know what concoctions he was mixing. Maybe it was a cosmopolitan and a berry-buffalo-twist? Regardless, I’m not familiar with the finesse and talent required to mix drinks professionally. I’ve never had that job. But I noticed something amazing this guy did.
He moved in slow motion, folks.
I’m talking incredibly slow. So slow that I thought… is this a joke? Is he mimicking something? Demonstrating how a sloth bartender would look? If that’s what he was doing, it would’ve been hilarious.
But that’s not what he was doing.
This guy was for real. I watched him mix two drinks in the timespan of ten minutes. At that rate, he cranks out twelve cocktails per hour. Again, I’m no bartender. But his productivity sucks.
Then I got curious… how is it humanly possible to mix drinks this slow? So I watched him closely. He poured grenadine into a stainless steel shot glass, then carefully emptied its contents into one of the gimlets. Next, he reached under the bar where he rinsed and wiped the shot glass clean. Then he grabbed a towel and dried it. Afterward, he approached the wall behind the bar, and stopped in front of the Tequila section. Once there, he turned towards the ladies and said.
“What kind of Tequila do you want?”
The women shrugged their shoulders and grinned while they spoke.
“We don’t know!”
So he explained the types of Tequila they had.
“We’ve got a really nice Reposado.”
One of the ladies said. “What’s a Reposado?”
Then he smirked.
It was the type of smirk that implied… of course, you don’t know what a Reposado is. I didn’t ask if you knew what it was. But I’ll tell you what it is, even though you’ll forget after I say it.
He abandoned the Tequila area, and walked towards the ladies while speaking. “Reposado is Tequila that’s been aged in oak barrels for ten months.”
The women smiled. “Wow.”
“We also have Anejos; they’re aged for at least a year. And we have extra Anejos that are aged for…”
At that point, I faded him out, and my eyes rolled into my head. They peered into my brain, and said… let’s mop the floor with his face.
But my calmer consciousness forced my gaze away from the brain, back on the sloth. I complained rationally… you’re making me want to kill you, dude. You knew before asking the Reposado question; these chicks have no clue what type of Tequila they want. How about this? How about you be a fucking bartender and select Tequila for them? And pour it in the gimlet. Then take their money so you can bartend?
Tanqueray & Tonic
I WATCHED HIM complete their drinks. Then he hand washed each item in his bartender kit before carefully drying them. Afterward, he scanned the bar. And I figured… he’s looking for the next customer. He looked right, then left. I was directly in front of him, standing behind the ladies, thinking… I’m right here, bro.
Now, in sloth’s defense, I will say this. It was kind of dark in there. And I have dark skin. Maybe he couldn’t see me? I don’t know. So I raised my twenty dollar bill head-high, and waved it like a flag. Then his eyes lit up, and he looked at me.
“What can I get you, man?”
“Gimme a Tanqueray and Tonic.”
He curled his lip, and his face soured.
“Is that all?”
“Yeah.”… I waited through your ten minute Cirque Du Soleil routine to order a drink I could’ve made by accident at home.
I assume, he was disappointed because I was in a craft-cocktail bar. And he wanted to make craft-cocktails. He wanted me to order a frappletinni like those ladies did. But I don’t want a frappletinni. I want my favorite drink.
Tanqueray and Tonic with lime.
Eventually, he overcame his self-righteousness, and made the drink. Then I paid. I even tipped him a couple of bucks.
The reason I tipped him is that I learned a long time ago… if you don’t like the person who handles your food or drink, you better tip them, or else don’t be surprised to find a snot-cicle or something worse blended in what you ordered.
Anyway, I took a sip of my drink, and it tasted like crap. Maybe you’re wondering… how do you know it tasted like crap? Here’s my answer. Feces was floating in the glass. Most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen, but I didn’t notice it until it touched my lips.
Forget what I said about not tipping, that was bad advice.
Never reward incompetence.
Ugh, I’m exaggerating. Sorry.
The reason it tasted like crap is because this guy can’t make a Tanqueray and Tonic. It’s too simple for his complex hipster brain to figure out.
ANYHOO, I BROUGHT THE DRINK to my wife. The pub is still empty mind you. Then I told her about the slow bartender. Of course, she thought I was nuts because I am. Then a waitress approached our table and said.
“Do you guys want Bottle Service?”
I looked at her with a puzzled expression. “No.”
“Oh. Just so you guys know. These seats are for bottle service only.”
So I asked her. “Do you want us to move?”
“No, it’s okay. You can sit here for now. But, just so you know for next time.”
“Okay.” I raised my brow, and she walked away. Then I asked my wife.
“Is this bar magically transforming into Studio 54 while we’re here? Are celebrities walking in?”
I pointed at a random couple.
“Is that Channing Tatum with his side chick, Beyonce? Is Jay-Z gonna walk through the door with his security guards, and twist Channing into a human pretzel?”
My wife shrugged her shoulders. Then I said.
“Why would anyone want bottle service here?
I FINISHED MY DRINK. But I’ll be honest with you; I felt a little guilty because my wife is solid as a rock. She made me feel like a maniac who can’t control his thoughts in public… maybe I’m judgmental, and all this in my head? So I approached the bar again. But they were changing bartenders.
The way this shift-change occurred. You’d think it was the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace.
HE STOOD IN THE SAME SPOT that sloth bartender previously occupied. But new-guy wore clothes from 1865, resembling a prudish blacksmith anxious to pound horseshoes with a hammer. He sported a greasy, curly-q mustache above a bow tie, apexing his button-down checkered long-sleeve shirt. His sleeves were rolled up, and a leather smock protected him. His name was burned into the smock, the same way rustlers brand cattle. It said, D O U G L A S.
I assumed that was his name. I have no idea. It would be frightening if it were his handler’s name. Hopefully, he didn’t belong to someone else.
Anyway, I thought to myself… this guy looks like he’s here to work.
NEW-GUY PREPARED HIS BAR STATION for duty, and it nearly mans-slaughtered me. Here’s why.
My dad worked at Ford Motor Company for forty years. He pressed car body-parts together like hoods, trunks, and frames. My granddaddy worked at a Steel Mill. He flowed molten metal into I-beam molds. Both of these men brought tool cases to work. Their cases were packed with items lives depended on like insulated gloves, precision measuring tools, ball peen hammers, that kind of stuff.
Douglas brought a tool case to work too.
It was filled with bartender shit like stirrers, and spoons. Douglas doesn’t press car parts together with dies that remove people’s arms and legs. He doesn’t facilitate molten lava into 400-pound beams while inhaling carcinogens.
Douglas blends drinks.
HE PLACED HIS BARTENDER KIT below the bar and opened it. Then he scanned its contents, verifying everything was in place. This took five minutes. There was a barback there, too. He’s the person refilling ice and replacing glasses. Occasionally, the barback stepped close to Douglas because the barback was actually working. When he came close to him, it pissed Douglas off, like it broke his concentration; forcing him to recount the contents from scratch again. There were ten items in his kit, folks. I don’t know what the hell he was doing.
After he verified his tools, Douglas removed items from the kit. He raised a shaker, and placed it on the bar. Then stood back and angled his head while staring at it. It didn’t look right, so he stepped closer to it and moved it again. Then he stood back for another look… eh, still not right. So he approached it once more, and moved it again before re-examining its placement… it’s perfect.
He removed the top of the shaker from his kit and put it next to the shaker. Then he stepped back and looked at it before shaking his head… it’s the wrong spot. So he moved it an inch to the left. Then assessed its placement again. He shook his head… still not right.
By now, the bar was full. A lot of people were waiting for drinks. But they had to keep waiting… because Douglas’ bar-feng-shui wasn’t ready for prime time. The energy was all wrong.
He examined the placement of his shit for ten minutes. I thought to myself… this guy’s an idiot. But I looked around, and everyone else seemed fine. Then I thought… am I the only one who thinks this is fucked up? Am I the problem? Not Douglas’ leather smock and bartender kit?
To be honest, I am a little weird. We know that. But this guy is more weird. And he doesn’t realize it. He thinks he’s cool. But he’s not.
THERE’S A THEORY ABOUT WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN when unacceptable scenarios like this occur. It’s an app you download on your phone. For the sake of argument, let’s call it ‘The Regulator.’
Whenever you witness a messed up situation like Douglas here, you record three minutes of what he’s doing. Then type a brief description of your grievance.
In this scenario, I’d type… I’m at a pseudo-craft-cocktail bar, and this bartender is setting up his bar station. For some reason, he thinks he’s a master surgeon, preparing for open heart surgery in front of an audience. He’s serious. And his name is seared into his leather smock. It says, ‘Douglas,’ not Doug.
Then I send them the video, and they review it.
If they agree it’s a situation requiring regulation, they send me a response, stating… agreed. This is messed up. Stay where you are, we’ll regulate it.
TO MAKE SURE EVERYONE IS AWARE of how messed up the situation is, they send the regulator to my location.
Then the person arrives at the bar.
She’s a hot chick.
A super hot CrossFit chick.
Her hair is ponytailed, and her complexion is make-up free. She’s wearing skintight volleyball shorts, and low-top sneakers beneath a sport-bra top. And she’s strong as fuck. In each hand, she’s holding three-feet-long double-dong black dildos. They’re gross looking too, all veiny and stuff. She’s six-feet tall, and strapped to her back is a portable-folding chair with twenty-feet of rope.
When she enters the bar, the bouncers stand aside because they know she’s there to regulate someone’s ass. They’re hoping it’s not theirs. Upon entry, she approaches the bar, and says nothing. Then locates the bartender. She motions him to the center of the pub. Of course, he doesn’t respond, so everyone in the bar grabs him and forces him to the location. Once he’s there, super chick removes the chair from her back and unfolds it, and the crowd makes Douglas sit. Afterward, she hogties him to it, thinking… you deserve this.
Then she beats the hell out of him with the double dongs.
I’m talking uppercuts, jabs, shots to the back of the head, smacks to the face, the whole deal. Super chick punishes Douglas relentlessly. The dongs wiggle and jiggle, but she’s a ninja with these things. An expert in the art of double dongs. And she’s not using, you know… she’s not using used double dongs. Her dongs have never been utilized for sex. They’re totally safe, so don’t worry. Douglas won’t get herpes or syphilis from these things. He had those diseases before this day began. Let’s be clear about that.
Anyway, she doesn’t mess him up too bad. Just a busted lip, some bruises, and a pair of black eyes. Plus, she’s not sexist or anything. Super chick regulates guys, girls, transgendered persons, or whatever the heck you think you are. She don’t fucking care.
But if you send a video to the Regulator App that’s deemed not to be a messed up situation, she regulates you.
In Douglas’ case, she re-aligned his self-centered pride and returned him to the real world. Upon arrival, he re-assessed his position in life, then self-adjusted. CrossFit chick made him a better person.
I care about Douglas.
So do you. He’s a good guy.
But he wasn’t before.