like riding a bike


I tended bar tonite. I was asked to do it as a favor, because they were stuck. It was like I never left. I tended bar for years; I started in Amherst and Northampton, MA. The first job I had,I lied, I said I bartended before. I hadn't, but I'd cocktail waitressed and saw them all made and being a Leo I figured hey I can do that. Bartending also got me into traveling. (what terrible english).
One snowy night upon leaving work I had this revelation: Hey, I'm just a bartender, I can do this anywhere. So I decided to move to the US Virgin Islands - St. Croix(with a friend) ,where I landed a bartending job almost immediately and made a lot of Pina Coladas and Strawberry Daiquiri's. My boss was a complete and utter jerk , so I quit and moved to the restaurant down the street.

Next a friend convinced me to manage his boat charter company(the benefits were good, all the rum punch and sailing you wanted). Then I had the break of my life, I got a job working(pt time) for the local TV station - that was fun and great,butI moved back to the states and yup you guessed it - bartending, this time on Martha's Vineyard (yes I have a thing for Islands). After the summer I went back to Northampton - tending bar - what else. But i missed the ocean so back to the Vineyard I went with the plan to just stay long enof to make some money to move to NY to pursue a career in TV/film - my dream. Well my back went out and I wound up spending the winter on the island - another post.

Then I did a stint in Boston and worked some real fancy places and was even a Bar Manager. But I got tired of working nites and didn't want to be a forty year old bartender ( someday as Meg Ryan says(not about bartending but about Turning 40) in When Harry Met Sally ( one of my favorite movies).

This is why & when I made my big career move to Medicine, got married, moved to the suburbs and had a baby. Then since I was only working part time in my Tech. job I decided to come out of retirement(kinda like the athletes) and started tending bar at the country club near where I lived. My boss, Daniel, was from Ireland and the best boss that I ever had. It wasn't like work, my husband used to say it was my nite out and it was. I ate, drank and sometimes even danced. It was way fun. But then Daniel got a better job and left and it wasn't so fun anymore and I started doing my day job more - kid was in school now. So I gave up bartending again, that was about 6 yrs. ago.

Tonite I came out of retirement yet again,and it was just like the first time that i went back , like I never left. I remember when i started back that first time- walking into the walk-in(big fridge - for you guys not in the biz) to get some beer or wine and it felt like i was home,like the smell of the greasepaint. Walking back behind the bar tonite it was just like riding a bike.

addendum: I wrote this last night after a few cocktails and I realized I left out the craziest place I worked- Key West; I spent a winter there in between Martha's Vineyard stints. I did more cocktail waitressing there tho ( I worked at a topless beach - the customers not me!); I left out all the waitressing jobs and hostessing jobs that I had else this post woulda been even longer.


Marewheeee said...

the smell of greasepaint....
I remember it well.
First waitress job was in a Chinese Restaurant. I ,too, lied on the 'have you done this before' question.
Go up the table, take the order, bring it to the kitchen and bring it back. I can do that!
So I did and I was a damn good waitress. Had my off nights but overall I was as kickass a waitress as I am a cleaning lady.
Most of the time anyway.
My waitress friends call ourselves the GCG's (Golden Crown Girls)
and I still get together and reminice on the days of yore.
Oh, the stories we could tell.
We never learned to actully speak Chinese (except for the swears the cooks taught us, by default) but we did somehow come to understand by the tones of conversations of the bosses, what was going on around the restaurant.
We also got very close and have maintained our friendships.
In fact, I need to make a date with them soon.

rdl said...

Hey Mare, This was great, you should post it up on yr site. It's kinda like being a member of a secret society or sorority. I still want you to write the cleaning lady one about opening the door and all the leaves coming in.

FTS said...

I've managed a nighclub but never bartended. The good ones are amazing and fun to watch. The best I could do is pop a top on a beer. lol

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