November 24th, 2002

I Will Not Defame New Orleans.

Night On Decatur

I did my salt line early last night to keep out evil spirits and dumbasses — with only modest success. I guess I've been overusing the Morton's container and it's losing its potency. Like heroin.

Bad People:
  • A group came in with two open bottles of wine and asked for glasses. "Are you fucking mad!?" I asked, "This is a bar, you stupid shits!" I was ready to go all schoolmarm on dey asses and drag them out by pinching their ears. I deferred to my mentor, Candace, who informed me they were actually "cool" and would be buying drinks soon enough. Candace knows how fucking wrong it is to bring bottles of wine into a bar, so her informed opinion was taken as law. I can't wait to tell her tonight that they hung out for several hours, left (without actually giving patronage to the bar), and left all their wine bottles and cups around for me to clean up.
  • The Fat Jittery Guy, who was in for many hours buying draft beer and stiffing the bartender. He wanted to get into "warm personable chats" with me. Many do. It's the nature of the job. I can usually feign interest in boring people if they're useful to the bar and myself. It is, al fondo, a business — sorry to burst your bubble. But if you're gonna stiff the bartender, don't expect "chummy" behavior in return. "Why are you being so mean to me?" he bounced, convulsed and bewailed when I'd simply turn my back and walk away as he lit into another long, pointless story.
  • The requisite shirtless, shiftless, Tracy-Chapman-Coral-Reef-Hair black dude. There's one every night. Breeze through the bar. Stand in the back by the pool table. Wait for some 'action' (whether that means someone to play pool with, buy/sell drugs, or hit on/annoy). I just kick the trash out immediately. I've long since tired over taking the time to explain what they're doing is fucked up. "Aw man, don't beeee lahk dat!" "Fuck you. Get the fuck out. Now."
  • That Guy Whose Name Might Start With A 'K': He's a nice enough guy, but he has this problem. Once his ass hits one of the red comfy puffy chairs, he falls asleep. Irrevocably, unwakably asleep. This happens all the time, so I after he was woken up last night and came to me for another drink, I gave it to him, smiled my most winningest smile, and told him in disarmingly friendly tones, "By the way, I have a warning for you. The next time you fall asleep in my bar, you will be waking up to a glass of ice water on your head. I will not say this again. Do you understand? Good! Enjoy your drink, my friend! :-)" (He went away.)
  • Big Bootie Bitch came in this morning. "I can just sit here for 20 minutes and wait fo' mah huzz-band?" "No, I'm sorry, this is a bar. You buy a drink, you tip the bartender, and that's how you rent your space. Bye-bye." Doe-eyed look of utter confusion. I walk around the bar cleaning stuff up. I come back. Big Bootie Bitch says, "You have a sexy walk. Are you gay?" I blink. I blink again. Not quite sure which card to play. This is at the end of my shift. I'm getting tired. I choose this: "What the FUCK, wummun!? What the fuck kinda question is that? What the fuck did I tell you? Get yo' skanky ass out m'bah!" I do more little tasks behind the bar. I turn around and see her sitting down next to one of my regulars. I light into her again. "What the fuck are you still doing here?" "Dis guy gonna buy me a drink." "No, actually, Michael's not buying you shit. I'm going to turn around, and when I look back, you will have vanished." I went off to pee. Came back, and Big Bootie Bitch was no more. Michael said thank you.
  • Holly, my spunky morning relief girl, and a relative newbie to working Lower Decatur bars, was quizzing me on protocol, policies and such for dealing with asshole. We started a vociferous discussion, me, Holly, Michael and a couple of others. The topic was Video Crack, and what is appropriate tippage when someone hits. "10% is considered bare minumum acceptable," I said. I've had this conversation before. "Oh, really?" asked Holly, "'Cause yesterday that one black lady who comes in every day — the one that looks like she works in a cafeteria — hit $500 and gave me $5." "Then tell her she's not welcome here any more," I said, knowing exactly whom she was talking about. This woman never buys a drink, bothers the bartender fifteen times for change for her $20's, then stiffs when she hits? Ooo-uh-uh! The Creepy Old Man who plays video crack in the mornings was booping and beeping away on the machine at the time. Our conversation was purposefully loud enough so he could hear. He threw in his 2¢: "After all the money we pump into here, we shouldn't have to tip." A moment of silence — the calm before the storm. I shouted back, "After all the zillion little trips to the poker bank for you, it would be in your best interest to want to be welcome in the establishment that you have chosen to haunt every single god damned morning!" Holly giggled.
Good Things:

Ricky Lane. He is dapper, polite, classy, amiable, thoughtful and intelligent. These are rare traits in the French Quarter. As such, he's sort of a local celebrity. Everybody knows and loves Ricky Lane. He popped in at the beginning of my shift to see me. "What's up, Ricky Lane?" "I just wanted to come see if we could solidify the outcome of our conversation at your dinner party last week." "You mean about you moving into Château Bimbeaux in January?" "Yah." "Fantastic. I'm all for it. Wanna seal the deal right now?" "Sealed." We shook hands and exchanged huge, huge grins. This is such good news I am pissing my pants. Ricky Lane is going to live in my house. Oh lord, I can't begin to contemplate the fabulous reprecussions of the addition of him to my happy household. And it's a done deal because Ricky Lane (along with me) is one of the few people in this god-forsaken city who sticks to his word.

This is getting long, so I'm just going to say that despite some rather annoying … annoyances last night, the night was saved by a number of fabulous people who, by their very existence in my life and in my bar, have secured prime real estate in the afterworld. Michael (mentioned above), Tim and Lloyd from Molly's, misterchurch of course, and … well, I'm not going to rattle off a list of people you don't know, but suffice to say that at every point last night, there was always a pleasant, friendly face that I could turn to when my fists would clench and want to bust lips open.

Last night was a good night. I'm running late for work now, so cross your digits for me that I can make it though this work week with three good nights in a row. I think I deserve it, don't you?