So I mentioned change in the air for me in my last post and how I am (in a nutshell) tired and off the bike for a couple weeks. My phone is blowing up with people wanting to ride while the weather is nice. Hell yes, I will go enjoy the beautiful weather--afoot. I don't have a functional mountain bike of my own here in Durango still, but mostly I want the fire burning intensely again on Nov. 1. I want that childlike "I'll ride anytime, anywhere" feeling back in full force. And lately its been only 70% present. Yeah, there are many reasons for this with the main culprit being my "go hard, go big personality" (heh! I know how I am), but this summer I let an industry that sucks the life out of me significantly affect the pursuit of my dreams. I worked like a dog (my choice) all summer to bring my financial state back from Ramen Noodle meals when I returned from AZ. Two jobs opening PBR cans and pretending to be interested in what the new beer on tap is, babysitting needy, whiny tourists, refilling ketchup bottles, scraping hash browns and eggs into the garbage for 50-60 hours a week finally broke me. I found myself struggling to maintain my million dollar (and 100% fake) smile, especially on weekends as my heart longed to turn a crank far away from people who feel the need to cure their hangover with---you guessed it---more alcohol.
I have bartended everywhere from downtown Denver to suburbian sports bars to tiny 3 tap good ol' boy dives. I have stories that will absolutely disgust you, make you laugh, cry and some that will just make you blankly stare in disbelief. I have always threatened to write a book about my experiences but I was too lazy to record them as they happened. So in my hiatus from bike life, I hope to entertain with some reflections from 10+ (good God, really?!?!) years behind the stick. I was damn good at my job, but now I am not. I am not a lifer in this industry. I can't walk up to another table, introduce myself and pretend to be enthusiastic about what the dinner special is. It shows in my eyes and on my face at how my heart dies everytime I clock in. The money is not worth it anymore. No amount of cash can buy the life I am letting slip away behind the bar.
So a couple of weeks ago, I quit.
I really could go on and on about the negative aspects and the toll it takes, but it wouldn't be fair to portray it in only one light. For as many assclowns and scum of the earth people as I have encountered over the years, that number is balanced by some of the most intelligent, amazing people I know as well. The money can be ridiculous. Seriously. You wouldn't believe how much money people will drop on alcohol on a nightly basis
I have learned to never say never. But I hope to not have to touch another liquor bottle sporting a pourer, fill another ice bin, clean up coaster pieces ripped apart by those who can't just sit and drink, tolerate drunk coworkers and owners, fake laugh at stupid pickup lines, fake smile or EVER EVER hear the question, "What's good here?"
I have quit before, gone back to school, changed my major but always was sucked back in by the allure of a shitload of cash in my hand everynight and days free to ride my bike. This time, I have a bike dream and a relationship that mean more to me than the money. I can't put on the fake bartender shell and endure the stupidity of the human race under the influence of alcohol.
Leaving Carver's is bittersweet because I am currently working the last few shifts with the BEST group of people I have ever come in contact with. Solid, honest, salt of the earth people who are passionate about making beer and serving healthy, local and organic food. I have the utmost respect for them and the fact they care for people and quality not just making the most possible profit. I will miss the people a lot, but definitely not the industry. Carver's is the best in Durango hands down and their support of cycling is genuine and innovative. I am not just mindlessly and dutifully putting in a good word. I honestly mean this. Stop in when you come to this corner of the world.
So in my farewell address to the world of slinging drinks, I share some words of advice on how to order a drink. Please excuse (wait, I take that back... just laugh at) the sarcasm. I have to dump the 10 year buildup somewhere. And yes, all of this has happened....
1) Look at the beer taps. Or, an even more NOVEL concept--the beer menu in front of you before you ask "You got any Shiner-bock?" or "What kinda beer y'all got here?"
2) Then when I recite the list of craft beers WE MAKE RIGHT HERE because we are a brewery (ie-what is clearly posted in front of your eyes) don't ask me for an f'ing Coors Light.
3) If you come in with 4 people who have no clue what they want to drink, do not snap your god damn fingers at me, or worse, yell at me to give you my undivided attention. You are interrupting my conversation with another guest most likely. Figure out what you want to drink. You are at a bar and you know that's the first question you will be asked. It has happened before and at all the other bars you go to. I see you. I know you will be ordering something. Figure it out. By then, I will be there with my fake smile.
4) Do not order a margarita with Patron. That's like mixing Johnny Blue with orange and cranberry juice. And it only shows how little you know about alcohol although you are trying to portray the opposite to your buddies.
5) Its not cranberry vodka. Its Absolut and cran, or Smirnoff and cran. State the alcohol type first, then mixer. Simple. Learn this and bartenders everywhere will stop being annoyed by you.
6) I will gladly answer your questions regarding beer. But when you do not let me finish before you interrupt and try to impress me with your ignorance, do not complain when you do not like the beer you order. Try keeping quiet for one minute and LISTENING to me. You would be amazed at what you would HEAR and LEARN. Just a suggestion.
7) I do not care that you don't like wheat (or dark, or light or hoppy) beers and when you make a stupid face to show me that, I only respect you less. If you don't like beer, order what you like. Very simple.
8) "Ummmm, so like I want something fruity, but not too strong, but I want it to get me really drunk and I only have 4 dollars..." Enough said. This 22 year old, super-perky girl with the ubershort skirt, side ponytail and spaghetti straps would be a candidate for the trap door I secretly wish every barstool sat upon.
9) Jagerbombs and not the newest, coolest drink ever invented. I am tired of pouring them. Expand. Order something new. Your wallet will appreciate you in the morning because you are being RIPPED OFF at 6-8 bucks a pop. Just sayin, frat boy, daddy won't yell at you so loud when he sees his credit card statement.
10) Put your cash or credit card on the bar and pay for your drinks or start a tab. Turning away and chatting with your friends won't get you out of the 45 bucks you owe me for the round of crappy vodka I just poured you. Yep. You have to pay for your drinks. The sooner the better.
Ok...more insights and "suggestions"coming....Kinda having fun with this.