I have always had a strong work ethic and have been full of zeal when earning my paycheck, typically surpassing all others in both enthusiasm and efficiency. No so much because I think I’m better, but because I want to do the best I can, with anything I do. I would use others as a comparison to myself… how long they have worked in the place I do, how well they perform their duties, how much they get paid, what there personalities were like in contrast to mine, how much respect others had for them, etc. In recent times, I find myself for less competitive and egotistical. I look back and I realize… the people that don’t pull the crazy stuff that I did (and sometimes STILL do), would still collect the same paycheck I did, with the same hourly wage, and make it through life just fine WITHOUT the frustration and stress of always being self-driven to be “the man”.
Pimpin’ ain’t easy.
I had been the same way with my first job at Taco Bell when I was barely 16. I quickly became “Drive-thru Master”, I loved the way I was breaking out of my shell as such a quiet, shy guy, and honing the microphone and cash register window duties with STYLE. I started to realize that I was not inheritly quiet, or shy, but that I had a touch… a gift of gab. It POURED out of me uncontrollably, and had it MASTERED to an ARTFORM within the first few months I worked there, and was the part of the elite “Closers” crew. I could kick out the orders, memorizing prices and totals and specialty orders, able to calculate the tax to the penny in my head, without even punching a button yet, all the while having a ROCKIN’ drive thru wait time. Once I discovered that I could pop the face off the fountain dispenser and add more syrup to my Super Jumbo Extra Large Mountain Dew, I began running the entire store single handedly when I was stuck working with slackers and poor management. Front Register, Drive Thru Orders, Drive Thru Register, Steam Line, Stuff Line, Expediter, I could do it all… and do it damn well too.
As I recall,
this was my first taste of what it meant to have an Ego.
the universe tends to unfold as it should.
Living in a major city in “The Dirty South” was an experience that I’ll treasure forever, because it was at the end of my first year of college, and I was living with an up-and-coming music producer, Anthony, and a “Rising Star” DJ extraordinaire, “DJ Steelo”. While they had $10,000+ worth of audio equipment all over the house, complete with side gigs and recording studio booths, I never really got involved with them. I was just kind of the odd man out of the 3 of us, observing, but not really all that interested in becoming part of “the scene”. I watched Anthony date some of the most GORGEOUS women I’ve ever seen, and Jason cheat on his girlfriend of multiple years with COUNTLESS women, all hours of the night. Ha Ha, Steelo was but a few months older than I was, and “Tony” had about 7 years on us… we were all kind of “living the life” at the time.
The parties began.
We got set up and settled in to our AWESOME place, with the only downside being that we were actually located in an Industrial Zone, where the same building we lived in, was the same building they were performing much of the work for the new Loft Apartments being built directly across the street from us. This actually worked to our advantage since there was little or no other residential property within earshot of our humble abode. Anthony was the guitarist for a very popular local band that got signed to a one album deal back in the early 1990’s that we’ll call… PigmentGone, but had since moved to the mainstream of electronic music and production. He was VERY into appearance and image, he and I met through my uncle’s Salon, where he worked his full time job as a hairstylist to support his many, many, many, many, MANY habits. With this type of background and such a flare for networking with people, he was able to put together some of the BEST parties that I had ever been to…
And he brought them right into my own house.
Late one night after working as the closing driver at the pizza shop only ½ block away, I came home and get into bed around 2:30a.m. after playing around on the internet for awhile… (some things never change).
It was about 3:00a.m. when Anthony came home with his usual horde of the drunken and glamorous. Slightly earlier than usual… the bars and clubs in “The Big City of the Dirty South” were JUST NOW closing, usually he was the type to see the night through on the wild streets of “Party City”.
He was getting ready…
He was ALL jacked up screaming with his voice full of fun and cheer,
“WAKE UP BITCH! WE’RE ABOUT TO HAVE A PARTY!”
When Tony was excited about having a party…. I knew it was going to be a LOOOOONG night.
I was TOTALLY down.
I found myself meeting lots of new people, but definitely feeling displaced. While I had shaken the hands of 20 guys and introduced myself to 50 beautiful women, I found myself feeling responsible for the comfort of the guests in my home. People just kept coming… and coming… by 4am, I was sure we must have had 100-150 people PACKED into our PIMP ass place at the Legendary “509 B”. Many of them had brought their own bottles of Liquor, some even were generous enough to buy bags of ice and cases of beer for everyone else to drink. It was at this point that I took it upon myself to accommodate the generosity, and place the items in a convenient party location for all to enjoy.
The next thing I knew…
I was standing behind our tiny little K-Mart Bar…
Bartending in my own house.
People began asking me “What is this place? Is it a house? A Club? A Warehouse?”
“We live here.” I would reply.
Next thing I knew we were getting drunk people showing up to the bar, asking such things like:
“How much for a drink?”
I realized that charging for drinks was a huge NoNo. Since we didn’t have a liquor license, and I wasn’t even 21 yet… I thought… well… don’t be greedy here. People were already leaving a few bucks at the bar for tips every now and again, and this is all money that was just a great big bonus for this broke ass college kid… So I came up with an answer.
“What ever you want to put in the cup.”
That’s when I sat down a cup for my Tips to collect in and the end of the bar.
The night raged on, and it was around 7:30a.m. that the music finally stopped… by now we had ran out of liquor, and were hoarding the leftover beers in safe locations for only those deemed worth of the last remaining booze.
Once the last person was either long gone, or accounted for, I quietly went into my room, and counted my tips out…
I made over $300…
As the bartender… in my own house… at a killer party.
I just made more than an entire week of running pizza, and far more than I had EVER made on an hourly basis.
Time rolled on, and with the success of the first party, we had another one every month that was to rival the last, they just kept getting bigger and better! I would rarely have any notice to when I had to spring into “Impromptu Bartender” but I learned what I needed to do in order to be successful: LOTS of stocked Liquor, a bigger cooler, cups, straws for mixing, TONS of water jugs, and a lead foot to scream down to the closest 24-hour location that stocked ice. It was crazy how many times I would completely buy out the entire cache of ice from CVS and Walgreen’s at 3:30 in the morning. I would haul ass back to the house, set up all my goods and wares,
… and straight BANK.
There was the weekend that the Super Bowl was held in our “Big City” Stadium that we had a huge party… I made almost $500 AFTER making back my initial $100 investment… all in one night… I’ve made a lot of money in my day doing miscellaneous things… but NEVER have I made MORE money in a shorter period of time, than when I was a bartender at an open bar.
I knew that what I had, was only short term… and that it couldn’t last forever… but that made it all the more enjoyable, every time I’d land on the opportunity it was still surprise me… and still fill my life with a memorable and profitable experience.
In short, I learned that I LOVED tending a bar.
The loft apartments being constructed across the street were nearly complete, and our lease had run out… at which point I found myself moving into my first real apartment of my own, but with a lot of fantastic memories and experiences that I’ll never forget.
Ever since my party on New Years Eve, I’ve wanted to get a REAL bartending gig somewhere that could train me on how to be more professional at it. It’s been somewhat of a fantasy of mine, ever since my Big City in “The Dirty South” experience… To bartend on the side and make extra money with it for a short time, supplementing my income while I go BACK to school.
The issue I have with manifesting that dream scenario is that I am already maxed out on my student loans, so I’d have to pay out of pocket for my classes, and that I owe so many other bills and have so many other financial nightmares swirling around me at once… that I’d have to work 2 jobs… which makes it more or less impossible to make time to go to school!
Since getting back into school is going to take much more time and effort to figure out, and I desire immediate change in my life, I’ve decided to “Live The Dream”.
Meet myspaceFamous @ FictionOrPity, the newest bartender of “The Famous Rooftop Seafood Restaurant and Bar” on my favorite shoreline.
While it’s not the answer to all my problems, I still feel contented and fulfilled by acting upon my desires… I don’t plan on bartending being my new career, but I DO plan on learning a new skill… a new trade, one that I can always fall back on later should I ever want or need to.
You only live life once, even if I quit after the “busy season” is over and never pour another RumRunner again, at least I’ll have that experience and live out the rest of my days knowing that I did something I dreamt of doing, without the regret of never making the effort to satisfied my fantasy:
To bartend on top of “The Watch” or the 3rd floor Tiki Bar of The shoreline bar during another gorgeous sunset on my FAVORITE beach at NIGHT…
Right in the same spot my Mom and I shared a few great sunsets together when she came down to see me wear my cap and gown and collect my Associate Degree with the highest GPA in my class, and the same place my little sister celebrated one of her birthdays while my Dad and family came down to see me graduate with my Bachelor Degree. The same place I’ve had dinner with my uncle a few times… The same place I saw the most AMAZING shooting stars that first night Leah and I spent on the beach together… The same place I shared prom night with someone I once was insanely in love with… so many memories…
good ones. The kind that last a lifetime… the kind I’m looking for more of.
This is not a career move, but a life move.
A dream… A hobby.
I need to stay busy, and keep growing. Bartending brings out a social side of me that yearns to be manifested, and it connects me to so many social opportunities that I would never otherwise be exposed to.
Live your dreams and take advantage of what life throws at you while you can, there may come a time where you regret the things you wish you would have done, rather than those that you wish you hadn’t. Even though we may fall flat on our faces and feel a sense of failure, you are only smarter and stronger than you were before.
“I haven’t failed. I’ve found 10,000 ways that don’t work”
– Ben Franklin
Live Your Dreams.