One of my regulars made the comment that she was waiting for the post about the people we like; the people who make coming into work everyday worth it. And she’s right. This is long overdue.
Those people are our life source. They are the fuel that keeps us going they drive us they inspire us they make a hellish night well worth the sweat and, sometimes, the inevitable tears.
There’s the couple who share a bottle of Kendal Jackson Chardonnay and there are no words to describe my love for them. They’ve supported me and laughed with me and taken my side time and time again when the customer at the end of the bar drives me closer and closer to complete insanity.
There’s Mandarin Vodka, splash of Soda, and a splash of Cranberry juice garnished with an Orange and she’s sassy and fierce and always full of light. She comes in with her husband and they are a justification for smiling when I’m dead in the middle of lunch rush with four sides of ranch and three soups on my mind.
There’s the Vodka Soda crew that lets me sharpen my whit on them like whetting stone and it’s fun and it’s banter and it gives me the energy to face a horrifying torrent of thirsty middle aged men encroaching on a terrifying midlife crisis.
There’s the family that comes in on Sunday nights, an older couple and their son, and I’m certain they’ll never read this because their grasp on technology matches my grandmother’s who still calls it “The Google,” but their sweet notes and cards brought tears to my eyes they are a source of love and life. In this whirlwind of irate customers, they keep me calm and they keep me steady and they renew my wavering spirit.
There’s the group of young professionals who drink Moscow Mules and they are beautiful and they bring me laughter and conversation and normalcy in the face of screaming infants and impatient mothers.
There’s baby Riley whose seen more bars in her one year than I have in my life but her smile is my undoing and I become one of those fools that speaks in baby talk and gestures with my hands in a perpetual game of peek a boo. Her grandparents are pretty cool too.
They’re all there. Lined up at my bartop. God, I love those faces. Leaning against the lacquered surface and covering me in a blanket of their support and despite the fact that this night feels like hell these people make it feel like heaven. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve their presence here in this small bar in this small town but I’m so grateful to have it. They’ve seen me laugh and they’ve seen me cry and they watched me graduate college and they’ve been cosigning my tuition checks for years and they’ve witnessed me grow and develop and they are the reason I tie on my apron. It’s them I think of when I’m putting back my hair and clipping on my name tag it’s their faces I see when I picture joy. This job is nothing without them. To reduce these people to drinks doesn’t adequately convey what they contribute to my life. The laughter they bring me rings out like the rattle of ice in a dwindling gin and tonic. The smiles they bring me glimmer like the powerful lights reflecting off the bottles that line the back shelves.
A job is nothing without a purpose and my purpose is found in them. They give me far more than tips they give me far more than conversation they give me far more than a few moments’ reprieve from the chaos that is inherent in this job.
So thank you. Your faces are imprinted on my mind they are the physical representations of compassion and generosity and I wish the world had just a few more of you. What a beautiful world this would be. I’ll pour you a double any day of the week. Hell, I’ll pour you triples. It will still never come close to compensating for everything you have done for me.
So cheers, my friends. I raise my glass to you.