Coffee: Americano, Caribou Coffee; I took a Saturday shift and got coffee on the way to work. It was a half-day, four hours, the coffee lasted two.
I served drinks at a friend’s wedding reception. I was behind the bar the whole night. I knew three people. I recommended wines for cake and vegan finger foods. I was mostly making it up, but people seemed to like it. Half of any front-facing job is knowing how to seem like you know it. Tonight reminded me of my years working as a barista.
One guy ordered Michelob Ultra and asked if I knew any jokes. I said I didn’t, but I’d trade him the beer for one of his own. He went long with the punchline, got cut off two times, but laughed a lot so I laughed with him. He was related to the groom through who-knows-what and I liked him. We talked a few more times. As the night went on, I drank a few beers. I told better jokes after.
A couple of aunts and uncles ripped it up on the dance floor. In between dances, they told stories about their kids. We talked about University politics and getting old. Her order was a Riesling, his a Michelob Ultra.
I spent a long time talking with two friends about anything. It was nice to give them drinks, nice to serve them. You don’t know somebody until you’ve got your arms and legs tied to their convenience. A person’s true colors are painted on the people who work for them.
At the end of the night, I talked History with a Daughter of the Confederacy. She was older, once a teacher, I told her my grandmother’s mother had been a member too. The first thing she said when those words came out of her mouth was: “Not for the race, of course, but for history.” Later, she told me about a time her ankle was torn and one of her students administered the physical therapy. She oozed a good soul. We hugged. ‘History’ and ‘race’ are inseparable to a Southerner. Sin is subtle. But for every sin there’s a proud woman who’s put good thoughts into generations of kids’ heads. Life is complicated. I poured her half a bottle of Moscato by the end of the night.
Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith; Cherry, Nico Walker
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“A kind of joyous hysteria moved into the room, everything flying before the wind, vehicles outside getting dented to hell, the crowd sweaty and the smells of aftershave, manure, clothes dried on the line, your money’s worth of perfume, smoke, booze; the music subdued by the shout and babble through the bass hammer could be felt through the soles of the feet, shooting up the channels of legs to the body fork, center of everything. It is the kind of Saturday night that torches your life for a few hours, makes it seem like something is happening.” –
Annie Proulx, Close Range