Thursday, June 21, 2007

Local Action

This is a very simple story. It’s simple because bar work is simple. I say “bar work” as opposed to “club work,” because what some of you – most of you – don’t know is that I sometimes work security at a small(ish) local bar on weeknights. “Local” means local to where I live, which is not Manhattan. This makes me Bridge and Tunnel, but that’s okay. I have the accent and can blend.

I work in a local bar one night a week because they pay me $125 to sit on a stool and talk to people I know. Sometimes friends of mine visit me there and help me kill time. $125 a week is $500 a month. $500 a month is $6,000 a year. I won’t give the job up because I don’t want to take a $6,000 cut in my yearly salary. Not many people in my tax bracket are doing such things voluntarily these days.

Not much happens at this local bar. This, essentially, is because I don’t let anyone in. I turn away anyone who looks like a “cocksucker” or a “tampon string.” In over a year of working there, I’ve broken up exactly one fight. That fight wasn’t between two patrons. It was between a patron and the owner. This simplified things because when I ran to the scene of the hostilities, I didn’t have to make any difficult decisions. If you get into a fight with the owner of a bar you’re in, you’re automatically wrong, even if the owner of the bar you’re in has a massive cocaine addiction and spews racial invective too loudly for the comfort of everyone within a three-block radius.

$125 trumps any principles I might otherwise profess to having.

Also, bar work is more difficult than club work because it’s impossible to hide as a bar bouncer. This is because there are only two of us working. At the club, when thirty men go running to a problem with Guidos, sometimes it’s okay if you stay on the periphery and don’t get involved. In a bar, you don’t have this luxury. If something happens and you try to fake it, you’ll be fired for being a panty-waist. No bouncer wants to be known as a panty-waist. I don’t, plus I want to continue making my $6,000-per-year, so when two drunken denim nimrods start feeling their oats, I do what I can.

Last night at the local, some people failed to recognize their social cues. Last call was made, and still they lingered - the last four people in the bar. The bartenders began to clean and put things away, and on they sat, nursing their drinks and chattering away as though they’d prepaid their stool fare.

The standard “folks, do me a favor and finish up, because we’re closing” didn’t work, so I turned on the lights. The ugly, ugly lights. The ones you’re not supposed to see until you’re at the diner eating cheese fries with brown gravy twenty minutes after your last sip.

This, according to one young lady in the group, made me an “asshole.” I know this because she told me so as she was leaving.

My feelings were momentarily hurt, but then I went home, had a blueberry yogurt, and forgot all about it.