Saturday, December 27, 2008
A Bouncing Soul
It’s Tuesday and it’s two days until Christmas. My dear friend is in town and we’ve been drinking and eating at various establishments in Bakersfield all afternoon. It’s evening and we’ve wound up at one of our favorite bars. And something inherently amusing to me is about to happen.
My friend lets me in on a little secret. She tells me that regulars at this bar tend to be given jobs around holidays to cover shifts so the owners don’t have to hire extra people. Sure enough, we’re given a job a few hours after our arrival. My friend is to check I.D.’s at the door the rest of the evening and I’m to back her up. To be “the muscle,” as it were.
Here’s a confession: I’m not a particularly intimidating person. But there is a small percentage of people who are intimidated by me for whatever particular reason. So, my friend alternates between telling me to stop laughing and to stop looking like a kicked puppy. “Butch up,” she says.
We work a four-hour shift at the door, covering each other and drinking for free. The bar is insanely busy. By this time at night, most of the regulars have absconded, leaving a plague of wannabe hipsters and lonely youngsters on the prowl.
We laugh at the boys and girls younger than us, the ones that look ten years older than we. I instantly fall in love with a girl who looks like Jennifer Connelly. She’s surrounded by a shield of willing suitors. I’m just “the muscle.”
A drunk man is confused by the jukebox and asks for help playing James Brown or Al Green. My friend gently takes him by the shoulder and explains how the jukebox works. She has a delicate touch with the damaged.
A man takes umbrage at being asked to leave his drink at a table before leaving the bar. Another man is upset that he’s being carded in the first place. I’m intimidating enough, apparently, that neither presses the issue very far.
Eventually, final call starts and we help the drunk and weary from their tables to the door. It seems like a hundred or so people are in the bar at final call. We lock the doors and help the bartenders clean the bar. They pay us from the tip jar for our efforts and thank us before sending us on our way.
Our reward to ourselves is the best-tasting Dell Taco experience of our lives. There’s nothing quite like working your ass off and rewarding yourself with mediocre fast food at 3 am.
Working the door at my favorite bar is not where I expected to find myself two days before Christmas, but it was an interesting experience, nonetheless. If I had a Bucket List, you could tick “bouncing” off of it. Maybe I’ve missed my calling this whole time. Who knows?