The last shift of a five shift week, five nights closing, ends with a hot nap on the couch with the television on, shark safety, and an hour later I rise and take my shoes off, socks, put on cycling shorts and take a roll with a glass of chilled Beaujolais. Tomato and mozzarella, finally eating another hamburger patty with mushroom and onion, a shower, then off to bed around seven AM and with a few interruptions basically sleeping all day, in late summer waking at dusk, the cicadas humming, passing their grassy message along through the vines. There are dishes in the sink, piles of laundry in the bedroom.
Ach, what a life, he says to himself, imagining people getting ready to go out and be a little bit social on a Thursday evening, the studen's back, classes beginning. Parents switching gear. The animal sees himself as a writer returning to his work, free form, but what to write. The muscles are stiff. Green tea tastes good. Heat some chicken stock in the microwave, mix in flax seed. Take an allergy tablet, ragweed season, high pollen counts. Astragalus. That's how it is, so you meditate, as that has something to do with the pure reasons why one writes, writing an embarrassing activity the animal would wish kept hidden.
The week started on a Saturday, ending with a late couple who just wanted a drink, him a Paloma, tequila, mint, grapefruit juice, simple syrup, her a sparkling wine, I let her taste both and let her pick, coming from a catered Georgetown dinner party given by a customer of ours, who has a beautiful kitchen, a beautiful stove but who never cooks, least of all for a party. Getting ready to leave, I pour him a shot of tequila at his request, and I break down and have a glass of wine with them, talk of restaurants old and new. Forty five minutes ago leaving would have been a lot neater, but hey, there's always stuff to do for a bartender. On my bike, out the door, alarm set, I roll away and down, figure I'll take a swing through Dupont, exiting my isolation, checking out what the town is up to. I pull up on a sidewalk near the North Metro station, bars with young people drawing their night to a close, reach for my iPhone out of my courier bag. I am wearing cut-off shorts made from light cargo pants and a white tee shirt. And every young woman I see is wearing the same high heel sandal type shoe, the corkwood rising steeply, a significant percentage of total height and leg length, platforms, I mean, not that there's anything wrong with that. Several are obviously drunk now, as you might expect at closing time, and teeter as they wait disconnectedly for their Ubers and talk into their own phones or run after their friends. Did the larger computerized brain made of ones and zeros all think for them on this Saturday night in late August, coming as it does out of so many outlets, as if to surround them? But you'd be a crank to say that. What kind of work do they do? Sales? Like me. What are they like? Would I hire them? They seem arrogant, solipsistic in their little crowds, putting on a show. Or is it that they fit in, implying that I, just getting out of work, do not. It's now past two, too late to bug another friendly barman like the hard-working guy getting life together over at Duke's Grocery, but I roll down there anyway, and on the way back see more young ladies walking along with the same shoes, the same little trips over sidewalk segments. I go home, pour a glass of wine, put some cycling shorts on, turn on PBS and get a low key roll in, feeling the bands of muscles work with my fingers, somehow entertaining.
Having not questioned sleep and entering dreaming, the animal's week at the office now passes through the mind, the nice crowd that took up all the stools early on Sunday, the return of a great singer Monday, a very busy night along with a late appearance from Mr. T who had two sidecars to start, a white Clos Vougeot, three courses, then dessert, Tuesday wine tasting uneventful, then a slow Wednesday jazz night too fresh to digest as of yet, the visit of a real professional top tank executive chef originally from the Southwest of France, which may have meant the Bearn region I visited once, though I babble about the usual tourist route along the Mediterranean that now seems like an incomplete dream anyway. But that is where the great chefs come from, close enough to farming.
"Sounds complicated," my therapist says as I review a few relationships over the past ten years, raising the thought of how to "build something." Do I consider myself a success as a writer? I don't know. Maybe. I suppose it takes time to find your voice. Now at this stage I might prefer simply to meditate, to record conscious thoughts to the extent they are worth recording, but as a way to clear the air, to put them out on a shelf, like some household task, like things with like things, then finding the calm that is the answer.
But how, how could you be in the restaurant business, not being a chef, a manager or an owner, and think you had the answer to anything, or consider yourself serious about anything? That could only be a kind of a lie or a half-hearted answer, meaning you hadn't made up your mind, remained uncommitted, drifting, at odds, unsettled, lost, that sort of thing, like finding yourself awake early in the morning and not knowing what to do with yourself.