It's like the regulars see it marked on the calendar, the day of the Feast of the Epiphany, the day after the afternoon company holiday party (the holidays already spent with the company), a cold night in January of the first snow, the night of wine tasting, an over-oaked Rioja, a cloying Argentine malbec, the day you least want to talk to everyone, that they come early and steadily. No busboy. Wine rep a beautiful nice guy, but in the way. Our good friend in local mayoral politics has a hot date, and the unfortunate tradition of some sort of digestive shot is hard to slip away from, and the gal picks a Calvados, VSOP.
At one point the brownnose server, after I've had no help at all, comes up proudly bearing the boss' dinner, trout. She comes back behind the bar to lovingly cut him bread. He already has bread, I say, wishing to grit my teeth. Late, too, a man, an interesting guy, simpatico, and tells some major sailing stories experienced in June in a small boat between the Azores and Bermuda, showing us the weather system map of the day. His wife, getting out of pediatric emergency shows late, another good spirit with good tales to tell. The guy who's leaning in and talking about his project of opening a Polish restaurant in the neighborhood has finally left, accompanied by a woman who once worked at the strip club next to my old job up the street. She's convinced us to have a round of Chopin lemon drops, and proclaims mine as excellent. Worn thin, I succumb to the night, and somehow it gets to be three AM, and I almost feel set-up. Or that is my mood sensing what World Bank people Jazz Night is going to bring with a twenty top overflowing from the back room.