By early Friday morning the barman has begun to digest the week. Tuesday it was not possible to fall asleep for hours after the shift, even where there was ample help on a busy night. And Wednesday, forget about it. The night started, as far as the drink part, shortly after ten, with a Guinness and some good conversation. A party of regulars in the corner, one of them, great guy, fairly toasted, but watched over by his pals. It's been a night of plates of at least ten different shapes and sizes are haphazardly stacked at the barman's feet underneath the rail of liquors at the barman's sink work bench, the plates stacked on a platform of three hard plastic cubicle mild crates, and the silverware is thrown down into plastic quart sized containers. (Thrown as darts, for anger relief at certain points, where before the man, years ago would drink a shot of tequila, as an 'attitude adjuster,' according to the laws of Sir Lawrence King.) At a certain point, after confusion over gibson and gimlet, a running low on IPA, after another hit of new customers, the barman yells a four letter job through hissed teeth, kicks the trashcan over, the beeper of the pager, meaning food is up down in the kitchen, adding its own little ring, and wishes to start throwing and breaking into mincemeat all the dirty plates and the empty butter cups, and I a college graduate what the fuck am I doing here with this, and then when you get home you can't fall asleep, there's an ache, a great feeling of having been greatly sidetracked in life, what will the future bring, so, full of Guinness by now, grilled salmon a boring dinner, you switch to wine, and then, easily, you're up to seven, in this case watching a documentary on Hillary's Everest expedition along up the Kumbu Icefall and the Lhotse Face and the South Col with Tenzing Norkay. Anything to calm down, and calming down is hard, and thus no wonder, looking for that calming buzz in the head, that reassuring feeling.
Oh yeah, later the next day, the barman sleeps soundly well into the afternoon, waking parched, guilty for having wasted a nice 72 degree Spring day. Reluctantly sizes up the lot of house keeping immediately before him, ugly pile of laundry, but at least evidence the dishes were washed, by hand, and put to dry, so that there are tea cups, but stilll a few dirty plates, and a frying pan with the glue of scrambled egg residue upon it.
The sense of the lyrical a barman has, a sense of the sadness of life. And yet, it's most obvious that it is we, of free will, who chose, by our attitudes, whether we shall be happy or sad. This is why, it is reported, that self-confidence is the thing, the cure-all. The literary questions involving his earlier life are somewhat Chekhovian. Why did the Doctor, overseeing the mentally ill in the story Ward No. 6, fall into paranoia? Why or what created the shy soldier and his shyness and the fact of the rich and beautiful perfumed kiss he gets one night in the dark of the receiving nobleman's house, followed by anticipation and expectation, as we all know, where it will lead? What created the underlying wish to communicate so gently with someone that the communication, even when started well, went off track? And then, if the follow through is called into question, then how does one estimate his own ability to stand up for himself, when there is always that sort of moral edge he falls over into the depths of pondering, of time alone, of inaction, of reflections that really don't get you very far as claiming what you want to claim.
That was the perfect world, imagined, of course, you left behind, the world in which everything works out according to its inner germ. Yeah, sure, the world will be perfect, because look how well and decently things are going, and you've been able to read poetry and Shakespeare with some of the finest readers in the finest of settings. Behind it all showed the gem of wisdom, and you had no fear.
But in the meantime, there are careers to be had, and things to do in the real world, and the barman's isolated life and strange hours only make sense if compared with that of the lawyer.
I end up listening to a few Billy Bragg songs, and some of it is nostalgia, of the sort that exactly makes me of the sadness I want to escape from into the world of the practicality my therapist speaks of. Some of it is, as if politically, or seems, the way out, the way to reaffirm values in my childish innocent, low-on-adult-business-how-it-works-understandings world.
I get a text from the barman the next night. "I heard you took your frustrations out on a couple of six packs..." He knows what jazz night is like with the particular co-worker. And, yeah, too many people know me.
A long afternoon nap helps put the week behind me. Friday night, not so much energy but to restock the larder. I'd like to go out for some live music, a friend playing out in Arlington, but I ned to get ready for a quick trip to New York City for a friend's birthday. In the back of my mind, I almost have a hard time trusting my own choices. If I err on the side of taking it too easy and simple and homebound, then I could potentially be missing good stuff, relationships, new friends. I know I'm stubborn.