Finally, after five night shifts closing the restaurant, the day off. Awaking at two PM has seemed the way to handle the shifts, the most rest possible, and that's when I get up. I need daylight, vitamin D. I go for a walk in a warm humid November rain, a magnificent double rainbow spanning Rock Creek just as I cross the Massachusetts Avenue bridge. I walk very slowly down the grassy slope, back on the road as it hairpins, finding the path down to the creek, which is running best I've seen it in a while.
I read sketches from the barman's album, snippets of thoughts, written in haste, impressions, complaints, attempts at understanding, full of exaggerations, moody explorations that seem out of place in this time of corporate employment, akin to Dostoevsky's Notes From Underground. Just thoughts that come and go:
The bar can be the opposite of calm. Sometimes it is calm. Those are the times you do it for. The busy times are good, too. The times when you don't have to think, just do, keep moving, no need to be involved in different modes of conversations. Facilitate.
When I went out into the city I became a professional. And for that there is a show, faces, happy, grinning, getting a buzz on, raised voices, laughter, pats on the back, display, confusion, loudness, stories you'd heard a hundred times, but welcomed each time in nuances. It was enough to make you anxious.
Much of it is friendly and benevolent, a good vibe. It puts you in the present moment, interacting with people so intensely and steadily that it brings you out of your head.
It was next to impossible to get done with a shift and not want a glass of wine. If you felt bad about that basic fact, didn't treat the commune right, the next day, you sometimes weren't feeling so hot, sleepy, tired from physical exertion. And on top of all that, working at night in order to do that which was basically natural, to write, as a skill to develop for whatever reason, as a therapy, as a way of sorting things out in the mind on a daily basis...
But that was also a kind of learning path, a modest highly fallible attempt at one. The approach, in life's waves, of one's own tiny little dark night of the soul, of the that which can allow a burning away of vanities and the personality of the ego attached to the past. Maybe cities are heavy with just that which one would preach to people to get rid of. And for me, the ego of being a writer didn't turn out to be much, unless it had a spiritual side.
Writing, somehow it always worked for you, helped you put things in piles, so that you could think about them, let out inner thoughts, and all I could think about was the spirit which would endure and offer great kindness to people because love is our nature.
Jesus or Buddha, what difference does it make how you come about it? They're both going the same place. Sick of that which is making you sick? Let it go, bring peace to you. There is nothing wrong, only the perception. As if we are programmed, in our nervous system, to replicate the voyage of the spiritual master, just by allowing it to happen, in our own little ways.
And enough bitching. I've truly enjoyed tending bar, and all the customers. A privilege it is to be amongst great people, real people.