Sometimes, after tending bar for a number of nights in a row, I wake up very tired, and I sleep and sleep. My mood could be described as depressed, but it's a matter of processing. And this is what the long sleep, the laying about, the doing of very little, accomplishes, perhaps like the process of molting, getting rid of the skin one had to wear to get through a few things. It happens seasonally. Sometimes when great bouts of rain fall, cold, darkness falling early, the simple need to curl up and sleep and sleep, and not move, to let the fibers of the body and the mind reweave themselves out of the tangles and broken strands, the electric disruptions, the noise, the aches that make you think of other aches not as physical, but still physical as the loads of work, literal cases of wine and and heavy plates to clear.
The day off, the words of Jefferson, often quoted, on the back of many a good bottle of wine, imported by Kermit Lynch, "I find good wine a necessity of life." And this too is, the glass of wine, at the right time, is part of processing, of reaching back to the Gospels, the applicable truths of life deeply understood. A glass of Ventoux refreshes the perspective. It raises the psyche out of darker places, encouraging forward motion.
The challenge, how would I describe the personal experience of being a barman for twenty five years longer than I might like to admit. I've had more wine than I might like to admit over those years, too, but hey, maybe I'm not totally alone in that. There is after all, the Christian mention of wine, in the Gospels, in a central parable, and on into the legacy of interpretation, notably, the scene of The Wedding at Cana, a central chapter in the reading of The Brothers Karamazov, Alyosha, the youngest of three imagining in dream the truth of the departed elder, the remarkable Father Zossima. Dostoevsky himself turned to such people, when he was hurting, having lost a son, in the course of his own difficult now almost unimaginable life.
But where, impossibly, would I start, with this, without being a fake? How would I bring out my street cred, such as many a waited-on party might seem to have missed, not asking too often of my wisdom, only the occasional embarrassing reference to 'the book I wrote,' or the songs I recorded of Irish music and put up, embarrassingly on Youtube. The Kennedys and the Fitzgeralds started out as pub and bar owners, with their own two hands, and there is a Catholic vibe, a Christian opening-up in such a line of work that might be absent in offices of the sort we all must now live by, but still craving that little moment of freedom, sometimes glimpsed at ten PM, the beauty of a glass of wine at a favorite bar as it winds down into the night.
Reference the darkness one personally overcomes, on a daily basis. I don't want to be light about it, I don't want to be, certainly, heavy about it. It's all garden variety stuff. But stuff from which we might take away meaning, even if meanings are obscured, and we have to look in impossibly high places for them, places seemingly reserved for better people than ourselves.
Getting ready for work, that's the hard part. Friday, 4:30 PM, is your own workweek's Monday morning, and you went out to dinner the night before, a celebration. It takes a lot of prep, green tea, the searing of lamb sausages and then into the oven, shower, folding a shirt, loading the courier bag with the essentials of work and modern identity and modern tools, the Parker steel ball point pen a thrown back, a charged iPhone, wallet. Oh, man, you know you'll be by yourself up the wine bar. Get out the door, on the bike, up the grand avenue, and into the woods, where, in the shade, in the quiet, I call my mom. And at this point, I'm still, today at least, in a sort of gloom. One invitation meant canceling another, and when I talk to my mom, I reveal my sense of how, as if habitually, again, I have bolluxed things up again, the disappointing of a particular sort of person one should and does not ever want to disappoint.
And I'm hinting at my thought of how I have irrevocably, again, messed things up, I don't know, out of loyalty to steady friend, out of nervousness, shyness, social anxieties, a lack of dating... It takes a great mom to give the lesson such gloom deserves. "If you're going to think like that, you're never going to get out of that hole, and by thinking that way, you bring everybody down." Ouch, it's true. But, I suppose, it's a thought I've wanted to get off of my chest for a long time now. "I'm sorry, mom, you're my sounding board. That's why we write, to get all that bad stuff out you know." I feel bad. I've made her blood pressure go up.
I don't know where the nerves come from, but they come from somewhere.
Stand up comedy points the way to writing. Writing points the way back to the dramas of old that let playwright and poet have a toehold of established profession. But there were only ever a few of them, a very few, a very very very very few. And then consider all the people who spout of with things to say. No wonder Shakespeare took to the game of classification, as if drawing out species of birds. Falstaff, the archetype. Hamlet, Romeo, Juliet, Caesar, Prospero, Puck, Lear, all taken from the templates of humanity that you and will see if we with open eye venture out, wary of the kaleidoscope of human integer and feathered disguises, tropes, a mirrored surface of many confusions as Liberace's piano and suit. I am no better, nor no worse. I've, like we all do, as professionals, fallen into that archetype of what one should be, without really ever knowing why, or how we came to be who we are. I know. I play a role. It makes less and less to me every day, this character, lonely figure who does his job and does it well to go home to a vacuum after dealing with a lot of junk, graceful processing of junk good tidings, waited on people, conversations that are not real, the lackey's flourish of good will no one really gives too much weight to. Even though it goes back and back a long way and some people thankfully see that. At this point the writer is now generalizing, and that is poor writing, sweeping statements, a waste of mental space...