Where was I? Oh yeah. Bad weather knocked out the electricity at my job. The owner decided we weren't going to try and open. Happy about the unexpected day off, I fixed myself a fat-ass cocktail and chugged it. Then the owner called and told me to go to our other location and fill in for their bartender, who was unable to make it in 'cause of the bad weather.
I couldn't really decline. I had a car. The other location wasn't really all that far away. Most of the major streets were navigable. I was scheduled to work that day. But damn I didn't want to go! But I went, of course. Even though I'd just chugged a stout Jack and Diet on an empty stomach.
I've been a pretty major consumer of alcohol over the years. But, although I've gone to work with some massive hangovers, I've got a personal rule about never consuming intoxicating substances before or during a restaurant shift. I probably shouldn't of had that drink, but my conscience is clear; when I knocked it out, I honestly thought I wasn't going to have to work the rest of the day.
It wasn't like I was wasted or anything. I'd consume some gum and mints and nobody'd be able to tell I'd had a drink. I usually have some Certs or Trident with me and in those days I smoked a lot of Marlboro Reds, so the bourbon breath wasn't going to be an issue. But the downtown store was kind of the flagship of the organization. If I was going to work a shift there, I wanted to be at my best.
Oh well. I got there and they'd already been open for at least half an hour. There was some big ordeal about getting me clocked in. I didn't care about it but you couldn't ring anything in if you weren't clocked in. I got my drawer counted and everything set up as well as I could and I was ready to go.
Everything at that store was different from my store. The food was the same, but that was it. The bar was different. The cash register was different. The alcohol selection, especially the beer, was different. The ways things were done were different. The coworkers were different. The whole—what's a good word here?—ambience was different. Imagine what it would be like to start a new restaurant gig and be put on the floor solo on your first day, without any instruction or training whatsoever except that you knew the food. It was like that.
It started out slow, which was good for me; I had a little time to get acclimated to things. But it got progressively busier. A lot of establishments were closed because they were without powers. A few of the barflies from my store made their way to this store. Which turned out good for me; they'd talk about what a good job I was doing under difficult circumstances and word got around that I was just filling in and that seemed to buy me some patience from the clients. Things could have run smoother, but overall I guess they went pretty well.
Right after I got started, a goateed young man with long hair came to the bar and ordered a bloody mary to go. I politely told him we didn't do that. "Oh yeah you do!" he informed me, before storming off to converse with the manager. They talked pretty animatedly, thought out of my earshot, for a good couple of minutes and then dude left.
Later that day another bearded white guy with long hair rolled into the bar. He ordered a snack and something to drink. He was pretty cool and it turned out that he and the bloody mary douchetard from that morning were bandmates, recording at a nearby music studio. I'd seen them a couple of years earlier at a club, opening for Bonham, a sort-of-metally band led by drummer Jason Bonham, son of the late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.
I figured out what was up. These guys recorded their mediocre tunes nearby and came and got mixed drinks to go all the time. The manager was obviously down, she had to be. The Nikki Sixx wannabe just thought he could get a cocktail going to the trailer no matter who was bartending. Some people are incapable of being cool.
Anyway, the night bartender, probably on account of the weather, was hella late, so I got to work through happy hour by myself. I busted ass and harvested mad cash. I don't think I got a cigarette the whole time I was there, so that first couple of 'Boros I had after work were really good. And there was a liquor store open on the way home.