I walked down the sidewalk towards the bar. I was still a few blocks away and checked my watch.
Putting an extra step into my pace, I tried to make up for lost time. The parking downtown was horrible tonight and I had been forced to circle the block a few extra times in order to find a parking space that wasn't too far away and in a decently lit spot so my car wouldn't be broken into.
Walking into the bar, a few employees were already there, busy setting up their respective stations. The bartenders were setting up their tins and mats, and a few were cutting fruit already. Some of the floor staff were setting trashcans up and I caught a glance of Bill behind the bar, wearily going through the motions of the night.
"Whats up man," I said. "Hows it goin?"
"Dude..." he began. I could already see his eyes were bloodshot. "A few of us went out for dinner and I think I drank too much." He drunkenly laughed. So did I. He was going to have fun bartending tonight...until about 12 when his hangover hit. I was glad I wasn't in that position.
I was stationed at the door with Rob, another door guy, so we went to the door to set up the mats and other various assorted things that require being set up and flipped on in the forward section of the bar. After that was done, we settled in for the early night wait, which basically means we sat on our ass until we got busy.
Downtown, in the past few years, has taken longer and longer to get busy. Now, it's normally around 11:30 or 12am before it really gets going. Which, for us, means that we sit around for 2 or 3 hours waiting to do work.
Rob and I stationed ourselves at either side of the entry when the people started coming in. Shortly thereafter, a police officer rode up on a bicycle and got off, parking his bike and walking in our direction while saying something into his radio at the same time.
"You guys have a problem with a customer around here?" he finally asked.
"No...not that I know of." Me and Rob looked at each other and shrugged.
"Well, we had a report of a problem customer down here." He sighed and looked around. "Hmm...," he said, seemingly to himself. He looked like he was thinking.
About that time, a guy came out from the bar next door and informed the officer he had seen a homeless guy walking by with a knife in his hand. Apparently, he had scared a few people on the sidewalk and the police had been called. Upon being informed of this, the officer thanked us and walked away, off to search for the offending crackhead. We spotted him several hours later searching a guy down the sidewalk.
As the night went on, we picked up considerably, and found ourselves time and time again in situations which required increasing patience and self control to deal with. I'm no researcher, but if I were to conduct any research into the matter, I would bet that has everything to do with the amount of alcohol that our wonderful customers had consumed.
A few examples:
Thug: "Whatya mean mah shirts too baggy? That's bullshit! You're racist!"
Us: "Sorry man. The thing comes down to your shins. You stretch it out or something?"
Sorority Girl: "Are you serious? I can't come in? But I'm 21!"
Us: "Well miss, your ID says you were born in 1983. That would actually make you 24. Skip math class today?"
The night breezed by fairly unevenfully, which Rob and I were both thankful for. That is, until 2am hit.
"See that guy leaning against the parking meter down there?" Rob said. "He's been like that for about 10 minutes. He's hammered."
We do this alot. We try to spot the potential offending customers before they've even tried to come in the bar. This particular guy looked rough. Shaggy, frat boy hair and a complete inability to walk in a straight line.
Rob called it well, because shortly thereafter, the drunk headed our way.
"Sorry," Rob said to him. "You've had a little too much tonight. I'm not going to be able to let you in."
"Wh-wh-whatt?" drunk boy slurred. "I'm not drunk! See?"
With that, the drunk kid tried to walk a straight line, much like the cops do when administering field sobriety tests. I'm no cop, but I think it's fair to say he failed when he nearly faceplanted.
We laughed. But drunk boy wasn't convinced just yet. He approached Rob again.
"Dude," Rob started. "You're not coming in. I already told you."
"But I'm not drunk. Really!" His eyes were horribly bloodshot and one of them was lazy.
Round and round we went for a minute or two, when the guy tried to brush past Rob and Rob shoved him back. The police noticed and came over, and this is when it got bad.
The officer grabbed the drunk kid and escorted him towards the street. The only thing was, the drunk kid wasn't having it. He squared off with the officer, ready to fight. The officer then told him to put his hands behind his back.
30 seconds later, I found myself stopping traffic in the middle of the street while a half dozen bike cops dog piled the fighting drunk kid, trying to get him in handcuffs. They finally did and I thanked them for their trouble and went back to the door just in time to see the exact
thing happening again at the door.
"But my friends are in there..." the other drunk kid said, holding up an ID which said he was born in 1989 while simultaneously trying to stagger by Rob.
"I told you NO!" Rob said, and shoved him back onto the sidewalk.
The drunk kid cocked his right arm back as I stepped between them. I grabbed a handful of his shirt and drove him backwards through the crowd on the sidewalk towards the street where the cops were processing the first kid. They looked over and immediately jumped into action, taking the kid away from me and slapping on a pair of handcuffs. He found a place to go to for the night, only it wasn't what he had in mind I'll bet.
Finally, when the seemingly neverending line of drunk people marching out of the bar stopped, we packed our stuff up, went inside, and locked the door. After doing some brief cleaning and taking the trash out, I had a seat and drank a beer before heading home to get some much needed rest.
Just another Saturday night.