At Least I Didn't Get Puked On
Somehow, someway, I knew I'd be back. I knew that I would find myself putting on the shirt, stuffing the rags into my back pockets, and walking around shaking my finger and scolding some drunk frat boy for any number of infractions that I've outlined extensively in this blog over the years.
And so it began several weeks ago, and there I was, doing the exact thing that I had desperately tried to escape for years.
I have every reason not to be there. I really do. I finished college. I have a full time job that pays me substantially more than I could ever make in a bar. They give me the day off and still pay me...a little known benefit called "paid time off". I have health insurance and my very own retirement plan. I have everything I'd thought I'd ever wanted. And nothing about my real job includes cleaning up puke and shit or physically forcing someone to leave a bar.
The truth is, part of me will always enjoy working in a bar.
The sad part is, I'm much older than I once was. It's almost impossible for me to connect with any of the decade-younger kids who's fake IDs I check at night. I seem further away from understanding what makes drunk college kids do what they do than I ever was. Not that I'd even try to nowadays anyhow. Understanding is a unicorn I chased for years, and never caught.
My long-buried and years old temper peeked its head a few times in the past few weeks, however.
A misguided, upper-middle class white college student with an overt sense of entitlement and a few too many vodka and sodas immediately cried racism over his non-white friends rejection at the door for a dress code violation. The same song and dance I'd done dozens of times in the past.
"That's r-r-racism!" he slurred. "You won't let him in because he's black!"
"He's barely black," I replied. The guy looked more white than anything. "I'm more concerned about his shorts that go all the way down to his ankles."
Who wears that shit, anyway?
What I had was another white kid who felt the need to stand up against white "oppression" to the black man. A entirely misguided way to do so, I thought, at a completely misappropriate setting - the door of a no-name bar in a standard college town not far from the trailer park. This isn't important.
I wished I was able to convey years of this shit to them in only a few moments conversation - and I tried - to no avail.
The end result was that they didn't get in. I won, based on this alone. That didn't stop them from wasting their time downtown, hurling insults and threats from the bar next door. One claimed to be a police officer and made sure to tell me, in no uncertain terms, that all I said would be included in his "report". I'm not sure what report he planned to file at his make-believe police department, but at the very least his claim to be a police officer made us think twice about beating him and his friends faces in until they cried and hailed a cab back to the dorms. It didn't, however, scare us into granting him access to the bar though. Tough shit.
Later, I found myself on top of an unfortunate patron on the sidewalk, jamming my forearm into his face and throat. Funny, I thought to myself. If he had only just walked out like we asked him to, then I wouldn't have him begging me to take my forearm off his neck so he could breathe. He didn't listen to me, so I didn't listen to him. I figured if he could talk, he could breathe, so I continued what I was doing until the police handcuffed him and led him away.
This was a far cry from my normal struggles at the office, that usually involve the printer/scanner/copier that always seems broken.
The joys of downtown Athens never seem to change. Downtown Athens is stuck in a perpetual state of drunken, sexual frustration and constant threats to the manhood of 19 year old frat boy college kids attempting to prove their hyper-masculinity by drinking too much, starting fights and puking wherever convenient.
It's nice to be back.