The Tao of Imbibing. Yang.

In Whiskey Wisdom on March 27, 2011 at 4:49 pm

The Tao of the Imbibing: Part I. Yang

No white powdery stuff on sticky linoleum floors. No cowboys saddle and slumped, drowning in whiskey. No lady Madonnas with bats for lashes drinking drinks (whooff…) two times stronger than stuff you would want to clean your earrings with.

No, this is 1pm on a gloriously sunny spring afternoon. So pretty in fact, I contemplate abandoning the interview altogether. Aurora’s fingertips beckon. To hell with chit-chat, droning for deadlines, tap TAP tapping at my keyboard like some damn chimpanzee trial and tribulatin’ for tropical fruit. I want to:

a) work on my tan (and thereby directly increase my “exotic” quotient)
b) get shtupped (consult your local Yiddish woman if you require translation on that one)
c) get some shut-eye.

Entre or sca-daddle? A tale of two body parts: one forearm basks in Aurora’s gifts, reluctant to leave her while the other (yet to master Hooligan’s 29 stairs) quivers at the railing.

I experience the fear and trembling. and become that which I despise: a waffler.

Waffling continues for sometime before I figure–what the hey–I still got knees that work and besides, I am wearing sensible shoes. My heinie races up the stairs.

Sure enough, my interviewee is behind the bar. The crowd is scant (Oh my daytime bartenders—how you are relegated to out-of-towners in search of big screens and football or single brandy businessmen. How we hope they throw you some change!)

Three windows facing Whiskey Row let the sunshine stream in generously. I can see how immaculate the metal latticework is on the ceiling, the sheen of the tiled dance floor, the forest green carpeting. No doubt about it, the place is in good shape. I feel unsettled. Dive-ish bar. Inside. Clean? Sunny? I feel unsettled, but install myself anyhow in a stool away from other customers. But no so far away as to suggest I have trouble leaving my house in the morning. Scott, tidy-haired tidily attired bustlesand bristles with energy, far more than the amount his four patrons require. If he pays me any mind it is a couple of fuzzy glances of the squeaky clean variety.

Rebecca Antsis: So Scott…what is your favorite drink to make for patrons?

Scott: I like to make Bloody Mary’s. I don’t know any of that fancy stuff. I’m an old school trained bartender, I’m no mixologist. I entertain people and I pour ‘em drinks.

(Scott is so matter fact, I just want to ruffle his feathers.)

Ok Scott, tell me your philosophy on life.

(He inhales deeply, small shrug. This question always seem to trouble people.)

Well… I try to walk around without a chip on my shoulder. I try to let the bad things just roll off my shoulder, ya’ know. Always try to not let the shit get to ya. Stay happy. Keeps ya’ healthy, plus…it’s contagious. I’m in my 40’s and no high blood pressure.

(He beams. Last time I heard someone this chipper they were selling something. Then again, I guess he is. Or is he? I probe. )

But what’s the craziest thing you’ve seen behind the bar?

(Look of concentration on his well-groomed brow) Oh, uh..gosh. I seen a group a homeless guys, (slightly embarrassed, pause) transients come in and pool change to buy two beers.

(Better but I want to hear about cowboys on coke and circus freaks and biker brawls and general madness. I am in just one of those moods. I probe further.)

Bikers. They behave?

Oh yeah…I mean we don’t have a ‘no colors’ policy that or anything like that that rejects bikers.  To my knowledge , we never had any problems. A few groups coming in on their rides, checking places out…

(I am crestfallen. This man is not capable of a mean word. I cast away all pretense at subtlety)

Ok, Scott. There has got to be something you are not telling me. Anything crazy happen here you’re forgetting?

Uh, well (I half expect him to scratch his head), on St. Patty’s day, during the afternoon a big college age fella, big (gesticulates broad shoulders). Seemed sober as a judge. Ordered a coors and a rum an’ coke, drinks the coors, half the rum, and I had to throw him out. I never seen anyone turn on me that quick.

(Ooh..have I found my juice?)

What do you mean?

(Scott wobbles in circles to demonstrate)

I think my work here is done. Scott’s got war stories, just will not divulge me any. I thank him and head out in search of some yin action.

If you are interested in being featured for next issue’s Whiskey Wisdom, have your own barroom philosophy or slang, or just plain want to tell her how swell you think her articles are, send Beka an e-mail! rebeccaantsis@gmail.com


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