One of our regulars came into the restaurant last week and plopped her scrubs-wearing ass down at the bar and settled in for her night. She likes to to talk and she likes to talk loud. Lucky for me, I only go behind the bar when I need a lemon wedge or some ice, so I don’t usually have to listen to her or feign interest as she blabs away about what’s wrong with New York City. She has told me that she is from Texas which would explain four things: her volume, her twang and her unfortunate choice of earrings and hairstyle. She clearly enjoys being seen as a regular and we are all really nice to her. Well, at least we are until some of us get home and then write a blog post about her.
When the bartender goes to the restroom, he asks me to step behind the bar for a few minutes. That’s sorta like asking a kid to watch the candy store so of course I oblige. I am a team player, you know. As I am scoping out the bar to see if there are any wines that need tasting, Loud Texan Lady catches my eye and begins a story. Trapped like a rat, I listen.
“You know, back when I lived in Texas, I was a regular at a bar right by my house. I didn’t have a tiny shitty little apartment in Texas, I had a house. With a yard and three bedrooms. Now I live in a fucking matchbox, but I live in the city that never sleeps, so that’s supposed to make it all worth while, I guess. Anyway, I would go to this bar every few days and one day after a really bad day at work, I was not in the mood for anything but my gin and tonic. So I sees this girl behind the bar that I don’t recognize and I’m like, ‘Who the fuck is this?’ I ordered my gin and tonic and I’m already annoyed that I am having to tell her that I like two fresh lime wedges that were cut just for me. I hate those limes that sit in that damn tray all fuckin’ night. And she has the nerve to ask me for my ID.”
At this point, I have to wonder what woman doesn’t enjoy being ID’d. Don’t most people miss being having people think they are younger than 21? The last time I was carded was over five years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday. I even told everyone at the table to appreciate the moment because it would never happen again. I was 40 at the time and I just about did a freakin’ back flip when the waitress asked for my license. I told her that they obviously needed better lighting but I was happy to produce my ID for her. I finally found it in my wallet behind a stack of old receipts for Metamucil. My license was almost as brittle as my bones. When she looked at it, she said, “Oh, my God, you’re older than my dad.” She lifted me up so high by asking for my ID and then she let me crash to the ground. “Just go get my drink,” I told her.
“Can you believe she asked me for my ID?” the lady continues. “I was like, ‘Awwww, hell no, I’m a regular.’ I couldn’t believe that this girl was gonna ask me, a REGULAR, for my ID. I got up from that bar and marched around that restaurant to find somebody who knew me. And of course I couldn’t find any body that I knew. I don’t know where the hell all my people were but it took me forever to find somebody I recognized. But I didn’t care. I woulda walked to Brownsville and back if I had to. After about five minutes, I finally found someone I knew and told them that they needed to go up to that new bartender and tell her that I am a regular and I am of age. I don’t have to pull out my ID every time I want a gin and tonic. Can you believe that shit?” she asked me.
I decide to play along. “I’m surprised they hadn’t already told the new girl all about you. You would think they would have filled her in on all the regulars and what they drink, right? I mean, that should be part of her training. I’m from Texas and when I worked there, I remember that we were told to get to know all of our regulars and to make sure everyone knew who they were and what they liked. What a joke. I’m sorry you had to deal with that. That’s awful.”
“Thank you!” she says as if I have somehow righted the worst wrong ever to have happened. She tosses back the last swig of gin and tonic.
“You want another drink?” I ask her.
“I think I do.”
“Can I see your ID?”
She thinks this is the funniest thing in the world. She laughs so hard that she snorts and I cannot be sure that she managed to keep her panties dry. I slice two new lime wedges and pour her another drink just as the bartender gets back from the restroom. He has been gone long enough to tell me that he was either taking a poop or making a phone call. I make sure he adds the gin and tonic to the tab and I make my escape from the bar.
“Have a good night,” I tell the regular. “I will see you soon.”
She waves at me and as I am going back to my section, I hear her begin talking to the bartender. “You know, back when I lived in Texas, I was a regular at a bar right by my house. I didn’t have a tiny shitty little apartment in Texas, I had a house…”
And so it begins all over again.