I work in a bar. I pour alcohol down peoples' throats in exchange for money. The more distilled product they consume the more I potentially make. Sometimes I lose out on money if they consume too much. It's a delicate balance I must walk, but I must enjoy it on some deep level, else I would find a new line of work.
But my deep seated masochism aside, I inevitably find myself surrounded by drink people. It's annoying, as anyone who's ever been the sole sober person in the bar can attest, but I can tolerate them to a degree because they're paying me to get as close to alcohol poisoning as possible. I immerse myself in a world of drunken debauchery for profit.
The problem comes when I'm off work. Don't get me wrong,I like a drink at night, especially a single-malt scotch or well-balanced spiced rum in a mojito. Actually the alcohol spectrum I enjoy is much wider than that, but that's beyond the scope of this post.
The problem comes from the drunk people. I can tolerate them just fine when they pay me, but when they're just around me and I reap no monetary benefit, that's when I have a problem.
See, drunk people are annoying. They're loud, obnoxious, can't find their keys, lose their phones every five minutes, and the dance floor somehow has a greater gravitational pull on them than the earth beneath their feet. They have a way of raising their voice to the point when the whole room knows about their new warts, and everyone’s trying desperately to forget where said warts have started appearing. They’ll also find the least convenient place possible to expel the contents of their stomachs.
And I'm sure I could tolerate that if only I were one of them. But my finances are such that I cannot afford to spend all night getting smashed anywhere other than at home, where the booze is already paid for. Many a night I have passed out, not remembering what I watched on Netflix while falling asleep. And I’ll be honest, I don’t know that I would have watched nine consecutive episodes of Sherlock while passing out. I want to be awake for that stuff.
But no. I tend to arrive at the bar ten minutes before last call, only because my own bar closes fairly early. If we closed at state-mandated last call, I can assure you I’d go straight home afterwards, because that would mean drunk people are paying me to stay late. But instead I’m one of the few sober people in the tavern. That list includes me, the establishment’s management and bar staff, and a few of my coworkers who’ve just ordered the maximum number of drinks legally permitted in a desperate attempt to catch up to the barflies around them (a fruitless effort, to be frank, as their bodies won’t feel it until after they’ve been ejected from the pub because it can’t legally have patrons in it at that hour).
So why am I there? Bars are supposed to be hubs of socialization, where the merits of various sports teams are discussed, bets are made on field goals, and desperate inebriated singles hope to go home with other desperate inebriated singles. But here I am, just sitting next to a coworker or two, bitching about the shift I just worked, getting annoyed at the motley collection of people dancing to the Two Bit Shuffle.
Am I just frustrated that other people are having more fun than I am? Perhaps. Let’s be honest: it’s a hazard of being sober at the bar near last call. So why am I there? Certainly, I like the bar staff at the pub, but they’re busy dealing with the drunk people I just dismissed from my own bar. I want to unwind a bit, but like I said, the drinks are cheaper at home. I like my coworkers… I guess.
I’m left to assume I am there by habit. A habit I must break for monetary and sanitary reasons. The neighborhood tavern will henceforth be relegated to my night off. Unfortunately, on my night off, I haven’t the energy to go anywhere, having been sucked into a self-imposed marathon of Sherlock on Netflix.