Rebekah… Shalom.

5 Nov

So one of the things about tending bar (that rejiggering of words is for you and your hoity-toity preferences, Ben) is that you have to deal with The Public.  Tending bar is not the only profession in which this is the case, obviously.  I could work for the Department of Motor Vehicles, say.  Or I could work in a retail store, as a police officer, or perhaps be a park ranger.  Although in some of these other professions I might be forced to deal with The Public while they are under the influence on occasion, as a provider of liquor the odds of my dealing with slightly to majorly intoxicated people increases exponentially.  It just goes along with the territory.  Sometimes, this is both horrifying and funny, like the time that I was accused by a legitimately crazy man of stealing his Budweiser when I confiscated it after he attempted to drink it on Atlantic Avenue right in front of my bar while mounting his bicycle.  Other times, I am threatened with violence like the time this really small lady attempted to punch me over the bar after drinking her weight in Brooklyn Lager.  And occasionally, it results in me attempting to break up a Fireman brawl by dousing them all with water and the only result is confused/angry Firemen and a soaked coworker.  When I walk into work I never know what sort of events the day might bring.  What I do know is that I will have to, at some point, deal with some incredibly annoying people.  And that is where this story begins.

As a quick aside let me just say that most of my customers are really great.  They teach me all kinds of things.  They make me laugh.  They gossip with me about the neighborhood staples.  They ask me, over and over again, what I plan on doing with me recently acquired degree.  (The answer, still, is that I will do something…eventually.  Just as soon as I figure out what that something is.  I’m fairly convinced that I’ll know it when I see it.)  Sometimes, they even become my real life friends.  Some of my customers, though, are really hard to deal with.  I don’t know if they are really lonely or if they don’t understand what the word “interesting” means or if maybe they make a sport out of seeing how many times they can make me raise my left eyebrow or cause my eyes to glaze over due to complete and total boredom.  I mean, these people are skilled.  There is one person in particular who fits this mold.  I will call him Tim.

This is a customer who has annoyed me late night pretty consistently for at least 2 years.  He turns up right when I think I’m safe.  Sometimes he’s alone, sometimes he brings in people who are way too drunk for me to serve and then he tries to secretly buy them drinks.  Other times he stands in the corner for prolonged periods of time and weeps.  (Okay, that only happened once but it was very bizarre.)  What he always does, every time, is talk a lot and say very, very little.  On a recent evening he came into the bar and asked me literally a half a dozen times in a 10 minute period what was new.  Finally I got frustrated and said to him,

Nothing.  Nothing is new.  So if you want to ask me again in the future what is new, I would like you to refer back to my previous responses of nothing.  Save us both some time.

Then something amazing happened.  For the first time ever in the history of me and Tim interacting on any level whatsoever, he took the hint.  He realized he was annoying me.  It was a revelation.  He gave me a big, final-seeming salute and marched his way out the door never to be seen again.  Or so I thought.

The following night, much to my dismay, Tim was back!  My coworker and I were absolutely shocked by this unexpected turn of events. I approached him and asked him if he wanted a beer.  He ordered a Heineken.  And then the following interaction occurred:

Tim, while staring at me with a very odd expression: I was told today that you are a member of The Tribe.

After a pause of about 30 seconds in which I stared back at Tim with my head cocked to the side in confusion sort of like a small puppy he continued.

Tim:  Do you know what I mean when I say you are a member of The Tribe?
Me:  Yes.  I am just trying to figure out under what circumstances my religion would come up in conversation.
Tim: No, it’s good.  You know what? I have never met a Jewish bartender before!  This is just great!  I mean, this is breaking down barriers!
Me:  Um…? I’m sorry.  You’ve never met…
Tim: You know, I went into a bar nearby and tried to get a job and they wouldn’t hire me.
Me:  I don’t think that had anything to do with the fact that you are Jewish (I wanted to add that I could think of a few other reasons but I thought that unnecessarily rude.)

At this moment, thankfully, some other customers came in and I was able to abandon my conversation with Tim and go about my evening.  Eventually, seeing that we weren’t going to discuss the Torah or sing the Hava Nagila, Tim went on his way to, I can only imagine, torment some other non-Jewish bartender in close proximity.

Fast forward about 2 hours.

The owner of a nearby bar (and a friend and occasional blog reader and commenter under the assumed email “OBTampons”) walked in, sat at the bar, ordered a Bud Lite and decided to unload his guilt.

OB Tampons: I think I might have done something wrong.  I told Tim you were Jewish

Well, at least the mystery was solved.  After a bit of verbal berating I decided to just accept my lot in life.  I was stuck with Tim.  I would just have to deal with the unavoidable face-melting at some point every single Thursday night for the rest of the foreseeable future.  But the thing was that on this particular week I was working two night shifts in a row.  And wouldn’t you know it, the next night at 9:30pm, a little earlier than usual, in walked Tim. He ordered a Heineken from my coworker (but not until she checked with me to make sure I serve him because “he seemed like a person I wouldn’t serve..” She clearly knows me too well).  I walked over a few minutes later to check and see if he needed something else and he looked at me, with a very serious expression and said,

Rebekah…Shalom.

He promptly walked out into the night.  My life.  Sometimes it is just too much.

3 Responses to “Rebekah… Shalom.”

  1. Jamie Wallhauser November 5, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

    Very entertaining indeed. May I point out, perhaps, the obvious? Isn’t your mother Irish? A Jewish bartender doesn’t sound quite so far-fetched, eh? 😉 By the way beautiful, what are you going to do with that degree?

  2. lionsdenbarschool November 6, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

    …and I thought I had it rough!!!

  3. marissap333 November 11, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

    Heeheehee That was the best ending ever

    Sent from my iPhone

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