Thursday, 21 August 2014

I don't drink alcohol

In Ireland people who don't drink are always met with surprise. It's the equivalent to having two heads. Unusual. As soon as you utter it, peoples eyes squint and they pause. You've just dropped a bomb!!! Suddenly they are awakened from their state of...  and usually ask with an ostensible curiosity as to why not. But really they are suspicious. You can tell by the slow nodding and raised eyebrow. I just don't like it, is my usual response. Not even a nice glass of red wine by the fire in winter? is a typical kind of question. Nope, a nice cup of hot chocolate or tea does me just fine.

There are many answers that an Irish brain will call upon to try to pacify themselves and explain this oddity. Of course this is never said to you. But you can see it between the slow nodding: He must have been an alcoholic... Maybe he's pregnant... Maybe he's a Russian spy...  Maybe he's a closet Muslim... Maybe he's mentally ill... Whatever it is, he's an anomaly... Whatever they arrive at, it's just not normal. I would imagine it's always the first: alcoholic, since I own a pub.

I understand their reasons for suspicion I guess. That person in the corner who will remember everything you said and did when full up with juice. When they splatter you with a little bit of their soul amongst the debauchery, unable to take it back. Yes, I guess I'm like a tape recorder; one you can't bare to listen back to as it doesn't sound like you. Or does it?

Drinkers' always have one eye on that non-drinker. But they have missed something. Something BIG: The barmen! We are all sober. We are all watching. This is our TV. This is our wildlife program. This is why we can work those shitty shifts, the Friday and Saturday evenings. Fuck social media! This shit is addictive! It's also scary. That's why I don't drink. I prefer to keep all the stains on my soul to myself thank you.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Lock in Girl

Lock-in-girl was in last night. She's a regular. Although after that night, that morning, she did pull a bit of a disappearing act for a while. I don't think she knows about the cameras. I can't imagine she would want to show her face here again if she did. She must be around forty. The lock in was about eight years ago, so she was younger then. That's not to say I think she has grown up or changed much. One a debauchee, always one. Unless you stay away from this kind of scene all together, or unless you become a Russian spy, like me...

I still have the tape. I have all my tapes; wouldn't throw them away. It's important when you run a busy pub to have cameras. With the kind of random shit that goes on here, you need them. You will always get someone who will try to say they slipped on your floor and try to get money out of you. I didn't realise when I got them what great archives I would be building. Sometime, way in the future, I imagine my tapes will be well placed in a museum: Ireland, before they all drank themselves to death. Anyway, I better get on with the lock-in-girl story––I have a christening party in today, need to go and chat with the chef.

Some nights my staff don't do their job cleaning the toilets. One Sunday morning, following one of these nights of no toilet cleaning, I came down stairs in my boxers to get the newspaper from outside the door. After sweeping it up, I locked the door again behind me and went in to put on an espresso from the machine behind the main bar. I had opened the paper and was shaking my head, giving out about some bullshit story in it, when I heard "excuse me" in an innocent little voice between the noise of the coffee machine. I looked up and there she was. Scared the shit out of me.

I knew straight away why she was there. This kind of thing happens more than you would imagine. She had fallen asleep in the cubicle in the the toilet and had got locked in. "I'm so sorry... I fell sleep and––"
"It's alright pet. No need to explain. These things happen", I said, as I thought to myself: she looks nothing like a pet; more like a hybrid of Morticia Adams and a raccoon. And had a breath like a raccoon that had just puked and then ate it back up. I got her out the door fast, went back to reading some brainwashing stories and drank my espresso.

It was only a couple of hours later that I decided to go back and look at the video from the previous night. I fast forwarded it until I could see an empty bar and her coming out of the toilet. She actually woke up pretty soon after the last of the staff left. I feel bad for saying how amused I was at her first realisation that she had been locked in. Classic! But what was best, was that she was so drunk she repeated this realisation twice more!! This first time, she stumbled out of the bathroom and up to the door in her leather mini skirt––which she was far too large to get away with––hurled herself at the door, saw it was locked, stumbled around the main bar a bit looking disorientated, then sat down on a stool, put her head on the table and fell asleep.

I fast forwarded again through that sleep until she woke again, which was about an hour later. She then went through the whole scenario again! Looking around, realising she was alone, getting up off the stool, falling, getting up again and dragging her high heels towards the door, only to realise she was locked in again. She scrunched up her face and her eyes were rolling around in different directions, as if an elephant had just farted right in front of her. This time she went back to the bar and sat there and fell asleep. And yes, she woke up and repeated the hilarity again. Only this time, I think she may of had some flash of a memory as she went to turn the door handle. She didn't look as shocked this time and stood there with her hand over her mouth, her eyes moving slowly from side to side as she seemed to be thinking heavily. I reckon in that moment she had a drunken deja vu. She didn't fall back asleep again. That was around 4am I think.

So, let me try and recall everything else... Oh yes, the white, hooker heels came off. Then she removed her bra in some bizarre way. She took it out through her t-shirt sleeves without taking off her t-shirt... I was actually quite impressed with that. She seemed to have a strange way about her and the way she did things and wore things. She went into the toilet and when she came out her t-shirt was no longer tucked into her skirt. The end of it was this weird bit. It looked like a swimsuit that had been cut at the knicker area, as there was a flap of it (like a Y shape) hanging at the back and the same at the front... Odd, still to this day I don't know what that was. I guess she altered it for some reason.

She was like Goldie locks, moving around, sitting on chairs, sitting on tables, sitting on the bar. And yes, she did help herself to some drink. She also did some cleaning, which I was grateful of and felt it made up for the drinks she stole. In between all of the cleaning, she emptied the contents of her bag on the bar counter and sifted through it. I was amazed at the amount of stuff that came out. It was like a bin. She then proceeded to pour an awful pint of Guinness, took one of the contents from the bag, unwrapped something and stuck it in the pint... She was looking in and twirling something around. I couldn't quite make it out. It seemed like a plastic spoon. It wasn't. After a couple of minutes she proceeded to pull out what I first thought looked like a small mouse, but after pressing pause realised it was one of those tampon things... Then, she 'respectfully' walked across the bar floor with it dripping, through the swing doors into the toilet, where I assume she flushed it away...

The other thing which I will never forget and I find hard not to recall when I see her walk through the door at the weekends, was the nail biting session; the toe nail biting that is. Yes, she arrived at one of the benches in the smaller alcove, put her feet up on the table in front of her, fiddled with them a bit and then proceeded to lift her foot to her mouth. I was impressed with her acrobatic stretching skills (I've actually since tried  and failed to get my foot up to my mouth. Just to see if I could). But the nail in the mouth and the intensity on her face as she tried to remove bits was something I just cannot ever forget. Right now, that same feeling of revulsion has entered me, as if stored neatly away in one of my cells somewhere. D-i-s-g-u-s-t-i-n-g... And each successful ripped toe nail got spat on my bar floor! I'm actually reliving the feelings here, so I'm glad we are coming to a close. It's been nice to share it with you. But I think that's enough of Lock-in-girl.
I'm off to deal with the chef.