"She's asleep on her bar seat, her head's rolled all the way back and kinda
to the side, and I'm afraid that she's going to fall off the chair."
It's about 11:30 at night and this is the phone call that I'm listening to. I
take a sip from the glass on my night-stand and am relieved that it's water and
therefore I couldn't possibly just be hallucinating. On second thought, the four
drinks consumed at lunch and another six or so at a neighborhood dive
with buddy we'll call "K" perhaps have something to do with the visceral
reaction I have to the voice on the other end of the phone.
Lately, my wife's been bartending a few nights a week at our restaurant. Now,
S is a model of charm, soft-spoken, ever-so-proper, and very, very beautiful to
boot. But she's not really a drinker (two glasses of wine and she hands me the
car keys). And she's a total stranger to the ways of the bar. Although she
insists that I take a day off now and then, I really worry about her, in her
new-found position as bartender.
The customer who's fast asleep in her chair at the bar is a regular. The
lady's a feisty, friendly, passionate Irish gal who drinks beer and shots and
can hold her own going shot-for-shot with guys who're nearly twice her size.
I've only seen her fall asleep at the bar two or three times. But having been in
this business for more than thirty years, I can tell that she's a consummate
professional, and as "teetering" as she may appear, she ain't going to fall off
that bar stool, not even if someone shoves her from behind.
I tell S to occasionally whisper the young lady's name in her ear. At some
point she'll wake up, snap to attention, stretch, yawn, offer to pay her bill,
and eventually go home.
Phone call number two: "They're taking pictures of her with their
camera-phone. Are they gonna put it on Facebook?" I instruct her to put
"camera-phone man" on the phone with me. He's a neighborhood idiot, and I tell
him to cut it out lest I have to drive over there and make him cut it
Today I'm busy looking all over Facebook with a kind of free-floating
anxiety-feeling going on.