I went to the pub on Friday. It was a stupid idea really since I’m doing Dry January. The same kind of stupid as checking out the Zara sale when you’ve promised not to spend money, say. Throwing yourself directly into the path of temptation is never a good idea really, is it? But we’d had a tough week at work and it’s kind of a routine now, so not wanting to be that bore who gives up on a social life altogether just because they can’t be trusted around booze I went anyway. ‘Who knows?’ I thought, ‘Perhaps this fancy Rhubarb and Apple Presse will satisfy my thirst just as much as a crisp glass of Sauv Blanc?’ (Guess what? It didn’t). I told myself maybe it was just mind over matter – if I just pretended to have that warm fuzzy glow maybe I’d feel it for real? (Guess what? I didn’t). There was one saving grace about it though. The pub was quiet.
When I worked in a pub I was convinced everyone was busy having fun while I was slaving away, especially at Christmas. I was certain that as soon as I’d hung up my apron I’d spend my Christmases propping up the bar, having fun like everyone else. Truth is though, it’s just not that fun. Why? Because of PEOPLE. God damn people, who only come out once a year and don’t understand how things work around here. For some reason, THOSE PEOPLE have a habit of gravitating towards me. Something about my face tells them that I’m the one they should sidle up next to, roll their eyes and start telling me how you can’t get the staff these days. Oh if only they knew. Just in case you are one of THOSE PEOPLE, I thought I might let you in on a few things, you know, just to get you started.
Firstly, there is a very simple queuing system in a pub. You may have heard it described before, it’s called ‘FIRST COME FIRST SERVED’. This unfortunately does not mean ‘FIRST PERSON TO SHOUT THEIR ORDER SERVED FIRST’ or ‘PERSON WHO BANGS THEIR GLASS THE LOUDEST SERVED FIRST’.
Things that also fail to get the bartender’s attention:
1) Waving money in their face – they are bartenders, not hookers.
2) Swearing, or name calling – funnily enough, this generally has the opposite effect.
3) Walking around the bar to serve yourself – this is actually the fastest way to be ejected from the premises.
I will also let you in on a little secret. Bartenders have a funny little code they use when they think you are next. Look closely next time you are at the bar – they will make eye contact and say something along the lines of “What can I get for you Sir/ Madam?” If this doesn’t happen, it is usually because you are not next!
Secondly, although the pub seems to be a magical place where the booze runs freely and everything runs smoothly, shit sometimes happens. For example, you are looking forward to your after-work pint when suddenly the barrel goes and you have to wait 2 minutes for it to be changed. This is a good example of shit happening. It has been a very busy week due to a football match/ a wedding party/ a concert nearby and they have run out of your favourite alcopop flavour. This can also be described as shit happening, and remember, shit has the tendency to happen at the most awkward of times. So next time you think the bartender is trying to rip you off, or is just being a bitch and hiding the best stuff, try to be calm and remember that you are probably just experiencing shit happening right in front of your eyes.
Sometimes the pub seems like an alternate universe. You may not know this, but it actually follows the same rules of time, gravity and logic as the real world. You might think you have been at the bar for half an hour, but it has actually been 2 minutes. You may think you have been waiting for your food forever, but a well-done steak takes a while and you only just ordered it. To avoid getting confused, try consulting a clock. This pesky logic also means that when more people are in the bar, there are fewer places to sit and it takes longer to get served. Strange but true.
Thank heavens Christmas is over and we can reclaim the pub back as out own. If you want some real advice, it’s this – skip the pub altogether during the festive season. For your own sanity. You are safer sticking to this kind of drinking occasion:
Trust me on this!