I’m the bartender. She’s the drunk. No, seriously – my wife is a raging, binging, drink ’til you pass out (or get arrested), violent, lunatic of an alcoholic. I have guy friends and co-workers with the a similar, inbred “disposition.” But I didn’t date them on and off for years, get them sperminated a couple of times, then wind up signing some bullshit, legally binding, life-long contract like I did with this one – let’s call her – Shanaynay (Martin Lawrence reference for you young’uns)
So how the fuck is a chick with nearly no capacity to avoid getting black-out state sauced, supposed to stay sober when her boyfriend/husband is continually engaged in dirty deeds – doling out Enablement, and depending upon it for a living? Short answer: It’s nearly impossible.
When I first started bartending, an eon or two ago, life was good. I was The mutherfucking Man – or so I thought. I was living the typical, invincible, bartending life – hooking up willy-nilly (no pun intended), partying nightly, and drinking bro-style. I’d awake in the early afternoon in a virtual sea of chunks, surrounded by several unconscious and naked people who I swear I’d never seen before that very moment. I rarely had any recollection of what heinous actions had taken place the night before. “Walk-of-shame” was my credo. That lifestyle is not unusual in “The Business.”
A few years goes by… enter Shanaynay. She was angelic, an emerald-clad little sprite with a stunning physique – the perfect blend between toned athleticism and voluptuous, uber-feminine curves. She was an actress (duh) from the Wrong Coast who had recently transitioned to The Big Apple. At the service bar, she mesmerized me with sneaky smiles, fairy-like dancing hips, and a perfectly timed shoulder-bobble here and there. When she’d walk away to tend to her tables, she’d strut away with an intoxicating sashay – no doubt, because she knew I was watching. It was a carefully crafted ploy on her part to reel me in. Well, it worked like charm. As was the case with a handful of waitresses/bartenders before her, I fell - hard.
A few weeks or months go by in new relationship bliss. I was so engrossed in our new courtship, I hadn’t noticed the obvious. Homegirl fucking loved to get her vodka on. Vodka has her shit. I don’t mean vodka like you or I drink it. I’m talking between a half to to an entire bottle of the shit – often with no mixer whatsoever. The gravity of the problem simply didn’t hit me at the time. More often than not, she kept her levels of consumption pretty well hidden.
The dumbass that I am/was, I’d serve her at work and we’d go out getting liquored up almost nightly. I worked behind the bar in a restaurant. We were in our twenties. Drinking excessively at that age and in that environment is not exactly uncommon – shocking, eh? At first, I didn’t think much of finding her face down in her apartment or the odd slurring, 3am booty call. I was having a blast. As time went on however, shit got way out of control.
Not a year after we initially hooked up, I’m on a brunch shift behind the bar. Shanaynay comes roaring into the bar, holding her best-friend’s hand, and streaming lots of tears. I’m dumbfounded. Anyway, she decides the middle of my bartending shift is the appropriate time to tell me she’s pregnant! I’ll never forget the moment but I fell flat back onto the bar mats; my legs gave way and all I could sense for a few minutes was the room spinning round and round. Guess what folks? Shanaynay sobered up for the pregnancy and the most beautiful little boy you’ve ever seen is the result. I’ll never regret our our decision.
Anyway, not long after our son was born, the devil within reared her fugly head. The habits of the past quickly returned but unfortunately, ten times worse. I’m not gonna get into great detail about it but suffice it to say, the craziest, gnarliest stupidity ensued over the next few years. We separated, got back together, broke up, blaa blaa blaa. In the end, after many, many years of completely destructive, asinine behavior (putting it very mildly), she hit rock bottom in every way. Shanaynay had a bit of an epiphany, took 12-Step seriously, and turned her/our lives around in a really dramatic way.
My main beef these days is that (a) I can’t enjoy a few fucking beers or bottle of wine in peace – not at home and not when we go out. I have to consume on the sneak-tip (b) as a bartender with severe O.C.D., I’ve always felt it absolutely necessary to have a house full of all manner of hooch – an over the top assortment of liquor; for personal use and especially when there’s some sort of social event going down at the crib. Guess what? That’s out the window too. Holidays, bar-b-ques, and special events at our house are a bitch; I walk a fine tight-rope… trying to meet various folks’ expectations of what a party should (and shouldn’t be).
In the scheme of things, these are really, really, small prices to pay – all things considered. Anyone who’s been in “recovery” a while, or who has been directly affected by a career drunk or addict will likely concur.
The point of all this? Correlation does not always equal causation. When you’re a bartender and you run into a hot chick at the service bar, and you serve her vodka. When you serve her vodka, she passes out on the subway platform. When she passes out on the subway platform, you freak the fuck out. When you freak out, you eat too many Magnolia cupcakes. When you consume too many cupcakes, you get hella runs.
Don’t be a bartender – you won’t get the runs.