Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Halloween 'o8

That wig only lasted a couple of hours. Snug Harbor was busy. Jeff and I made Monsoons out the wazoo. Monsoons are a huge rum punch. The exact ingredients are a secret. That they pack a punch is not. The Bingo Experience was a hoot of a show, what I caught of it anyway. I heard laughing and outrageous comments from afar as I made cocktails and Monsoons out the wazoo. And, their music was unique and fun to work to.

I bartended when I was a college student back in the late 70's to mid-80's. I never thought I'd be doing that again, this many years later. People from all over the world visit Snug Harbor, a great place to hear good music. I've met some unforgettable people. Musicians too. They come from all over. Last Saturday, we had a jazz ensemble from the Netherlands. They played very well, interesting and different, yet familiar songs.

A lot of tourists want to hear a story. I hear some of the same questions repeatedly: How long have you worked here? (almost a year now) Are you from here? (Yes, New Orleans is my birth town; grew up in Kenner.) What happened here during hurricane Katrina? I am a story-teller, but even I sometimes get tired of the same story and it comes out sounding hackneyed and trite. I try to think of something new to tell them that keeps them interested and happy to be on vacation - away from their own stories and making new ones that will be spread back where they come from. For a fee, you can take a tour of the devastated areas. We roll our eyes at those tours. One regular of mine said he was late getting to work - teaching at UNO - because he was stuck behind a busload of people taking pictures.

One lady told me she took the tour that day, but what she wanted to know is how we all felt during and after it. I could tell she wanted an emotionally-charged story. I just wasn't there, though. My favorite acting is comedic. I tend to look for how we can stay bouyant emotionally and would rather tell you a joke if only I could think of one. I post a joke a day over at, but my memory is such that I can hardly remember any. Real life is more humorous anyway, when I have presence of mind.

I get watched like a tv sometimes by customers visiting New Orleans for the first time. Ordinary things can look so magical and exotic when you are seeing things for the first time. They want to know everything I am making, and sometimes quiz me if I know how to make something they are looking for. I hardly ever make drinks that used to be around in the olden days; banana banshees, grasshoppers, golden cadillacs, pink ladies or squirrels, and other animal named drinks.

I sell more Sazaracs each time I get an order for one because I appear to be doing alchemy as I pour a bit of this and a bit of that, some of this, line the glass with an aromatic liqueur, squeeze and twist the orange - Voila!! - "your Sazarac, Madame." I hear from witnesses, "Ooohhh, I want one, or make mine 4 Sazaracs instead of wine and beers." It's fine by me to hear those things. That'll be $7 each. Usually, I get a good tip from the process. Some bartenders don't like to make them.

The drink I hate to make most is mojitos. Mint just doesn't keep, and that drink doesn't even taste good to me. Maybe a shot of peppermint schnapp's and rum would be the same or better. I muddle and grumble to myself when I make them.

I also get asked for Vodka and Red Bull a lot on weekends, when the young locals come out to play on Frenchman St. We don't carry energy drinks. I tell them I heard it's bad for them to drink that combo anyway. How about a healthy dose of Vodka with something else then? I hear irony in my question.

Julia said she's embarrassed by my profession. I tell her it's a righteous living and I like my job. I don't like that it's an hour commute. I just want to take a nice little doh-doh about halfway across the bridge. It's so dark and lulling. Thankfully, there are police in every one of the turn-arounds to keep me upright and alert. I've gotten too many tickets to count.

The last ticket I got was for careless operation when I smashed into the side of the bridge after riding over a metal grate drawbridge. A wind gusted and blew my Kia around like paper, and the police apologetically ticketed me. I went to court and they threw it out. I had papers telling of the weather conditions that day. I am glad to not have that hanging over my head anymore. It was an injustice to ticket me for that anyway.

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