On ‘Going Away’
Julieanne Smolinski

There are still places in this country where one can run to become a Scooter Dave. I did it, bartending in Central and Gulf Cost Florida not so long ago. Bar owners don’t ask many questions if you have a decent set of references and/or know an employee, and the clientele shifts enough to keep folks from mistaking you for too much of a friend. There are moments when it works. You’re almost a figment of someone else’s imagination, that gathers tips as their id improves. The money’s great when it’s good, horrid when it’s bad, and if you work hard enough you can find a rhythm that makes both ends of the spectrum reasonable. You find that solace you’re looking for at times, but I didn’t count on the 4 am existential gutchecks that caused me to reach out and hold on to another bartender, as these situations are wont to do. It ended with the same tears and gutted emotions that got me to running in the first place.

You can run to the edge of the coast, where the sun sets in fire, you can run up the moonpaths and hear the angels and demons squabbling over who started the fight, you can dig to the depths where the noises are all but stifled, and you can sit in a Philly hotel room with the plasma presence of aging hoarders… but you still have to deal with the skin you’re in and the head you were born with. We’re never alone, even when nobody’s around. If I find a place where that ain’t the case, I’ll send a message in a bottle.