Drinks Are On Me

“Next please,” said the teller. I advanced to the window, put my checks and slips on the counter.

“How are you today?” she said.

“Don’t we get free bread?” I answered.

“I’m sorry?”

“Sorry, I thought ‘don’t we get free bread’ is the new trendy way to answer the question ‘how are you today’.”

“Ha Ha! Kids these days! No one ever knows what they’re talking about.”

But it isn’t kids. This is an important investigation into the way people respond when servers and bartenders go out into the world and act like everyone else does when they go to restaurants.

In the next part of the study, I saw my neighbor walking up the stairs, carrying an overflowing laundry basket about to fall over in one arm. In the other, he was trying to balance the basket while two large bottles of detergent and bleach dangled from his fingers. I pulled a pizza delivery menu off my doorknob and handed it to him.

“I’m done with this, will you put it away for me?”

“Ha Ha, funny guy,” he said. “Will you either help me or get the hell out of my way?”

I said something like that at work once and almost got fired, after the manager was made to buy several rounds of cocktails to calm the table down. So, hoping for a free drink, I followed up with “I wanna talk to your manager!’

Later, this neighbor came to my door and offered me a Bible and something he called “the Big Book.” Apparently, he and some other tenants “in the program” had concluded, based on that conversation, that I had fallen off the wagon.

“I’m not an alcoholic,” I told him. “I’m not really even a big drinker.” I tried to explain to him what I was doing.

“We’ll be there for you when you’re ready,” he said, leaving the books on the table.

Huh. Well, no sense having the name without the game, I always say. Plus, there was still time to make the end of happy hour. Yay, free drinks! I was settling into my stool, beer in hand, and realized I had left my cigarettes in the car. The guy sitting next to me looked like a nice, regular joe, and was also smoking my brand.

“Hey, you,” I barked, snapping my fingers at him. “Get me a cigarette!”

“Eat shit and die,” he said. Nice one! I’ll add it to my repertoire. I saw a cute girl, and drifted over to her.

“I’ve been sitting over there for 20 damn minutes,” I said. “What do I have to do to get you to freaking acknowledge me?”

As she walked away and I stood there dripping with vodka and red bull, I realized that I can’t win. Anytime someone doesn’t like something I say, the drinks are on me.

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