Posts Tagged ‘bars’

Cava, Clean Glasses and Nothingness

August 24, 2017

Sal washed bar dishes  first in soap then a solution of water and
bleach that kills anything that could hurt you.  He then let them drip
dry and then took a towel and dried each glass until there was no hint
of finger prints or lipstick or anything.  June sat at the bar, leaning on her elbows.
“I’m amazed by the detail to each glass…”
“Worst thing is serving someone and then they hand it back to you
because of lipstick, or a hair or Rumchata that dried or something.
They not only don’t want to pay you but now they’re disgusted and want
to go.  They then go home and jump on Yelp to let the world know that
there was a pubic hair in their rum and Coke.  The bartender was
indifferent and nobody should ever go to that establishment for that
reason.  I try hard to take away that argument.  Want to hate the
world and complain like a coward?  It won’t be about dirty glasses.
You could go home and say that I have mercenary qualities and looked
bored and you might be right but you at least got a clean glass…”
“And I like that about you…  I’d like a Cava.  Not a little souvenir
split but the whole fucking bottle.  Bring me a flute because I am a
lady…  Right?
“But of course… You asked for Cava.  Did you know that in French if
you separate Cava into ca va, you’d be asking someone how it’s going.
So let’s try it…  Comment ca va?”
“It sucks today.  I went to a funeral of a friend who just died of
cancer and then found a dick pic on the computer and letters and
letters to a mutual friend related to an affair.  I have not divulged
that I snooped and that I have seen the evidence and my fiancé
continues to lie.  I asked him if he would take a lie detector test
and he said that the idea of putting him through such a harsh test
just shows that there is no trust between us…  What should I do?”
“Um…  Do you want to stay with him?”
“I don’t know…”
“That’s a tough one…  True story…  When I was a young man, a man who
knew me and played ice hockey against me, was courting my wife.  Guys
I played hockey with told me,  my eight year old son told me in a
round about way and I didn’t want to believe it.  Once I became a
believer, I caught the two of them together at his place.  I destroyed
the apartment and beat him thoroughly and then left before the cops
came.  Would I do that today?  No way…  I would just walk away.  Jail
time, stroke or a hard attack is not worth it if someone is not with
you, truly with you.  Embarassing him on Maury Povich or on an episode
of Cheaters will not change anything.  No charge for that advice.”
June drank two bottles of Cava and talked about plants, movies, her
children, her fiancé again and death.  After more than an hour, June
noticed a book on the bar and asked about it.  It was a French book
entitled, L’Être et le néant.  Sal didn’t really want to discuss the
book.  June pushed and so Sal took a breath, rubbed his bald head and
looked up at the ceiling.
“How do I put this… Hmmm.”
June always did the talking and Sal the listening.  Sal was caught
off guard.  Sal never let on how he viewed the political landscape and
whether he was for or against the president.  Jazz and ice hockey he
was happy to discuss but all else was never divulged.
“If I were to describe myself, it may come off as self-deception
about the human reality.  I could make myself falsely believe not to
be what I actually am.  Or  deny my freedom by becoming what you
perceive as a bartender.  This means that in being a bartender, I
might believe that my social role is equal to my human existence.
This book explains that an occupation, race or social class should not
define who you are.  I am a person and not a bartender…  I could
become anything.  You sell real estate but is that really you?”
“Fucking deep shit and in French no less.  And that’s interesting to you?”
“I’m interested to be aware while I doubt much of everything in life.
To know is to be and we need to be and know what we are…  There is a
lot I know and a lot I don’t know. I am and actually I don’t know why
I am.  Can I define what I know?  Can I define what I am and wish to
be? There are things I know that I know. There are known unknowns.
That is to say There are things that I now know I don’t know. But
there are also unknown unknowns. There are things I do not know I
don’t know… And so I read about it…  In French.  It’s all really
fucked up but it sounds not so bad in French… N’est ce pas?”
“I don’t think I will ever ask you another question, Sal.”

“I’m totally okay with that, June.  I’m a good listener.”



August 14, 2012

Mathilde, a name she created for herself, decided when she opened up her Jazz club, that she would only speak French to her bartender, whom she was sleeping with on nights when she really wanted to have sex. Jasper would then watch Mathilde light a cigarette, flick her wrist towards Jasper and say, “va t’en…”
Mathilde inherited money from the husband of her grandmother who had married the last of five husbands George never had children and had saved well after serving in World War II. Mathilde lived in Paris for a year and then returned to the states to claim her money and open her club.
Mathilde was into Film Noir and a look among women and men of days gone by. She tried hard to recreate something that didn’t exist any longer. Jasper wore a red sports coat and a thin black tie. The television screens in the club were from the 1950’s and only played old movies. Mathilde could speak perfect English but chose to only speak French upon returning from France. The job description online for a bartender was that he not she, had to be fluent in French. Jasper was born in Montreal. Jasper was not French but had to learn French in a French-speaking city. Jasper found Mathilde amusing. He did not mind fucking the thin woman with tangerine shaped tits when the mood caught her.

“Sir, there are very few people in this day in age that would selflessly give to their country and join the armed forces. I have chosen the infantry so that given the opportunity; I can send those Allah loving towel heads up to heaven to get their 72 virgins in the afterlife. I feel very strongly about this sir.”
“How old are you, son?”
“21 today, sir.”
“Well thanks for that. I forgot to check your ID. I used to live in Los Angeles, West Los Angeles to be exact. I used to take a number 2 Santa Monica bus from Westwood near UCLA down Wilshire Boulevard to where I lived. The bus would cut through the VA and cemetery where thousands of boys laid silent. Boys just like you. I hope you make it back and go on with your life, kid.”
“Sir, it is what god has chosen for me.”
“Another mango rum, kid?”
“Better make it two.”
Mathilde sat on a stool in the center of the bar and listened to all the patrons speak to Jasper. She would comment to Jasper in French. Of course.
“Pourquoi? Il est tres jeune et beau …”
“Right… Like Rousseau said; a blank slate.”

“These Jazz dudes think they got it all figured out. They all tend to play the same shit from a ten-year period where colored dudes were shooting heroin and turning Benny Goodman on his head. This was the American classic period, man. This is Beethoven, Mozart and Bach for Americana. Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, John Coltrane and these young white dudes play it and play it. Don’t get me wrong, man. I dig it.”
“Colored… Now that takes me back to a simpler time. Pay phones, UHF and Richard Nixon. Say Mack… Why the Steven Segal look? Nixon had a similar hairline to you. He would never have pulled it back in a pony tail, had a vodka with a splash of cranberry and called a colored an African-American.”
“You’re right about that, Jasper… It is sort of redundant, isn’t it? I mean they all came from Africa so why always push that back in their faces every time you refer to one of them with the obvious? Am I right, Jas?”
“Who could argue with that logic? Another splash of cranberry with your vodka?”
“Easy on the ice and easy on the cranberry…”
“Doucement avec l’alcool… la coute pour ca c’est trop cher.”

“Jasper… You are an ageless creature. You must be a half-century but look to be under the age of thirty-five. How do you do it?”
“Well, I eat well, exercise and try to keep in mind that everything happening here is transitory.”
“Transitory… I like that word. It is a polite way of saying that everything doesn’t really mean shit, correct?”
“Righto mate… Some slob stood in this bar 100 years ago and discussed the Titanic slipping into the sea and breaking up the huge monopolies like US Steel and Standard Oil. Guys like you ordered a whiskey for under a nickel and guys like me made thirty cents a day and lived in a flophouse. I live in an apartment and make… not that much more than thirty cents a day and is it really living versus existing? Le plus les choses changent, le plus ils sont le meme…”
“My exact words… Another Hemingway, please. Absinthe with a hint of champagne, please.”
“Tu gagne beaucoups d’argent et les autres chose sont plus important que d’argent, mon vieux.”
“Bien sur, madam…”

“Romney picked wisely. I think the kid looks presidential actually. So Romney takes a job that nobody should ever want. One of these smelly punks who sit in parks, strumming guitars, worrying about the rich, suddenly becomes furious that their hope has changed and buys a gun from the same guy who is hooking them up with drugs and kills Romney. This leaves the job to the kid from Wisconsin. Mind you that this hippie assassin, this modern day Lee Harvey Oswald’s family is contributing to a Protestant church somewhere in suburbia and is also one of those families who gave $250.00 to help Romney defeat the incumbent while also sending money to their bust out son who lives in a park somewhere, protesting everything… What do you think?”
“I think that any restaurant that only offers you two choices on the menu, cannot be too good.”
“That sounds very communist.”
“Freedom or the illusion of freedom is the heroin of the masses… I think Marx said that, didn’t he?”
“Never mind… Give me another one of those Belgian beers.”
“Of course. That sounds very American.”

“Jill… I don’t mind the whole French thing in front of the consumers but you don’t need to do that when we’re alone. We both speak English as a first language. Why don’t you tell me what’s really on your mind just once?”
Mathilde spoke in a clear Midwestern accent while laying on her side, smoking a cigarette out of a holder while listening to Nat King Cole sing in French.
“Life sounds better in French… Even if it is not even close to being ideal.”
Jasper lifted his eyebrows as he slipped on his pants and readied himself to leave Mathilde’s house for the night.
“D’accord… C’est votre vie et j’habite etre avec vous…”