Another downside of travel - the occasional surly bartender. There are two bartenders who work the bar in the hotel I’ve been inhabiting in Milwaukee. One is a chatty and very attentive woman, the other is a 30-something guy you have to hit in the back of the head with your empty glass to get served.
The other night, Surly Guy was on duty, and he was in animated conversation with two guys and a woman at the bar. The previous night, the Tennessee women’s basketball team had made Pat Summitt the winningest (it’s a word, shut up) Division I coach in NCAA history, passing North Carolina’s (now retired) Dean Smith. The discussion was whether her achievement was equal to Smith’s. The bartender’s contention was that the women’s game did not mature until the last 5 years or so, and that Tennessee won for many years just by showing up. One guy agreed with him, the woman and another guy (not the one with her, poor bastard) didn’t.
The bartender was really excited, pacing a little and wiping off perfectly clean glassware and, of course, unable to take an order for dinner and a glass of wine even though the humble petitioner was standing at the bar not 3 feet away from him. He finally got around to taking my order for a chardonnay, chicken caesar salad and cup of chowder, and I sat at a table with my laptop to await the outcome.
No surprise that the salad was a soggy, overdressed mess, and the chowder never arrived. And, yes, he tried to charge me for it.
Anyone remember the scene in Lonesome Dove where Robert DuVall (as Gus) and his pal Woodrow Call are standing at a bar looking quite a bit old in the tooth, and the bartender, not recognizing them as icons of the territory even though their pictures as younger men hang above the bar, gives them all kinds of mean-spirited shit? When Gus gets the chance, quick as a mongoose he grabs the guy’s head and breaks his nose against the top of the bar. Coulda used some of that the other night.