<HONEA EXPRESS: I Just Want to Bang on the Drum All Day

It finally happened. Honea Express has moved to greener pastures, or possibly just out to pasture -- you make the call.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

I Just Want to Bang on the Drum All Day

Perhaps you've heard me wax unhappy about my place of employment and the havoc it has wrecked upon me.

I believe I mentioned it here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and finally, here. Actually, there are more, but I think you get the idea.

Obviously I have made it clear that my job fills me with anger, depression and regret, but I don't believe that I have shared the why. Now I will.

It's silly really, when I sit here and try to figure out what stirs the demons within me, and realize what answers I find. For this I have to bare my soul, which isn't something I easily do. I'm much more likely to bare my ass than my feelings. That's always a crowd pleaser.

My job is tending bar. I work for a corporate chain restaurant. It's not a bad place, on the surface. Truth be told, as far as the genre of bar & grills go, it's probably the best concept out there in terms of quality of product. Sadly, the company makes no distinction between the product and those that present it. This has increasingly irked me over the past 8 years.

It's a young man's game, tending bar. It's 8 hours on the feet, fast-paced and reckless, under a microscope of an echo chamber bursting with a bombardment of voices shouting a myriad of requests, demands, pleas and slurs. It is an assault on the senses.

The physical isn't all Cocktails and Coyote Ugly either. There are more bends, squats and lifts than even the toughest toughman would care for. My back feels 10 years older than the rest of me. Except for the knees, they've aged too.

Still, a sore and tired body, while it wears me down, is not enough to cause the anger that I've grown to know. There are many factors, as is always the case, but a lot of it has to do with people.

I am a people person. I like people. They like me. Yet, there are people, an unusually high concentration of them here, that think they are automatically "better" than another because that person is serving them. They speak down and rudely. They demand unreasonable demands and lack the basic principles of respect, reason and overall social graces.

I live in a town that is best described as Hee-Haw meets Compton. The only lemonade stands you find in my neighborhood sell Meth. . . and occasionally lemonade. My clientele is equal parts gang-banger and redneck. There is more hate at the bartop than teeth. It is my job to facilitate the overlapping of the two in a peaceful and non-aggressive manner... while serving them liquor.

The fact that I am white does not mean that I automatically subscribe to theories of ignorance or racism. I tried to make that obvious by refusing to let them watch NASCAR. No dice. That's the thing about bigots, they aren't that bright.

My age plays in other ways as well. I am nearly twice the age of many of my co-workers. I am 36, have two kids and own my own home. I am someplace far from them. Is it a better place? All I know is I'm on this side of the fence and the grass is green.

I have factors and excuses. I also have a bottom line. I was done with it. I had been for a very long time. The last straw was thrown too many times, but freaking camels have freakishly strong backs. I should have figured as much.

I was done with it, and any sort of fun or dynamic that I once associated with it long ago fell to the wayside, only to be replaced with tinges of embarrassment as I wondered what kind of jackass goes to college to be a bartender. Don't they have schools for that? I don't want to be 40 and serving beers to idiots. Unless said idiots are my friends and the beer I'm serving is from my personal collection. That would be okay.

It will all be okay.


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