Barroom Sketches 7/13/17


Like any morning before work, Ronnie drops me off at the bar three hours before I have to open, and then she goes to work. This time I have is one of complete solitude where I can play the Sun Ra Channel on Pandora and get in some writing. I get myself situated on the comfy red lounge chairs and tap away on my phone while bathed in the natural light of morning. I go for two and a half hours, come to a stopping point, put up my things, and begin the process of opening the bar. All opening entails is putting down the chairs and stools, counting out the money, and waiting until ten. At ten, I unlock the door, put out the specials board on the sidewalk, and flip on the open sign.


Thursday mornings are slow with only a couple people trickling in every now and then to buy cigars while on break from work, or on their way to the liquor store next door. There are retired regulars that come in during the day, but they don’t usually come in until Friday, and there are a few who will come in to work while taking in a cigar. So it’s dead. As I write this the time is 11:24 a.m., we’ve been open since 10:00 a.m., and only two people have come in—and they came in at 10:45. I enjoy the solitude far more than some would consider healthy, but I can get in a lot of writing and some reading. Some of my most productive moments in the week are Thursdays and Fridays before work, and sometimes my whole shift on Thursdays.

The bar where I work, as I have mentioned in previous posts, is located in Avon, IN and is one of the most affluent west side suburbs in Indianapolis. The affluence of Avon is rivaled by the northern burbs of Noblesville, Westfield, Carmel, Fishers, and Geist. The striking differences between the northern burbs and Avon is a drawl in the accent and Reagan worship that is synonymous with Jesus worship—there is even a Ronald Reagan Parkway running north and south through Avon.
As with any affluent burb there is a culture of entitlement. Not everyone in Avon is like this, but in a bar selling cigars, and is also a cigar lounge, some of the people waltzing in throughout the day are deluded by their own privilege. If their balls are not properly fondled in the name of Jesus and Donald Trump they will throw a tantrum. This morning the first customer, a stocky man in shorts and a gray beard in his fifties, informed me that we had better have a certain style of Arturo Fuente cigars. He pursed his lips and glared at me to intimidate me into placating him. I was having none of it. I looked him in the eye, and with a stern voice, I replied, “If we have them they arrived Tuesday. I don’t place the orders.” He sniffed and disappeared into the humidor. This guy was behaving like an asshole and a spoiled brat, and I hoped he would quickly find what he what he was looking for. He did. Prayers answered! He came out with twelve cigars totaling $109.42
Think about that for a moment. This guy, who is in his fifties, was about to lose his shit and make a scene like a child over burning his money—literally—on a specific style of cigar. I don’t make any judgments on how people spend their money. Regardless of our socioeconomic statuses we all enjoy a little frivolity, but frivolity is not the same as a necessity, and getting angry over something that won’t nurture your body and mind is a tad ludicrous—and I will offer a string of well worded judgments. I grew up on next to nothing, and had it not been for my great grandmother we all would have gone hungry living on the street. So fuck him and fuck his money. But I was outwardly civil to the man child because I wanted him out of the bar as quickly as possible.
Later on, at 5:00, my coworker, who relieves me at the end of my shift has an issue with being on time, was late. I called her, and after four rings, she picks up, “I’m on my way.” Click. I have to leave as soon as Ronnie gets here because we live on the other side of Indy, and traffic on the west end of 465 is always a cluster fuck. We’re still packing, and, on the days I have to work, the alarm goes off at 5:30 in the morning. So we have little time to decompress before we have to go to bed. One of the regulars said I should look into Uber. I told him I don’t have that kind of money to spend, but he insisted the cost is next to nothing. So I researched Uber rates in Indy and the surrounding burbs. Uber would cost me anywhere between $15 and $60 depending on the travel plan, and there is the additional charge by the minute .15-.50 per minute. If there were no traffic issues it would take thirty-five minutes to get to my apartment. On a good day, there would be an additional 5.25 – 17.50 charge increasing the price range between $20 and almost $80. But I get off work Thursday and Friday at 5:00, and when Ronnie picks me up we have an hour drive because of traffic. If I took an Uber, depending on the plan, I would have an additional $9.00 to $30.00 travel cost–a one way trip that could cost me $90. The regular who insisted on the cheapness of Uber lives in the six figure income bracket and takes Uber around Avon–where he lives. He knows I live on the Southeast side, and still tells me it’s cost effective to use Uber. What kind of disposable income does he think I have? Not everyone has the extra income to be driven around like a Feudal lord overlooking his serfs.

To be completely fair, I am giving only a sampling of a specific demographic in Avon that comes through the bar when I’m here. The experiences are mixed and I would say about thirty percent of the people I interact with outside of the regulars can pass for decent people. The other seventy percent, I meet with a firm tone to remind them I am not from the burbs, and no amount of privilege gives them the right to treat people poorly so they should behave with courtesy. But overall, I do have a relaxing time here, and I do enjoy the regulars and the camaraderie they have for one another–and the kindness they show me. 

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