I recall sharply that I majored in sorority, red solo cups, and beirut with a minor in anthropology and creative writing.
I remember seeing the sun come up almost every morning and being the last man standing at every party just as well as I remember my first real alcoholic drink at under 21 (a bottle of strawberry Boon’s Farm and a shot of Parrot Bay rum), and almost as well as I remember my first legal drink at 21 (a Sam October and a shot of Southern Comfort). I remember pulling all nighters and thinking that I could do this freakin’ forever! Party all night, study when I had to, deal with my tumultuous relationship, organize a whole gaggle of women in matching lettered sweatshirts and have meetings about shit that, at the time, seemed more important than, like, anything ever.
However, with graduation came the realization that we’re not invincible—all good things come to an end.
I watched in horror as everyone around me accepted their fate, one by one joining the corporate world and becoming everything we had once laughed in the face of. I couldn’t do it. I clung to my choice at the time to bartend as a way to keep the party going, a way to pay the bills and always be a part of a family that, at its core, was built on what I learned in college: liquor. Days blended, weeks and months passed and then years, and as everyone else showed their cubicle coworkers their new engagement rings I tended bar, and I wrote.
I wrote on the backs of bar receipts, napkins, coasters. I collected phone numbers, stories and recipes. I racked up men, all wrong for me, all still in my life and who I wouldn’t trade for anything. I’ve made the best girl friends I’ve ever had, gotten into some scraps and scrapes with others, learned my own limits and how strong I can be when things get really scary.
It’s beautiful in the way it breaks you, bartending.
This bar scene life is what I’ve chosen: a path lit by dimmed wall lamps and neon lights. It takes some time for your eyes to adjust, to find the beauty amidst chaos, mayhem and havoc. Ask any bartender you know—we wouldn’t have it any other way.
BAR HAVOC (@BARHAVOC)
SENIOR (SOLE) BARSCENE CORRESPONDENT
DIG DUTIES: Drinking, writing about drinking, staring at empty word docs in agony and despair.
HABITAT: By day, behind the bar. By night, at the bar. By a really bad night, on the bar.
QUOTE: “Oh my God … how much did I write last night?”
TOIL TRIVIA: If you find yourself hanging with Havoc and you hear this faint wailing sound, do your best to ignore it. That’s her liver. It just does that.