Tuesday, October 09, 2007

"Whawcanneyegetchya...?"

We had just returned to New Orleans after living in New York, and having taken up residence in an unfamiliar neighborhood, we decided to learn the lay of the land by visiting the neighborhood bar, a no frills but seemingly genial place. It was nearly empty—a couple of middle-aged folks playing video poker or pool in the corner. We sat down.

"Whawcanneyegetchya...?" The bartender was short, mustachioed, and almost incoherently drunk.*

"A gin and tonic, please."

"Make that two."

"Comminraightup-p-p..." He set about his task: two generous pours of gin, two modest splashes of tonic, and the limes. Well... the limes were complicated. His attempts to squeeze the wedges in the drinks grossly misfired, shooting the small green projectiles across the bar:

wayward limes

Finally, after much furrow-browed concentration, he hit his marks. "Heeyuhgoe..."

As we sipped, he launched into a gushing monologue of slurred camaraderie. Within two minutes we were good buddies. ("Awwyuhgreat!") By half an hour, we were soulmates—trusted confidantes to his deepest hopes, grievances, and fears. (Well, he told them to us. We missed some of the finer points)

Finally, drinks drunk, we stood to leave. "Take care..."

"Aww, yuhnevuhcumminbaak."

Quite sincerely, "No, we'll be back."

"Nawyuhwoan." He slumped dejectedly.

"We will. We promise."

His head lifted. He smiled woozily—sweetly. "Oh-kay-ee."

We never went back.

* It's no secret that many bartender's like a tipple. But one is generally expected to maintain at least basic motor function.

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:07 AM

    Haaaaay! Eyememmmmmberyou! Eyemisssyouguyz(hic!). Whynnn'tyoueeverrrcumback?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous2:12 PM

    Shame on you!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. It was traumatic. We meant it when we said we'd go back, but that sort of crash-and-burn emotional rollercoaster is really not what one's looking for when having a quiet drink. Each time we considrered returning, a sort of queasy dread changed our mind. (And I don't feel too bad. I'm quite sure he had no recollection of the meeting.)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous12:10 PM

    Yeah! Yeah!

    ReplyDelete