Etiquette

Last night was fun.  I was at work, as per usual.  We were short-handed on Security staff, but I was working as a bar-back.  This meant that I got to be both.  Unfortunately, that meant wearing my security shirt over my regular clothes, and I heat up very quickly.  That part sucked.

The bar-backing went as usual.  I wash glasses as fast as I safely can, then grab drinks for the wait-staff, then stock the coolers, then circle the bar looking for more glasses.  People stand at the bar, eyeing me expectantly.  I smile and tell them a real bartender will be with them in a second.  I’ve decided that it’s kinder to talk to people and then give them the bad news that I won’t be getting them drinks than to ignore them.  Occasionally this makes me new friends.

A couple of my friends came in after the show across the street let out.  Iced Earth played at the Summit, and I have more than a few friends into that sort of thing.  I didn’t get to talk to anyone much, but such is the price of being busy.  At one point, they found me behind the bar.  “People are smoking on the patio again, Justin.”  I told them to tell one of the other Security staff.  I looked around, but couldn’t point one out.  Fuck it.  I decided to handle it myself.  I could collect glasses on the way.  I slipped, slid, and plowed through the crowd.  I got out to the patio.  The wall opposite the patio entrance has a three by five foot sign painted on it that says “No Smoking.”  It’s a violation of city ordinance and the valve for our gas heater is on this patio.  These things, on top of how busy the bar was, evaporated my well of patience before I even spotted the cigarette.

A woman had left it burning on the chair while she and her friends messed with the decrepit Jenga blocks on the nearby table.  Every time that I asked someone not to smoke out there, they always responded with, “really?”  Like I was trying to be funny.  Then they asked why.  Then they asked where they could go.  Then they would say sorry.  Most of the time, the cigarette would still be burning in their hand.  Then they asked for one more drag.  Then they asked where they could put it out.  There are no ashtrays, because THERE’S NO SMOKING.  Alcohol makes people so dumb.  I didn’t really have time for the whole ridiculous process, so I didn’t bother.

I flipped my mental switch from ‘nice guy’ to ‘asshole.’  I walked over without saying a word.  I picked up the cigarette in my still wet hand, and I ground it out on the metal patio chair.  I carefully set it down again.  The woman was watching me, and said, “That was mine!”

“I know,” I replied.  I pointed to the enormous sign, then turned and strode back inside.

“You could have asked,” she said to the back of my head.  I was pretty sure she was pissed.  I was absolutely positive that I didn’t care.

“I know,” I replied.  I vanished into the crowded bar.

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