Cornered by the glass wash by a large, dominating man in his sixties, who according to Beardybarman, is substantially loaded.
“My friend would like to talk to you. He’s seen you, and likes what he sees.”
“Does he? Well that’s lovely. But I’m very busy, thank-you.”
“I don’t think you understand. I want you to come over and talk to him for two minutes, okay?”
“Well, erm, no, thanks. I don’t really want to, and I’m working right now.”
“You really don’t understand. I know people here.”
“Yes. So do I. I work here, and therefore.. know them.”
“Just for two minutes. Alright? What’s the problem with that?”
“The problem is your beers.”
“Yes. I’m taking them away. Such a shame. Thank-you.”
The old man in the wheelchair has been back again. We are quickly becoming mortal enemies. He refuses to come anywhere near the bar, and I refuse to serve him from his sofa at the back of the pub where he sits, bellowing for a cup of coffee.
The first time, I did serve him. He sent me back to the bar for some extra sugar. Then again for a muffin, and a third time for a new spoon. Quite apart from the fact that we do not offer table service, I began to suspect he enjoyed this irritable fetch-and-carry game. Every time I was sent back to the bar, he would look around, raise his eyebrows and tut, “barmaids these days eh? Got to keep ’em in line, haven’t you?”
Now, I go nowhere near his sofa, and feign deafness as his shouting gets more and more angry. Eventually one of the other customers, looking faintly upset, comes to the bar to place his order instead, the entire time looking at me as if I am Satan’s spawn, on a personal vendetta against the disabled.
8.55am. Bank holiday Monday.
“Which clock are you going by? The one on the wall, or the one on your till?”
“The one on my till.”
“Right… but what does your till clock say? Because my watch is set to BBC time, and it says 9am, I think that is slightly more accurate than your till.”
“That may as well be, but the BBC are not the ones in charge of serving you a double whisky with a side of sambuca to ‘kick start’ your day.”
Called over to the disabled toilet by a concerned customer sitting nearby who had apparently heard shouting coming from inside. I open up the first door to find the inside door propped open and an angry elderly man with his trousers down glaring out at me. He has not been shouting: he has been straining.
A new pub policy is the revised opening time of 7am. This, i feel, only makes pensioners feel slightly less shameful about being at the bar for 9am on the dot for their regulation ale (pint of). A 7am start allows them a two hour no-alcohol grace period in which to drink several coffees, allow their body odour to acclimatise and become just about tolerable within the pub air conditioning system, and be at the bar for 8.55am, where the final 5 minutes are spent boring eyeholes into the Directors pump and the irritable barassociate guarding it.
Say all you like about pubs being a good place for alcoholics – yes, here they can be monitored and called an ambulance for if necessary – but if nothing else, the early opening times really do strip an alcoholic of any remaining shame, or indeed doubt about the emptiness of their lives.
FormerModel appeared today after a seven week absence. Having fallen over outside the pub and then been taken to hospital for further tests, the verdict came back as liver failure. Seven weeks without a Carlsberg seems to have crippled her: she is wheeled in for a visit, yellow-faced, having aged twenty years in two months. We place bets on how many people she will have at her funeral: BeardyBarman whispers that it will be very few.
PostmanPat has not been in for a while. This is not a shame; the last time he came in he got so drunk it became apparently acceptable to take zoomed-in phone camera shots of my breasts and tell BeardyBarman he was just jealous it wasn’t happening to him. It transpires he is in prison for twelve weeks on charges of supplying marijuana alongside letters, and stealing money from children’s birthday cards.