PART V: A NEW STYLE OF LIFE

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Saved From Drowning

 

From day one, I couldn’t keep my eyes off her.  She was short like me, had beautiful eyes and a bright smile.  She was always smiling.  I didn’t know it then, but she was going to change my life in more ways than one.

“Did you meet Allie yet?”  Tanner asked.  Tanner and I were both busboys at a local steak house.  Apparently Allie was the new hostess.  “Ya, we met at the party last weekend, remember?  She came with Liz.”  I answered.  “Oh y-’’ Tanner started to answer, but I quickly walked away from him, right towards the new hostess.

We all wore black uniforms, but I remember she had a royal blue t-shirt underneath her black polo.  I walked back to Tanner and he asked, “What was that about?”  “I asked her out.”  I answered.  Tanner replied, “Damn it!  I was going to ask for her number, she’s hot dude.  Well what did she say?”  I answered, “She said yes.  We are all going out Friday!”

Allie quickly became my best friend.  It was like we grew up together.  We both worked our way up in the restaurant.  We were in the same year for college.  I was finishing up my undergrad at UA and she was finishing her’s at the rival school, Kent State University.

After a few years of great memories with the steak house, the owners treated us unfairly.  Allie took the worst of the mistreatment.  Long story short, Allie wasn’t putting up with it so she left to serve at TGI Friday’s.  I turned all boyfriend protective and walked out on them for how they treated her.  I tagged along and scored a job at TGI Friday’s too.  My friend’s mom was a manager and hooked me up with an interview after Allie.

We didn’t know the policy for employees dating at TGI Friday’s so we didn’t tell anyone in our training classes.  We showed up twenty-five minutes late one morning for training.  The other trainees thought we hooked up after meeting in class.

It turned out it was no big deal we were dating so we were able to tell the truth.  I worked my way up to becoming a bartender, which ended up being one of my all time favorite jobs.  I made some major tips.  Alcohol played a major part in my life from personal stories to my primary means of income.  Talk about a love/hate relationship.  I’d go as far as saying it was the true beginning of my expertise in alcohol.

As a bartender I learned the effects of alcohol.  I observed from an outside point of view in social situations, personality differences, and financial differences.  I learned what drinks put people over the edge faster.  I learned the changes from zero drinks to ten drinks.  I saw daily patrons come in with shaky hands, and leave stumbling.  I saw affairs, laughing groups, cheering crowds, and crying individuals.  I saw people come to the bar from both funerals and weddings.  I saw people read a book with a glass of wine and scream at the TV during sports events.  I guess you can say I was a master at people watching.  Observing people at the bar showed me patterns, similarities and differences in people’s characteristics when they drank alcohol.

 

 

Apologized By A Stranger

 

The first time I was approached by someone who saw me get jumped wasn’t so bad.  I was out at a bar with Tanner and Quinn.  You remember Q don’t you?  He’s the one almost peed on by my old roommate Reggie.  Anyway, Q was DJ’ing up in the booth.  A stranger to me apparently knew Tanner.  Tanner was a bartender at a lot of the college bars.  He always knew someone everywhere we went.

This stranger finds a way to tell me he was there the night on the dance floor.  He talked to me like I was a broken stray dog who may snap at any moment.  He was apologetic about being there and not doing anything to help.

Tanner sat on the other side of him, showing me he was there for me like usual.  Q was staring right at us from the DJ booth, like he knew the guy too, and somewhere, over all of the loud speakers, could hear the conversation.

I didn’t hear whatever bullshit was coming out of his mouth.  I daydreamed about grabbing the back of his head and slamming his face down into the bar.  My daydream continued with me dragging him through a random line of drinks on the bar top just like a cheesy movie.

I shrugged it off like it happened a zillion years ago and let him buy me a drink.  I said thanks and offered the drink to the random girl next to me at the bar.  Screw that guy, he meant nothing to me.

 

Apologized By A Stranger – Insight

 

This night made me uncomfortable.  I didn’t drink too much after my brief encounter with the stranger.  I ended my night early.  If I were wasted, who knows what emotional state I’d been in?  Going off the deep end seemed too easy now.  I was always backpedaling in fear.  Who am I kidding?  I was a broken stray dog.  It’s tough to move forward.  It felt impossible sometimes.

Having someone actually apologize to me did feel good.  I lived like a victim for a long time.  The tides seemed to shift a hair in my direction with a pointless apology.  A speck of me was returned home.

I couldn’t wait to get home and tell Allie.  I knew she would understand what I was feeling.  It was nice of him to try and talk about it, but he didn’t have the slightest clue on the extent of damage it left me with.  I told her when I walked in the door.  She replied with, “Fuck that guy.”  I love her.

 

 

Devil In The Flesh

 

I wish things were as simple with the other stranger I met who helped jump me.  The worse part is how I kept running into ….

-PURCHASE TO CONTINUE READING-

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