So I was minding my own business yesterday, seeing patients and mentally preparing for Cat Yoga, when I got tagged by Daily Inklings and invited to write on their daily prompt. This excited me very much because first, I’m getting a little tired of writing about dating over and over (same soup, different bowl) and second, having someone give you a topic for free is like hitting the writing jackpot.
And the third reason I got excited is that I read the topic and realized that something like that had just happened to me.
Here’s the prompt from https://normalhappenings.com/2019/04/18/sparks-fly-daily-inkling/
“Describe an instance in which you nearly got into an argument with someone, but things quickly cooled down and everything turned out okay.”
Well, it just so happens that last weekend I came this close to getting thrown out of a bar.
Here’s the story:
I made plans to see Poor Man’s Whiskey two nights in a row sort of by accident. I bought tickets to the Friday night show because they were doing an Allman Brother’s set, and I love the Allman Brothers. But then my friend Monica mentioned that there was another show Saturday that she might attend and so I got tickets for that show too. Then I Airbnb-ed it and found a little cottage and booked that because, why not make it a weekend getaway?
From the beginning everything about the trip was a little mars in retrograde. I really wanted Jeff to come with me Friday but – though torn – he couldn’t miss work. I got the tickets way back when I was still swoony about Jeff. I asked some other people and no takers for Friday night. By the time the concert came around I was sort of seeing Tom so I asked him to join me and he was also torn, but unable to make it work. Grrrr. Okay, so Friday I was going to brave it alone. Again. Naturally.
Saturday my bestie from way back agreed to join me.
But Friday I was flyin solo and a little shakey about it. Because staying in a romantic getaway by myself has been known to either lift my heart up and into the light or plunge my soul into darkness. And I never know which it’s gonna be.
I got a bit of a late start driving so it was traffic traffic traffic. I made a sort of dumb decision to review some of my Pimsleur Spanish on the drive up. For two hours I listened and repeated various phrases between the Senor Jones and the Senora Gonzalez and by the time I got to Sebastopol I was a little cranky and fried.
The cottage was stunning. Everywhere I looked there were little sitting areas for two. Deep sigh. There was also an outdoor shower and a composting toilet to enjoy. You know, solo activities.
I asked my host when checkout time was and he said, “10:00 a.m.”
I made my sad puppy face with tears welling up and asked if there was anyway we might do 11? He explained that they had guests arriving so he could only do that if the guests planned on arriving late. It took every bit of restraint I had to smile and walk away from the discussion without arguing because this millennial hipster who somehow managed to land his young ass on this gorgeous property had just one unit to turnover. It’s tiny, I’m neat and exactly how many hours does a person need to flip a cottage when check-in time is at 3PM?
I was very sweet because you can’t talk hustle to a guy who just told you that the farm is overgrown because they are letting it rest for a year. Especially when you know that they aren’t letting it rest because it’s a good farming decision. They’re letting it rest because they probably got too high and lazy to plant anything. I’m not being mean; I’m pretty sure that’s the reason. You have to just smile and accept the 10 a.m. checkout as the best these folks can do, because they’re relaxed and nice and you don’t want tocome offlike a tense entitled butthead. When they call four hours a tight turnaround, you can’t say a word but you can roll your eyes in your head, which is what I did.
I dropped my gear and headed to The Hopmonk Tavern. I figured if I arrived at 8 for a 9p.m. show that I could feed myself before the concert. I pulled up and the marquis said – Poor Man’s Whiskey 7p.m. – oh crap! I know I checked and it was a 9 p.m. show but somehow I was late!!!! For about ten minutes I was pretty bummed until I found out from someone hanging around the parking lot that the show was going to start at 8:30.
I tried to confirm the start time when I got inside but the hostess had no clue. The hostess thought 8:30 sounded right and she had no inclination to verify or check for me.
Stuff like that chaps my hide because it’s just sloppy and I have a job and miscellany I need to plan around. I’m not following the Dead living in my friend’s car. Though that does have it’s appeal.
I was hoping the show was going to be outside but I learned it was going to be in this dark tiny room they call the Abbey. They have one at the Marin Hopmonk too and it isn’t my favorite. Which is a shame because the outdoor space is quite pleasant.
I asked the hostess if I could grab a burger inside the Abbey and she said – “Oh, there’s no eating in the Abbey” OK, so this is a tavern with beer and food all over the place but in this one room you can’t eat? No, you can’t, because people sometimes spill food.
Mmmmkay. I wanted to say that you can bring your wine and your snack into the frickin’ ballet at the Opera House (which I actually am a bit horrified about) – but you can legit do that now and there’s actual rugs and furnishings in there.
So now the showtime was mysteriously changed from 9 to 8:30, I had twenty minutes to get something in my stomach. There was food everywhere but there was an hour wait for a table so I said, “Can I just get something to go then?”
The hostess said that yes, I could do that at the bar. I waited another ten minutes at the bar and the bartender told me that I could NOT get an order to go because they didn’t do take out on the weekend. Too busy. Too busy to put my order in a box instead of on a plate.
I asked if I could get my order for here, but with a box on the side. Yes, that they could do!
Great! Ten minutes til 8:30 showtime! Stomach churning, I’m gettin’ hangry, I get my food and wolf down a few bites and then pack up my leftovers to go into the show only when I get to the room, the doors have just opened and they are now letting people in – at 8:45. Oh that’s right! The show starts at 9!!! Thanks for making me wolf my slider, Hopmonk!
I get to the door and this large unpleasant man bellows down at me, “There’s no food in the establishment.” And I’m like, yeah, I know I’m just bringing home my leftovers and if I want to eat during the break I’ll step outside. And he shakes his head and goes – “No. You can’t bring that in here.” THAT being the food I just purchased that is helping to pay his salary. THAT!
Last nerve fried. So I say – “Well that’s Bullshit.” We stare at each other and I repeat myself using the B word again. Then I give up and ask if the man at the little kiosk taking tickets will hold my food behind his podium. He agrees but gives me a dirty look.
I’ve gone quiet and am doing long breaths of acceptance when I hear Mr. Huge Security guy raise his voice and start to imaginary argue with me. I say imaginary argue because I was over it and not saying a word, but he repeated the word Bullshit about five times and said that he didn’t have to take that kind of language and when I looked up at him he said as he started punching numbers into his phone, “I’m calling the manager and having you escorted out. If you don’t like the policies at MY venue, you can leave. I’m having you thrown out.”
My first thought was: I bet half the people here aren’t in love with your policies. No one has to like your policies to pay their money and see a damn show. Policies generally aren’t too popular, especially dumb ones. The effin band probably hates the shit outa your dumb policies.
But when I saw the look on his face I very quickly remembered that crazy, unhappy people with a little power can really mess you up. So I put on my most demure, contrite face and said that I was so sorry and could I please go in?
I got wrist-banded because apparently seeing me squirm a little was all that sadist was after. He just wanted me to acknowledge that he was the boss of me.
I got my wristband and went in and almost started to cry but instead I said to myself – This is bullshit!
I marched up to the front desk and asked to see the manager. I pretty much told her everything I told you, minus overdosing on Pimsleur Spanish and the hippie cottage with the early checkout. Those weren’t her fault.
But I did say that after driving from Oakland to see this show on a Friday night, which is a bit of a thing, I had encountered a series of mildly annoying roadblocks to what I thought was going to happen – dinner and a nice show.
I told her that by the time I got to the door I was a little tense and yet I wasn’t threatening anyone. I just reflexively used a cowboy curse word that my Daddy said every ten minutes when I was growing up.
Sometimes it he said horseshit and sometimes he said bullshit and sometimes it was just shit. But he said it a lot so I’m pretty desensitized to redneck cursing.
At this point I think I was a little bit crying because the woman was really nice and when people are nice to me I tend to tear up.
She started to explain the policies but I nicely said that if she explained the policies I would probably end up arguing with her, and I didn’t want to do that. To be honest I didn’t want to sit through more bullshit, but I didn’t say that.
I did tell her that I could not for the life of me understand how a big restaurant with a lot of food flying around needed to bounce me from a room inside the same venue because I wanted to bring in….a box of food I’d purchased there. I couldn’t understand, for that matter why they didn’t serve food in that room.
She said it was because people dropped food and then danced on it. But…..it’s an old beat up wooden floor and I can’t imagine enough people throw food on the floor and then trample it that it’s really that big of a deal. What about people who spill beer? I’m sure way more people do that.
She also talked about why I couldn’t get take out on a Friday, but I was able to order my food along with a box. Policy. The policy is no take out because they don’t want a hundred people phoning in orders on the weekend, when it’s busy.
I still think as a restaurant you should either decide to do take out or not, and stay consistent. Because you’re gonna piss off a lot of people who are going to say that they just did take out last Tuesday. I also think that the staff might have used their G-d given brains, re-framed my request for takeout, called it something else, and just brought me my food in a box. Since the only fallout was fried nerves and a dirty plate, I was feeling ready to be over it.
Then the manager started to go into how busy they were, how small the kitchen was, and lots of other restaurant problems and because she was so nice I just told her that I’m sure it was very hard to balance it all.
She said she was sorry that I’d had such a lousy experience and she gave me a thirty dollar gift card and paid for my dinner!
The rest of the night every single person at the Hopmonk seemed to be beaming at me. The bartendress even gave me a free coke!
I wanted to walk by the security dude and flash him my gift card but one brush with getting bounced was enough.
The next night I returned with Jackie and we ate some yummy food, on the house.
And that is how I almost got into an argument but instead cooled down, and everything turned out (better than) okay!