Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Not too long ago--a matter of months, maybe--a bartender and I had an intelligent conversation about absinthe as I waited for Calsee to open her apartment door. The crowd at the bar was extremely mixed, as it always is, at the Zig-Zag; on my left sat a blond, large-framed drunk woman in business clothes, I think drinking a martini; on my right sat small-boned skater kid drinking whiskey and beer, his over-sized t-shirt showing off his closely-shaved dark hair and arm tattoos. I pulled up a stool and asked the bartender what kind of absinthe he served. He offered me tastes of two kinds, and I shared them with the drunk woman in business clothes and the skater kid, knowing that one serving of absinthe is about all I can carry, and even a sip or two over that limit can be too much. They tasted. The drunk woman, very talkative, had barely a sip of each and exclaimed much over them; the skater kid appreciated it more and accepted my gift of the rest of the tastes. (A man after my own heart--never turn down free booze.) I drank my chosen absinthe--I forget what it was, now--and made a little more small talk to my left and to my right, until I asked for the bill. The skater kid made a move for my number, and I turned him down, gently. Calsee called. I strolled out of the Zig Zag, carefully, feeling the affects of the absinthe. Ahead of me on the Pike Hill Climb, walking up to street level, was the drunk woman in business clothes, who had left the bar with a late-arriving date. "This girl sits down," she says to him, loudly, and I realize she's talking about me, "says she builds planes for a living, and orders ABSINTHE!"

I brushed a little imaginary dirt off my shoulder.

ANYWAY, this is not about me, and I can't collect a speck of dirt compared to that bartender. Because that bartender with the intelligent absinthe conversation was just crowned "best bartender in America". Congratulations, Mr. Stenson. Wonder how this compares to being featured in Playboy's A-List?

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