A Barmaid’s Perspective on a Few Things…

Me with one of my Mister 11's

There is a programme here called Mr Squiggle. This Mr Squiggle has a lot to answer for… I believe there was a character called Miss Jane. I frequently get called Miss Jane over the bar, particularly by truckers. This always makes me think of the first person in Australia who called me it. I like the familiarity this act produces. Every day here is different. It poses new challenges and learnings. The bulk of sales from people passing through with different tastes, I wait and anticipate what is going to sell the most and will need restocked before my shift is through… Often asked to recommend and asked about our bottled beverages, my drinking challenge has definitely been time well spent. Now nearly completed, it has got me calling whisky scotch…!

A lot of people walk through my door. Some leave having only had a ‘how you going’ from me… Some leave having had a short chat as to where I’m from… Some leave having had a conversation with me… A few have banter with me… A friendly barmaid at the best of times, some get to know quite a bit about me… Generally those that sit at the bar manage a lengthy conversation with me… I wonder what it is that makes people sit at the bar? Just simply wanting to watch telly? Or a bad day perhaps? A need for conversation? Have I said something before they get to it that makes them want to sit at it or is it just the type of person? They can’t people watch the best from their seats… I can… When it’s quieter I can watch a lot… I see a lot happening… There are some things I still miss though. Perhaps that one person who needed the loan of an ear was overshadowed by the person that wouldn’t stop asking me questions… That stole my time away from others… Still able to speak to everyone and make them feel important as a barmaid should, I wonder if the customers I spend the most time with have come to my bar for a reason… That perhaps I have been able to help some of them…

Barmaiding here is a different experience for me. Maybe I’m older and wiser, have experience and patience that I didn’t have the last time round. A lot has happened in the last five years. That has changed me. That has made me the person that I am today. That is apparently well received by many and that people seem to want to be around… Ensuring that I am warm and friendly and take the time when I can, the serving of drinks is only a small part of my job. My travels have honed some very good instincts. I can tell when there is someone at my bar that probably shouldn’t be drinking at all… These are the people that tend to ask your name. To ensure they have your attention. I try and slow these people down… I can tell when someone is lonely and just wants company. I suspect they ask a first question that they already know the answer to. I do my best to entertain and engage. Instinct leads me to be wary of some people. I stand further back on the bar whilst I talk. I keep myself busy. There is nearly always one guy who sits at the bar until closing time chatting to me. I have nicknamed this person Mr Eleven. Me and the late shift chef have started guessing who it is going to be…

A nice trucker or a friendly face, sometimes I am asked if i’d like to drink after work. Some nights, just wanting to sit outside and watch the trucks by myself, it can feel like this person just passing through is stealing my time… Other nights I prefer the company and enjoy the laughter and good chat. I nearly always decide that company is a better choice but this does leave me frustrated with my slow achieving ‘to do’ list. I still need the alone time afterwards to decant and chill and try and put pen to paper… For some of these people have given me inspiration :-).

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