Went to the wine bar last night for the first time in over a month. As we came in, our regular Friday barman R. was on his way out with a case of wine tucked under his arm. He stopped long enough to tell me with a smile he thinks “McCain’s going to do it.” R. always talks American election politics with me. He’s very Tory and loves McCain and I think he’s blocked out the time I told him I was a Hilary supporter. I nod and tell him I think he might be right (not that I want him to be right, a distinction I don’t think R. notices). He’s out the door before I can ask him why he’s not working tonite.
Next there are cheek kisses with M. who is very sauced. Sauced to a point I recognize from previous experience by the tint of aggression in his usual bitter sarcasm. Still M. has a pretty much permanent get out of jail free card with me. Both his charm and vulnerability on previous occasions have earned it. He informs me he’s been sacked from his mid-week duties at the wine bar, another blow to the wine bar as I know it. He’s too gone for me to get the real story out of him. It’ll have to wait for another time.
Later he uses his get out of jail free card when he informs me and another woman I am chatting to he doesn’t know how he’d choose which of us to have sex with: the Yank with great tits or the Brit with a perfect ass. He doesn’t need his free pass because he’s offended me with a lewd comment. I am just pissed off he has de facto insulted my ass.
T. is behind the bar with a new woman who I recognize because last week she was in the coffee shop where I do my “work from home” day when her toddler son dropped his trousers and had a wee in the back garden for all the customers to see. I am not usually amused by kids’ antics, but it was rather humorous, as was the way she just hung her head in mock exasperation and smiled.
T. has big plans for the wine bar with small plates and a move of all the wine sales out back to the barn to make room for tables up front. It’s probably brilliant business but I am worried it’s going to go all Drunken Duck – a lovely Lake District inn that we visited for years and then returned one day to find to our dismay the beams painted gun metal grey and loads of Londoners planted in new leather chairs. I already miss my right wing and permanently tipsy barmen.