Sunday, 16 September 2018

Day 141: Singing to get out

It is Saturday so I pour pints of San Miguel. I serve Jagerbombs and double vodka Redbulls and tequilas with salt and lime. I wipe the bar top. I float the tills. The change box is out of 50ps. I get 50ps from the office. I wipe the bar top. I serve pink gin and tonics. Rhubarb gin and tonics. House gins with lemonade. I stack glasses. Wash glasses. Put glasses away. I refill toilet roll. I wipe the bar top. I serve dry white wines, rosé wines, glasses of prosecco. I top up stouts. Correct staff till mistakes, refloat the tills. I wipe the bar top. I pour Tuborgs and Budvars and pints of keg flow bitter. Half bitter shandies. Half lagers and lime. I make coffees. Take coffees to tables. Collect glasses from the floor. I shake espresso martinis, churn mojitos, look up the spec for raspberry chews.

A keg beer runs out so I go upstairs to clean it. I put the line on water, go downstairs to pull it through. Gas sputters out, and nothing more. I go back upstairs. The inflow pipe is above the surface of the water in the water butt. I move the butt closer, unravel the hose, attach it to the tap in the sink, fill the butt with water, fill the bucket for line cleaner. I go back downstairs. The bar is busy, so I serve. I pull the line through to water. Go upstairs and switch the pipe to the line cleaner bucket; downstairs to pull it through. I wait. I serve. I pull through more line cleaner. Wait; serve. Upstairs I switch the pipe back to water, downstairs and pull it through. Upstairs I heft a Beavertown Lupuloid keg into place, find a coupler that fits the keg, look for the spanner, find the spanner, unscrew the product and gas lines from the old coupler, screw them onto the new one. The coupler is wet and the spanner is wet and my hand slips, and I jab myself in the arm. I yell. I get the coupler attached, clamp it onto the Lupuloid keg. I fill the float with beer. I go downstairs, look for the Lupuloid lens. It isn't in the plastic wallet for upcoming beers. I look through all the alphabetised drawers. Nope. It isn't on the shelf in the spirit cupboard. It isn't on the shelf in the office. I look in the tub on the bar, I look underneath the tills. I can't find it. Kieran finds the Lagunitas IPA lenses, says we've got a keg of that upstairs. So I go upstairs and unclasp the line from the Lupuloid, put it back to water, pull it through. I find a coupler for the Lagunitas, unscrew the product and gas, screw them onto the new coupler, attach them to the keg, fill the float, downstairs and get the lenses, the gasket stickers, stick them to the front of the fonts on the delta bridges, pull through the beer, put buttons on the tills on the computer in the office, send the new layout to POS.

Then I serve. I wipe the bar. I collect glasses. I serve. And then it is my break and I walk to the shop in the cold air of evening.

There is a green tree in the pavement that has dropped yellow leaves onto the ground. The yellow leaves are pale and they are crisp on the ground. A paving slab is cracked and juts jarringly out from its neighbour. Above me the stone facade of the central library looms. The neon signs shine purple and pink. The light creeps from the evening. The bark on the birch trees is peeling. A group of men pass laughing into the night.

I see these things. I feel them. The pressure of my feet inside my old trainers. The clouds spread flat across the sky. The irregular pulse of traffic down at the main road.

Everything vibrates with its own internal energy. Everything is the same one thing singing to get out. The delicacy. The majesty. This is the one and only moment in which each of us lives. We walk through this moment together. It is our home.

I take a breath. Hold it inside.

Then I walk back into the babbling din of the machine of the pub, the murmuring disturbance, groaning, wailing, where all is noise, all clamour, all fuss. I walk back inside, and I pick up a glass, and I get to work.

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