Yesterday was my last day of work at both of my jobs. It was a pretty surreal feeling actually, like “I guess this trip is really happening.” For the last year I’ve worked part time at a local manufacturing company, helping them jump-start a sustainability program. I have also worked at a bar in Worcester called Moynihan’s Pub for all three years of graduate school.The bar’s claim to fame is that it’s the oldest in Worcester, celebrating its 77th year in business this year. And it’s been in the same family all this time. I love Moynihan’s for many reasons. It’s full of history; the walls are covered in old pictures and memories. The regulars tell stories of years past and everyone knows everyone else, their mother and their business. It’s a neighborhood bar – filled with people from all walks of life, from budding young students to rambling, stumbling old drunks. That’s what gives it character. It’s also the home of Woodaddy Waffles (www.woodaddywaffles.com) – a brunch and catering social enterprise started by a couple close friends and fellow coopertunistas. It is a special place.
But if I’m going to be honest, it’s really more of a love/hate relationship that I have with Moynihan’s. More often than not I really love bartending. It has been one of my favorite jobs. There’s a special skill involved in serving people a fast drink while also creating an atmosphere where people feel at home. I have met great people bartending here, many that I now call my friends. I have had some of the most interesting conversations and heard some of the craziest stories. I have made good money. But there are bad nights. If you are not in the right mood it can be a very frustrating job. People screaming at you for a drink from across the bar when you are clearly busy serving someone else. The expectation that you should immediately drop everything for someone waiting impatiently for popcorn. The fact that the establishment only owns one shot glass, that there are never enough cut up limes or glasses. The people who don’t tip. The fruit flies. Don’t get me started on the fruit flies.
Last night, I bartended for what could be the last time ever. As much as I tried to pump myself up beforehand and tell myself to relish the moment and enjoy it, it still became just another night at the bar for me. Same as the last in most ways. I still found myself watching the clock, noting each minute that went by meant I was one step closer to freedom. I know I will miss it. I am already sad it’s over. But the same annoyances were still there. The same frustrations. As more time passes, I am confident these frustrations will melt away and become a distant memory. I will remember only the good times, the things I loved about the job and the ways it changed me. That’s the beauty of romanticizing.