It’s First Friday. The last First Friday I worked was my very first shift and it was a terrible experience – I contemplated walking out. I’ve been trying to prepare for this night as much as I can, starting with a list of things I need. No. 1: a barback. I NEED a barback. I’ve been asking Tropez for a month. I need more strainers. I only have one. Stupid. I need more mixing tins. I have three. I come in an hour early at 4pm. Tropez is just leaving from the lunch shift. “Hey! What are you doing here?” He looks at his watch. It’s First Friday. I told you I was going to come early. I’m nervous. “Ah.” He waves his hand like there’s nothing to worry about. Head upstairs to clock in. Francis hears me from inside the office and pokes his head out. “Hello mademoiselle, what are you doing here?” He points to his wrist. It’s First Friday. He shrugs, not understanding. Don’t you think I should be here early to get ready? He puts his hands up like he has no idea. I just head back downstairs to get ready. The computers aren’t working – they were down for the lunch shift and no one knows if they’ll be fixed by tonight. Well isn’t that just GREAT. You have got to be freakin kidding me.
Whatever, nothing I can do about it right now, might as well just set up. There are four racks of glasses to polish and no fruit is cut. This is extra work for me to do since some of it should have been done at lunch. I move quickly, cleaning the bar and setting up. The shift starts. Computers are a no-go. Tropez arrives. Tropez, do I have a barback tonight? “No, no one would come in. We don’t even have a busboy.” He talks with such innocence, like there was nothing he could do about it. This is so stupid, like we should close the bar, stupid. OK. Deep breath. Might as well get ready for it.
A guy sits down at my bar. He starts off really nice, telling me to take my time and all that. Then he starts poking fun at me for being stressed out. I can appreciate that. I laugh at his jokes and don’t mind his company. Then he keeps going. Every time I do anything he’s commenting on it. Magali comes behind the bar and I tell her something. “That was rude. You don’t have to be so mean.” Dude, I wasn’t being rude. I’m about to kick you out of here. He laughs more. “I love you, you’re great.” Yea, well, I don’t love you. I continue about my business. It’s not crazy yet, but steady.
I see someone has joined Jerkface. Great. Walk over, look up. Oh hello, James Marsden. Jerkface is asking him if he wants a drink. “Um, yea.” Then to me. “Sierra Nevada?” Sure. I smile big. It’s not until I’m pouring his beer that I start to get nervous. Holy shit, James Marsden is sitting at my bar. He looks smaller in person. Ugh, and he’s with Jerkface! I should have been nicer. No I shouldn’t, he was annoying.
Put the beer in front of him and walk away. Work up the nerve to go back. Excuse me, sorry, but do you know Ryan Woodle? Ryan is my friend from Hoboken – an actor and all-around awesome guy. He was in The Box with James Marsden and they even had an intense scene together. I’m so excited I actually have this to bring up. James is concentrating. “Ryan Woodle…he sounds like a kid I went to high school with.” No. “Is he an actor?” Yes. “Oh yea, Ryan. We did The Box together.” Yes! He had nothing but good things to say about working with you. “Well that’s really nice.” I have to walk away and do some things. Then he asks, “So how do you know Ryan?” I used to live in Hoboken and we worked together. “That’s right, he’s from Jersey. Well please tell him I said hello.” OK James Marsden, I certainly will do that! By the way, I’m a big fan, and I thought you were so funny in that funny movie where you were the older brother?
Seriously, that’s what I said. Why did I say that? I know plenty of movies he’s in, but I had to pick one that I forget the title. Yea, I’m a big fan but I don’t remember the name of the film. Right. Oh, and you were ‘so funny in that funny movie.’ What??? Did I forget how to use my words?? You idiot.
“Sex Drive.” Yes! You were hysterical. “Thanks.” I ask him if he wants another beer but he’s all set. Jerkface is trying to get my attention. What? James laughs. “Has he been here before?” Actually, no, this is the first time. Jerkface isn’t talking as much as he was before, just asks for the check. James hands me his credit card. They had three beers between the two of them and I charge him for one. He leaves me $3 on a $7 tab but I’m willing to bet that he didn’t realize I had put his and Jerkface’s tab together. I shake his hand. It was really nice meeting you. I’m Lindsay. “What is it?” Lindsay. “James. It was nice meeting you, too.” (I think that’s what he said, he may have said Jim, I was really just concentrating on touching his hand. He has a good handshake.)
I don’t even care that the computers are down and I don’t have a barback and a small electrical fire started up behind the bar. James Marsden just made my night. Celebrity sighting #3.