Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A (Bartender's) Life Less Ordinary

"A strange thing happens to New York bartenders when they hit the age of thirty: They suddenly realize they're never going to be famous.
Right up to the point where they were 29 years, 364 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds old they are all absolutely, positively certain that their screenplay will be sold, their face will be discovered by a big stage producer, their paintings will be hanging at The MoMA, their photographs will be gracing the pages of Vogue etc. etc." - Hugh MacLeod "Gaping Void".

I know a bartender here in Richmond who is 2 years older than me. Like me, he has a college degree and like me, he loves to bartend. Unlike me, this bartender has ideas and plans and schemes and is starting some sort of new business every other day (with varying degrees of success). I remember him telling me about a modeling and promotions company he was starting a few years ago (which is still in existence and seems to be flourishing), he talks about a bartender reality TV show he's trying to spearhead, he plans events, he networks constantly and in a word... he hustles.

Unlike most* of the other bartenders I know, he has no plan on getting a great job in sales or landing a corner office. He pays the bills by slinging drinks and in his free time he works to accomplish something different with his life. I haven't spoken to him specifically about this, but I'm willing to bet that you will never find him in a cubicle, ever.

I think for the most part that everyone who knows this guy, likes him. He's personable and intelligent. I also think and have heard that a lot of people think he's crazy and they tend to scoff at his outlandish ideas. I know I sort of used to snicker when he would tell me about these events and these promotions that he was planning. It was something different (especially in this backwards city) and "different" will always meet resistance.

Well, I'm an idiot. I should have been spending my time thus far working on something bigger and better, while still being able to pay my bills without having a 9 to 5. Instead I've only been dreaming and waiting. The one thing that my bartending friend has been able to do, that I so desperately am trying to do, is ignore everybody. I haven't asked him about this either, but I can say without a doubt that he doesn't give a fuck about the naysayers.

The ones that people think are "crazy" are inevitably the ones who succeed on the grandest scale, or they burn up in a spectacular fashion. Either way, the effort and the journey is what makes their life special.

Right now I'm wasting my time and my youth. A future that's behind a desk and a future spent doing the things I never said I would do gets slightly closer everyday. I've got to get moving on something... It's just a matter of what exactly that is.

*Ed. Note: Since posting this I've rememered a few other bartenders who are working on awesome side gigs too.


latrimose said...

Your life is already less ordinary - as those sitting in cubicles (also with fading dreams) can attest. You meet lots of people and are a part of the favorite part of their day - thats cool. Sounds like more fun than a cubicle (unless you enjoy trying to write blog responses whilst no one is walking by). Its hard to be a Richmond icon, but ur getting there. That stuff just happens. Nice Carbon Leaf ref.

Anonymous Frustrated Lawyer said...

I remember being a dj, having the time of my life. Chicks, Fun, Cash money.

Now I hope to move into a cubicle, making a 6 figure salary, in a city I can't stand, doing something I hate. But i've got a luxury car, a closet full of suits, and a great address. And years to pay back this school debt.

Even when you don't like your line of work define how you live - it comes right back to living the life you really want to live.

Pick something you think might make you happy.

I did. And now that I know it doesn't make me happy, I will pick something else.

Do the same

in vino veritas said...

barry would be proud. ill tell him tomorrow night at toads.

aistenok said...

I think in order to be successful, one has to stick with one thing that s/he will pursue until the very end/success. I believe if you really want something you can get it, unless you are somehow impaired (still it’ll just postpone the accomplishment…). Well, what kind of thing you have to stick with? This is everybody’s choice. From the big picture, there are two ways.
First one, you smile and get over people, without consider anybody, just do the job where you get paid, get paid more and more. (For sure everybody will have different ways, and efforts to reach big money. It’ll also depend on how much you want and on your abilities). However, it’s very possible, you just have to insatiably move forward neglecting the sense that what you are doing is no sense, but money. , forget about your pride and also work hard and eventually you will think that you do something right and positive. Lucky people who find something that they like to do and get paid a lot, but still there are few points to consider. Nobody gets lucky just by being lucky, there is something behind it. Either you are just can’t do it by yourself, so some kind of power from the heaven helps you out (like rich relatives, for instance), nobody who can do it by himself will get there in easy-lucky way, s/he will get through working it out. If somebody is unbelievably good in something, usually it doesn’t came through luck (even though many people would perceive it this way), h/she worked hard to get there.
So, if you want this money that sets you free, shut up and “don’t complain, either act or forget”.
Second one, I think is harder one. You still smile, (in contrast with first one, you smile when you want to, not when you have to). And you get over people, I mean not by neglecting them, unless they’re on your way to help you get on your pick, like in the first one. However, you get over people/society opinions and lack of their understanding. You consciously and unconsciously keep doing something you believe in and you good in (good in, I mean, that at least someone from family or who really cares about you plus some expert in a particular sphere would say that you have an ability to do this). For people who don’t have any financial support it might take the whole life to get there (money still stay as a mean to get most of the things in our lives). And even money sometimes will postpone your success until the very grey hair.

I always was looking for combination. Wiser people say, get job become rich and then do what you want. Fortunately, maybe not, I have all the time, but just of one life, where I have to squeeze the hard work of getting this big money and then enjoying what I like to do in my later life, when I will already have different needs…

“The ones that people think are "crazy" are inevitably the ones who succeed on the grandest scale, or they burn up in a spectacular fashion. Either way, the effort and the journey is what makes their life special.”
It’s interesting, if Oscar Wilde’s life was flowing more smoothly than mine…, but he was saying that: "Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it’s too late that the only thing thats that one never regrets are one's mistakes."

Another conclusion: There is no pattern what to do, it depends on a person. If you are not absolutely numb individual, pick up something that makes sense to you, not to them and keep trying it from different sides and perspectives and work hard, it’ll pay off one day.

Benedict Smith said...

go for broke. win in the most dominating fashion or lose in the most devastating. the middle ground is for PUSSIES

Anonymous said...

Best post ever if you ask me.

randbo said...

Really enjoy this quote...

The ones that people think are "crazy" are inevitably the ones who succeed on the grandest scale, or they burn up in a spectacular fashion. Either way, the effort and the journey is what makes their life special.