Knocking Up A Martini

Post Urban Culture

When you sit at a bar, how do you order your drinks? Do you use a simple declarative sentence – I would like… Are you polite – May I please have a… Are you demanding – Give me a… I fall into the polite third. When I was 4 or 5, I demanded a Shirley Temple from a waitress at the Big Texan in Amarillo. Mother snapped. “If you want something to drink, you WILL ask politely.”

The Old Man grabbed my arm and caught my eyes. “Stop acting like your cousin Hersh when he came to see the (Detroit) riots in 1967. Do what your Mother tells you,” he hissed. Hershel was my father’s eldest nephew and his bad behavior was legendary. If the Old Man said you were acting like Hersh, a serious breach of the social contract had just occurred. If the offending behavior continued, I’d be grounded for life – lest I become a juvenile delinquent who squanders my G-d given gifts to live in sin with a crazy blonde in a West Phoenix slum after a shadowy bust by the Feds for stealing cable in 1973.

Ever since that day on old Route 66, I have always said please and thank you when ordering anything.

I used to try and pick personality types from how my guests ordered until the day a Hell’s Angel type came in and ordered his bottle of Bud sweetly, politely and the 5th Avenue Blue Blood behind him demanded his Ginger Ale. Class and breeding are things that simply cannot be taught. I believed everyone fell into one of those three categories until I started bartending in Scottsdale.

Phoenicians order by using statements with the verb to do. They boldly declare they are doing Martini’s. They do bottles of Cabernet with the Rib eye’s they are doing. This is rather ironic because, paraphrasing Lester Bangs, the denizens of the Valley of the Sun do not have enough energy to go and commit suicide. The major sport is golf. Criminals shoot peace officers, run to a relative’s place and wait for the manhunt to catch up with them while drinking beer. Registered voters love to complain about Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, call him a fascist and loudly declaim his Tent City County Jail, not to mention the cash it has cost taxpayers in lawsuits. Yet, he has been re-elected 4 times by large margins.

Where does this apathy that runs so deep the citizens of the Valley of the Sun butcher their own Mother Tongue come from? I think it’s because the Phoenix Metro area is just like LA, after being baked in a pizza oven for a few hours thus removing any and all ambition. My pal Khi has a different take. “It’s not that they don’t have enough energy to commit suicide, they don’t know they should.”

Yesterday, while sitting at a local restaurant waiting for my cheeseburger, the girl next to me openly wondered what wine she should do. The barman recommended a Pinot Grigio he felt she would like to do. I began to wonder how long it takes for a martini, beer or glass of wine etc to gestate in the stomach of the person who has just done it. Nine months, weeks, days? Have I facilitated the birth of some new Martini Glass, which will be done as well?

But hey, it’s a nice day outside. Maybe I’ll go off and do lunch.

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