Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day Bar

The bar at which I work has four stools. The 30 odd taps mainly are for the diners sake. A few people come to sit on the stools and eat, or drink some brews, but during the day it is very few. There are the regulars who show up like clock work; Dana, a computer programmer that very recently was laid off from his job at CAL, Bruce, a local accountant who is an avid cyclist competing in centenarians, Decibal Dave, a loud mouth know it all who works up at the Greek etc.

Not only are there the daily regulars but there's also the people who come in once in a while. Today there were two. For the most part I leave people alone when they come to sit at the bar. If they wanted company they would have come to a more crowded bar I think to myself. Besides the fellows that come in all the time are just dull. Today a bearded man who was about thirty came in. I served him his beer and in two seconds it was gone.

"You finished that fast," I said. "You want another one."

"I'm alright, actually," he replied. "Thank you."

"Do you always drink that fast," I asked. I leaned against the bar cabinets struck by the ennui of work. Perhaps he would relieve me of the burden of boredom.

"I do. I actually like to freak out new bartenders doing it," he said chuckling. "I'll drink four in a row and see if they get surprised. The good bartenders won't bat an eye and will just ask if I want another while the bad ones will wonder if they even served me a drink."

I nodded, feigning interest and he continued talking about his ability to chug beers.

"What do you do for a living," I asked.

"I'm a school teacher," he replied.

"Do your students know about your drinking abilities," I asked.

"No, nor do they know about my eating abilities. I can eat a lot. I sat down at Blake's a hamburger place and ate 30 hamburgers in one sitting. The recent world championship for eating just occurred. The winner ate over 74 hot dogs, with buns in 9 minutes. It took me a little over three hours to eat 54. There is a Japanese guy that's usually been winning. Every time he goes out to eat the cooks make him this huge meal that he has to eat otherwise he offends the cook and loses face."

I laughed a loud. He ordered one more beer and slugged it down. He waited a few minutes and went out the door, no doubt to buy a new pair of stretch pants that would help with his bloating caused by excessive eating and drinking.

The fast drinking school teacher was replaced a half hour later by a quieter man who ordered a salad, some soup, and a beer.

"How was your day," I asked him after I'd served him his beer.

"Good, I just got back from the gym," he replied.

"You go to the YMCA," I asked pointing across the street to the public gym's nearby location.

"Yeah. I haven't been in there for almost a year," he replied.

"Why is that," I asked.

"Well I had to take two months off because I donated my kidney to my friend. Then the rest of the year was a bit busy," he replied.

"You donated your kidney," I asked. "What was that like?"

"It wasn't that big of a deal, although it took a while to recover. My kidney actually got bigger after I donated mine to him. They put me under and then I woke up pretty sore. The kidney was gone but the nerves were still there firing away, they didn't realize that the kidney was gone so it hurt."

"Wow, how did your friend do?"

"He did alright. They had to put him on dialysis for seven months. He actually almost died before they found out his kidneys were bad. He was rushed to the hospital, his eyes had turned black and his skin calico. His kidneys had just shut down and he was filled with toxins. His brain was all mushed up and it took 3 days of initial dialysis for him to even be coherent."

"Really," I said. "So was he on dialysis for a while?"

"For like 7 months, until I gave him one of my kidneys. A normal wait for a kidney is 7 years, if you're real lucky 5. That's for people who are on a list, just waiting for a cadaver's kidney to show up. Then you gotta be at the hospital within 5 hours to do the transplant. While you're on the list you go do dialysis three times a week. They take all your blood out and filter it through a machine then pump it back in. It takes a lot out of you."

"Wow," I said.

"My friend didn't have any family out here, and everyone that could do it was really old so I did it. He's been my friend since '81 or something. The doctors were afraid of him rejecting my kidney so they did a dialysis where they stripped all of his blood of anti-bodies then inserted my kidney, then put in the anti-bodies. They were afraid his anti-bodies would attack my kidney. He takes about 30 pills a day."

"That's a lot of fucking pills," I said. "How is he doing now?"

"Great, he looks like he's 24 and is 48."

No comments: