Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Coal Yard

Oop.  Got busy there for a second.  Summertime in New York, you know.

Sometimes I forget that this thing exists.  People have to remind me.  So I'm back by popular demand.

.... thanks mom.

Now.  Please, let me tell you a story that will worry my parents.

Two nights ago...

I fell asleep on the subway bench waiting for a train.  It was 5 a.m.  Jarlath woke me up when the train came.  I checked to see if I still had my wallet and my phone.  I did, and I thought, "This guy, Jarlath, really could be my new friend."

Okay.  You don't have to worry.  Every time I allow myself to fall asleep (or "or pass out" if you don't like euphemisms)  I run through my safety checklist as my eyes are closing.  Of course, the list is different if I'm tired from drinking or tired from working.  This was the one I used that morning:

1.  Would any obligations that I have the next day be compromised by spending the night in jail?

Thankfully, I didn't have to work the next day.

2.  Do I have any valuables?

Thankfully, I left my ice cream scooper with the handle fashioned out of an elk horn at home.

3.  Do I have any cash?

Thankfully, I had left the rest of my money with the bartender as the bar closed.

You see?  I keep it safe.  Jarlath could have jacked my wallet with the only consequence being that I would have no place to keep the money that I don't have.  I knew he wasn't going to steal my cell phone because one of the themes throughout the night was how much he hated cell phones.  He'd hang up after a passionate discussion with his lady about where he was and what he was doing.  He'd say, "That cunt is always trying to keep me from good craic," then he'd launch into a story about how he got rid of his iphone so that she couldn't track him even though she always new where he was anyway.  The same old bars.  And the story would end with how much he loved her.  "She's a real cunt but sometimes she's so good that being near her is like an angel crying on your tongue."

We had a rough service earlier that night.  I'm a cook, you know, at Jean Georges now.  The thing about it is that nobody wants to hang when service runs smoothly.  The food goes out, we clean up, everyone walks is done at midnight, and we go home.  When things go poorly like they did the other night, hour waits between courses, the chef's stomping around and yelling and orating monologues from the middle of the kitchen that are Shakespearean in length and SouljaBoyian in vocabulary, the saucier walks out in protest, the other cooks scurry from oven to plate to pass with their heads down and their mouths shut, when things go poorly, the cooks are sure to rally later that night with a round of Miller High Life's.

There we were at the Colliseum, the whole team, four or five High Life's later, discussing the nights events.

Montserrat was there.   She and I worked the hot line in the Nougatine together and we got moved up to Jean Georges at the same time.  We're homies.

David was there.  That night the chef told him, "You're a punk.  I'm not your goddamn high school principal.  Grow up."

Nick was there.  He's a good dude, the type of dude that only laughs at half the jokes when he watches the Simpsons.  But he makes up for missing some jokes by laughing more loudly and more genuinely than the other cooks at the jokes that he does get.  Consequently, Nick understands the things that are coming out of my mouth but he has no idea why they're coming out.  "Rob, I don't care how many ice cream cones you had today.  It's the middle of service.  Sure, Rob, tomorrow I'll try the vanilla double rainbow sprinkle peanut waffle cone.  Go back to your station."

Hey.  The guy at the Mr. Softee truck across the street from my work knows my order.  I hand him five dollars and he hands me a vanilla double rainbow sprinkle peanut waffle cone.  No words are exchanged. 
I.  own.  this.  city.

Franky was there.  Every time I walk by Franky he says, "Rob.  That shrimp was banging."  I guess that's a different story altogether.  (Foreshadowing.)

Byke was already there.  He'd gone straight to the Colliseum after walking off the line in the middle of service.

And Booty was there.  Booty is a short dude.

Understand, I've protected these people's identities by only using there first name or last name and describing them perfectly.

So we were going through the nights events.  I took a strong stance that things would have gone more smoothly had there not been a chef there at all.

"I guarantee you that's not true."
"Rob, you're only saying that because he yelled at you so much for that seven minute pick that you said would take three minutes."
"I mean, the chef didn't do a good job expediting."
"Yeah, that dude embarrassed himself tonight."
"Something must have gone wrong in the front of the house.  Did you hear one ticket took an hour between courses?"
"That shrimp was bangin'."

The night progressed.

A few High Life's later, people were motioning homeward.  Monty, David, and I didn't have to work the next day.  They were motioning barward.  I was on the fence.

The problem is, I'm always down.

This is how it goes:

"Rob you coming out for some more drinks?"

"Nah, dude.  Gotta go home."

"Come on Rob."


"Come on."

"Alright.  Where we going?"

 We took the train downtown where it was determined that I can't touch my toes.  Now, I've got a sixpack riding on that feat two weeks from now.

In a drunken refusal to use our phones to guide us, David and I led the charge for an hour through the Lower East Side looking for an eligible bar while Montserrat trailed behind us trying to convince us that the many bars that we passed weren't too "loud" too "crowded" or too "dudebro" to be passed.

After about an hour we were rewarded.

We found it.

The Coalyard.

And I'm not kidding you.  At that moment in life.  This bar was utopia.

We walked in.  Sensual Seduction was playing on the juke box.  People were dancing.  It wasn't club dancing.  It's the kind of dancing that you do when you're at your favorite bar with old friends and your drunk and Snoop Dogg is on the juke box.  The bartender greeted us, "Hey, loves.  Help yourself to pizza." Yes, the bartender was a beautiful, red-haired, Irish girl.  A giant New York-style pizza rested on the bar.  We ate some.  It was good.  Sausage and roasted red pepper.

We sat down.  Jarlath started chatting us up.   Five dollars for a shot and a pbr.  More shots if you're friends with Jarlath.  We soon became friends with Jarlath.

Jarlath was a carpenter, an honest trade.  He was from Dublin.  He had lived in New York for twelve years.  Jarlath spends a lot of time at the Coal Yard.  He took a half day off work to relax.  He was in trouble with his lady Stephanie for that.  Stephanie worked at bar in Soho called the Ear Inn.  She happened to be the waitress of Montserrat and I two nights before that when we accidentally stumbled upon the place during Jazz night.  The Ear Inn won the award for my favorite bar in New York before I met the Coal Yard.

Jarlath and Monserrat and David went outside to smoke some fags.  I talked to Audrey, the bartender.  She was from Cork.  I've been to Cork.  That's a different blog.  She liked that.  We had some shots.

The bar closed.  Jarlath and my friends and I walked around looking for a new bar.  The search was fruitless because all the bars close at four in the morning, but the walk was so nice.  Jarlath and I exchanged numbers before we left for the train.  Then we left for the train and it turned out to be the same one.  Same train.  Same stop.  Jarlath and I are neighbors.

Man.  I got Pete.  I got Jarlath.  I got a job and a place to live and a favorite ice cream truck.  New York.

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