Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that I have altered my header so that it no longer reads 'hungover and debt-ridden'. It had been annoying me for some time. Nobody's permanently hungover, you have to be drunk at least as often as you are hungover. Being drunk is great as long as you haven't got anything productive to do tomorrow. Hangovers taste like soda-water. Sobriety, despite tasting like a cup of lukewarm tea you didn't ask for but are drinking to be polite, isn't too bad for short periods and is great for productivity.
Of course, most of my readers know me as a Finnginn the philosopher/poet. But that is just my dayjob. By night, I am translated into a bartender at one of Norwich's many taverns. It occurs to me that there has been far too much poetry and philosophy on this blog and insufficient ranting about things that annoy me at work. Glancing around the rest of the blogosphere, most people don't spend months carefully constructing a poem then tenderly offer it up for criticism with an amusing anecdote that involves Steven Hawking and a girl they failed to get off with by starting a band despite a complete lack of musical ability (see The Choral Variation (part one)). No, be they postman, police officer or prostitute, most bloggers just seem to rant about work.
Now, there are two issues that bother every bartender. Music and ice.
Next time you are in a pub and a song you don't like comes on, here's a tip: If you wait three minutes, the track will change. If you decide to interrupt the bartender's battle with the Guardian cryptic crossword and ask him to change the track manually, you are entering dangerous ground. You may do this once per evening. He will, begrudgingly, leave his arch-nemesis Araucaria and skip the track. Never ask him to put something 'upbeat' or 'less depressing' on. You may get your one upbeat track, but listen out for an hour of Nick Cave later in your evening.
Don't imagine for a moment that you understand ice. When you are asked if you would like ice in that, don't reply 'a little bit' as if I'm going to listen to your preferences. I'm in charge of the ice. You are permitted only one preference, with or without. I begrudge you even this, but must comply. As for you who link your ice preferences to the temperature outside, I despise you.
When I ask you: 'would you like ice in your gin and tonic?' I am just fulfilling a social custom to which there is only one answer. How are you? I'm fine. Would you like ice in your gin and tonic? Yes. Essentially, I am asking you the opposite of, 'Would you like your gin and tonic to get gradually warmer and flatter over the next twenty minutes?' Only an insane person would answer 'yes' to this question. But that is the same as answering 'no' to ice in your gin and tonic.
There is a lot more to be said on the whole music/ice issue. I have added a 'part one' in parenthesis to the title of this blogpost. Be warned.