One thing that I will definitely miss when I leave the barbecue joint is the privilege of remaining at the place when it's closed and taking advantage of the kickass stereo and soundproofed space, getting my loud rock fix and disturbing absolutely no one.
Last night, after the bartender left and the place was locked up tight I sat behind the bar atop the beer cooler and loaded the CD player with an assortment of discs. When I hit the PLAY button the joint was filled with the strains of Dave Edmunds' "Crawling From the Wreckage," and for the next two hours I was anywhere but stuck in Brooklyn, my mind free to roam wherever it pleased, buoyed by a soundtrack of random tracks that shook the premises.
My reverie was interrupted by the welcome arrival of one of my favorite regulars, so I let him in and we chatted over a couple of drinks. Then Tracey the waitress goddess dropped by while taking her leviathan of a dog for a late night walk, soon follwed by my kitchenmate, Scott. We then settled in for about an hour of relaxing and bullshitting, a small, intimate celebration of the bonds made during time served. I quietly considered how I'd come to love these three people — and the noble pooch — as family over the past two years, and though I will keep in touch with them, I will miss my almost daily doses of their good will and friendship, some of the few genuine emotional connections made at the place.
Before I knew it, 3AM had rolled around and Tracey departed. I took a car service cab home, and Scott stayed behind to play his guitar, a practice he hadn't engaged in for a few days while entertaing relatives who were in town from Texas. As the cab rocketed me to my building I finally realized that despite my bitching, moments like the previous few hours will be missed, but I'm still leaving and will not return. Except for special events, that is, and then only as a participant and not an employee.