So far bartending has been a breeze. Sure, I’ve kicked out more than a dozen drunken wastiods spilling every last drop of their Busch Lights on their way out the door, there’s been the occasional drunken quarrel that needed breaking up, but it was all done with such ease. All it took was a loud “Hey you! Fucking stop that!” with a threatening glare and BAM, they stop! Never have I felt such authority! But I mean come on its not that hard standing behind a bar handing out booze inevitably gives you all the power you’d ever want; throw in a pair of skin-tight-high-waisted daisy dukes and men will think that your ass is gods gift to man kind. (I’m not kidding, someone literally said this to me once.) \
But this week I came across one obstacle I had yet to face and wrongfully over-looked: DISFIGUREMENT. I.e.: Facial Poison Ivy.
It’s Sunday morning and I’m at lunch with Brooke. “Is my face swollen?” I ask over some pancakes, “it feels kind of swollen?” “Mm maybe,” replies Brooke, “cant really tell.” I’m so hung-over and stoned I cant really tell either and almost immediately forget about it.
I wake up Monday and that swollen sensation is even stronger so I stay inside all day holding ice on my face while getting stoned and reading tons of super informative internet blogs. Around 8pm my face feels almost normal so I decide its ok to leave and because I’m moving and everything I own is packed up I do so without even a glance in a mirror. (My apartment looks like I’m hosting one of the weekends where “class conscious” kids pretend to live in a box for 24 hours.) I bike across town to a friends for dinner unbeknownst to me the nasty case of poison ivy had only just begun. I get there and look in the mirror and holy mother of god my face is so swollen and blotchy and mutant like but just on one side. I emerge from the bathroom to hear remarks like “Man, your face looks really bad” and “Have you been crying for a while?”
Why yes I took a little lock of Crybaby Walker’s hair and have been crying out just my right eye and using sandpaper for tissues
Spout all the feminist “everyone is beautiful, it shouldn’t matter what you look like” bullshit all you want but lets be real here- I’m a bartender, the job is 10% booze sales and 90% physical appearance. Never in my life had the concern of my “face as my money maker” been at such a dominant and desperate thought been in my little head, all I could think was “fuck I have to work at fucking 10am” and “this is the perfect time for a temporary eye patch” But there are no eye patches to be found and all I can do is OD on Benadryl and hope my face magically deflates in the process.
Tuesday morning rolls around and shits just fucked, this bout of poison ivy has creped its was to just about every general area on my body and the right side of my face is so swollen I can barely see out of my eye. “Well at least ill know what I’ll look like if I ever get fat,” I think to myself. I don’t know what else to do to ease the nagging discomfort so I take 3 more Benadryl & head to work. Naturally.
Wolfy is there waiting for me to open “What the hell’s going on with your face,” he says. “I have fucking poison ivy you jerk,” I mumble back. I spend half of the day explaining to everyone that I did not get extreme sunburn and no, you ass wipe, I wasn’t punched in the face, and no this is not multiple bee sting and assuring that its not contagious, at least that’s what the internet told me. The other half is spent leaning on the bar for support as I internally whirl my way thru space as a result of my newly developed Benadryl addiction.
I try to be as authoritative and as mesmerizing as possible but not one wants to listen to you when your face looks like that thing Adrian Brody fucked in that god-forsaken movie Splice. At shifts end I slowly trudge out the door feeling slightly bummed when Wofly takes my hand and says “Once a fox always a fox,” followed directly by one of the regulars with a bouquet of hand picked flowers and a fist full of Jewel Weed to sooth my poison induced pain.
I mean duh how could I not remember that no matter how much more money I make when I wear that almost see thru shirt without a bra, that its still what’s on the inside that matters to those who matter.
[This has been your weekly installment of Ashleigh Dye’s life at the world famous Athens Smiling Skull Saloon. Here’s more of her stuff and her Tumblr. Check in next Tuesday for more beer, beards and boobs.]