#SOL20 Day 22 “Bar”

SOL20This March I will be participating in the montOld Friend from Far Awayh-long Slice of Life Challenge. Each day I will be posting a ‘slice’ from my life. This year I am using Natalie Goldberg’s book Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir to provide my sparks for memoir writing. Each post will be a quick write using one of Natalie’s exercises to practice the skill of noticing and remembering.


Funny how my first memory of a bar wasn’t one that I patronized and partied at, but the only one I’d ever worked at. I still remember riding my bike home after closing at 2am and wondering if I should take a shower (and wake myself up) or crawl into bed reeking of smoke and beer and get a few hours of sleep before classes. I think I developed a lot of grit in life from these tough jobs and trying times.  Working my way through school helped me appreciate my education so much more. I truly believe everything we do contributes to who we are!

12 thoughts on “#SOL20 Day 22 “Bar”

  1. I completely agree with your statements about working your way through school and the strength and appreciation that comes from it. I worked throughout my college years, too. As I look back now, I realize how many extra things I learned through my work experience.

  2. I love how you wrote in your notebook and submitted a picture for your post. I am trying to maneuver typing vs writing in my notebook for this challenge, and I miss my notebook! Also, I love your topic. My memory of a neighborhood bar in college sounds much like your experience. Your description took me right back to the Greyhound…loud music, cheep beer, yelling and couldn’t hear each other…

  3. Wow, I can smell the smoke and beer in this vivid memory, transporting me to that time in college where I worked multiple jobs to pay for books and food. Yes, these experiences absolutely build grit, work ethic, and perspective. Thank you for this trip down memory lane.

  4. You are so right–everything we experience guides us to become who we are. I love the description of your bar experience and the smoke — I remember how smoke-filled bars used to be. Interesting that getting the orders right didn’t seem to matter!

  5. Thank you for sharing a moment in time in which I can relate. I was in college around the same time and recall those bars and always thought how I would not want to work in one of them. I did waitress though, and I also have some physical afflictions because of it-bad feet. No pointy shoes or high heels for me! Thanks, again for taking me back in time.

  6. So glad I have shared a few bar memories with you – thankful we did NerdCamp last year! Here’s to our next meet up.

  7. I think those early jobs really help us learn what we like and don’t like about work in general. You ended up in education–another “people” job–but certainly not dependent on tips, nor exposed to consistently loud sounds. Another great mini-memoir!

    1. I think it helped me to appreciate wait staff, clerks, and anyone who ‘serves’ others and know that they are working their bums off-I have gratitude and empathy.

  8. I have several bar memories floating in my head right now, none associated with serving in one. Bar servers deserve every tip they make. I’ve always thought owners have no justification in making servers pay for the dishonesty of those they serve. Thanks for jogging my memory. I have some writing to do because the bar memories keep piling up as I write this comment!

  9. Your slice made me think of the greasy spoon cafe that I worked at during high school as far as the fifty cent tips. Most of the farmers that patronized the place expected you to bring their drink to them as you greeted them and know what they would order on a given day (Dale would want hot ham and cheese on Tuesday because he doesn’t eat beans – that kind of thing). My only gig working with alcohol was the summer Outback opened at the nearby tourist lake. I was not very good at up-selling alcohol because I didn’t drink at the time. I often remember those nights of whether to just go to bed or be humane and shower in the wee hours of the morning. Thanks for the memories!

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