There’s something about the rolling impermanence of working in a pub that I’m finding surprisingly intoxicating. I can be on my feet and on the go for a good eight hours solid (bar a very welcome half-hour break), barely stopping to catch my breath, and yet at the end of my working day I have absolutely nothing to show for it but aching muscles and a healthy glow in my cheeks.
There is no finished product – no end game – only a constant conveyor-belt of customers and colleagues coming and going, food and drink eaten and drunk, tables cleared and filled again, glassware washed and used again, bottles re-stocked and barrels changed, day in, day out, like some magical never-ending cornucopia of repetitive chores.
Conversations and complaints and catcalls and compliments all blend together seamlessly to create one rhythmic sound-wave that speeds and slows, rises and falls like a complete orchestral music score. It’s like a Public House Symphony, sometimes mellifluous, sometimes cacophonous, occasionally reaching a crescendo of broken glass and drunken jeers, but always entertaining.
It’s as if each shift brings a journey to be travelled rather than a destination to be reached. Often a journey potentially fraught with obstacles and challenges – the heady mix of people and alcohol can sometimes create a dubious cocktail that leaves a bad taste in your mouth – but I’ve learned that overall, that’s what actually makes it fun for me. And so I enjoy starting each shift with an open mind and a light heart, secure in the knowledge that whatever happens on that day it is the journey that matters, and that it always better to travel hopefully than to arrive… 🙂