October 14, 2011

Closing Time

They call it dusk, when it relates to the light/dark ratio permeating the sky. I learned, in a British literature class, that this period could also be referred to as "gloaming". It's a fantastic word, and more people should use it. Regardless, I'm talking about a similar period, that time when closing fades over in to closed - only not quite. You glance at the clock, and see the hands dancing in place. Should I sweep? Should I flush the second head? Should I even start messing with the drawer?

Yes, you should. Or at least, yes, I do. That doesn't mean those things won't get interrupted; they will. Nor does it mean certain tasks won't get undone; they will as well. You'll sweep, then spill the knock box. Customers will arrive at the eleventh hour, and ask for whatever drink requires you to use the device you just cleaned. You will want to tell them no, to bribe them with the soon-to-expire muffin, or perhaps that entire pot of coffee that's about to get dumped. But you'll make the drink anyway, maybe slightly emphasizing how much stuff you have to get back out and move around. They'll tip, and then you'll feel slightly like a dick.

None of this is a comment on how things ought to be, just how they are. Maybe there should be a rule against ordering large mochas in the last 15 minutes a coffee bar is open. But where's the line? And whenever you close, there's always that time right before that, which is now as fraught with potential for unwanted messes as that time we just did away with. So no, this is not about ideals or ambitions, gumdrops or rainbows.

This is about reality, and realizing that so long as you're open, you're open. Madden can wait. Dinner does not need to be started early. This is about realizing that, even after you realize that, you won't be any less caustic. You won't rush any less, or try as hard to avoid eye contact. You'll still hide in the corner, broom in hand, trying to peek at reflections like Jason fighting Medusa.

Mostly, this is about trying to pin down this phenomenon. You know it; you've lived it. But there's no word for it. Certainly, not one as cool as gloaming.

No comments:

Post a Comment