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The Barmaid Blog™: Life for a 30-something Manhattan Barmaid

The Jewish Question (Part II)

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The Jewish Question (Part II)

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Green Drink
Wednesday night there's a surreal, almost buoyant atmosphere at The Bar. Yvonne and I are slinging drinks at a good clip, and people are in a celebratory mood. But it seems as if every time I turn around, I hear another customer say something like, "I'm still not sure I believe it," or "I keep expecting to wake up and discover I dreamed it!"

They're speaking, of course, of Barack Obama winning yesterday's election as President of the United States, a fairly decisive victory as these things go, at least compared to the last couple of elections. New York went for Obama 62% to 37%, so I suppose you could say we're a pretty blue state - and most people in New York City, especially, are pretty happy with the results.

A guy wearing a "Yes We Can" t-shirt and drinking Sam Adams flags me down. "Excuse me, miss - is there such a drink as an Obama? Has anyone invented one yet?"

I laugh. "Not that I know of, though I'm sure someone's done it. Actually, now that I think of it, I remember hearing about an 'Obamartini' that someone whipped up somewhere, but I have no idea what was in it."

"Well, if I ordered an Obama, and just trusted you to mix something good, what would you put in it?"

"Seriously?" He nods and grins widely, putting his fate in my hands. "Let me think about it for a minute."

Yvonne passes behind me carrying a couple of glasses of white wine, and when she comes back my way, I stop her. "What would you put in a drink called an Obama?"

Without blinking, she says, "I don't know, but I'd probably start with a Blue Hawaii," and then keeps moving.

Of course, I think, and I grab a hurricane glass, then mix a Blue Hawaii over ice... rum, vodka, Curaçao, pineapple juice, and sour mix. I'm reaching for the orange slice and maraschino cherry, when I have an idea. I fill a pint glass with Coke from the fountain, then I hold a spoon over the Blue Hawaii and pour a little Coke onto the top. It doesn't layer terribly well - it mixes in more than a little - but despite the bright blue it's mixing with, it has the desired effect, adding a slightly chocolaty color to the top of the drink. Then, I finally add the orange and cherry.

"Here you go, my friend - I'm a little bit ashamed of myself, but this is my best shot at a drink named 'Obama' - a Brown Hawaii." Yes We Can laughs, then tells his friends, and suddenly I'm making Brown Hawaiis for the whole group. Once they taste their drinks, I get the sense they're not biggest fans of fruity cocktails, but they get into the spirit anyway.

Around midnight, I'm getting ready to cash out and leave Yvonne in charge, and Vince is washing glasses right behind me, when Yvonne taps me on the shoulder. "It just now occurred to me, you probably could have done a variation on the Bahama Mama, too - the Obama Mama. Maybe just use dark rum instead of light?"

"Sure, let's keep that in mind for Inauguration," I say, trying to count my tips in front of Yvonne and Vince without, y'know, counting my tips in front of Yvonne and Vince.

"Hey, you know who I feel bad for?" Yvonne says. "The second African-American president. Especially if Barack Obama is anywhere near as good as people seem to think he's going to be. How do you ever live up to that?"

We think about that for a moment, then Vince says, "I don't know, I think Michelle's probably up to the task." We laugh, and I head for the door.

When I get home around 12:30 in the morning, the living room lights are on, and Puppy is lying on the floor outside the closed bedroom door. He looks up at me expectantly and whines a little. Before I can open the door, I hear crying. I take a deep breath, and go on in. Jenny is lying on the bed sobbing, with used tissues all over the floor. I sit down next to her, run my hand along her arm, and say, "Baby, what's the matter?" She sits up and grabs me, and sobs harder, so I squeeze and hold her tight.

After a couple of minutes, she finally calms down enough to speak. "Prop 8 passed," she says, and immediately starts weeping again. Prop 8 - California's ballot referendum to make same-sex marriage illegal again, reversing their state supreme court's decision of earlier this year - was too close to call last night during live election returns, so the results must have come in tonight.

I'm speechless. I'm upset, I'm offended, and I'm angry, but I'm not moved to tears, and my next thought is to wonder if Jenny will take it personally that I'm not. I take another deep breath, and think about what it really means to love someone. I can't ever know what it's like to be inside her head, or inside her heart, so I can't really understand what she feels anymore than she understands what I feel. I'm simply left to wonder.

So instead, I try to stop wondering, and I focus on just holding her instead.

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