Every night it comes at the same time. It's that magical time when the "ugly lights" come on. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is closing time. Every time I say that, the song "Closing Time" by Semisonic pops into my head. The lyrics are perfect for what happens when the ugly lights come on.
First off, they're called the ugly lights for a pretty good reason. Most bars have their lights on at minimal power. This makes it easier on the eyes when your wasted and it helps everyone look a little better. There's probably been times when you yourself have been in a bar and you were talking to a girl or guy that you wouldn't normally be talking to if you could see them clearly. So when the lights come on at the end of the night you can actually see the person. Anyone who's been out at the bars for a long period of time doesn't usually look all that great in the early morning hours. Basically, you want to get out of the bar before the ugly lights come on and you can see what you've been talking to or making out with.
Some nights it's real easy to get people out. They see the lights come on, I yell a few times that it's time to leave the bar and they walk out, other nights it's harder. Then there's the people that wait around for the bartender or waitress. Which is fine when the employee knows that the person is waiting. Sometimes you get the occasional stalker that thinks it's fine to wait. That's when I ask the employee. If the employee doesn't know about it then the person leaves and I make sure they don't wait outside the bar.
There are a couple of regulars who used to hang out after hours. These days, no one hangs out except those with employees. So when they don't listen and they think they can hang out all night I start calling them out by their names. Most of them don't like that because they don't want every person there to know who they are. They finish their drink and head out the door.
Then there's the ones that hang around and start talking to anyone that's within an arms length. They do this because they think someone will speak up for them so they can hang out. Listen, we're closed, we're all tired, half of us are drunk and none of us want to talk to you about some trip to Georgia.
"Jack, it's time to go man."
"Oh, it's fine. I was just telling Ramone about going to Georgia."
"Listen, we're closed and it's probly a story you should tell when we're not busy and not closed."
"Ok, ok.. I'll be right out I promise, I'm just gonna slam this drink."
"You got 2 minutes man."
Sometimes the employees start talking to them, sometimes they just ignore them and nod their heads like they're actually listening. It's fun to watch when Jack keeps talking and Ramone just keeps running up and down the bar cleaning up.
"Jack, let's go!"
"Alright man, I'll leave, I'll leave."
Then Jack has to go through and tell everyone good bye again. He stops and starts his story all over again with the next person he sees. "JACK! Let's go man! I wanna get outta here!!"
"Alright man, I'm comin, I'm comin."
Then after all this and ten minutes has gone by there's always the "I was helping you out" speech. Jack's pretty good at that.
"You know man, I was just trying to help you out. People would have stayed all night if I would have been standing up here by the door."
"Yea, you help out a lot.. next time try to help out by standing outside."
"I would have but Chucky said I could finish my drink and I didn't want him to think I was disrespecting him. You know it's all about respect. You know how it is man."
"We've already had this talk a million times Jack. I don't want to disrespect the fact that you need to leave and listen to it again."
"he he he.. yea man.. I should leave."
Jack is the special friend of a few employees. To quote Stewart, "He hooks us up, we hook him up." Funny thing is, Jack doesn't work in the industry.
So the end of the night is the best part of the night. Everyone has had a good time and if they're lucky they're leaving to go somewhere else and have an even better time.
For me it's another day down and a new one on the rise.