Haley is a Boston-based freelance journalist, editor and columnist with an M.A. in Journalism from Northeastern University. She thinks storytelling is the best type of work and doesn’t believe in awkward silences. Sometimes silence is golden and sometimes it’s a pause while people collect their thoughts. Her work can be found Boston’s alt-weekly, DigBoston, and in Tales of the Cocktail, MELMagazine, Skirt!Magazine, Spoonful Magazine, and elsewhere.

As a Story Terrace writer, Haley interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better: you can read an autobiographical story of her own below. Get in touch today to work with her!

Hey, Bartender!

They call it flow.

Flow occurs when you are so absorbed in an activity or situation that nothing else seems to exist. It is that state you enter when every part of you and your skill at something is being used.

Click. Whir. Click.

It’s Friday night and the small printer on my left is leaking a steady spiral of drink orders. The black rectangular mat covering what we call ‘pass’, a small section of bar top near the servers’ station, is covered with tickets for orders I need to make; a checkerboard of mounting obligation.

Click. Whir. Click.

Working service bar, being the person who makes all of the drinks for people sitting at tables and not ordering through the bar, can be a devilish game. On one hand, you have a free pass to ignore people clamoring for drinks from bar stools, on the other, you have more orders to keep track of at one time than some of your colleagues will make all night.

Click. Whir. Click.

The line of tickets still attached to the printer cascades toward the floor.

Click. Whir. Click.

They just keep coming. I’m starting to sweat. I will put out over 800 drinks in the next 9 hours. It’s insanity; it’s almost unthinkable; it’s a war zone.

I love it.

Being a bartender is so many things, but the one that goes under sung is how many things we can do at the same time. I’ve had people watch me work and say, “You know, you’d have made a great ER doctor,” because of the triage-style prioritize-then-execute steps a good bartender tackles a Saturday night with. Sure, it’s food and drink, not life or death, but the urgency, the creativity, the ability to make split-second decisions is all there.

I’m never sorry I don’t make decisions between life and death.

I’d much rather show you the time of your life.