Location: Aspen Lounge, Hilltop House, Los Alamos, NM
At the prompting of Jojo, I have made my way to the other bar in town. They have three beers on tap: Moosehead, Fat Tire, and Sam Adams. Right there I knew that things were going my way. It’s not that I’m particularly orgasmic over any of those beers, but they have those instead of Bud and Bud Light.
Aspen Lounge is a small place, and there are quite a few people here getting an early start on their weekends. The place feels recently remodeled with the obligatory southwestern color scheme and architectural touches, but for all the newness and shininess Sally keeps it fairly dim so it feels cozy. There is a solarium area connected to the lounge that appears to be popular as well.
I knew it was Sally when she called me “hon”, true to Jojo’s words. Sally stands in the four-foot range only because she has fairly tall hair. Her voice has been abused by 40 years of cigarettes and she’s still working on compounding the damage. She doesn’t move fast but she doesn’t stop moving; everything is clean and everyone has their drinks. The bowls of snack food are always topped off. We discussed briefly the challenge of the first pour of the day from a tap. I bet she mixes ’em strong for her regulars. When she brought me my second drink, she made a point of using my name.
An interesting thing about accelerated regularization: Nobody wants you to succeed at your goal more than the bartender. Help them help you.
There are regulars here. That would usually go without saying in the “other bar” in a town of 16,000 plus, but this is Los Alamos and this is a hotel bar. People know Sally’s (not Sal’s) name, and when people walk in there are happy greetings from those already here. I can be comfortable here. Canyon Bar and Grill was larger, and had its own regulars, and had pool tables, so there could be times when that is the place to go (I missed karaoke last night—what a pity), but overall this is more my kind of place to come and hang.
Did I tell you about my visit to Canyon B&G the other day? No? Well, you didn’t miss much except warm beer. And speaking of small town, a woman just walked in who looks familiar. She is wearing a T-shirt from my college (My college is smaller than your college. My college is probably smaller than your high school.) So I could go over and ask her what year she graduated. I would, too, but her voice is really annoying. I’d remember someone like that.
Now she’s looking at me funny.
So anyway, on the way over here I passed the Inn and saw the sign for their coming bar with free high-speed Internet access, but there was no definition of “coming soon”. Not soon enough, that’s for sure.
So I sit here in a fairly contrived bar, which usually bothers me, but in this case it is made good by the power of the bartender. I can’t picture her ever vying for the oh-so-coveted Jer’s Favorite Bartender (which, oddly, actually is coveted by a few sorry souls), but it is definitely Sally that makes this place what it is. She doesn’t dominate the room the way Rose or Amy does, she just quietly makes it work.
Keep on doing the Lord’s work, Sally.
So that’s where you were last night; I should have known. You missed margaritas, pool & foosball at our place. Next time we’ll call the bar directly instead of foolishly relying on cell phone technology. Although rumor has it that you’ve tumbleweeded off across the desert again. Hopefully you’ve started a productive writing retreat in the north country…
I’m sorry I missed that. By the time I got home I was on a roll, and actually got some good writing done. I’ll be dropping back by Los Alamos in a few days and I’ll be sure to drop you a line.