The Green Door #8

April 1998

I Don't Look for It; It Finds Me #1

Some background to this story, I run the only bar in Northeast Philadelphia that features many local microbrews, both on tap and in bottles. As a result we draw macrobrew drinkers who come in because we are the neighborhood bar, and microbrew drinkers from around the corner, from the rest of the Northeast, and lately South Jersey.

The bar's bank and the local dart store are one neighborhood south, about 14 blocks down the Avenue. The dart store is about a half block from the bank, which makes a great combination trip for me. One weekday afternoon, I park my car in the bank's lot and walk the half block to the dart store carrying my dart case in my hand.

As I'm crossing the intersection, a man sticking out of a manhole starts motioning with his hands. It's an intersection on a busy street, lots of people and cars. I sense no open holes in my path and ignore him. As I approach closer, he does it again, making a dart throwing motion. The guy is wearing a hardhat, sunglasses and protective work clothes. I don't recognize him. I make a "Whaaa?" face. He says, "Keep that Yards on tap". This is totally and completely is not a sentence I am expecting.

While I value all of our customers, I make an extra effort to chat up all the microbrew drinkers that come in, since The Grey Lodge Pub offers them something that the other 14 bars in the neighborhood and most other bars in the Northeast and South Jersey don't. Lately my brain seems to have pretty much reached capacity to handle all the faces I've met in the last 18 months since we've been The Grey Lodge.

I draw a total and complete blank of this guy. I don't let that stop me since that would probably be rude and we have a tiny chat about darts and beer. We're onto something when a guy sticking out a manhole tells me to keep Yards on tap. I have a suspicion that sort of thing doesn't happen to other publicans.


I Don't Look for It; It Finds Me #2

The bar's bank is the city's "black bank", so called because it is first bank in city to be black owned in about 100 years. It has one of the city's best deals on banking services for small businesses. Thanks to the Savings and Loan debacle, United Bank added a branch near the bar. It's a small bank; I'm a weekly customer and the pleasant staff and I have become rather friendly.

Just because a bank is small doesn't mean you will get good service. As the bar's financial officer I moved the account to United from another small bank because that bank's staff was frequently nasty and disrespectful.

On morning after giving me coinage but before processing my deposit, Ada, the teller, took a CD transaction for a customer that one of the desk employees brought over. I'm standing at the other side of the counter from Ada and the desk employee whose name I forget. The transaction was a little more involved than the desk employee said and Ada jokingly called her on it. The desk employee said it was only a white lie, and that's not really a sin.

I ask if they knew the Shakespeare saying about lying. Neither Ada, the desk worker, nor Angela - the manager who was also near by, knew. After a few seconds I remembered it. "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we practice to deceive". At least I remembered something from junior year high school Religion class. This might also have something to do with my thinking a week before that "To thy own self be true" was a St. Paul quote. The desk employee says, "Since you know Shakespeare, why did Hamlet wait to kill the king? Why didn't he just get it over with?" I wasn't prepared to be quizzed on Shakespeare at the bank and gave her a bad answer about Hamlet questioning his sanity and not wanting to believe the treachery of his mother and uncle. At least I didn't say, "it would have made the play too short".

We studied Hamlet in senior year of high school (English not Religion class) and watched the Lawrence Olivier version in class. I saw the Kenneth Braughan version twice. I knew I should be able to give a better answer. Since the transaction W A S involved, I was able to give it a little more thought and I came up with a better answer. Hamlet wanted the King to admit his guilt publicly and that's why he came up with the play "The Mousetrap".

The Green Door is a mostly monthly zine published by Scoats. E-mail: scoats at greylodge dot com. (c) Scoats 1998. All rights reserved. Most wrongs unintentional. Reproduction permitted as long as it accompanied by this entire paragraph. Sign up for the mailing list; it's FREE.

Last updated on 08 January 2003.
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