3PM On A Work Day
We all work, in one way or another. We all earn a living. We all make ourselves available to those who grant us the recommendation of their business. That means being clear headed and functional at 3pm in the afternoon—because we work on their behalf, in their office or are at their beck and call. And that's how it should be.
So, to sit in a fine lounge with fine lounge music playing, in front of a finely tuned mixologist, on a work day, is probably one of the most indulgent experiences we can partake in.
So I did that today. I worked. I worked on behalf of some amazing clients. I sold the product I believe in. I schmoozed. I spoke with honest earnestness. I told the truth. I even inspired a few people. And I did so in front of a crowd of very accomplished wine folk. I did my job and I did it well. But by 2:30pm, I was done….and I was in New York City.
I walked out of the restaurant, happy, satisfied with a job well done, and realized it was 2:30pm. Reading from my iPhone I realized that Grand Central Station and the Campbell Apartment was actually closer than my hotel.
I made my getaway.
This dark and wannabe-smokey hideaway was nearly empty. The cushy chairs and couches were without asses. Four or five stray drinkers were at the bar and the mixologist was at my disposal. And it was 3pm. I felt like I had stolen the pie from the window.
"Mix me a Makers Mark Manhattan, up, stirred, not shaken, please."
And he did, with efficiency and panache.
I took it back the corner of the Apartment, under the balcony where I could see the bar, the windows behind the bar, the lovely waitress when she came to the bar, and the rest of this beautiful room that speaks to me with courage and beauty the way a retired, old, beautiful, experienced whore might—just because she likes the company of a John who may have hired her in days past.
And it was 3pm in the afternoon on a work day.
As I sat in the corner and took in the permissive moment, I did pine for the company of another, someone in particular I know who I truly wanted to share this moment with and whom I might share the place with, and one who might appreciate the convivial conversation of the old whore who stroked my affections. But I'll bring her here another time. I will. But for now, I loved the moment alone in the embrace of a well-made Manhattan and the comfort of a lounge that caressed my simple desires at 3pm on a work day.
The lonely consumption of a Manhattan in the near-empty Campbell Apartment on a Friday at 3pm was indulgent stuff. You fire people for doing this too often. But when you do this on occasion, very rarely, just to remember what indulgent, self absorption really feels like, you aren't really breaking the rules. You are bending them in a way any good set of clients or boss ought to appreciate. After all, the ability to simply please oneself without hurting anyone else is the sign of a good man.
A half hour later I ate the cherry and drew the last breath out of my Manhattan—straight up and stirred, rather than shaken— put my dark grey jacket on my frame, straightened my tie, picked up my satchel, got up off the fine and comfortable couch and walked out, down the stairs and back out into Grand Central Station where I found a cab. I was satiated from a good day of fine work and a fine half hour of lounging bliss.
And as I rode down Park Avenue in the back of the cab I thought to myself, this is the way to do business. This is the way to spend a good life. This is the way to please the soul. This is the way to spend an afternoon on a work day at 3pm.