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The Joke

This happened last Saturday. I meant to post it to GT then, but ... busy.

Little bit of background: I work at grill/brewery in one of the big yuppie/hipster neighborhoods in Chicago. We host weddings and events on our second floor because we have a nice second bar, empty space up there that we otherwise wouldn't use. Not my idea for a wedding, but I mean, it's a nice place.

Last Saturday we had a wedding there, no big deal. I was assigned my first coat check shift, which meant grab a book and some coffee because you'll be sitting by yourself in the dim coat check area (back hallway that turns into kind of a vestibule closer to the offices).

Event started at about 3/4. Open bar.

The guests were getting pretty blotto pretty quickly. I'm mostly done checking coats. some stragglers are coming in.

Young black man (yes this is important) comes up to me and cracks *THE* Joke.
"You would be surprised how many people in here are on drugs."

I wait a beat cause, what? "No I wouldn't, working at a restaurant you see everything."

He laughed, I laughed... he went to join the event after checking his coat, I returned to my disturbing anthology book Burnt Tongues (which sidebar: GO READ THAT NOW AND TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK) .

It's about 9:15 now. event wraps at 10.

Drunken white woman comes up to me... I'm not paying her any mind because well people are drunk and I'm not far from the restrooms (same hallway).

She stops, locks eyes, points a crooked finger while her other talons are locked around the sweaty cocktail glass. Bleary eyes narrow.

"What did you say to my boyfriend?!"

Excuse me?

"You said you're the only black person here?! Why would you say that?"


"You said that to him! Why would you say that! White people don't think that way!"

I don't even know your boyfriend ma'am.

"THE ONLY BLACK GUY HERE. That's MY MAN. Why would you say racist shit like that to him!"

Ma'am please don't speak to me like that, I will have to get my manager.


My manager just happens to walks up, "Everything okay?"

"NO! She said something racist to my boyfriend!"

I look at my manager.. On my life I didn't say anything related to race to her boyfriend or any other guests.

"It's okay Mel just go stand behind there and I'll talk to her and then you."

My other manager walks up... we'll call him Opie (cause he reminds me of Opie from SOA).

Other manager I'll call her Locks, speaks to the woman and they both come behind the coat check curtains and talk to me. I explain to her that I did speak to her husband, for about a minute and a half, we exchanged a completely innocuous joke and he went about his night. I've not seen him since this whole shindig got started. They tell me just to ignore her, she's clearly a little intoxicated, if she says anything just get them or one of the other girls working the event. Cool.

I go back to reading, wrap up Burnt Tongues and start Sookie Stackhouse #1...

About twenty minutes go by? And the woman comes wobbling back up. "Where's your manager now? I want to talk to them."

Apparently she stepped out for popcorn during the previous conversation?

I just hit the button on my kindle, get up and walk into the kitchen to grab one of the other girls. Her response: "She came back?"


Other girl goes out there, and talks with the woman. They some how talk her down and she disappears again. I go back into the hallway, sit down, start reading again.

I can hear the woman coming up the stairs about 50ft away from me... which means she is screaming loud enough to be heard not only over TWO sound systems going full blast, but a crowded restaurateur downstairs and a 100+ person event where this is taking place. Oh btw.. Bride and Groom still here, still trying to enjoy their reception...still trying to just enjoy the night to 90s hip hop.

Drunk Woman rounds the corner, and starts trying to charge down the hallway toward me. Boyfriend almost comically digging his heels into the floor and holding her arm to hold her back. She's trying to shake him off while screaming at the top of her lungs "YOU SAID THAT SHIT! YOU'RE A RACIST" etcetera.

Manager Locks sees and tries to intervene..literally to hold the woman back.

I see them almost tussling in the hallway and just say to kind of no one... I AM CALLING THE COPS.

Opie just happened to be coming off the elevator next to coat check, and one of the guy bartenders from the kitchen... they see Locks being grabbed by Drunk Woman and shoved.

I grab my phone and bolt to the back stairs and call the cops.

Turns out Opie had to scoop the woman up around the waist and almost carry her out. She's screaming like a dying phoenix as she's being manhandled down the stairs.

The Host downstairs calls the cops cause he hears screaming and sees the scene degenerating rapidly.

I have no idea how many cops showed up as I stayed my ass in the back hallway until I heard the screaming fade.

And that ladies and gentleman is how insecurity and liquid courage almost destroyed this cute vintage looking hipster wedding.



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