It's been awhile since I've been in The Cave @ Nite.
The official Cave policy is a level of cleanliness not too high so as not to raise the level of expectation. About two months ago a good sweep was due, but not until your very tolerant troglodyte can't take it anymore will that actually happen. That actually was tonight.
The Cave: stutters and meanders and goes into fits of deep sleep and then surprises and even challenges, all with very little pattern. But there are a few.
Spring and fall are shipping season. January and July are busiest; January I suspect because of New Years resolutions, July because the heat kicks in and panic ensues. When the weather is cold aisle C in the Bordeaux room gets warmer by a degree or two; when it's hot it gets colder by degree or two. (But it never gets above 58.) This seems backwards to me, but there it is. When you see a ladder hovering around aisle C, it's because your obedient troglodyte is constantly adjusting temperatures to the whims of a cantankerous aisle.
Over the years I've also learned that the simple act of answering the phone is the single greatest contribution to increased business.
It takes little more than an hour to sweep a Cave. Today I had the brooms poised and ready to go - there are two, one broad for the aisles and one small for the corners + one entirely useless dustpan.
The handle of the dustpan is a pain-in-the-Cave. It's broken, old, and doesn't remain vertical. I could get a new dustpan for like $11, but truth is I can't throw the dustpan out because on it is a piece of duct tape with the writing, 'Joe Burns.' Joe was The Cave's first emcee, widely and fondly remembered, a bundle of energy who died way too young. (Joe's wife worked for Philippe's in DTLA. She died only about a year or so ago.) I hear many vigorous stories about Joe, never an unkind word. That he added the tape with his name on it leads me to believe there may have been some competition for this dustpan, enough so that he felt it necessary to lay claim on this very valuable bit of property. And so Joe's dustpan remains.
But it got busy today and then I got a phone call for a new locker to be rented and the brooms remained poised. So I came down tonight to finish the task minus interruption, and that gave me a chance to spend some time in The Cave minus...interruption. This is a good thing, it keeps me in touch with here, the nooks and crannies of here, the maze of here, the sounds of here, the details of here. I look at patterns on the floor and wonder what used to be anchored there almost 90 years ago. Who danced on this floor, who sat at this bar, who ate at these tables? And I get to weave through it all with Joe Burns dustpan.
A privilege, to listen to a Cave uninterrupted. Happy Midnight.