I would like to exchange a horrible gig story for advice.
I'll start with the story.
It requires me to set the stage...
I had a regular bi weekly gig at an upscale steakhouse in downtown Indianapolis. It was frequented mainly by rich fat cat attorneys and loud people down from Chicago on business.
There was of course a spattering of other types... generally all of them were wealthy, snobby, dismissive, obnoxious and lacking class.
The atmosphere sucked. It was suffering from a classical case of branding confusion I.E. white table cloths and gold handled crumb scrapers....but with big screen TVs in the bar perpetually showing MMA (ironic right?)
The management was nice enough but had no ear for music whatsoever. I would play things plenty lively and of appropriate volume only to be admonished about my shortcomings. This got especially frustrating when the dolt would tell me to 'liven it up' the first half hour, then to 'can you play a little softer' the second.
Anyway, now that we've established that this gig already sucks hard, let's get on to the story.
It was a typical Saturday. Every Saturday I played a double where I'd finish one gig up a few blocks then walk down to my second. Little did I know a monster was lurking.
My dear great aunt...God bless her, Is a widow. She lost her husband quite abruptly to lung cancer the year before this happened. She is from Long Island and has a very loud voice and very thick accent.
Anyway...she came out that Saturday night. Alone. Dressed in a ridiculous evening gown. She stumbled in the doorway and walked right up to the piano where I was playing and made it known to the entire restaurant and everyone in it...that we were related.
'hello christopha! Ooh it's so nice ta see yoow'
But my night had just begun.
She sauntered up to the bar and sat down next to two handsome young corporate regulars who were sharing a bottle of (presumably expensive) wine. She pets one of them...on the leg...then a pet of the hair...then she grabs the neck of the wine bottle and takes a good 3 second slug (long enough to be panting and out of breath for her). The men were not pleased and asked her to move away. She did...loudly. then came the shouting. She began shouting across the restaurant at me. 'christopha!?' deep green evening gowns
I realized the only way I was going to get through the evening was to ignore her...which made me feel like a bastard because I knew how her heart ached.
A time elapsed, and one of the floor managers stepped behind the piano and bent down to speak into my ear. He said this:
"She's creating a disturbance in the dining room. She's sat down at two guests tables without an invitation, and helped herself to their food. You need to go get her under control, or we will."
I felt the skin on my face fill with hot blood as my anger and embarrassment reached it's climax.
As we can see, I had been presented two choices. I decided to deal with the situation this way;
I went to the manager and said;
"I am angry and embarrassed and I am leaving. goodnight"
He said "I completely understand".
It was, and still is the worst night I have ever had playing restaurant piano. Truly a nightmare.
In retrospect I wonder if I would handle it differently? Was walking out justified? (I only had 15 minutes left...but 15 more minutes of my great aunt was a scary proposition. I wondered; what's she going to do next climb up on the bar, squat down and shit right there? I didn't know and I think I'd probably walk out again.
I can handle most BS...but my drunk, loud recently widowed great aunt....nah I'm out.