Perhaps it's the beard, or the age-old fact that people come to bars to drown their sorrows - but after 7 years in the bar-tending industry... I've heard it all. The establishment that I sling drinks at provides the unique opportunity for me to have a regular crowd of sorts in the early evenings and most nights a completely foreign crowd by 10 o'clock at night during a musical performance.
The true test of patience comes when I get hit with the (what I like to call) "Open Couch Night". Akin to the process of an Open Mic Night - the Open Couch Night occurs on any night when two or more patrons are eager for your attention simultaneously. Sometimes there might as well be a sign-up sheet at the door.
Those seeking advice are easy to spot. They've likely been in before to chat, and in this occurrence they typically (and magically) end up on opposite ends of the bar. Depending on my attention level and the number of people in or around the bar, I can see it in their eyes... "it" being that need to talk to me or have me hear them work things out on their own. Either way I try my best to oblige and entertain their rhetorical questions. At times it is very difficult balance all of it, and sometimes I've heard stories and problems from people that I wish I hadn't.
Fortunately, most nights I can (like my professional accredited counterparts: therapists) leave their problems at the bar when I leave.