I went to a bar this past Saturday night. I don’t really go to bars anymore so it was an experience. Back in my younger 20’s, my buddy Kevin and I used to know every bar within 30 minutes of our houses. We knew which ones closed at 2, which ones closed at 4 and the few that were open 24 hours. before I was married we were well known at one ‘bar’ kinda like on Cheers. When we walked in there was always about 20 people we knew. My memory says it was a lot of fun.
That was then.
To preface this, the reason I went to the bar was to see a band play. There is a guy I know from online who I had never met who plays in a band. Well they were playing this bar about an hour from my house so I made the journey out there to listen to him play and say hi. That part was fine. The band sounded good and after they took a break we chatted for about 20 minutes, took a picture together and so on. I will also point out that the guy i met has the same exact name as me but is no relation that we can figure out. So it was kind of funny when he introduced me to the band. But the rest of the experience makes me wonder what I ever got out of the bar scene.
To start, this bar was SMALL. Very small. And there was so little parking that I took a chance and parked at the strip mall across the street. I remember those times hunting for parking and trying to find a place that wouldn’t tow us. Not fun. I got there just as the band was starting their set so the place was pretty crowded. The few tables were all full, as was the barOr so it seemed. I looked towards the back and there seemed to be a few empty seats there. So I threaded my way thru the throngs of people to get to what I thought was an open spot. Of course as I get there I see that in front of all 3 seats are drinks and phones, but no people. I look around and nobody shows up. Fuck it, I lean in at least and order a beer since I can at least GET to the bar from here. I get my beer and proceed to stand there listening to the band. Easily 15 minutes later all 3 people return to their seats, from outside smoking. OK, I get it, you got a habit you can’t/won’t break. Leaving 3 seats empty and expecting them to be there 15 minutes later is just messed up. So anyway they come by and start giving me the evil eye for being near their stuff or something. Whatever. Not in the mood for a bar fight, so I move around the bar a bit more. I actually find a row of stools along one wall that appear open so I go and grab one of them to listen and observe.
The band was playing Southern Rock. So of course the bar was full of old white people. In the very corner where the empty seats were was one drunk guy, loudly drumming on the bar about a half beat behind the actual music, bobbing his head around like his neck is broke. The 3 people who had returned from smoking were all looking at their phones and trying to talk over the music. There was a couple along the one wall that was making out. One table had 4 ladies ( without trying to be rude I would have to say that they were quite large ) who had their arms in the air bopping back and forth, not realizing that they were hitting just about everyone who tried to walk by. There was a drunk couple just to my right who were having trouble just sitting on the bar stools.
Seated on the row of stools to my left were two older ladies who were really getting into the band. Now don’t get me wrong, they played well and the singer was pretty good. But this is mostly like Allman Brothers music. Not the most rockin’ of tunes. The one kept standing up to dance in place, but in doing so kept bumping her ass into my legs. Every time she would do it she would turn and I would get a nasty stare. Look lady, like you, I am not the smallest person in this bar. Space is tight and if you want to move your fat ass around to dance, it is going to bump up against things. This can’t be the first time you experienced that with a bumper that big. And no, I wasn’t manspreading. But even if I was, the looks were uncalled for. Each time Ii tried to scoot my stool over a little bit more but was limited by the drunk couple.
Eventually I saw two people across the bar look like they were getting up to go. So I took a chance and walked over there before they got up and asked if they were leaving. They were so I managed to snag a seat at the bar to rest my aching dogs and watch the band play. From there I apparently got to see a show as well!
Right in front of the band and in front of me was a table with 2 people at it. There was a guy who looked to be maybe 40 tops and a woman who looked like she smoked way too much and has been in the sun way too much. Her appearance easily looked to be 65+. They seemed to be a couple. During every song, she would get up out of her chair, raise one arm up and start twirling around to the music. I need to figure out how to describe this to get the point across. She was dressed a bit risky given her body type. She was as skinny as a post, wrinkly from the sun and just looked like a zombie. She had on what appeared to be a sort of tube top and some really tight pants, and a sweater over the tube top. Well the sweater came off early and every time she raised her arm to twirl around, her top dropped down a bit. She didn’t really have anything upstairs to hold it up so the bar got flashed. Her guy would reach over and pull the top up, she would dance for another minute, then slide into his arms and suck on his face before returning to her seat. Next song this was repeated again. And again. And again.
The seat next to me got taken pretty quickly by a woman who was there with her boyfriend/husband/whatever. She took the seat and he leaned in from time to time to order from the bar. Pretty typical for the most part in a crowded bar. Also typical when he would lean into her for a kiss and she would lean backwards, almost falling into my lap. The first time I look down and there she is, laying in my lap so I just say “hi”. She smiles and says hi, then apologizes and sits back up. 10 minutes later the scene was repeated again. Not sure if I am being hit on or they just don’t care. The old fart in me is saying ‘get a room’. After the third time it happened I was starting to get a little mad, but the band took its break so I went to talk to my new friend.
All in all the bar scene is not something I miss. Crowds, not able to hear yourself talk, regulars who act like they own the joint, drunks and so on are just something I don’t miss. I will put up with it for a bit to hear some good music, but over all I am glad I grew out of that.