Uncomfortable Silences

If you are following me on the book of face or the gram that is instant, you may have seen a picture that looks like it was taken at a bar with a bottle of Yeungling Light and a Keno ticket.  That’s because it was.

I had a couple of Pink Floyd books to drop off for my friend Chris and he had shoes for me. So, the plan – hatched earlier today – was for me to come see him at his second job, tending bar at Brew-Stirs Fun Pub. We would have a couple of drinks, try our hand at Keno and that would be that.

It was a pretty good plan. One I executed flawlessly while I was married and lived within walking distance to Brew-Stirs.  A friend of mine told me that I was more fun when I was drunk, and I think that’s true to a certain extent. Tee oh double dee, if you’re reading this, you’re getting more than one honest paragraph tonight, brother.

So..I got home from work. I actually felt pretty good about how the week went overall. Things seem to be on the upswing and I am cautiously optimistic.  Stopped at the Bethel store on the way home. Got in the door about 90 minutes after I left the office and threw on some Archer: Vice.  A nice dinner of alternating peanut-butter on crackers and sharp cheddar on saltines rounded out the dinner. The plan was to eat light in the event that Chris suggested ordering Classic’s Pizza (again, part of the pattern).

Somewhere along the way, I fell asleep. I awoke at around 10PM and damn near said fuck it to the whole thing. I didn’t know if Chris remembered the shoes, and it’s not like there was any kind of time crunch on the Pink Floyd books, after all, they’re pretty much broken up as a band.  But I rallied and wound up getting to the Fun Pub about 10:30.  Got to see my man Jason in the DJ booth. Chris was working bar with Christie and some bar-back I didn’t recognize.

The bar was packed. It took about 20 minutes for me to get settled in. About halfway through my second beer and once the Keno started flowing, I noticed a few things.

The Bar Crowd is Getting Younger
At first glance, I really thought I walked in to some kind of weird after-prom. My daughter is almost 22 and she looked older than a large number of the patrons I saw tonight.  I swear if a high-school teacher had walked in, they’d scatter like roaches in a suddenly lit kitchen.

The problem with a younger crowd is that they all think that life is perfect, that they are beautiful, and that everyone should love them. In other words, they are obnoxious as fuck.  Which leads to the next item.

Drunk People Have No Filter
None. Zip. Zilch. A country song that lends itself to crowd participation came on and this twenty-something starts dancing at the bar, next to where I’m sitting. And by ‘dancing’ I mean flopping. And bumping in to everyone. To the point after the 3rd time she realized she was bumping in to me and continued to do so, I set my elbow a position to passively jab her in the back or side at the next lunge or vocal refrain.

She reciprocated by telling, nay shouting, in my ear that I wasn’t being nice and it didn’t look like I was having fun. I looked at her and calmly said, “you’ve been here longer than I. You’re clearly way ahead of me in the fun department.” To which she again shout-sang more Garth lyrics directly in to my ear. I said something along the lines of, “Oh for fucks sake…seriously?!?!” and left her vicinity.

Drunk People Have No Boundaries
The incessant drunk-college-girl annoyances only served to underscore the fact that as alcohol consumption increases, the recognition of boundaries decreases. Personal space is a real thing whether you’re drunk as fuck or not. And I know this is hard to believe, but there are times I actually go to a bar just to have a couple of drinks. Blackout-drunk isn’t actually on the list most of the time. Hasn’t been for years.  That’s not to say I won’t tie one on if I’m in walking distance.

Avoid the High Visibility Areas
It was a rookie mistake. I wasn’t there to get drunk, but clearly others were. And by sitting in certain areas of the bar, you make yourself a target for all of the above bullshit. If you sit somewhere close to an area that’s in the bartender’s frequent line of site, expect the bullshit. For the simple reason that you are sitting in the danger zone. That area where people congregate trying to get the bartender’s attention in order to get served. Because you know…drunk.   I knew this, but had forgotten last night. A situation quickly rectified. It still didn’t stop all of the bumping and the awkward reaches as people  went for their shots of Purple Injustice or whatever the fuck the disenfranchised youth are drinking these days. Seriously. Did I mention how young these kids looked?

Silence Makes Drunk People Nervous
Once I got settled in to the right seat and the Keno routine was set, there wasn’t much for me to do but watch the board. When Chris had a chance, we chatted. When Jason had a long song on and came over, we chatted.   I didn’t go with anyone. And therefore didn’t really have anything to say to anyone. I had two beers. As such, the medicinally lubricating effects of alcohol had not kicked in. I didn’t feel like dancing and I was nowhere near the point where everyone in the bar was my friend and I loved everyone. Water doesn’t typically have that effect.

This made for fantastic people-watching, though.

And I found out something very interesting.

Silence makes drunk people nervous. I was sitting there, minding my Keno numbers and no less than 8 people apologized for bumping in to me. Keep in mind, I hadn’t said anything. And only 1 of the 8 actually had bumped in to me. But something about the silence compelled the others to make sure that they knew it was an accident.  My reply every time this happened was the same. “No worries, man. You didn’t. It’s all good.”  And I flashed a quick smile. And promptly went back to ignoring them (I had some Keno to win after all).

This went on all night. Near the end of the night. One of the gents said this and I gave my standard reply.  He followed up by saying, “You know. I don’t want to piss you off. You’re quiet. And it’s always the quiet ones you have to worry about. You never know how crazy a quiet person actually is.”  Sucking my ice water through a straw Pulp Fiction style I looked at him and said, “very true.” and then turned back to my Keno.

He reached out to shake my hand.  “It’s all good,” I said. Because, it was.  There is almost nothing in this world that will incite me to get in to a fight at a bar, especially if I’m sober. By 2AM, the 2 beers from 11PM had worn off, so I was sure I was sober.  So, yeah, quiet or not…it was all good. Especially since the dude looked scrappier than me. But I was quiet. Therefore the unknown variable.

Along with silence, common courtesy also throws people off.

As I said it makes for fantastic people watching and blog posts that get started at 3AM (but not actually finished until the following afternoon).

You’re Not My Friend
There are three kinds of friends at the bar.

  1. People you meet at the bar who eventually become your friends in real life.
  2. Friends from your real life that you eventually meet up with at the bar
  3. People at the bar who think that everyone wants to or should want to be their friend (the ‘beautiful people’ syndrome).

If I’m going to meet up with people at the bar, I would much prefer it to be with the 2nd group. The 1st group is OK too. And when you see them at the bar, it’s cool.

The 3rd group, however, is again in that annoying AF category.  I could tell in the eyes of the shout-singy drunk chick that told me I wasn’t having fun, that she was genuinely confused why I wasn’t instantly succumbing to her charms.  She clearly thought that the whole bar loved her and if they didn’t, it was simply because they hadn’t bought a drink for her yet.

Dudes are like that too. They’ll hold out their hand to shake yours. It’s kind of the invite a vampire in to your home rule, only for frat-yuppy-pricks.  It’s like, if you shake their hand, you somehow absolve yourself of thinking of them as an asshole.   Not true douche-hound. I’ve had more water than you’ve had alcohol. Trust me, you’re still an asshole.

As I mentioned, the night was actually decent. I caught up with Chris. I won at Keno. I got a kick ass pair of shoes. All in all it was a good, albeit, uneventful evening. And probably better than sitting on the couch, alone in my apartment.

You want your honest paragraph, Mr. Williams? Here it comes.

I am torn–internally torn–with the desire to seek external validation and the sickening realization that even if I get the validation I seek, I will still question the intent behind that validation. How’s that for honest? I have the yin and yang of wanting people to like me enough to want to do things with me diametrically opposed with the sobering conclusion that I don’t like people very much on the whole. I need to be around people, but I’m emotionally drained with the whole interacting with people thing.   I could probably write a book on it, and there’s much more to it than this paragraph will allow, but the truth of the matter is, you can tell me that you like me or love me and that we’re friends and you got my back and would do anything for me. I will acknowledge that with the level of gratitude merited…but deep down I will always wonder why. Why me?  Why does anyone give two shits what I think, what I write, what I say?  There’s your honesty.

Oh…and one more thing…

People Who Work At Bars Are Either the Best Customers OR the Shittiest Customers
Case in point last night. A crowd came over to Brew-Stirs from Harry Buffalo. Some were great, but many weren’t. It seemed that because they were ‘in the industry’ they felt they could bend the rules.  Last Call is last call for a reason. It’s the time for you to pay up, gather your shit, get the digits of that honey and plan your trek to Waffle House. And most importantly, it’s the indicator that it’s time for you to get the fuck out of the bar.

Ten minutes after last call, people were acting like they just got there. Doing shots, racking new games of pool. It was nuts.

I said my goodbyes and headed home. Confident that I was at least beating the crowd of drunkards who clearly didn’t Uber.

I shoulda got some Schneider’s.

Next time.

Until then, have a great weekends peeps, whatever that means for you!


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