I’ve never been one to keep my mouth shut…about anything, but lately it’s gotten far, far worse. In fact I feel like I’m suffering from some sort of attitude Tourette’s. And I’m alienating everyone around me. Also nothing new, but still.
Last night I went to a bar for a reunion of sorts. A friend visiting from LA wanted us all to meet up at her former local bar. In Hoboken. The bartender didn’t allow waving. As in patrons weren’t permitted to wave at him to get his attention. Calling his name never seemed to work and we were often left wanting. He would spend extended moments chatting up guys who weren’t even ordering drinks. We were feeling pretty neglected. At least I wasn’t able to give the bartender a piece of my mind…he was never in front of me long enough!
The DJ began playing 90s rap and hip-hop, then inexplicably segued into some of my favorite punk rock. Just as she hit her CB’s-like stride, she shifted gears and put on Pink Floyd. Huh? “It was a request,” she informed me. WHAT? Great DJs don’t take requests! This isn’t a bar mitzvah! Guess what she played next? I’ll give you a hint: it was another request. Okay, you’ll never get it: Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome.” Yup. Read it and cringe!
I simply could not stop myself from telling this woman how I felt. “What the hell are you thinking?” I asked as Mick Jagger took us back to the 70s. “You were on a total roll!” I gushed, “And now we’re in any bar! Now we could be in Nebraska!”
After I’d given the DJ a ration of shit — in the nicest way possible, mind you — I turned my attentions to a guy who’d walked in earlier. He was wearing an Abbey Tavern t-shirt, the Abbey being a magnificent New Orleans dive bar. “I have that t-shirt!” I’d enthused to the guy, who, by the way, was about five feet tall (GNOME ALERT!) and bald. NOT anyone I would be hitting on even at my drunkest. It was merely a friendly attempt to, you know, relate to my fellow man in a social situation. The dude brushed me off like I was a dandruff crumb. So when I saw him speaking to my friend, the friend whose “local bar” this had been, I went over. “Do you know this guy?” I asked her. When she said yes, I turned to him and said, “You know, there was once a day when strangers would actually speak to each other in bars,” I started schooling him. “In fact, I have friends 20 years later who I met in a bar.” I went on to blather that it sure would’ve been nice if he’d acknowledged me, maybe stopped and introduced himself, took a moment to recognize a friendly gesture from a stranger. Yeah, whatever.
I had also attempted to befriend a woman who was sitting by herself in the corner of the bar, madly typing on her smart phone. When the DJ arrived she had to surrender her corner barstool and moved to the other side of our group. I waved to her, said, “Join us!” and introduced her to my crew. She looked at me like I was out of my fucking mind. WHAT is this world coming to? Are people so afraid of strangers? Why would you leave your apartment if you don’t want to meet anyone new?
The oddest part of the night was finding out from the DJ that a few of the “locals” in this little locals bar are actually neighbors of mine. Like they live within blocks of me in the East Village. So they travel all the way to fucking Hoboken to hang out in a locals bar. It’s the end of the world!