A Slightly Overpriced Melting Pot

(Written this past Friday, approaching 11:00pm)

I find myself sitting at bars a lot when I decide to write while on the road. Most of the time I just have my notebook or my phone where I can jot pixelated or non-pixelated notes down. Sometimes I go into my rantings with an idea in my head when I sit down and then I just roll with it. For this particular piece, things did not go that way.

Presently, as I’m tapping the keys and spamming the delete button on my laptop, I honestly have no idea what is going to come out of my two respective index fingers, right-hand middle finger, and occasional thumb. I am not a good typer, and my elementary school typing instructor, wherever she may be, is probably suffering from some overwhelming feeling of shame and maybe even a sense of disappointment in her skills as an instructor.

I ordered a vodka and soda, because I needed a healthy alternative after biking seven miles in this Boston hotel’s gym. I’m sitting at a small hightop, no headphones in my ears unusually enough, and I’m actually listening to my surroundings. I feel like I am usually the perfect example for universities who publish alerts and suggestions like, “Don’t wear headphones at night while walking home, be aware of your surroundings.” So, basically, “Don’t be like Ian. He’s consistently disconnected from his surroundings, ready for a lively stabbing.” But tonight, I’m in tune, bringing all of the sounds in. The body language of the couple in front of me. The bar patrons who gave me a weird glance when I pulled a laptop out of my bag. Keep talking loudly about your Mongoose bikes, bar patrons, they sound rad.

That’s what this post is going to reflect on… people.

Just people.

I like people. Well, no, I should change that to I am intrigued by people. This particular pique in interest is inspired by hotel bars.

Back to the couple in front of me. Older, I’m guessing mid-to-late sixties. One red wine, one white. Initially verbally upset with me for sitting at the end of the bar where they were looking to move to, while the entire far half of the bar was completely devoid of all bodies (I moved to this hightop to free up their coveted bar space moments after). Why the sudden disappointment in my actions when you could totally walk another ten feet and be isolated from people? Who knows, maybe they have bad knees, or maybe they simply couldn’t see the empty stools. So many variables, but their suddenly pissed off demeanor eventually faded when their friends arrived, to their surprise.

There’s a man, elderly, sitting alone at a low table. An empty, high-backed chair sits in front of him, he is looking over it to watch some game on the flatscreen. A game in which his “boys are losing.” He tells the bartender this loudly, to which the bartender smiles and says, “yeah shit, man, what’s happening with them?” The couple from before ask if they can take the empty chair from the elderly sports-fan’s table so they can accommodate the incoming friends. I couldn’t help but notice a wave of sadness overcome the man’s face, but then a burst of happiness as he says yes, that it’s not a problem. The empty chair moves a few feet. He takes a swig of his beer from its tall glass, and he goes back to watching the game. He exchanges a few words with the bartender again, smiling during the interactions, happy to be talking with someone.

Back to the bar patrons, three of them. Two men, one larger around the waist, but short. Like a wrestler in a higher weight class, and not because of muscle mass. The other is skinny with wrists seemingly no wider than a roll of quarters, he quickly drinks his dark beer to keep up with the wrestler. The third, a woman. She’s there with the tiny one, sitting awkwardly and drinking what seems to be a fruity martini, a Cosmo maybe. She is casting strange glances to the two she is with, maybe signaling that she is tired or perhaps that she is just over their company because they won’t stop talking about their damn Mongoose bikes. There are more people in the bar, but I’ll stop there. I think where I am going with this is: hotel bars are beautiful.

It isn’t a craft beer bar where all you’ll experience is hopeful cicerones, aggressively groomed beards and twisted mustaches, and top-knots.

It isn’t a downtown cocktail spot where you’ll be drowning in a sea of young professionals desperately passing out business cards in a palpably douchey environment while spending fifteen dollars on a subpar Manhattan made by a self proclaimed mixologist.

What it is is a collective of every walk of life. The young, old, sad, happy, those who are doing a poor job of impressing a date (why would you bring her to a hotel bar in the first place, man?), and even those who want a sense of interaction or involvement.

Or even someone like me, the creepy fucker in the corner scanning the room looking for something interesting to jot down.

Now, as the bartender is closing my tab and effectively kicking everyone out, I’d like to say that this stream of consciousness was brought to you by hotel bars, their interesting mix of demographics, and Tito’s (not an ad).

~Ian.

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