While I was away, I was away from a lot. Away from many friends, from the internet and even from my neighborhood pub.
Now before this turns into a college-esque, how-great-beer-is essay, I want to point out that I would probably still frequet this establishment were it not of the alcohol distribution nature. I'd be about the only one and they would likely go out of business, but the point is that this isn't about beer, it's about atmosphere.
The Backstreet pub isn't much to look at from the outside. The front windows don't match (due primarally to a halloween night barfight), the carpet is warn in places, the coolers are dented and scratched and it's actually quite dificult to find.
But those who have found it and made it their local watering hole are some damn fine people.
I hadn't been there since March. Sure I see the place every day because it's just a quick 300 yard walk through the back lot of the grocery store to get there. So last Saturday evening I stopped in on my first night out in quite some time. It was nearly 1:00 am and the majority of the crowd had gone for the night. But I hadn't made three steps into that back hallway when the bartender on duty turned to see who just came in.
She took a moment to double focus her vision and excitedly exclaimed, "I know you!"
at least 3 more times (there were only 4 other people in the bar) that night I got an "Andy, how are you.... It's been a long time."
Perhaps there is something depressing that I can be scarce from a bar for nearly 6 months and return to recognize everyone there. Or maybe it's just comforting that the friendships that were put on hold were rekindled with little or no Effort.
So last night I went out again and as I sat on the patio with the pretty girls and the middle-aged men trying to pick up the middle-aged women I engaged in a conversation about local eateries. It was a 4 way conversation where everybody had input, we all had a beverage in front of us, jokes were made and laughs were shared. I took a moment to pause for a moment and realized that I hadn't had this in quite some time. When I went scarce I sacraficed socalization. That's just not me. I enjoy a party or just conversations with friends.
Well, football season isn't far off. I think they'll see me in there again sooon.