In case anyone was wagering on it, the first place I went in San Diego was Callahan’s. It’s been more than a year since the last time I was in here, so it was no surprise that I didn’t recognize the girl who seated me, or the guy who is waiting on me. Or the other waitress. I recognize one of the bartenders, but I’m not certain of her name anymore. It’s not Travis, and , more significantly, it is not Rose. No worries, she used to work weekdays anyway.
Jocelyn – that’s the name of the girl I recognize. She hasn’t recognized me yet, but that’s not surprising. I considered waiting until I was less scruffy to come in, but who knows how long that will be?
I checked the board and was happy to see that Bernardo Bitter (my favorite, but the quality is not consistent and they don’t have it on tap very often) was available. “It’s like you knew I was coming,” I quipped to my noncomprehending waiter. Joe Byrne was playing on the Juke Box. I settled in, ordered my jalapeño beer cheese soup, and whipped out the ol’ laptop.
My eyes strayed back to the chalkboard to see which other beers were up right now, and my heart sank when I saw Hopnotic IPA. I like a good hoppy IPA, but that used to be called Rose’s IPA. I checked the printed beer list, and there’s no mention of Rose’s IPA there, either. I have a bad feeling about this. Perhaps this is all an elaborate Road Trip Eve prank (three years ago, I celebrated the very first road trip eve sitting at the bar on a quiet night, counting down the minutes until midnight. I did not say “elevator ocelot rutabaga” at the appointed hour (that tradition came later), instead I said, “Wish me a happy birthday.” I completed my 4th decade in quiet conversation with my favorite bartender ever, then drove away to a life of adventure (or at least uncertainty) the next afternoon.
It’s not fair, of course, for me to ask a place to stay the same just so I can stumble into it every now and then and feel like I never left. That’s what I want, though. And now who’s going to tell Rose she rocks?
* * *
Good news! Rose is still working here. Now I can sleep.