After Lil’ J’s Sports Bar, I headed back over to the Lone Wolf Pub, known forevermore as Shae’s bar. Shae was behind the bar rather than waiting tables, but she recognized me and welcomed me back. It didn’t strike me right away, but tonight she wasn’t as touchy-feely as she had been. First thought: she’d read my blog. She wasn’t as physical with anyone else either. Second thought: she was sweet on someone in the bar (besides me). Probably none of the above. Maybe she was just too tired, or too busy, or she just approaches bartending differently than she approaches waitressing. I didn’t ask. After writing a little bit at a table I packed up and moved over to the bar. Most of the stools were taken, but there was an empty stool between a tall, slender elderly woman and a snow-bearded man.
Shae was pretty busy, so I was not basking in her radiance the way Bill and I had the night before. No matter, there was Marjorie. She sat with ramrod posture, and when she spoke it was with a patrician English accent. Patrician because along with her excellent diction and hard-to-pinpoint accent there was a world-weary tone, as if she had seen damn near all there was to see. She asked me how I was, and whether I had been in the bar before. I answered, but after that I was struck by some random thought or other and I missed the point when I should have asked the polite counter-question. Silence ensued. By the time I realized my faux pas it was too late. Silence stretched.
Eventually, of course, an opportunity came to hit the reset button and strike up a conversation. She has been in Texas for forty years, and I had to laugh when she said, “I tell you what.” She likes the old songs. Something came up that started her singing one, and I helped her finish the verse. She slapped me on the back with surprising vigor—the point of impact tingled for several minutes. “I love those old songs,” she said again, and I knew she was drunk.
Snowbeard came back from the bathroom and wanted a part of the conversation. He had a way to measure age that he needed to share with me. “I remember when I could pee ten feet,” he said. “Now I just hope I don’t hit my shoes.” We discussed the technical details for a while. I liked the measure; I can still pee for distance.
Marjorie had been waiting for a friend, who finally showed up. Where Marjorie was regal, her friend was overpainted. Where Marjorie was poised, her friend was sloppy. She had just come from another bar. Marjorie introduced me. “You can call me Foxy Roxie,” the friend said. “Hello, Roxie,” I said. She turned out to be all right, but I knew the gentlemen would all be going for Marjorie.
It was soon time to go home, a point where staying will just lead to trouble, and cab rides, and who knows what else. I don’t cross that line without a safety net, and there was none that night. Shae was gone (I caught a shitty picture of her; I’ll try to fix it up and put it here), so there was no longer any reason to stay. Out the door I went.
Bars are full of people like that. For all the ones I’ve met, I’ve missed ten. I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing.