I currently reside in San Francisco's Mission District, which has one of the highest concentrations of bars in the city. Since I can't figure out why else I'm living on this over-priced sliver of land, occasionally I'll talk myself into going to one of these bars. Ostensibly this is to meet someone, or at least to engage in flirtatious bar banter. But I know going in that odds are high that I will never actually say a word to anyone. Instead I'll purchase a relatively inexpensive drink, and gulp it down while watching other people talk and wondering what I'm doing in this place anyway. This is also a good time to tend to Facebook duties--thank goodness for the iPhone.
More often than not, I'll wander around the Mission to three or four places. I'll peek in for 30 seconds or so, deciding that whatever establishment I've walked into is too loud or dark (or both). Then I'll eventually go home, justifying that at least I got some good exercise.
Last night I actually stayed in a bar for a bit of time, for the first time since May. And I kept my streak alive of not saying one word to anyone ever. Herewith is an interior monologue in 2 parts.
PART 1: DECIDING TO GO TO A BAR
"The Mission has lots of bars, you know...I should go to one."
"But everyone else will be with someone. If I go alone I'll look like a loser."
"Maybe, but none of my friends live in the Mission--well, John and Cait do, but they're married--and it's not against the law to go alone."
"Yeah, but I can tell you right now that you won't talk to anyone. What's the point?"
"This time will be different! Let's go!"
PART 2: AT THE BAR
"Hmm...everyone seems to be with at least one other person."
"Told you! Let's leave before you waste any money."
"$5 for a Trumer, with tip, isn't so bad."
"Still a waste, but whatever."
"Bartender...Trumer please." ["That'll be $4."]
"OK, now I have my beer. Let's scan the scene more closely."
"Look at that old dude in the corner--he came in alone too. You look as bad as him!"
"Those three girls are cute, and one has a cool hat. Shall I approach her to compliment her hat?"
"Jesus Christ, dude...how lame can you get?"
"Good point. And besides, they are already deep in conversation. Why talk to the loner loser?"
"You're actually a great guy, Marcus. It's just that bars are 'theaters of fakery' and you keep it real."
"Thanks. I liked that line, and Aunt Linda did as well."
"Np. But why are we here again then?"
"Hmm...there are three people--two girls and a guy. I think that the one girl is just a friend and the other two are dating. And the free girl is Asian!"
"Yeah, whatever. OK, I'm going to head to the bar!"
"Hmm...they seem deeply engrossed, even if the 2 are dating and the one is a friend [and how would you know that anyway?]"
"Good point--and what I would say anyway? I think the person behind me needs a drink."
"OK, time to leave the bar."
"Hmm...there are two girls sitting on one of those couches over there. Time to be Hugh Hefner!"
"Please. I'll go to the jukebox and survey the scene."
"Damn ...there are already two guys sitting on the chairs next to the couches, talking to them."
"Yes, I see that. But thanks."
"Np. But hark--two women come! Right over to your place near the jukebox."
"Yeah, but I'm about halfway through this beer by now. And the one girl is kind of fat."
"Dude, that's harsh."
"Just sayin'. And they are already deep in conversation, as ever."
"OK--but most people are in throngs. They are right here! Easy to speak to!"
"Yes, but I don't want to. Bars are theaters of fakery, and I'm keeping it real."
"Whatever dude...nobody says you have to marry the people you meet in a bar."
"Yeah, but that's what I'm looking for. Just trying not to be so turbo-fast and scare away whomever I meet."
"Good to hear. But--honestly--then why are we here?"
"I guess I think I should come since I live in the Mission."
"I know. Well, one last chance to talk to hat girl. At least she's near the door so I can make an easy exit."
"Hmm...the dudes who were standing nearby have left, but hatgirl remains in deep conversation with her friend."
"Yeah--go talk to the old dude."
"Well, the glass is almost empty and Jeremy sent me an email. Let's get back to him pronto."
"You know what I've been doing most of the night?"
"Planning this blog post."
"Ha ha ha!"
"Beer finished--let's get out of here."