You Bitch!
23rd of September, 2018

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Round Tables


A couple of days ago, I was sitting in a bar that I used to consider the worst in the world. It’s improved its fortunes of late, and has been overtaken by the current Worst Bar in the World by a large margin. The wait staff has changed a few times, and I believe that’s the reason this bar has gotten better. It’s not the fact that better people were brought in; the old staff was full of good people, mind you. I’m an optimist, and I believe that people must be corrupted before they can become bad. It’s just that high turnover is just about the only way to keep a bar staff honest here in the workers’ paradise. Complacence is deadly in the food service.


So, with fresh meat behind the counter and an admirably-patient clientele, fortune seemed to have been smiling of this erstwhile Worst Bar in the World. There was an English couple sitting next to me, reading through a German phrase book to order their drinks. What is the German phrase for a Slippery Nipple, you may ask? Rütschige Brustwarze, actually, but please don’t order one, on the off-chance you might actually get it. They were speaking English to each other, and broken German to the barmaid, but everything was getting taken care of in order.


A couple of tables over, two German girls were discussing Great Britain, and the strange habits of its simple, hard-working folk. They were making sweeping generalizations about the Londoners, the Geordies; about their food, drinking habits, work ethic, and literature. I wondered if the two English people in the room, sitting next to me, were picking up any of their conversation, and could set them straight, or simply be amused that they’re discussing it with such earnestness.


Having spent a couple of weeks in the States recently, I missed places like that: A watering hole, to be sure, but not a saloon or a meat market. There were clean tables about, and comfortable chairs, and dark corners where you could hide; a place to read, or to write, or tap away on your laptop, or just sit and think for a bit, or just be alone to have some peace of mind. They’d bring you a glass of beer, if you wanted, or leave you be, and no one seemed put out by the fact that you were sitting there watching everything, smiling, observing as it all flowed by.


In short: It was nice.

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