A Very Long Post About What I Learned While Sitting In A Bar

4 Feb

Over the weekend, my wife was out of town, and I took the opportunity to hit the streets. Robert, my good friend and college roommate, got a pass for Saturday night, and we took the opportunity to relive some of those olden college days. The first stop was a high-caliber restaurant where there was more food on the plate than there were clothes on the waitresses. To provide an example of what I am talking about and to rack up more page views, here is a photo.Twin Peaks

After our meal, we drove a short distance to the Tin Roof, a drinking establishment that has several locations around the state. When I tweeted out our location, my nephew replied, “Are you in college?” I tweeted back that I teach at a college. Most of the Tin Roof locations are known as hangouts for those in college or a little older. This one is geared more toward an older set, so I can understand his confusion.

We found a table and ordered some drinks. It was just like the old days. We told stories; talked about people; laughed a lot; and recalled our days of youth. Along the way, I learned a few things. From my first days of going to bars, I have had a habit of watching the people around me. It is not a “watching my back” kind of thing. It is more of a study in the social interactions of inebriated humans.

This night was no different. As we talked, I watched. As I watched, I learned a few things.

A cover band that opens up with “Hotel California” must feel pretty confident. Not long after we arrived, guys were dragging guitars and drums, and that is usually a good sign that they are in the band. As usual, it took a while for them to set up. When they started playing, we got fired up because this is, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest songs ever recorded. It was really good for the age of the crowd.

However, that is when I started thinking. How do you follow up one of the all time great songs? With “Stairway to Heaven”? The set can only go down from here. I was worried that the band had peaked too soon. It turned out that they knew better than I. This bunch played for hours without taking a break.

Bands in small suburban bars have groupies, too. As the band played, a tall blonde came walking through the door. She stopped at the bar to get a drink and talk to some people. However, she did not stay there for long. She founded a spot in front of the stage – actually, a raised platform – and never moved the rest of the night. She did not dance. She did not have another drink. She just sat in front of the lead singer and stared at him.

If you think the bouncer is your friend, then you go to that bar too often. The bouncer was huge and looked tall even while sitting on a stool by the door. He was doing his job of checking ID’s and watching the crowd. The funny part was when people would come up and talk to him. Women gave him hugs and whispered in his ear. Honestly, he probably did not mind that. Guys came up and shook his hand or slapped him on his shoulder, which I would not recommend doing to someone in the security business.

The funny part was the expression on his face. Whenever someone came up to him, he had this “who are you? don’t bother me” look on his face. I wondered how many people go up to him in a weekend and act like they are his best friend. I also wonder how many of them he actually knows by name.

Bottom line: if he knows your name, then you need to expand your circuit and get to some other places.

Former NFL players cannot go anywhere without being bothered. At some point, a large man walked into the bar. I thought he looked familiar, but I kept saying that I did not think he was who we thought he was. Robert googled him and found out that he was who we thought he was. It was Albert Haynesworth, former Tennessee Volunteer and Tennessee Titan.Albert Haynesworth

He and the lady he was with went to the bar for a few drinks. She knew a few people and began introductions. She even introduced him to the bouncer. I guess that means she goes there a lot, too.

Anyway, it was not long before guys started talking to him. Hey, I saw you play that one time. Hey, do you remember that game where you tackled that guy? On and on it went. Finally, he found an empty booth where he and the lady could sit. That is when a couple of dudes sat in the booth with them. She tried to be nice, but Albert stayed on his phone. Eventually, Albert and the lady left. However, those guys can always say that hung out and drank with a former NFL player.

Old people get in bar fights, too. Suddenly, the bouncer leapt from his stoop and ran into the patio area. Luckily, nobody was hugging him at the time. That is not unusual to see in a bar. Drunk people get in fights all the time. The unusual part happened next.

After the bouncer took off, we heard a crash right next to us. Some woman had thrown a beer bottle at some man. She did not hit him, but the bottle broke. Beer landed on everyone around. One guy wearing an Alabama shirt was soaked. Of course, that did not bother me. They could have thrown more bottles at him for wearing that shirt. Especially since he was also wearing an Alabama cap.

(An aside: Why do Alabama fans feel the need to cover themselves in university memorabilia every single day of their lives? Do they not have something to lay claim to other than being fans of a college football team?)

When the glass settled, it turned out to be an old woman who threw the bottle at an old man. I say old. They were not as old as I am making out. They just seemed to be too old to be in a bar fight.

The bouncer made his way through the crowd and threw the woman out. For the rest of the night, she tried to sneak back in. She even pointed at Robert and claimed to be with him. Last we saw, she was trying to climb over the fence around the patio.

People from Alabama do not like it when you disparage their state. At some point, a group of young ladies came in and stood near our table. They looked like former sorority girls who are making their way through their 20s. When the band played “Sweet Home Alabama”, I knew that they were former sorority girls. Wait, is there such a thing? I guess a sorority member is always a sorority member.

Anyway, they sang the song at the top of their lungs and added, “Roll Tide Roll!” That meant they were sorority girls who went to the University of Alabama. For the uninformed, the University of Alabama has adopted the Lynyrd Skyrnyrd tune as a de facto fight song.

I find this ironic because Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote it from the point of view of the racist older generation who loved Governor George Wallace. It was an indictment of southern ideals that has been adopted by Alabama natives, and other southerners, as a celebration of southern ideals. When people sing along with the song, I always wonder if they really know what it is all about.

So, the women are from Alabama. I figured that out pretty fast. Then, one of them came over to ask what happened in the fight. I told her, and she replied, “That happened in Franklin? They must be from southern Williamson County – down around Maury County.” Again for the uninitiated, Franklin and Williamson County are the suburbs to beat all suburbs in these parts. Only the “beautiful people” live there.

That is when Robert said, “They may have come up from Alabama.” She got all haughty and said that she was from Alabama and was a graduate of the University of Alabama. That is nice. However, if Alabama is so great then why is she living in Tennessee?

A lot of people in bars are looking for what I already have. A lot of people go to bars to relax and have a good time. However, a lot of people go to bars in search of someone. If not, then they would not get so dressed up. Think about it. If people are going to a bar to just hangout, then why do they not wear comfortable clothes. Instead, they try to look their best. That means they are looking for what I already have – a soul mate.

The greatest thing I learned was something I already knew. I am glad that I do not have to go out and look for someone. I have found the love of my life. That means I can go to a bar without worrying about being alone or finding someone to take home. I can sit back; have a drink; watch people; learn about them; and listen to the band. As Robert kept saying, “It’s all about listening to the band.”

4 Responses to “A Very Long Post About What I Learned While Sitting In A Bar”

  1. El Guapo February 4, 2014 at 22:31 #

    I spent my college years and a several years after sitting in bars. There’s an awful lot to be learned about the world in a good bar.

    • Rick February 4, 2014 at 23:30 #

      It’s like a classroom with libations.

  2. jcalberta February 5, 2014 at 05:43 #

    I did the bar thing for years. We lived in there. Bona fide alcoholics – no doubt about it.
    Glad I got it all out of my system. Meeting women? I never met one lady in a bar. Always elsewhere – when I wasn’t looking.

    • Rick February 5, 2014 at 13:48 #

      Me too. I have spent time in bars but never picked up a woman in one. It has always been somewhere else.

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