Always searching for someone, a friendly face, a recognised face. As soon as the doors closed behind me I feel both exposed and hidden. Walking up to the bar, I lean against the wooden ledge, careful to avoid the surface sticky with beer. I place my foot on the rail at my feet, leaning forward, relaxed and open.
I wait to catch the bartenders eye, smiling, watching their movements and assessing how long until I will be served. How many people are in front of me? What will they order? How slow with the barman be serving them. Will the punter fumble with their money, further delaying my turn with the barman.
Finally. Its my turn. I smile, share a quick hello and order my drink. I have my money ready, no delays here, no fumbling, lets get this moving along nicely. I don’t care how much, don’t need to know the details. I know what I want.
I make sure to smile again and say thank you once the deal is done, I have my wine – you never know when you will need him again, to serve you quickly and efficiently.
I turn from the bar and assess where to sit. I have already figured out a general area, however I want to make sure it’s the right place – I don’t want to move again.
I sit down, take my book our, arrange myself. Always keeping my head down and not making eye contact with anyone – this is my private time.
Finally I pick up my glass and take the first sip – it’s a challenge to make it look relaxed and not rushed, like I haven’t been waiting for this moment impatiently for a while.
From then on, I try to slowly savour the glass, knowing that I have a propensity to drink fast, with dedication and enjoyment and surely that would be obvious to others watching me.
I get up for my second – making sure I walk tall, steadily and with purpose. I position myself at the bar so that I can watch my bag – again impatient to be served. But I keep my manners and have a little joke with the same barman… it’s a conspiracy.
Again I keep my head down reading, not making eye contact with anyone, not wanting to be noticed.
After my 3rd, I loosen up a bit and look up from my book… look around at the bar, observing who is there, ensuring I don’t know anyone. I am getting bored with my book, reading is getting harder to concentrate on.
I start looking around, observing happy, laughing faces, wondering if I know them, do I know their lives, their thoughts at all?
What makes them so relaxed to be in such a place?
They have friends with them, all happy to be spending the afternoon in a pub on a sunny day, drinking beer, relaxing and having a fun time.
I want to be a part of that – I want to feel it’s ok to sit in a bar with a group of friends and have a couple of drinks and a good time. I want to relax with a group of people I like and admire, have some fun, then go home and have something to eat, go back to normalcy.
I want it to be ok to be out in the world having fun, a couple of drinks and know when to go home.
I don’t want to be scared of drinking too much, slurring my words or embarrassing people.
I don’t want to have to avoid those situations or be strict with myself beforehand. I know I can control my drinking when I am with friends – its only when I am alone, lonely that I am unable to.