I am horrible at conflict. Period.
Since I am doing this 100 beers in 6 months thing at the local bar, the Heorot, I have to try some beers I wouldn’t normally try. Today I am trying Sierra Nevada’s Anniversary Ale. I am surprised I like this ale. I usually don’t like anniversary or celebration brews, because breweries seem to go a little overboard with themselves for these special ales. I also had an old standby: Dogfish Head 60 minute IPA. Mmmm.
I feel like I deserve these beers because I ran for an hour. An hour!
That may be faulty reasoning.
In fact, I am sure it is faulty reasoning.But I really LOVE beer.
I wasn’t lying before. I really am bad at conflict. I can’t stand conflict, but I also can’t stand being made to feel stupid or inferior for things I believe. I am not intellectual 24/7. I am actually more interested in grace than intellect. Really. I am not sure that, that means I am stupid or naive. I don’t think I am either. Maybe I am. I wouldn’t mind being both on most days.
I am sitting here trying to read, but I love the bar culture, especially the daytime bar culture so I am not reading much except the people around me.
I see the guy who I call the Gorton’s Fisherman. He smokes his non-filter, hand-rolled cigarettes down to his finger tips before he stands them upright in the ashtray. He sits close to the other regular. Too close. The other regular, who says fuck about every other word, keeps moving further away from Gorton.
Now he is sitting on the edge of his stool like a child watching Dora the Explorer or some other shit like that. He is I, when little, watching Sesame Street.
Sometimes I see Gorton walking around town with a huge camera around his neck. He is always wearing too many clothes. A rain coat when it isn’t raining. A snow suit when it isn’t snowing. I can’t imagine he isn’t roasting inside all those clothes. I am sure he can smell himself wafting up from the neck of his t-shirt. Or from under the brown Dickie’s coverall he wears right now.
He has greying hair, thinning; a full beard; military or recycled glasses; and big rubber boots like the next door neighbor, Old Man Marley, in Home Alone. You know, the South Bend Shovel Slayer. Gorton wears rubber boots like that. I am waiting for him to come in pushing a snow shovel and dragging a trash can full of salt.
(Now the other regular has moved to another stool.)
I see, or more correctly hear, a girl who can’t be over 25-years old lauding the phenomenal steaks and ribs of Montana Mike’s in Anderson. She also loves Jamison. And she loves Guinness. She is an Irish girl, you know? Whiskey and beer are her staple foods.
She tells the guy sitting next to her that Monatana Mike’s has HUGE portions. Seriously, it’s phenomenal! But ridiculously expensive. Who would spend that much money on a meal!?!
Maybe that last sentiment was about a grocery store. She hasn’t been to a grocery store in forever. Why pay so much for food? Her roommates cook. She eats their leftovers. Fucking mooch.
There is a cook from Vera Mae’s who recently cut his thumb with a Japanese knife. He is a sous chef. Or so he says. He is sitting too close to the woman next to him. Like Gorton’s friend, she scoots across the stool. Wait. Now she slides closer to him. He must have done something right. Somebody’s getting lucky.
Finally, sitting right in front of me are two undergrads. Possibly, they are on a first date. I want to scream to her: run. I haven’t heard you say two words. He occupies conversation. Can you put up with that forever? Think about it. One day you may be the one inching your way across a bar stool just trying to score. Or trying to avoid it.
Everyone talks louder the more they drink. Gorton and his friend slur more. Their fucks come out more like fthuuucksssh. I wish I wasn’t so inebriated myself. I want to remember what Gorton said when he first sat down, but I can’t. His words are at the bottom of my Porter. I need to drink my way down there to retrieve them. I know it had a mix of these curse words: God damned, fuck, and shit. It may have been fucking. But I am not holding my breath.
It’s still fuckin’ work, he says now. What’s he talking about? It’s all fucking work as far as I am concerned. Now he’s not sure. Adamantly. Unsure. I’m not sure. I am not sure. Ahmnohshshuuuurrre. But he’s trying to put it in a little more delicate terms.
And, he has moved over to the stool formerly occupied by the other guy.
Chjeessuss Chrrisstt, Gorton says, I don’t even want to go to my house. The electric is so expenisve.
Is this a neo-slave narrative?