I was working the bar last night, and towards closing time, a young lady came up to order. She had some cool bright red top, a funky owl necklace, cute wavy blonde hair, and a very friendly face. She was the kind of person who makes you think “Yeah, we could totally be friends.”
Anyway, after she started ordering, I couldn’t help but notice the couple standing directly next to her. It wasn’t a ‘couple‘, per se, as it sounded like the guy was counselling the girl through a break up, or something; but he was giving it all that old fashioned, drunken moron wisdom. He was churning out that tired cliché bullshit, with such hits as, “The world is what you make of it… If someone is a negative force, you just have to take them out of your universe… Don’t let life change you, let yourself change life…“, and many more of that sort of tedious pablum. Now, after a few minutes I started to chuckle to myself while listening to them, hoping partly to see if she would realise, and laugh back, and I could start a conversation. I always set myself little challenges to try to actually speak to people who seem friendly. I rehearse it all in my head over and over, but in the end, I never pluck up the courage to say anything.
It was now getting close to the end of the order; all of the drinks were poured, and she was just handing me her money. I was subconsciously yelling at myself “Now! Say something! Make a joke or whatever!“, but my lips were remaining sealed (beyond the regular duty of bartender small talk), and at this very moment, she burst out laughing and said “Good god, this is intense. I might just wait here for twenty minutes and see if I can glean anything about becoming a better person!“, to which I excitedly replied “I know! Another five minutes here and I may just have to quit this wearisome job and abscond to the horizon to fulfil my wildest dreams.” At this point, I should certainly mention that the couple were indeed somewhat inebriated, and as such did not realise that they were in any way being discussed. We shared a laugh, and off she went, having successfully, albeit unknowingly, supplied my quota of forced social interaction for the day.
I like it when that happens. It doesn’t happen often, but when someone just says exactly what you want them to, it’s a wonderful moment of human interconnectedness. I have a friend who I work with who, for many weeks, I had trouble speaking to, because after everything I’d say, she gave the perfect answer, and it was so shocking to find someone in this area who seemed genuinely smart and funny, that I was almost entirely lost for words after every sentence.
I like that. It’s my favourite thing.