Observational Essay No. 2

{Once again I found literary inspiration inside my favorite bar on a Tuesday evening. Enjoy.}

It is brighter and louder than the last time I was here — but it’s later, too.

It is Tuesday, the eve before the Fourth of July, and I am facing five days of uninterrupted vacation time.

Since my last visit here my longing for the written word has anything but wanted. A few weeks ago I had drinks with a fellow freelance writer. Kevin is in his 30s or 40s; I can’t tell and don’t really want to ask. He wears his shoulder-length brown hair in a pony tail and, most days, drives company vans and SUVs emblazoned with corporate logos. Kevin is extremely generous when it comes to buying his friends — and people he has yet to call friends — cocktails. And it helps when those drinks are purchased and subsequently served at Kevin’s favorite bar.

(A side note as I momentarily look up from my writing: I am wondering if the table of four, mid-20s “men” have drawn the incorrect conclusion that I am “emo” because of my black glasses and composition notebook. But wait; three girls with rather pronounced chests have just joined their table. I overhear introductions being made and quickly decide I am no longer significant or of interest to them — which I am fine with.)

But back to Kevin.

The few hours that he and I spoke about writing reinvigorated a fire in me that was in desperate need of gasoline. Through the exchange of stories and writing-related anecdotes we determined that we share several similar feelings on (and about) writing.

This craft that has become a blessing and a curse, we both agreed, moves alongside the blood in our collective veins. Writing, we agreed, is in us. We’re born with it; we live with it; and, it seems, we will die with it.

Should a blaze unexpectedly break out in our homes, Kevin and I agreed our books would be the first personal belongings we would risk life and limb to salvage. (I didn’t tell Kevin this, but I also would dart back inside my burning abode to save my Macintosh and — as of four hours ago — my iPhone.)

* * *

Now here’s something I absolutely must document, because its occurrence is too coincidental not to mention.

About a month ago I went to a new cafe near my job to hammer out a 1,200-word freelance article that was five days past its deadline. As I sat at my Macintosh and attempted to fill the electronic page with words while I attempted to fill my belly with a BLT and fries, the restaurant’s host struck up a conversation with me. While I believe he tried to be charming and welcoming in every way possible, he quickly became a great distraction. He tried to convince me that I shouldn’t spend my lunch hour “working,” but, rather, eating.

During several brief exchanges (he was working, after all), I did my damnedest to explain to him that my poor planning over the previous weekend forced me to sit in this very seat over the noon hour — in this very cafe — using my fingers to outrun my overdue deadline.

Which brings me to this very moment in this very bar. That very host just approached me as I ordered my second glass of champagne at the bar. I just learned moments ago that his name is Grant, and he remembers me.

“Ever finish that article?” Grant just asked.

I smiled when I recognized who Grant was. At this point I couldn’t help but tell him that I ran into him — for only the second time — as I wrote in a public place. This time, however, I am not devouring a delicious BLT and fries.

My eyes now sting from the cigarette smoke drifting from the table behind me. I am slightly buzzing as I work through my second glass of this sugary-sweet liquor.

One of the busty females from the table across the way asks if I went to KU. I smile and mouth my negative response while I gently shake my head from side to side.

“You look really familiar,” she says.

It is the second time today that I hear this reaction to my presence. The first occurred while I paid for my new iPhone at The Apple Store. There was some confusion about this particular man’s purchase, and he joked about paying for my 4GB iPhone.

“No, I don’t know you, but you look very familiar,” he said with an odd smile.

* * *

This bar is packed now and I am feeling cramped. The table of originally three cigarette smokers has grown to include two young men, one of which is a mere 12 inches from my right elbow. I now decide that the 25 minutes I spent showering and “getting ready” were completely unnecessary tonight. I should have forgone the shower and appearance preparation to have arrived early for more time to write.

My eyelids are heavy; it is time for bed.

# # #


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