Stumbling into a bar, midday, alone and without any sense of urgency, albeit aimless. The male bartenders in anytown, USA, pretty much look the same, but it’s their distinguished dialect that differentiates between the regions. I remember a handful of bars because of their bar speciality, like the Greek tavern by Port Authority in New York City where the owner makes his own stout red wine and generously keeps my glass full without a bill. I remember other bars for different reasons like Bar of America in Truckee, California, due to embedded nuanceslike the assymetically placed clock beside a large hole in the wall that could easily be covered up by that damn clock. It’s not really about the bar, itself, that captures the aesthetically pleasing side of my loneliness. No, it’s the ambiance of life’s vibrations and the romanticized connection to all those sentences I’ve read about characters that have sat on the same type of stool, in the same type of bar, experiencing the same synapses of mood, that connect me to these places.
It doesn’t end at bars. There are a series of places that come to mind like some scene of a coming-of-age movie where the shadow of loneliness envelopes the main character causing them to reflect and move forth in life, back on track. Right off the interstate in Dallas, Texas, there is a grassy knoll hidden by an overpass that is across the street from a well-known hospital. It was there that I would sit for hours just looking into the vastly lit wide open Texas sky at night, waiting for an epiphany. I’ve used the term ‘epiphany’ so much that it’s often spouted out from my mom’s mouth in reference to wise stories from a strong-lived life as what my mom calls, “what’s your term? I had an EPIPHANY.”
I counted it up once and I had moved 32 times give or take a couple houses during my parent’s divorce, 5 different states, 20 different zip codes, 7 of those were in a NYC burrough, and 3 different towns in New Jersey. That’s a lot of unsettledment in one lifetime. I wasn’t running from anything per se as much as I was running toward this idea of a life that I only knew from books and movies.
Nowdays I can’t really concentrate in bars due some latent A.D.D. that has me more interested in people watching than sitting with my gentle loneliness that brought forth much of my writing. Other than my pickiness of not sitting by a kitchen or facing the crowd in a restaurant, I don’t really notice symmetrically conflicting items like oddly placed decorative ornaments. I also just bought a house so there’s no need to go anywhere but home to find myself anymore.