November 8, 2014

Colours of The Rainbow

I was out recently for a pint at a decent little local pub. When I first arrived, I noticed an older gent sitting a little further down the bar from where I was. I'd guess he was about 70, and he had this incredible pot belly, the depth and girth of which was accentuated based on his posture in his stool.

He was leaning back and his hands were clasped together over his formidable belly. His eyes were glossy and tired, and he looked like a man you might see in an episode of Game of Thrones - perhaps a King who fought and ate and drank excessively. He also yawned. A lot.

I wouldn't want to clean out his cage in the morning.
In these instances, I sometimes wonder about the lives people have lived. Who knows what his backstory really was, but although he sat and enjoyed his pint, there was a definite sadness buried somewhere deep inside. At the same time, the man definitely projected a sense of I Really Don't Give A Fuck. 

About ten minutes later, his cell phone rang. As he answered, I picked up a well mannered, polite english accent, and I heard him make arrangements to meet a woman here at the pub. His wife, I assumed. Not long after that, in walked the lady on the phone, and my assumption that it was his wife couldn't be further from the truth.

She was about 40, but looked about 55 - the old timey 55. The kind from another era who had worked in a coal mine sort of 55. She had ratty hair, a rough complexion and she was twitchy. She rolled in to this place and he greeted her. She sat down and ordered a gin and tonic from a slightly embarrassed bartender. The picture was starting to come into focus now.

He yawned several more times as they spoke about things you might speak to your significant other about when you meet them for a drink after work, but on a different level. Instead of "how was your day", it was "that son of a bitch Ralphy stole all my fuckin' lottery tickets", and rather than "traffic was terrible", it was "my tits are cold".

They also argued, and I could tell that she was trying hard to contain the demons which writhed within. Relatively speaking, this bar was the Ritz for this woman. The kind that doesn't take kindly to screaming crackheads. The only reason she was allowed in the joint was because our polite English gentleman seemed to be a regular, so the staff seemed to look the other way. She was now walking a fine line though. Her volume began to increase, and the man lightly chastised her - not for the volume, but for the whereabouts of the two hundred dollars he gave her a few days ago.

It was apparent by this point that she was barely scraping by in life, and he was supplementing her with cash and a healthy supply of gin and tonics. She was a prostitute, but not in the conventional sense. There was no way this man was sexual with this woman. There was no way this man was sexual with any woman. Rather, she was a companion, and the only one he could get. He'd give her money to buy cell phone minutes, which went directly into her arm. Perhaps he saw her as a girlfriend, or maybe as a daughter but in the end it doesn't matter. It was someone that would talk to him.

After a few more minutes and fresh glances from the bartender, the woman's phone rang, and she announced her departure. Johnny, apparently, was going to meet her to get that thing. She gulped the remainder of the drink, kissed him on the cheek, and was gone. From the time before she arrived, to this moment, other than lifting his pint, he hadn't moved a muscle. His hands remained clasped, and he yawned again. He sat and stared at nothing in particular.

It was then that I realized that this man, was me.

Well no, that's not true. But the situation did remind me that ultimately people need people. And when necessary, class and other so called societal barriers will simply not matter. As mentioned above, perhaps then he was a modern day King of sorts, and she a pauper. But that's ok - it's all part of what makes us who we are.

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