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Sunday, March 30, 2014

"A Meaningless Life"

  • Inspired by … “Desperado” by The Eagles

The barroom lights were low.  He came in here early after work, as he did every night.  The faces were familiar, yet daunting.

“What will it be tonight?” the barmaid asked him with a smile on her face.  She had seen him here very often lately. 

“I finished up college around here, a couple years ago,” he told her once.  “I’ve been trying to settle myself here since I graduated.”

She thought he was an especially good looking guy, but very quiet.

“I’ll start out with a Budweiser,” he politely asked the barmaid.

“It will be right up,” she told him.  She reached under the counter and handed him a bottle of beer.

“Do you want me to put it on your tab like I always do?” she asked him automatically. 

He came here often and he didn’t say much, but he was always a good tipper and she always appreciated that.

As she handed him his bottle of beer, he put a dollar on the table as a tip.

The music was playing in the background.  It was a song he knew and sometimes enjoyed, but as he typically would, after he ordered his first beer he went to the jukebox and put five dollars in to play an assortment of his favorite music.

He listened intently to the music as he vaguely paid attention to the conversation the guy on the next stool started.

The conversation was dull and routine as it always was at the bar.  He didn’t come to meet any women, or to meet up with any friends, he came to the bar simply so he wouldn’t have to spend the evening alone. 

The music continued to play in the background.

As he sat at the bar, he would often contemplate his life.  He was still very young, shortly out of college, but it seemed that he had missed out on a lot in his life.  Not that he could think of what to call it, but he had a vague impression that his life lacked passion.   Even in college, he showed up to class and did his homework, but he never put any actual effort into it.  His social life seemed to be lacking and he was unable to make close friends or have any sort of special relationship with a woman.  The monotony consumed him.

The music continued to play in the background.

“What do you think?  Will Seattle win The Superbowl again next year?” one of the patrons asked the group of friends. 

It was not football season yet, but much of the barroom conversation existed of talking about football and talking about women.

Justin, eager to discuss football because it was one of the topics he actually knew something about, rebutted.  He said, “I think the team that has the best shot of going all the way this year is Green Bay.  If Aaron Rodgers stays healthy and the running game continues from where it left off last year, I think they can beat any team in the league.”

It was mundane conversation, yet it seemed to break the nothingness in his life. 

Every weekend, more often than not, he would come to this same bar; he didn’t have any friends, but it was better than time spent alone.

The barmaid listened intently to the three men discussing football.  Not a football fan, Rebecca, enjoyed the conversation that served as mild amusement while she worked.

“Could I have another beer?” Justin asked the barmaid.

“You just ordered that first beer five minutes ago,” she told him as she handed him another Budweiser.  “If you keep it up, you aren’t going to find your way home tonight.”  The modest flirtation lifted Justin’s mood for a brief moment.

He, once again, put another dollar on the counter as a tip for the beer.

The music continued in the background.

The conversation in the barroom continued as the three patrons’ inebriation grew.  They discussed football and baseball.

“I would like to see The Dodgers do something this year, but I just don’t think it is going to come together.”

“I am interested in what The Cowboys will do in the offseason,” another of the patrons said.  “There offense was excellent last year and I think it is only going to get better.  I’m interested to see if they make some key moves on their defensive team.”

The barmaid cut into the conversation, “Any of you want another beer?” she asked the three men.

All of them vigorously nodded and she laid a beer down for each of them.  Justin put another dollar on the table and thanked the barmaid.

The music continued in the background. 

Justin thought of the chances of something meaningful that could happen in his life.  He thought of the void in which his life was now engulfed.

One of Justin’s fellow patrons, absorbed with his own typical drunkenness said to him, “What’s wrong buddy, something wrong with that beer?  Let me buy you another one.”

Justin gave a painful grimace which was all that was needed to disguise the solitude of his soul.

“One more beer for my friend,” he asked the barmaid. 

Justin looked into the mirror and kept drinking his beer as his two compatriots continued their own conversation.

His morbidity was well hidden, all of Justin’s compatriots thought Justin was having a good time.  Oblivious, the people who Justin considered to be strangers all considered Justin to be a friend.

The hours passed and the three friends got drunker and drunker.  The music continued to play in the background and Justin listened more intently to the music than his two friends.    His stone-cold drunkenness covered the blur in his mind.  Shortly after 1:00 in the morning, it was time for Justin to go home now. 

“Could you call me a cab? He politely slurred to the barmaid.

She grabbed the phone under the counter and dialed up a cab.

“It will be here in about fifteen minutes,” she said to him.  “Are you o.k.?” she asked slightly concerned with his level of drunkenness that was a little bit more than typical today.  “Do you want another beer while you are waiting for your cab?”

In a drunken stupor he thanked her.  He paid his tab leaving an extra five dollars for a tip.

As he walked out the door he the patrons wished him a good night and said, “See you tomorrow night, buddy.” 

The barmaid, not inflicted by the same drunkenness, looked upon Justin as he left.  She, although not
interested in the man, felt some level of empathy in a quiet understanding of the real reasons he was drinking.  She brushed it off along with a tear which almost welled up in her eye.

During the ride home in the cab, Justin, too drunk to sit up, nearly passed out in the back of the cab.

He arrived home, paying the cab driver his fair and a tip.  He went into his one room apartment and fell asleep immediately. 

Another day would end as it did before.  Another morning would start in a similar fashion.

1 comment:

Peggi Tustan said...

Your account definitely left me with a feeling of desperation. I think you created a believable back story to the song. My favorite line is, "She brushed it off along with a tear which almost welled up in her eye." It fit his passionless life.