I ran into my bartender today at the auto parts store. Although he’s no longer tending bar, I will always think of him as “my bartender”. He told me that now he’s racing motorcycles professionally!
When I lived in Lima, OH for a while, I frequented the BW-3 there. I didn’t know many people in town outside of work, so I’d usually sit alone at the bar while playing NTN trivia. When the evening was slow – or if I ate there on my lunch break – I would often chat with Scott, the bartender. He was a personable fellow, a polite listener, and had a good sense of humor. He was also in a band, and played bass guitar if memory serves. We weren’t friends in any real way: just friendly with one another. His conversation helped make my time in Lima bearable until I met a couple folks I could truly call “friend”.
When I moved back to Columbus, I was gobsmacked to find Scott tending bar at Dick’s Den. We both recognized one another, and had a pleasant couple of minutes catching up. In the years since, we’ve bumped into one another a few times. I can’t really explain it, but there’s something reassuring about Scott. Maybe I see him as a kindred spirit: one who escaped Lima, OH like me. Maybe it’s just that he was “my bartender”. Maybe it’s something else…
I have several friends who get along with almost everyone. I’ve long admired Jeff and Mike for being able to run into an acquaintance every time they set foot outside. They’re both the kind of person most folks want to be friends with, and I’m often envious of how well they get along with people in general. I spent so many years being angry and standoffish that I don’t have a large body of casual friends like they do. In some ways, my friendship with Scott, my bartender, reassures me that it’s not too late for me to be the kind of person with whom people want to be friends.