I think I’m getting old. Not chronologically speaking, but in terms of lifestyle. I own a sensible car. I’m in a stable relationship. And I’ve started to think the bar from “Piano Man” might not be such a bad place to hang out.
Let me backtrack for a second and say that I don’t like the song “Piano Man” at all. It’s too long. It’s too glum. It always turns karaoke into a bummer. That said, the description of the bar seems like a place I’d really enjoy spending time.
First of all, it’s not crowded. That’s a must for me. I recently asked a friend what nightspots were worth hitting in her hometown. Her response: “You’ll be able to tell the popular places because there’s always a line.” My re-response: “Okay, but where are the unpopular places.” I don’t like waiting to get in or waiting for drinks or waiting to use the bathroom. I don’t like bros spilling Coors Light on me when I’m just minding my own business. I don’t like having every single person in the room bump and grind on me when I just want to make my way to the bar for another tonic and gin.
Plus, the clientele seems amazing. I grew up in the Boston suburbs, so alcoholic townies are kind of “my people.” There are so many great ones to choose from! You’ve got the Piano Man himself, who seems like a real self-satisfied dick. The kind of guy who would spit on you for asking him to play “Don’t Stop Believing” or “Chopsticks.” Already I’m intrigued. Anytime you throw an enormous ego into a tiny regulars bar, be it a patron, a bouncer, a bartender, or a piano man, I want to see what happens.
John, the bartender, also seems like a kind of delusional guy. He thinks he could be a movie star if he could just stop being a bartender. Maybe he has mob debts or something or kids, but seriously, John. Just go. If I went to that bar, I’d give him the Ben Affleck speech from “Good Will Hunting” every Saturday promptly at 9:00, as I shuffled in with the usual crowd. Otherwise, though, John seems really pleasant. He’s funny and he’ll light your cigarette (this bar must be in the south, since most places in the north don’t allow smoking indoors). He seems like a pretty great dude.
Here’s where things get interesting. Paul, the “real estate novelist.” Wait, that’s a thing? Just writing novels about apartment buildings? I have infinity questions for Paul. Number One: Who reads these novels? Number Two: Do they really exist? Number Three: You are so busy writing these novels that you’ve never had time for a wife? That sounds like a pretty flimsy excuse, Paul. I wouldn’t say that last part, because I am also trying to write a novel, and I don’t want to offend my best (albeit somewhat obscure contact in the industry).
Then there’s Davy, a military lifer with a child’s nickname. I can respect that.
There are two businessmen “sharing a drink they call loneliness,” which I think means they are in love but in the closet still? Can that be right? What the hell else would that mean?
It just seems like a mellow place to catch up with a friend without a bunch of yah dudes and dudettes coming in and loudly trying to bring each other home. Maybe I’d get sick of the piano guy singing his wordless “memories,” but at least there’s no Autotune.
I know I’m a young person, and I should be out sewing my wild oats or whatever sustainable organic crop conscientious unmarried people plant nowadays. But generally I’d rather spend time with friends than strangers. I don’t like thumping bass. All the new song sound the same to me. I’m not attracted to supertan club girls. It’s just not my scene.
I guess what I mean to say is, sometimes you don’t feel like dancing. But maybe you’re still in the mood for a melody.