Thanks to the generosity and kindness of an acquaintance and follower of this blog, I spent time yesterday afternoon sitting at a bar, drinking and engaging in extemporaneous conversation. During my discussions with my hospitable host, we had occasion to converse with fellow drinkers Joseph and 90-year-old Mary, his companion. We also spoke with  57-year-old Steve, originally from Tulsa, along with J.D. of unknown age, a singer/songwriter and wearer of a cowboy hat. After I got home, I googled J.D., for he revealed his last name, and found his singer/songwriter website and his Facebook page. I expect I will include a character, modeled in part after him, in a piece of fiction I will write one day.

It had been so long since I sat at a bar in the late afternoon that I had forgotten that barstools lead to the erasure natural inhibitions. Alcohol, while not necessary to the process, tends to accelerate it. I know this not so much from personal experience but from watching it unfold in people around me. Whether the process emerges from loneliness or simply from a desire for social interaction, I do not know. In either case, I rather enjoy watching it and participating in it. But I have to admit it can be intrusive and annoying when too much social lubricant is involved.

My acquaintance/new friend and I share an enjoyment of writing and music and, I believe, similar political and social philosophies. And he exhibits compassion and, as I’ve already mentioned, kindness. And generosity. He bought my drinks and paid for at least one for Mary and Steve; I may have missed others. We do not share other attributes, like his love and sophisticated appreciation of motorcycles. And he has children, of whom he is extremely proud. And he actually spent a significant amount of time touring in an RV, while I only dreamed about doing that.

I enjoy and appreciate diversity. My appreciation of diversity seems to grow with time, as opposed to what seems more common to me; many people appear to shrink from differences as they grow older, taking greater comfort in the familiar. Yet I am by no means an adventurer, though I wish I could be. And I picture myself in that role, from time to time; I have a close resemblance to Walter Mitty.

At any rate, I enjoyed and appreciated yesterday afternoon so very much. Thank you, sir, if you read this post. Or even if you don’t.


Yesterday morning included my first session with the UUVC grief support group, via Zoom. I was the newbie and, as such, a fair amount of discussion was for my benefit; learning the history of other participants and getting feedback about my experience. That’s all I’ll say about it, as the participants commit to absolute confidentiality.  I’ll continue to participate.


I took a break to shave, shower, and collect the trash. Later, I will wash clothes, sheets, and towels. And I will return to mountains of unfinished paperwork and make telephone calls that should have been made when I was younger and possibly thinner. Later still, I will go to the grocery store to buy something suitable for hors d’oeuvres for this afternoon’s neighborly wine-fest. I have toyed with the idea of inviting another neighbor, a woman down the street who kindly brought me sweets and treat, to come for a visit, but I do not want to send the impression that I am coming on to her; I suppose I could suggest she bring her husband along.

Enough of this banter with myself. More coffee, please, and some sort of salve to lesson the constant pain, even while I joke and jest.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Banter

  1. David, you may have heard of it: The Beehive. And it was, indeed, an enjoyable afternoon. The evening wasn’t bad for me; no awful hangover, nor did I suffer this morning. I could get used to an occasional visit to The Beehive, though I’m still more than a little concerned about exposure to COVID-19. I look forward to the day we all can feel comfortable in the company of crowds!

  2. davidlegan says:

    So, what bar were you visiting? Sounds like y’all enjoyed the afternoon (if not the hangover laden evening.)

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