Saturday, January 17, 2009
A sensible rant, but with restraint
On any given weekend night, in any given medium to larger metropolis you will find the people packed in. Into where you ask? Is it meetinghouses? Is it quiet coffee nooks? Is it their living rooms? Not so much. They are packed into the swankiest bar they know of.
Don't judge me for this. I was just in a bar less than 10 minutes ago. This whole culture is so unfamiliar to me that I literally felt like I walked into a space ship populated by aliens sizing me up to see what I'm made of. Here is what I feel. My voice hurts from talking over the pumping loud music. I saw about 6 friends, most of whom I have not seen for months. As I hugged them and said hello and started the conversation, I couldn't help but think it: is this the best place for me to catch up with these people.
Its dark. Its crowded. Its HELLA loud. People are out looking wealthy and happy, even if they are not. They are tipsy from drink. Although I am so grateful to have seen my friends all in one place I can't help but wish I could have been able to see all of them in another context. I know its too much to wish for to have us all meet at a metaphorical campfire and read some Poe while we cuddle, reminisce and roast marshmallows (again, metaphor).
What is it with these bars? What is it that brings these people together from an anthropological standpoint? Historically places like the well or the watering hole become places where people gather. Everyone needs water, right? Everyone needs it every day. What does the swanky bar offer that can be compared to the watering hole. Is it the alcohol? Is it the ability to see and be seen? Is it the opportunity to be a part of a community of like minded people? I am really asking.
The other thing I want to know is this: am I missing something? Are bars the bees knees and I am just missing the boat? My one hunch is that if I drank alcohol more frequently I would probably understand more the appeal of the bar atmosphere. But would that be a good thing?
One remnant of my mormon past is that I am not a frequent imbiber of alcoholic beverages. I'm really not against it in moderation, honestly. I just am not convinced that moderation is what is being practiced here. Am I being judgy? I'm looking for comments.