It has taken awhile but tonight is what I have hoped for since I started this project. I doubt it will happen too often, so on the nights it does it’s always good for me…though maybe less good for the readers.
I have returned to Bailey’s. Now while I don’t need a reason to come back here I have to confess, part of my motivation has to do with FOMO because on Saturday night, broke as all get out, I saw on my Twitter feed reference to the Killer Beer fest. Except instead of FOMO it was more like; Knowing Of Missing Out.
So I come back to Bailey’s in hopes that some of the brews on tap Saturday have survived to Monday and I can at least sample some. And while I am in luck; some of them are, the man at the bar is drinking Hopwork’s Velvet ESB, so that is what I’m drinking tonight.
Now, while it’s never easy for me to have conversations with strangers it doesn’t take too much work to start talking to Kevin, a dapper man in a newsboy hat with rings on multiple fingers; a short explanation about the blog and away we go. Shortly thereafter we are joined by Craig who’s in a Cardinal’s baseball cap-and then there’s me in my fedora. So I suppose it’s like the Three Musketeers, only with hats instead of swords and more beer.
And the conversation starts with the Giants taking out the Cowboys. Sure, it’s early in the third quarter but the score is 24-20 and the Giants have begun their successful comeback. None of us, oddly, hope the Cowboys do well. Rude jokes are made (I think I probably made the worst of them) and topics transition.
Politics. Movies. Culture. Slogans (“I need a beer before I do that” which I swear will be a t-shirt I’m going to design). What’s on tap and is worthwhile. Craig has to leave briefly-there is a girlfriend discussion that I won’t claim to understand. I’m briefly able to talk to Geoff who informs me that Laurelwood’s offering will be on tap for awhile because pale ales don’t move very quickly.
I’m baffled. Laurelwood’s Bay Leaf Pale is…well, from Laurelwood. It’s not like people don’t know who they are or the quality of beer they produce. Yet at the KillerBeer Fest, people didn’t take advantage. Marketing in action I suppose but a good lesson for myself; trust the artisans, not the names.
In the meantime-or perhaps at the same time-conversations about art and artists continue, cross referencing Star Wars and Kanye West, mention of video games, CEOs, and what Kevin calls the ‘lack mentality’. Which I really like; I think the fear that somehow we will starve overwhelms our actions more than we’d like.
Which is too bad, because we have so much to offer.
Craig leaves and Kevin and I continue to discuss the mentality of America, comic book heroes, justice versus criminality, great movies (LA Confidential, Chinatown, though I wish I’d brought up the Muppet Movie, looking back on our discussion. It’s themes of friendship and community would have fit well) the mentality of generations, the mentality of now, sacrifice, war, how to be better and in the middle of it all Kevin is kind enough to buy me a beer.
Which reminds me of all the times I was bought a beer when I was unemployed. I was unemployed for over 365 days. Every time I wanted another beer and could not afford it, someone bought me one.
Now, that I may have lived a life that allowed or encouraged people to buy me beer when I was lacking really isn’t the point. I didn’t buy beer for friends because I thought that they would pay me back.
Except that I sort of did. The idea that ‘if you do good, good will come back to you’ is engrained pretty strongly in this country. I don’t think it’s all that surprising that we have a mentality of fairness, that insists that the man with two million is treated the same as the woman with two dollars, under the law.
No, it doesn’t work like that; everyone knows. But we strive for it. We’re disappointed when injustice continues and cheer whenever it is defeated, even if it’s only for a moment. At my best I would have given selflessly and I tried, lord knows…but occasionally I felt like; hey, I’m putting into the kitty.
Yet, when one is unemployed, you know; nobody is going to help you. It’s a struggle that involves a lot of sympathy but usually very little opportunity-in part because these days, everyone is concerned about what they have, and not losing that.
Except…people helped and bought me beer. Craig and Kevin both reminded me of this, in a very roundabout way and I’m quite grateful to them, not just for providing me with stories, perspectives and slogans but for giving me a chance to say it here:
Thank you to everyone who bought me a beer (figuratively or literally) while I was unemployed. If all goes well, I’ll be able to pay it forward and pay it back, in my own way.