Friday, August 9, 2013
Bar Conversation #1
“You know what I fucking hate?” Eric sat at the bar with his drink.
“What now?” said Jill.
“There is actually no way to consistently and effectively communicate how to say hello or goodbye to someone in any given situation.”
“Well,” Ben grinned, “I mean, there’s always the standard ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’”
Eric gave Ben a withering look.
“Physically, douche. Seriously. When do you shake hands and when do you hug? It drives me up a fucking wall.”
“Yeah, wow. What a conundrum,” said Ben.
“Seriously though,” Eric continued with fervor, “I know there are those obvious times like a job interview when you’re supposed to shake hands or whatever, but like, every other fucking situation is completely fucking ambiguous.”
“What do you mean?”
“I always hug people at interviews.”
“Shut up. You know I’m right and you’re shutting me down because you think I’m drunk.”
“Well you are, sort of,” said Jill.
“Who the fuck cares?” Eric was getting fired up, “I think better this way.”
“You swear better too,” Ben pointed out.
“Listen,” said Eric, “I want to come up with a formula for this.”
At this, Ben and Jill groaned and rolled their eyes.
“Seriously Eric,” said Jill, “this isn’t something you can control. It’s not a regulate-able part of life. There’s not even any point in trying. You just have to accept that you won’t be able to avoid that kind of situation. No one can.”
“You know,” said Eric, “I fucking relish my inability to effectively navigate social situations when I’m drinking, but it’s not something I can live with when I'm sober. I overanalyze, and I start thinking I offended someone and then I feel offended for whatever reason and then I feel really uncomfortable and then I get mad at myself for fucking overanalyzing myself in the first place and then I drink because it gives me an excuse for all of it. It’s just what I do. So, the way I see it, the only solution is to come up with ways of avoiding uncomfortable sober interactions or become an alcoholic." He looked at them, "As my friends, which one do you want me to choose?”
Ben waved the bartender over to them, “can you get my friend here another drink?”
“Fuck you,” said Eric, “Here’s what I think-“
“Honestly, Eric,” Ben cut him off, “When in doubt, shake hands. That way you avoid any unwanted physical contact for either party. Ok? Can we stop now?”
“Ok first of all,” said Jill, “Eric, I don’t think it’s healthy for you to deal with the things you don’t like about yourself with alcohol, and your not seeing the bigger picture here, which is that find ways of letting go once in a while without the assistance of booze or whatever else you’re into nowadays. Second, Ben, I disagree. If anything, when in doubt, you should hug. Someone might be left feeling slighted because they thought you were in a hugging situation. Then you’re left looking like a stingy hugger-jackass.”
“Maybe, but then there’s another problem,” said Eric, “what kind of hug is it? One-armed or two-armed? Do you put your arms around the other person’s waist or their shoulders? Or do you put one arm up and one down? And which arm goes up and which goes down? There's one way to shake hands, but with hugging, it’s all a huge fucking mess.”
“You could just bow,” said Ben, “Really, how much time to you spend thinking about these things? No wonder you haven’t gotten a raise in three years.”
“You know, if it weren’t for your goddamn accent I’d punch your fucking teeth out.”
“What are you talking about?”
“It does let you get away with a lot of shit,” Jill said, “It’s too endearing; our soft American hearts can’t handle it.”
“Oh yeah. Well that’s why I live here, so I can move up in the world by simply speaking—oh and also to make you feel inferior, Eric.”
“Fuck off,” Eric turned to order another drink.