‘HEY BRIAN!” SAID tall, dark and handsome.
“Brian!” he repeated.
Oh yeah, I thought, he means me.
“Yeah,” I said.
“How long have we known each other?”
“I don’t know, maybe “… ” I didn’t get to finish my answer.
“Ten years, right?”
“I thought you said your name was Jeff,” said the pretty brunette sitting in front of me.
“But he’s calling you Brian,” she said puzzled.
“I know, he’s been calling me that for years.”
“Ten years apparently,” she said, leaning back and sipping her drink with a straw.
“More like two.”
The brunette wasn’t sure what to make of that. “Haven’t you ever told him?”
People often exaggerate in bars. Nothing puts the ego on display like intoxication, even on the mildest level. Booze-inflected hyperbole, however, can sometimes lead to outright falsehoods as was the case on this particular evening. Furthermore, many people will use a loose affiliation with a bartender as a way to appear less threatening.
“They know me here,” the guy will say, attempting to make time with a new hottie. Or, “I come here all the time, don’t I?” the hottie will say.
To be honest I have no idea what most people who come into the bar actually do during the day. So if I say they are OK, this only means they are OK right then — not that I think you can loan them money or go home with them.
However, there are times when I say someone is OK only because I want someone to stop talking to me.
Steve Martin once said, “With her I had the most honest relationship I ever had with a woman. The only thing I lied about was my name.”
Such was the case with Mr. TD&H, just in reverse.
“Hi Jeff,” said Suzie and Diane, as they sat immediately adjacent to Mr. TD&H.
“Hey Jeff, can you put the Giants game on?” asked George, sitting adjacent to Mr. TD&H.
“Jeff, do we have enough chardonnay for tonight?” the restaurant manager asked.
“Brian, can we get two more of these?” Mr. TD&H said, making a circling motion with his hand while staring down a young woman probably a third his age. Since I hadn’t made those drinks I was forced to ask what “those” were.
“You know, my usual.”
Now I was forced to ask what his usual was.
Finally, the young woman being pursued by Mr. TD&H seemed to notice a contradiction. When you have served drinks at a bar for a time many people will know your name — your real name.
“Brian, I’m not an ax murderer or anything, right?” asked Mr. TD&H before heading to the bathroom.
“By the way, my name is Molly,” the object of his attention said to me.
That was all it took. When Mr. TD&H returned all that was left of his potential conquest was two half-empty glasses of his “usual.” He looked around briefly and then shrugged his shoulders. Eventually, he turned to the brunette in front of me.
“Brian, get us a couple of more of these,” he said circling his hands.
The brunette took a long sip, draining her drink completely.
“No thanks,” she said. “I would stay, but that would keep me from going.”
“Well, it looks as if it’s just me and Brian then.”
Indeed, I thought.