Art’s slide show and talk had finished, the large crowd was milling. This was a second bar that had scheduled him for a speaker. A strange venue, I thought, when he was invited to lecture with his photos in a bar the first time. The tables are moved and seats are set up in rows like a little theater. The audience loves him.
I sat at the bar facing out, leaning back on my elbows, people watching . A tall, handsome man (50? 60?), sat down next to me. “What are you drinking?” “Um, actually nothing.” “Let me get you a Jack Daniels. That OK?” I didn’t think it worldly to ask, What’s a Jack Daniels? But I did. He told me it was the best whiskey, I should take it with a water chaser. He ordered two. I faced in to the bar and he gave instructions on how to drink this set-up in front of me.
“Take a tiny sip, then a sip of water.” Oh. Yes. I can see why you need that sip of water. He asked, “Great? Right?” I took another sip. Not bad. He was from the neighborhood, and assumed I was too, and very animatedly discussed local Chicago politics. I suddenly understood the bar scene. Instant camaraderie. An immediate audience. No more aloneness. (You can see this was my first time solo at a bar). I sipped. He was much more engaged in his conversation than I was, so when I saw a familiar face out there, I excused myself and walked away saying I would be back – which I think I meant. When I did return, he was gone. The bartender in front of my empty seat said apologetically, “He drank your drink, too.”
So I have a new favorite drink. But you can’t drift around at a cocktail party holding a Jack Daniels in one hand, and a glass of water in the other. What do you do with your purse? So much to learn.