The other night I had plans to hear a band at a bar I haven’t been in for nearly two decades. The last time I was there I was in my mid-twenties with a girlfriend who had a crush on the tattooed lead singer of a band who called himself Psycho Dave and sang in a death metal devil voice. When we went to listen to bands she would spend most of the night trying to situate me in the right position to hide her bum which she considered too big. I’d smoke too much and feel claustrophobic while trying to understand what my friend with the perfectly sized backside saw in a guy who didn’t even have an decent devil voice.
Last night I went to hear a folksy band with a different friend. Rather than worrying if I looked cool like I did in my youth, I made sure to have wads of Kleenex in my purse along with an extra sweater so that I wouldn’t catch a chill and make my cold worse. Times have changed. I felt old. I brightened a little when the bouncer at the door asked my friend for I.D. “Wow! We must look pretty young and hip if we are getting carded,” I thought to myself as I rifled among the tissues and throat lozenges for my wallet. The bouncer stared at me blankly when I approached. I paused, waiting for him to ask for my I.D. He continued to just look at me. I dropped my wallet back in my purse. Finally he said, “How much have you been drinking tonight?”
“What does that have to do with anything!?” I wanted to shout. My friend looks young enough to be carded and I look like I have a drinking problem? How am I supposed to enjoy a night of listening to sweet folk music now? Instead of having the glow of youth I have drunkface. I wanted to demand answers from the bouncer, ask him if he is required to ask every other person if they have been drinking, if asking for I.D. is random, and what is it about me that seemed to indicate public inebriation. I held my tongue, afraid that my indignation would make me look like a belligerent drunk. “I’ve just had a pint!” I spluttered. “She did too!” pointing an accusatory finger at my youthful looking friend. And with that I pulled out a tissue, blew my nose with dignity and entered my old haunt.