In 15 minutes I'll have been here for five hours. In that time, three non-employees have walked through the door and stepped into the tavern. Until 20 minutes ago, that number had been one.
One is the loneliest number, I'm told, but it's been fantastic talking to my friend John as he does his work, and I do mine. I've spent the past few hours adding links to the Charlottesville Podcasting Network.
I typed the above two paragraphs, and then got a full bar of five people quite quickly. For 20 minutes, there was hilarity as strangers joked around. Customers four and five were a couple around my age. After staring at the beer list for a few minutes, they both ordered a bourbon and ginger. They seemed to want to be left to themselves, so I carried on cleaning things that didn't really need to be cleaned.
Then a bald man with a beard and glasses came in. He was an alternate version of myself, and ordered a medium Fuller's E.S.B. and a cheese pizza. There wasn't much in the way of talking.
Then two fifty-something drunkards with leathery skin stumbled in, a man and a woman who may as well have been Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor from Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? They were day-trippers on a motorcycle journey and they'd stopped in Charlottesville after deciding that Waynesboro was not a place to stay. They bickered for show, and provided a nice train wreck for the rest to watch.
They reviewed the beer list, and the man deliberately ordered beers we don't have.
"And you call this a bar?" he would joke after every single failed transaction. On a busy night that might have been somewhat south of amusing, but tonight I chuckled.
The best part of working at a bar like Court Square Tavern is that you never know when there's going to be a random encounter where you meet someone terribly, terribly interesting. I think back to the couple in their seventies last year who didn't seem to be affected by the immense quantity of beer they were purchasing.
Yet, these nights where I spend four or five hours waiting for something to happen tend to wear me down. Two blocks to the south is the downtown mall, and there are likely hundreds of people milling about. Head out to the corner right now and there's likely thousands. Here, however, is not often a destination location.
I am glad I came back, because this place is far too important to me. I have become chipped vinyl on this point, but what else can I say? I take so much joy from when it is busy here, this little alternative spot in Charlottesville. I know the ghosts, I know the people who will one day be ghosts, and it's my hope that I can get better about writing down what I see here, what I hear here, or at least get inspired to fictionalize it a little bit. That seems to be what I have to do to make it interesting.
To others, I mean. I think I'm having a blast.