166 months ago

The copper bar is here but there are no customers. I am feet away from the refrigerator that caught fire, ending my first tenure as an employee of this establishment.

I'm not quite sure why I'm still here, but I'm still here and I'm glad to have had the chance to earn some money this evening. I had hoped to go to the art galleries, but that sort of thing is for other people now. If I can make money, I must. 

The copper bar has been here for so long now, and there have been so many time it has served as the equals sign that carved my life into two sides of an equation. One day I'll be able to show my work.

I'm all alone here now. The door is locked and my colleague and I made some money, even though it's been slow for the past three hours or so. The rush was sudden and quick and we served people fast and they gave us money. 

Tomorrow I'll be here again. I've been here so often. It's part of the journey from birth to death and I don't question anymore that I'm supposed to be here. I wish I could be somewhere else, out at the art galleries, out feeling young and attractive, but instead here I sit all responsible, all mature.

I am happy. I am happy that I am here at the copper bar where there have been so many good times, where there have been so many times when I thought the world was perfect and I was blessed with bounty. 

Now I'm just blessed to be able to appreciate what I've already had. Blessed to watch other people come in and have fun, have a great time being themselves here. 

If I could buy this copper bar I would and I would try to honor its memory way into the future. The problem, though, is that I don't have any capital to do so. 

After the trip to England my life doesn't seem as intractable anymore. I don't seem like I'm attracting flies anymore. I do still feel like I'm caught in the tractor's pull, but the gravity isn't as strong as it was. 

I remember sitting at the Globe in Dunstable two weeks ago and wondering what it would be like when I got back here, back to this spot. That place seemed like a place I wanted to go back to, as much as possible, but I didn't go back a second time this trip.

I want to take American friends there. And I want the people there to come here. I want this to happen. Sometime within the next 166 months.

For whatever reason, this place, this Court Square Tavern, is the place that serves as a common denominator for all of my time in Charlottesville. I'm still here, alone but engulfed in a thousand memories that are constantly swimming all around me. 

I'd like to go to a new place, travel to and live in a new town. But the reality is I've settled here and it's a great place to be. I'm right at the center of everything going on here, a journalist who occasionally also brings people food and drink in the oldest bar in downtown Charlottesville. 

That fact makes me feel humble. 

The fact that 166 months ago this place was on fire and then got restored also makes me feel humble. 

The fact is that this place is the place where the seeds of what I call my "travesty" were sown not four months after I moved to Charlottesville back in 2002. The details of that are known so intimately to me, but not to whatever public audience is reading this. Those details may come out as time passes, but they also might not. I just want to say that this place is sacred to me for any number of reasons, good and bad. 

Right now, this copper bar is my salvation. Without this job at this moment I would not be able to make ends meet financially. I'm not ashamed to say that. I'm doing what I have to do to get by, and I'm hoping I can turn this winter into a time when the Tavern can have yet another resurgence. 

For the first time in a long time, I'm looking around this place and I'm seeing the future. It's hazy but the horizon glows with optimism.

A David Bowie song comes on, it's his 69th birthday, and I'm here in the glow of 42 remembering how this particular song (China Girl) sort of made me dislike Bowie when I was growing up because I really didn't care for it then. 

But now I hear it through a different prism, a prism I can't entirely explain and I wonder if I'm doing anything at all by typing in this little white box while sitting at a copper bar drinking a golden beer while I wait to go out into that dark wet night. 

Oh, reader. Did you ever feel like you were bound to a place but you couldn't control it? I never expected to have a setting like this one, a sanctuary of sorts. And yet it feels like soon will come the time when it will no longer be here. 

Let's not think about that now. For now I want to think about the copper bar and what it means to me and how glad I am to have this home away from home, this place that reminds me of the Globe, this place where I will work tomorrow night, this place where I continue to recover from the travesty.

Tomorrow is the future.

I'll take it. 

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