An Irish Public House near my home. The joint is always jumpin’ and street parking is near impossible to find. Nevertheless, it’s where my neighbor and I like to meet from time to time after work.
My neighbor begs off chatting for a while until she gets through a some emails she ought to have replied to before leaving her office. I take the opportunity to look around.
Two women with their infants snuggled close to their bodies preciously nurse their glasses of wine. I’m taken with their babys’ calmness. Not a single fussy peep from either of them. It’s as if they know it is a bit of a risk for mommy to be in a pub at happy hour with a baby, to say nothing of drinking a glass of wine without daddy here to be the designated driver. Best not draw too much attention.
The table next to us is a man in his 60s and a 20-something woman. Their body language tells me this is not a romantic relationship, so I figure dad/daughter. Because they are close to us, I can easily eavesdrop on their conversation. They are clearly not related. Co-workers? Fellow students, maybe? He talks about his work, his kids, his “buddies,” his lot in life. She talks about her work, her friends, her family, and her lot in life. It’s not sexual, really. They are not physically communicating anything “hey babe” at all. Yet, it’s something quite intense. They are very engaged with each other, but oh, so casual. What is their story?
The man and woman behind us order another bottle of wine. Lots of laughs, lots of back and forth chattering. The 2nd bottle of wine is an expression of not wanting to end the date, but too early in the game to assume they are actually a thing. My guess? They met online and this is date #3. Date #4 will be this weekend, maybe next, and he will most likely be in her bed at the end of it. His bed will be Date #6.
While I’m waiting for my neighbor to finish her work day, I pull out my laptop and start playing Candy Crush to bide my time. Two minutes later our waitress arrives with our drinks.
“Which game are you playing?” she asks me as she sets my Martini down.
I awkwardly half close the lid. “Oh, I don’t know. The one with ‘Soda’ in the title?” I lift my glass and give her a ‘cheers’ gesture. My neighbor laughs.
“No judgement, here, honey, uh-uh,” the waitress says. “Won’t even tell you what level I’m at! No, way. No judgement at all.”