I walked into the bar of my dreams. Perfect music, perfect amount of people, and I didn't have to deal with blatant bigotry. It was quite refreshing from DC where all of the bars have an overwhelming twang of judgment, even from the bouncers. I realize that I love New York because I can be myself without anyone wondering what I am. Maybe they are but it seems like admiration more so than belittlement… I think.
I was waiting for the most frustrating person in the world.
I sent a text, Hey, I’ll be at a bar nearby getting some food. Just text me when you’re there.
Of course, I get no response.
I awkwardly reach between two chatting blondes for a menu. They side-eye me briefly and continue their conversation.
“I… I’m sorry.” I say in a somewhat desperate attempt to be friendly.
Of course, I get no response.
I see a row of empty bar seats next to them and take my pick. A bartender walks up to me.
“Can I help you hun?” he says taking the menu out of my hand. “You’re new here right?”
“Yeah I’m just waiting on a friend honestly.”
“Well here try this.”
He grabs a bourbon glass and pours a drink called Garrison Brothers into it. I am hesitant, but I grab the tiny glass. I put it close to my nose and a strong maple scent filled my nostrils. It was thrilling so I drank it.
“You like?” the smiling bartender asks.
“Well,” I twist my face in many contortions trying to pass the strength of the bourbon down my chest. The taste suddenly transitioned from very harsh to very smooth. “Yeah actually, I do.”
He smiles and walks away.
I get up and walk over to an area with a sign that reads :ORDER FOOD HERE.
The menu is large and red, but it only has two main items: SAUSAGE or CHICKEN
So much for the rule of threes.
The waitress is quite adorable. She is blonde, not sure if naturally, but her hair was done like Farrah Fawcett’s. I always thought that hairstyle was very becoming.
She smiles, “So what are ya having?”
“Uh,” I look back at the giant menu, “are these my only options?”
“Yes.” She says with a smile so big it almost seemed less disappointing. “Why don’t you try the… sausage? It is very popular here.”
I was very aware of her not saying that I should try the chicken. That was a smooth political move. I chose the chicken. I don’t eat pork.
I walk back over to the bar and find that the bartender has refilled my glass with more bourbon. I give him a smile and a nod. Next to me a small Asian man is reading “Love” by Toni Morrison. I stare for a while, in awe of the man and then in awe of Toni Morrison. Her tales are quite immaculate.
The Farrah Fawcett girl walks over with a huge metal tray that has a chicken leg and two thighs on a piece of paper. Next to that were a waffle-shaped piece of cornbread and a small plate of coleslaw. I crack a genuine smile. In that moment I didn’t care that I was the only one eating in the bar or that I was the only black person… eating chicken at that. I was free to do whatever I wanted. This plate of food made me grateful to even be able to buy food when I am hungry.
I take a few pieces of the meat and mix it in the coleslaw. I stab into with my fork and bring it to my mouth in utter bliss. As soon as the fork reaches my tongue, I get a text:
Hey I think we are staying in tonight. But we can meet up tomorrow!