Thursday, May 03, 2007





So, A Guy Walks into a bar...........

BoyWonder received a new cd in the mail today and it brought me back twenty years.

I was twenty years of age and was to meet up with some friends at a local bar after my shift.The bar was connveniently located in the centre of the city , near the subway and streetcar lines, allowing for all to arrive with the least amount of effort. This bar was the type of place which hosted live entertainment. It was a run down joint which always smelled of stale beer and cigarettes. The live entertainment could be found not only on the stage but with the true objectional type of crowd the 'entertainment' could draw in. Part of the 'fun', could also be found in the notion of dodging the next thrown chair or missing the weave of a drunkard as he passes with a tray full of beers. But the majority of my pals wanted to meet there out of convenience, as it was indeed the devil we knew and if anything we would be 'entertained'.

Most patrons opt for the bench along the wall, as the seats left in the aisles are precarious at best. Sitting in the aisles, you face the possibility of ashes being dropped on your head, from people standing above you or just the inconvenience of being jostled by the crowds racing to the dance floor in case a particularly good song is being played by the band. And as the night wears, it becomes a case of Russian Roulette as someone in the aisle seat is bound to wear a tray of beer as copious amounts of beers are consumed with gusto as the music blares. For certainty you are not going to this bar to talk, you are there to listen to music or you are there to dance, or you are there to drink. In hindsight, I think the bar staff should have handed out rain ponchos for all the poor souls who found themselves on the aisle seats. Rain ponchos and combat helmets would probably be welcomed by first time aisle patrons.

I had arrived early to meet my friends, and the lights were on bright, showing all its warts and blemishes of the establishment. There were scuff marks on the walls, from fights, from hours, days or years past. The black stage was dimly lit, the wobbly tables,with match books underneath trying to set balance to tables which were long past their balancing prime. The tables with endless cigarette burns on the black veneer, along with carved initials, and various choice announcements enscribed with carving knives or cigarette butt burns from patrons past to present day patrons . All of the tables are caked in a film of beer and ash which can never be removed from a waitresses well-soiled rag. The floor was well worn industrial'grey' carpet covering, which ended abruptly at the front, as people preferred to dance on slippery, cracked, painted, marblesk floors.

The stage was raised from the 'dance floor'. It was carpeted as well. It was small and black with a black curtain. There were lights set up in front with various blue and red filters pointing towards the two mics which were set up. There were drums which were set back which were lit from the sides and dim light was coming from the drum itself. It was evident that a small band was playing tonight.

Upon sussing up the pit, and realizing that there would be no problem acquiring a bench seat, as there was a 'No Name' band coming in to play, I opted to sit at the bar and wait for my friends to join me. I found a 'stable' stool and lugged it to the corner of the bar.

The bartender, who was a friend of mine from school, was rushing around, trying to get everything prepped for the night. He called out my name as I sat down. He was harried, and let me know he was just off to change two kegs. He would be back 'in a flash'.

It was a Thursday night, as by most bar standards,the busiest night of the week and the bartender from the night before had left my friend out on the lurch by not completing the closing tasks from the previous night. I knew from the list of things to be completed, that I would not be entertained by my bartender friend.

Equipped with the knowledge of how long it takes to change a keg, from working in a bar myself, I pulled out my book from my knapsack. This was a book which held me so close for the past few days. A book which drew me into a whole new world of characters, I had felt become good friends with, or at least I had fallen in love with one of them. I was head over heels in love with an imaginary character in a book. What had my life become?

I was a bit sad, as I was just a few short chapters away from the end of my book. I was sad, as I would be leaving Larry Darrell.

As each page was read, each word dissolved into memory, and as I drew to the end of the book, it was also bringing me to the end of my voyage.

'Ahh, The Razor's Edge' came a voice.

I look up. "Yeah'

There at the other side of the bar was the lone patron. He had a mop of dark, brown hair, in a black button down shirt and was still wearing his jean jacket. He smiled.

'It's a good read.' he added.

And I nodded. And I told him that I was sad it was ending. My book that is...

Now, dear Blogger, do not get the wrong idea. This man was not trying to pick me up.I know the difference between 'bar talk' and 'let's get into your pants type of talk.' He was just shooting the breeze. And since I did not really want to end my 'relationship' with Larry just yet, and the fact that this person seemed to have read my coveted book, I decided to chat.

And this man was willing to listen, to a young woman go on, at nauseum, about her love of Larry. We talked and we even laughed. We philosophised about philosophy. And then he walked over and joined me.

The bartender, arrived back a minute later and took our drink order. We introduced ourselves to each other and just chatted. It was a fun spur of the moment, grasp a conversation from the air type of moment.

We just talked about what we both had read. And what we had planned to read. It was a fun conversation. We knew there would be an end, as the promise of our friends joining us, certainly would have the great divide of raucous activity between us.

My friends arrived first and scolded me for not grabbing a good seat. They came en mass and proceeded to scope out the best tables and draw them together for our large group. I shrugged my shoulders and said goodbye to Robert as his friends joined him soon after mine. And as bar life happens, groups arrive en mass and a once quiet atmosphere, that seemed so stagnant becomes littered with sound and bodies. The smoke fills a room and the lights are dimmed so that you can not truly see across the room gives a sense intimacy with a group of seventy people. And somehow, through the people, through the sound of clinking of glasses, and the conversation of friends, a building gives off a feeling of a soul and life.

And like what happens in movies, in corny B films, where you say aloud 'As, If! 'Robert took to the stage.

My friends turned to me and said 'Isn't that the guy you just were talking to?

Yeah.
Well, what's his band called?
Well, we didn't talk about that... I, I didn't know he was playing.

Robert started to sing. He started to look, very familiar. He started to sound very familiar. He did not look like the book nerd at the bar. He was so truly comfortable on the stage,filled with a smokey haze, in this wee room with a soul. And with each song it sent tingles down my spine. He was someone I have known forever and yet had not known him at the bar. He was a faceless voice behind a radio. I had not truly heard his voice until now. I heard it over the clinking of the glasses, I heard it over the sound of people ordering their drinks. And right there, is where he was at home. In this wreck of a bar, commanding all to listen, to listen to his ballads, to hear his message through the most commonest of voices.

I sat riveted in the darkened bar with the blue light on the No Name band.
And my heart truly skipped a beat, as how could it not?

How could my heart remain so calm? How could my heart remain calm, when Bob Dylan had just bought me a drink and helped me truly understand the enlightenment of Larry Darrell.

71 comments:

Jeannie said...

cool - probably for him too - must have been nice to be anonymous for a few minutes and just talk shit.

Blog Antagonist said...

What a completely cool story. I think Jeannie is right, he probably really enjoyed talking to you as just another guy in a bar. They don't get to be anonymous often.

mcewen said...

Superb. You need to dig out a few more of those nuggets.
Cheers

super des said...

That's awesome. What a great memory to have.

My stepdad had the same kind of experience with Stephen King before, but he didn't know who he was. So he threw away the list that Mr. King had given him to give to my mom - a list of books personally recommended by Stephen King.

Stepping Over the Junk said...

Oh my gosh! That was intense and awesome. Well put together, you are! Robert. heh.

Beth said...

Wow. I'm impressed and envious.
What a fabulous experience.

Caro said...

What a great story!

Queen of the Mayhem said...

What a great story! I so enjoy talking to a man that I don't feel is trying to have sex with me....I think that is something I enjoy so much about blogging! There are so many men that comment on my site...and they talk about their wives and children....harmless stuff!

I love this story! Thanks for making me smile!

Mel said...

Holy f*cking sh*t omigawd. I love that man with a passion; he was my mother's favorite favorite musician. I would have peed my pants.
He probably did love it that you didn't drool all over him and get starstruck. As I most undoubtedly would have.

Eryl Shields said...

Marvellous. Robert huh...

I'm going to have to call him up on my ipod right now!

Lady M said...

How splendid!

Silly celebrity story (not dashing and literary like yours): A friend of mine recognized Danny Devito and asked a nearby restaurant patron to take a photo of them, not recognizing the other fellow . . . so he has a photo of himself with Danny, taken by Tony Danza.

Humpty Dumpty House said...

What a great, random chance encounter.

Mamacita Tina said...

Are you for real? Do you really have experiences like I've read? If so, you live life well!

An awesome story/memory indeed!

Lisa said...

my God, I have goosebumps. I just read this post five times and I am almost in tears at your wonderful fortune. What a great memory, thank you so much for sharing.

Wendy Boucher said...

That story is priceless. In part for the content and mostly for the way you tell it. What a cool memory. Maybe he remembers you too!

Andrea said...

No way! Dude, that's an awesome story!

Andrea

kim said...

how cool is that???

i know one day youre going to tell us youre famous and you wanted to be "just one of us bloggers"

Lisa said...

Hey lady.

Part of my big news is that I'm supposed to be in NY in the next few days. I have no details yet but would ya want to try to get together? Let me know. I think you have my personal e-mail address too!

jen said...

shut up. oh, wow. Shut Up!!!

wow. this story rocked.

Andie D. said...

HOLY ESS AYCH EYE TEE!

Sorry, I am just a little, um, well, OH WOW! Flabbergasted?

HOW COOL IS THAT?

Christina_the_wench said...

OMG, you know all the cool people. I am so jealous.

I am looking that book up as well. Larry, you say?

Ruth Dynamite said...

You never cease to amaze me! Very very cool.

bon said...

Holy Tamales! How does THAT work!???

Open Grove Claudia said...

How cool! I can almost smell the stale beer from the bar floor. It's one of those moments, when it really seems like we are all the same. So cool that you had that experience with Bob Dylan!

chelle said...

DUDE! You met Dylan ... you are so my hero!

Catch said...

very cool Pen!!! And I have had some of my best times in just the type of bar you were at!!Those were the days Sweety!

Attila The Mom said...

LOL I just got done reading a news bit about Bob Dylan scaring kindergarten kids. ;-)

Great story!

BeachMama said...

I'll second jeannie. He was probobly so thankful that he had a moment of real conversation and not someone wanting to talk to him because of who he was. That is a very cool story, thanks for sharing.

Kevin Charnas said...

oh...my...GOD!!!! I just got chills.

Pend, that is so frickin' cool.

I.Am.So.Jealous.

Bob Dylan got to have a drink with Pendullum. Lucky him.

slouching mom said...

Wow. Just wow.

What a story.

Sandra said...

SO so so so so cool. You have the best stories. Ever. I would so love to sit in a bar with you and hear them all.

yerdoingitwrong said...

WHOA! That is such a very cool story, girl. I want to sit in a bar with you, too and hear more. You'd better call me if you're ever in Seattle!!!

Vancouver mermaid/Montreal photographer said...

Indeed the coolest story ever! Bob Dylan... but yeah, I expect he was just relieved not to be asked for an autograph by someone.

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Kim Ayres said...

Seriously cool. Love the story :)

mamatulip said...

Shut up! Bob Fucking Dylan?

You are SO COOL.

scribbit said...

How is it possible all these cool things happen to you?

My life is so boring . . .

:)

min said...

Beautifully written!
I wish it had been me.

Oh, The Joys said...

Wow. Wow!

You have taken me back. I worked in a place that was just as you describe this one when I was in college. I was a bartender in a bar like that.

Gina said...

Very cool!

Even though I am not a big fan of Bob Dylan, I know that he is greatly admired by lots of people, as evidenced by your comments!

pinknest said...

wow, what an awesome memory!!

Amber said...

Holy CRIPES! Another brush with greatness. Someday, that story will be worth millions...well, maybe if you'd saved the drink glass. :-)

Flutterby said...

That's way too cool! My closest brush with *Fame* was getting walked into by Neil Sedaka at the Houston Rodeo right before his performance. He came rushing out of a room right into me. Long enough ago that I was suddenly *sweetheart* for about 5 very brief seconds, lol.

Chantal said...

My mouth literally dropped open at the end.

Very cool!

urban-urchin said...

i agree- it must be refreshing to just be a person and not have someone fawn over you because you're famous, but enjoy talking to you because you have common interests.

Pattie said...

HA! Does his voice sound anything like he sings? How funny! :)

Jocelyn said...

Oh, you have to stop this.

I am currently picking myself up off the floor, and it's dirty down here, and my knees hurt.

Whoa. You are such a fine, fine storyteller. Thanks for that read.

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

That gives me goosebumps!!! What an incredible story. Great, great writing. I could imagine the bar and almost see the smoke rising and hear the glasses clinking.

So, you did tell BoyWonder this story, right?

Damn.

Catherine said...

Oh. My. GOD!!

Kevin's right, though... lucky, lucky him.

carrie said...

Lucky him is right! What a wonderful memory . . . I can't even imagine how nice that must've been for Bob Dylan as well (to sit and chat with the lovely YOU).

Now, I am embarrassed to admit this, but who is this Larry Darrell of which you speak? I must know.

Carrie

Kanani said...

*clunk*
(this writer falls to the ground)

Oh, man. That's the COOLEST story. Dylan! An icon!

and thanks for stopping by my blog!

Laurie said...

I can relate to this story, in a way.

A friend of mine owned a bar in Absarokee, Montana in the mid 1990's. One night his bartender didn't show, so I filled in for several hours until he could locate another.

A small group of men walked in, all dressed in jeans and cowboy boots. I imagined them to be ranch hands out to celebrate the coming weekend.

One of them was very handsome and very sweet. He bought a round for his group, paid with a hundred dollar bill and told me to keep the change. I was surprised, because the change amounted to well over $80.00. I argued with him, but he insisted I keep it.

They were the only ones in the bar, so we visited for a couple of hours. He ordered several more rounds, always paying with a hundred and leaving me the change.

They were just leaving as the fill-in bartender arrived. She took one look at them and her jaw dropped.

The good looking, sweet one turned out to be Mel Gibson, who had just bought The Beartooth Ranch, which was 7 miles from town. I had visited with him for over 2 hours and never figured out who he was.

Back then, at least, he was a very nice, very down-to-earth man and I would have enjoyed his company even if he hadn't tipped me over $500 that night.

ablondeblogger said...

No freakin' way! I totally would've stalked him after that, lol!

Webmiztris said...

what a story! and how cool that must have been!!

Lawyer Mama said...

No way! What an incredible story! You had a *real* conversation with Bob Dylan. It's even better that you had no idea who he was.

A friend of mine had something similar happen to her in an airport. This guy helped her and her 3 children under 4 (she was traveling sans spouse) through security, carried bags to their gate & sat & chatted with her. Turns out it was Ed Robertson with the Bare Naked Ladies. She only discovered it when a fan came over & asked for an autograph.

Man, P, you always have the *best* stories!

allrileyedup said...

I've never been able to tell the difference between "bar talk" and "get into your pants" talk. For me, it's ALWAYS bar talk. And at whatever point I eventually realize it's not, it's totally a pain in the ass.

Maritza said...

Did you hear recently that in California, kindengarteners at a local school complained to their parents of the very scary man who comes to their class to sing and play guitar? It turned out to be Bob Dylan performing at his grandson's class. I can't imagine which of his songs he sang to a bunch of 5 year olds...

bananas62 said...

there ya go again! You have the best stories!!!! Robert... Bob..OMG!!! how cool!

Mommy off the Record said...

Wow. Do you still have experiences like these? Do you think I could come follow you around for a few months? It would sure spice up my life a little!

K said...

First I was all -Oh don't you love the surprises of people and then I was all No effing way!!!!!

My god woman, how you have lived!

kim said...

Happy Mothers Day Penn *big hugs* I hope you had a wonderful day!!

Mama Drama Jenny said...

I have to admit that I'm not a huge Bob Dylan fan. I don't dislike him, I just don't really know much of his stuff. What I do love, however is this story.

You have such an amazing way with words. You are a true storyteller.

Rock the Cradle said...

I love those conversations that just seem to organically happen...it's so rare, and I always wish it happened more often.

Maybe it's something that happens because you are already a little vulnerable (as I always am at the end of a good read), and there is someone that empathizes with where you are at that moment, and is relaxed enough and comfortable enough and interested enough to just talk...no strings.

Says wonderful things about you. And Robert what's-his-name.

Lisa said...

OH. MY. GOD! THat is incredible. WOW. That gave me goosebumps with that story lady. You always DO THAT!

You should SO write a book someday.

hautemama said...

love it when things like that happen!

The Apronista said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Domestic Chicky said...

Kevin totally stole my comment!! ;)

I am jealous of Robert too...

xo
D

ablondeblogger said...

That's wonderful news on your friend!!!!! I am always here if you need to talk. Email me anytime. I hope and pray that she stays in remission and that you have many more years together to create more memories. :)

Karen Forest said...

Wow....how cool, for both of you.

BTW, thanks for stopping by.

The OE said...

Bob Dylan would have made an outstanding secret agent.

Kanani said...

Hello? You around? Miss you.
Dr. Maroon,