Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Warm Social Embrace

The Bulldog NE is a delightful place to start an adventure.

Bert and I, thanks to the kindness of a colleague, enjoyed guest list status Saturday evening for The Hold Steady/Drive-By Truckers show at First Avenue. At Bert's suggestion, we started with a couple of beers and a bite at The Bulldog. It was a good suggestion which went only a little sideways as our visit progressed.

The Bulldog NE, like many good bars, wraps it's guests in a warm, social embrace. Sure, the ceilings are too tall and there are far too many TV's, but despite these drawbacks, it's a nice place to spend time. Particularly on a mellow Saturday afternoon the crowd noise envelops each table in a perfectly anonymous white noise which makes it easier, somehow, to talk. I have an idea that human-generated background noise, unaided by electronics and random in it's swells and lulls, satisfies a genetic need we all have to be near each other. Surrounded in a social, convivial way whilst allowing each individual a measure of private space.

As we enjoyed our beers and food, we talked of many and unrelated things. How's graduate school? How's work? Family? Your bike? It was a very pleasant conversation and the food and drink were delicious. Smiles and laughs frequent.

Things took a turn for the commercial when I engaged Chris and Amy, the married co-owners and managers in some work-related banter. It's no reflection on them as they are very friendly and I highly value them as customers, but nevertheless business talk put the hex on the time I was sharing with Bert. Somehow the crowd noise which had been comforting was now growing loud and vaguely annoying. The spell, now broken, failed.

I savor moments of social grace with friends and family and I endeavor to recognize them as they are happening. On Saturday the moment slipped away, unseen but not forgotten.


Jim Thill said...

I never let a social encounter pass without putting my friends into the awkward position of having to contend with a high-pressure sales pitch.

Lanny said...

I'm not sure how you cannily summed up my approach as "high-pressure". You must be able to recognize a fellow hard charger when you see one.