“…sometimes one feels freer speaking to a stranger than to people one knows. Why is that? Probably because a stranger sees us the way we are, not as he wishes to think we are.”
I’m sitting alone in a hotel bar, waiting on company to join me. The night before, the red neon lights were shining upon guests as they poured handfuls of Chex Mix into their palms from the jars on the bar top. Karaoke singers roared out classics in wonderful, slightly out of tune voices, the bartenders with continuous smiles as they poured and served drink after drink, hoping for that one high rolling tipper to walk through the doors. Tonight there are two men at the other end of the bar, Zach the lone bartender, and Game 2 of the World Series.
As I sit with my drink, not daring to touch the Chex Mix (seriously, all I see when I look at that jar is Ebola), I start thinking about all the things I’ve done in my life thus far, and all of the gigantic plans I have yet to initiate. I start to envision what it will be like when I sit in a bar alone in Sydney, eagerly awaiting my chance to make even the smallest connection with the next person that sits down, assuming they are also craving to interact with someone new. Behind my eyes, I’m seeing completely different neon lights, bar top snacks, wonderfully accented strangers sharing stories of their …
My beautiful dream is interrupted by my present company taking their seat next to me. As our night carries on and the alcohol begins to perform the way it’s intended, we start making small connections with strangers. Zach the bartender becomes my long lost best friend, the postal worker a few seats down becomes family, the couple at the end of the bar morphs into arrogant ‘oh so you’re better than us then, sitting in your corner minding your own business’. We all leave the bar with flushed cheeks, happy to return to clean sheets and fluffed pillows.
I’ve learned that in a random bar, I could be anyone, I can make up a name, an outrageously hipster sounding career, hobbies one could only dream of having… The beautiful thing is, I don’t have to. I am so happy and blessed to be living the life that I am living, taking hold of the opportunities I’ve been given. So as far as strangers go, I will gladly be myself and hope that they will do the same.