Old friend comes into the bar, we’re chatting, he says, hey, guess what? I just started a band. Oh yeah? I say. He says, yeah. We’re called 128 Megabytes. But for the life of us, we can’t seem to get a gig.
I say, that’s not bad. You come up with that? He says, mostly.
We start discussing how to make the joke better. I say,
How many megabytes are in a gig? He says, I don’t know.
I look it up. 1,000 megabytes are in a gig.
I say, what if you’re closer to a gig. Like 999.
What about this?…
Later on I approach these three guys at the bar. We start talking, I say, hey guess what!! I just started a band. We’re called 999 Megabytes.
They start smiling, as if they know where this is going.
I say, yeah. But we’ve had the worst luck. Our van broke down, there was a death in our drummer’s family. I mean,
We can’t seem to get to a gig.
Couple comes into the bar. Cute girl, purple hair. Young kid, probably 22. I’ve had a number of conversations with both of them over the past year or so. Good people, I like them.
But here’s the deal. They were a couple, then they broke up. I see him after, he’s devastated. I talk to her, she’s a bit flippant. Ah…he’s too YOUNG, she says.
Couple months go by, I see them separately, he says, it’s cool. We’re talkin’. Oh really? Talking now, are we?
Then slowly, slowly, time happens, and WHAMO. They walk into the bar tonight hand in hand.
Now first off I’m gonna say I don’t really care. Let them eat forks, up to them. But IN MY EXPERIENCE.
You never go back.
You’re in a relationship, it gets messed up, things happen, you break up. There’s usually A GOOD REASON you broke up with that person.
Like they wouldn’t put their dirty socks in the laundry basket.
But what happens? There’s a month there post break up you go crazy. I’M FREE LET’S PARTY. Unless you’re too devastated. Then you just do a bunch of drugs and bury it.
After a couple months go by, the wounds are healing, oh I kind of miss that person. We had some good times, didn’t we? So what they didn’t clean out the litter box AFTER TELLING THEM FIVE TIMES. What does it really matter?
Then the rose-colored glasses go on. Oh remember that time we had… Then you text them, you happen to see them out, then WHAM. You’re walking in the bar hand and hand ready for another round.
Me? I NEVER GO BACK. Ok. I went back ONCE and then I learned my lesson. NOTHING CHANGED, WHAT WAS I THINKING? I tell you what I was probably thinking. I’m lonely,
And I’m getting horny.
Again, again, listen to me. Come in the bar with your ex, have sex on the couch, I DON’T CARE. But in my opinion, when you break up, that’s it.
And you should never go back.
I’m cleaning up the bar, doing my usual duties. Everybody’s gone, I look at my watch, it’s 2am.
I go out to the atrium, to the front door, to make sure it’s locked, I look out, I see two guys outside, smoking cigarettes, talking.
I watch them for a good minute.
They’re mid-twenties. Looks like a couple upstanding guys. By the way they stand next to each other, they seem to be good friends. I can’t hear what they’re saying, but it’s something casual, one laughs, says something, the other, in turn, laughs.
I am struck by something intangible. A memory of myself twenty years ago, standing on a street outside a bar at 2am with a friend shooting the shit. I’m in my early 20’s, I’m in college, I have no responsibilities to speak of. No job. No kids. No wife. Maybe not even a girlfriend. Nobody to go home to, just me, maybe a roommate in the other room, snoring away.
We get so caught in the now, don’t we? We become transfixed on our lives in the present moment. But wait. Look at me, where I’ve been, and who I’ve become.
I look at these guys on the street, having fun, so casually. When was the last time I’ve had fun? I can’t remember. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy my life and that I’m (somewhat) content. It’s just I can’t remember the last time I really cut loose. I don’t drink anymore, I don’t smoke anymore, I have no where to escape to. I’m here, standing here,
It’s all me.
What if I just walked out there, asked the guys for a smoke? Smoked a glorious cigarette. Hey is there an after-hours? Yeah, my place, grab some beers, let’s go. I stay up ALL HOURS the sun is up, it’s blinding, I’m drunk, and where the hell am I?
But I don’t. I finish up mopping, lock the doors, go home, make an omelet, and watch some Netflix.
Some Korean revenge film.
Buddy of my mine, playing tonight, I hear, got in a car accident on his way to the gig. I see him later, say,
I hear you were in an accident. What happened?
He says, I was at a red light, waiting for a family to walk by, and this girl rammed me from behind.
Why did she do that?
He says, I don’t know. She took off.
I say, hit and run?
He says, yeah. Funny thing is, her license plate fell off. I have her license plate.
Holy shit! I say. That’s awesome.
Yeah, he says. I was talking to a cop after, he asks, did you happen to get her license plate number?
So I said, actually… I HAVE her license plate.
I’m on my way to work, it’s pouring down rain. The kind of rain where your wipers can’t go fast enough.
There are three overpasses I drive under on my way to work. I love it when it’s raining, and you go under one, it’s like
The silence underneath the overpass can be, in itself, so loud. It’s the suddenness of the rain not hitting your car.
It’s like you’re in a surreal movie. The rain is falling down, then you take two steps, and you’re out of it. But in front of you, there is a wall of rain.
Like life, downpour, then silence,
Then the downpour again.
I think I’ll stop under the overpass, imagine I’m like a GOD,
And the rain doesn’t touch me.
I’m behind the bar, talking to a buddy. He says, your bar clock? See the IV? I’ve never seen that on a Roman Numerical clock. It’s always IIII.
I say, my watch has Roman Numerals.
I look at it. Yeah. The four is IIII. I’ve never noticed that.
He says, on 80% of clocks, it’s IIII. It’s actually a factoid.
I say, huh.