Pay attention to people and be curious!
I have been wondering about why people go and sit in a pub alone? I have seen people who feel pretty good with just a newspaper and a coffee. Or they are tapping at their phones next to a glass of wine. Or they just sit and watch the others maybe looking for ideas for something. Or maybe they just don’t feel as alone as they would at home. Or maybe their bartender or waitress is their soulmate whom they can tell all their sorrows and joys to. And if they are lucky, they might also get some advice with their drink.
Anyhow, I see people sitting alone at a table or at the bar pretty often. I could never imagine doing that myself; at least I think this is a place where I can go with my friends to drink, to talk, to have fun. It is a meeting place. And to „meet up“ you have to have at least one more person, haven’t you?
One time me and my friends met at one of our favorite places. While talking about things I wondered about this looking at an old man in front of me. He must have been over fifty. At first he looked a bit grumpy but his gaze conveyed a lot of gentleness. I wondered why he wasn’t with his friends or his sweetheart. Why is he alone? I felt a little sorry for him and, for a moment, felt like sitting beside him and talking to him. Elderly can give us, young people, wisdom based on experience.
Then I thought about his reason for being there. Has he gotten bored by the silence at home desiring to hear the smoky, laughy, squeak dampening silent noises? Or is life at home messy and wants to relax? Is the coffee here his favorite? Or does he like one of the pretty, slim waitress? Or does he want to get to know people to find a friend, a soul mate or his life partner? If I don’t ask, I will never know. But who knows what his behavior, his gestures, his facial expressions or his movments could tell me?
He had white curly hair, a thin mustache, slightly hollow eyes, a snipy nose. At first he looked a little intimidating and grumpy but his gentle gaze and momentary smile he gave to the waitress might have been contrary to my assumptions. Any time the girl passed him the old man smiled at her almost seducingly as if her golden locks had put a spell on him. He was reading some political newspaper then went on doing the crossword puzzle – he must be learned. Sometimes he put some tobacco in his pipe and he was drinking a long coffee with milk with fresh, clean water next to it. There was a black briefcase in front of him – he must be working in an office.
Then I noticed a bag full of vegetables and again, I asked questions of myself. Is he living alone and cook for himself? He might be a master chef. Or is he industrious, a good husband and helps his wife with the shopping? Strange, but I like it. Later I noticed the wedding ring on his finger.
After a few moments of wandering about in my thoughts I noticed he was getting more and more restless, almost angry and looking at his phone in every three minutes. He must be waiting for a call or a message. Reacting this way, it must be from someone important or about something important. He ordered another coffee and smiled kindly at the waitress again, who I admit was really lovely. When she turned, the old man looked at her. I don’t think I have to tell you what he was looking at. The little lady-killer… or at least he must have been a long time ago because at his age I don’t know how he could get a girl this young…
Suddenly his phone rings, he grabs it and runs outside leaving the coffee, the water, the coat, the briefcase and the bag. Not a minute passes and he comes back angrily, tensely almost running. He shut the door loudly, he didn’t even smile at his favorite waitress who looked at him with surprise. He drank the rest of his coffee, left some money on the table, put his coat on, wrapped something in is bag and stormed out as if he was never there, all in thirty seconds. What could have happened? What did he react this way to? I even surprised myself getting so curious. A question emerged in my mind after the fact: what could be going on in an old man in his fifties life, his mind, his heart? I will probably only know it when I reach that particular age…