I went out to have a few drinks with Rob and Manuel last night for Rob's birthday. It was a Tuesday night but at this time of year every night is Friday night, down along the waterfront drinking zone. I have very rarely ventured down there since having kids - a) not many nights out and b) distinct lack of a sense of adventure.
At 7.30 there were already legless people of all ages (and fire twirlers) out and about, and a very muscular police presence. Outside Knopwoods, [where people used to spill out like cheese from an overcooked toastie], there was a front-row-forward type with an earpiece moving people about like chess pieces to keep the footpath clear.
We started at Bar Celona (why anyone thinks that's a clever name is beyond me) where I was ignored at the bar for an agonisingly long time. Apparently I was standing to the left of an invisible line, and this was impossible for the sulky bar staff to convey with words. The sulky bar staff and I performed a Samuel Beckett-like agony of longing, thirst, denial, regret, guilt, shame, fury and cleavage. I am too polite to shout "hey", so I would still be there now if an older gent had not pointed me out and insisted that someone walk two steps down and serve me. I enquired if I was standing in a Service Area (I have learned this term from the large helpful signs other bars deploy). Was told no, although I was bang in front of beer taps. To my suggestion "Maybe you need a sign?" I got a shirty "What do you want?"
But, as I was able to drink up and walk out of their dive, while they were stuck there for the night, [not to mention probably stuck in bar service forever as they seemed pretty dim and probably have no other options, plus once they lose their looks they will end up crazy cat ladies and harmless flashers] I didn't really mind too much.
I did have a non-bitter-and-tetchy story about the night but I can't remember it now. Manuel ducked off home for dinner, Rob and I had an over-sophisticated pizza and six or seven more beers. By the time we felt ready for a good espresso all the bars with coffee machines had turned them off.