It was too early to go home. The bar seemed to beckon me, with its warm lights and light jazz music.
I mean, I’m not normally a jazz guy. You’ll never catch me playing lounge music on the piano, with that sickening salesman grin.
Still though, there was something compelling about the whole thing. Maybe it was that the one wall looked out over the busy street outside. Maybe it was the mix of clientele: some were couples, and there was a mix of single people, from various walks of life, who were clearly just enjoying a drink on their own. As I would shortly do.
I made my way in and sat down at a small table, next to a wooden pillar. A short-haired blonde waitress came to the table and smiled. “What can I get you honey?”
They always seem to call you honey. Or maybe just the good ones do. I don’t know.
“What do you have in a Chardonnay?” I asked.
“Well, we have Lindemann’s.” She looked at the wine list that I hadn’t realized was there. “Oh, and we have one from Argentina. It’s new.”
I took the wine list from her and took a look. The wine she had suggested was a little more expensive. And has any true wine connoisseur will tell you: the only way to know whether a particular wine is good is to see if it costs more than the rest. “I’ll have that.”
She smiled, and took the wine list. “Ok honey. Coming right up.”
There it was again. Honey. I could get used to that.
I once went to a Keg Steakhouse restaurant and the guy serving drinks there called me honey too. It just wasn’t the same, you know?
I took out my ebook reader and turned it on. For the uninitiated, that’s an electronic device that holds a number of books on it, which you can read at your leisure. It’s not the same as a real book, but for those who like to devour as much reading at one sitting as they can, it’s a godsend.
The waitress breathlessly came back with the glass of wine and plunked it down. She started to scramble off but then stopped and turned. “What’s that – if you don’t mind my asking?”
I looked up and smiled. “Not at all. It’s an ebook reader.” I explained to her how it works.
“I don’t know. I read a lot of books. I don’t know if I could stand to have one of those.” She looked away, clearly needing to go to her next table. She looked back. “Can I take a look?”
I handed it to her. Her eyes lit up as she pressed various parts of the screen, looking through my collection of books. I realized I hadn’t bookmarked my place and would need to take some time to find the page again. It didn’t matter.
She handed it back. “There you go honey. Thanks. I’ll come back later and we’ll chat some more OK?”
“Sure” I said.
She never came back. She was too busy.
In the warmth of those lights, with the music playing, it didn’t matter. The wine went down so smoothly, and I could feel the edges of reality start to blur, just a little bit. I stayed for a few hours more, just reading and sipping wine, while the light jazz played unobtrusively in the background. The outer edges of the restaurant were dark, and there were fewer cars rumbling outside on the street when I was finally ready to pay my tab and leave.
I exited out into the breezy Toronto night, aware that I’d experienced a genuine pleasure. One of life’s little such pleasures, it seemed.