The wind howls outside. It is nine degrees below zero.
Inside, the hipster two stools over has made a discovery.
“Oh, my God,” he says to his heavily crocheted, urban-quirky friend. “Have you heard of Bob Denver?”
Hidden cleverly behind a towering beer, my eyes brighten by at least two shades. Has this scrawny, bearded, corduroy-wearing man-boy just discovered Gilligan? What in the world could there be to say about it?
I take a sip. I lean imperceptibly closer.
“Who?” says the 20-something gal. Adorable, as smooth and dewy as a pearl, I fight the urge to tuck a loose bit of her hair behind one of her little pink ears.
“I heard it at the piano bar,” he says. He picks up his beer, takes a healthy pull at it. “You ever hear the song, Drive Me Home, Country Roads?”
John Denver, not Bob Denver. Take Me Home, Country Roads.
I close my eyes, the better to listen.
“I’m not sure that’s right,” she says.
But it is, he insists. He heard it the other night.
I open my eyes in time to see her shrug.
The Anchor, a small place with a small bar, is full, as it is almost every day of the week. Home to local art, local color, and non-local flaky white fish, I hold up my empty glass as a waitress skitters around me.
“A small one,” I say.
I pull out my notebook. Hipster #1 is singing.
“So kiss me and wait for me,” he bawls. “Tell me that you’ll play for me. Hold me like you’re never letting go.”
The girl winces.
“I’m leavin’, on a jetway! Don’t know when I’ll be back again!”
She laughs. He picks up a bottle, sings into it with the sincerity of the young and confident. “Oh, babe! I hate to go!”
I smile, push past them.
When I return from the bathroom, my check is ready.
And so is theirs. Heads pressed together, they are staring at the bill. “What’s 20 percent?” he says to her. “If I just round up and add a buck or two, that should be 20%, right?”
I consider explaining the concept of the percentage to them, but finish my beer instead. I pull my scarf on, my hat, my coat, my gloves. I adjust my leggings, pulling them up over my knees, check my boots for zipping. Outside, Mother Nature has given full throat to her murderous desires, and I push out the front door reluctantly.
Oh, babe. I hate to go.