With a 5-year old at home and the TV tempting me, I find it’s hard to get a solid amount of writing done there. There’s nowhere to go to escape my child, and I’d of course rather spend time with him than not. But by the time he’s in bed for good, I’m exhausted from the long day and really just want to sit in a comfortable chair and watch TV, not at the horribly uncomfortable, cheap desk chair in front of the computer screen, and especially after sitting in front of a computer screen for my day job all day long.
A couple of days a week, I typically have something going on after work such that I have a little bit of time between the day job and the night gig. I’ve found it a pleasant way to unwind my mind from the day if I can take a notebook and pen and sit at a bar, sipping on an after-work drink, and doing a little writing and editing. I’m getting more writing done for doing this, which is a good thing, whether or not any of it ever sees the light of day through being published or not.
It’s hard to find the perfect “writerly” bar. A place where the atmosphere is conducive to writing. Where they won’t ask you 1,000 questions about what you are writing or why you are doing it there. Where the bartender can tell when to leave you alone, when you want to engage. If you laugh bizarrely to yourself or tears spill on the page, they politely ignore it, save to refill your glass. They keep your secrets, those bartenders. Last night, I was on the opposite side of town, which is not my stomping grounds, never has been, so I stumbled into a place that could have been horrible or perfect. It was pretty close to the latter.
A hardwood floor is kind of important, for some reason. And while it’s nearly impossible to find a bar with no TVs, if the TV’s are unobtrusive, such that if you looked up from your drink for a moment’s reflection, you wouldn’t have to be staring at sports things, so much the better. Decor should be authentic – a big plastic bass is ok, but a picture of someone from the bar with their real catch is better. Trophies and/or jerseys from local bowling or softball teams are a plus – this shows they are a good part of the community. And put some effort into the food, would you? If I want to eat what Sysco created, I’d go to Applebee’s. Last night’s bar had a Monday night special – handmade burger – to order- and there WAS blood oozing out of my perfectly medium burger – with fresh cut fries and any domestic beer, draft or bottle, for nine bucks. Perfect, hook me up. I mentioned to the bartender that it was National Beer Day, at least I’d seen that online, which prompted regulars at the other end of the bar to converse with me about it. I also pointed out it was National Coffee Cake Day and we all had a good laugh at that and said we’d stick with beer. Short-lived and funny, and then back to the writing.
The bathroom was the appropriate level of grimy. It was functional and picked-up, but the stall door didn’t latch right, the plastic, Rubbermaid lady-accessories container was broken and hanging funny. There was minimal graffiti and a terrible old paint job with what looked like someone’s “mistake” paint purchase – a flat, pink paint which reminded me of an old boyfriend who painted his VW bug with pink paint. We had to push-start that bug everywhere. It was after that, my third boyfriend with a car I had to help push-start, that I told my Mom I wasn’t going to go out with any more guys who had a car I had to help start by using the wires under the dash or helping to pop the clutch. “Boy,” she said, “You’re really setting the bar high, aren’t you.”
Where is your writerly bar, readers? Give city please, especially if you’re not from around Cleveland.