It will no doubt delight my friend Moira to know that this is another story about a bar. She has been counting, and calculates that something like forty percent of my stories have something to do with a bar, and she’s right. That’s because I’m a drunk.
But, I’m a functional drunk – that’s how I rake in all this Blogging Cheese. Just look at this sweet, custom-made, free blog template on this free blogging site. Sometimes art equals scratch, dawg – so don’t knock it.
Anyway, in this story, I’m a bartender, and I’m working at my uncle’s bar. That’s also why all the bars, Moira – my whole family is either bar owners or women who left bar owners for really good, solid, understandable reasons.
So I’m standing there bartending, which in this joint was mostly opening beer bottles, making kamikazes and watching the USA network, and I notice this young woman named Monica looks a lot like my ex-girlfriend Samantha. Samantha’s not really my ex-girlfriend’s name, and this girl’s name wasn’t really Monica, I’m changing them for a blog post, dig?
The reason I notice Monica is that looks just like Samantha, and she acts like her, too. She has the same mannerisms and a similar voice, and it’s not just her face. She is lithe and slender and quiet and she’s watching you, oh yes she is, you bet your ass. She’s watching you.
Monica walks up to the chalkboard to put her name on the list to shoot pool – this is a classy joint, with actual chalk. And when she puts her initials up there, I notice that the second initial is the same as my ex-girlfriend Samantha’s. So I’m thinking, man, that would be weird. I wonder if Monica is related to Samantha – she sure looks and acts like it.
So I used my words, as I would later in life urge my toddler to do. I said, “Hey, Monica. What’s your last name?”
Much to my surprise, she said, “Chalfant.”
And in case you don’t know, that’s my last name, and it’s not a terribly common one. I must have had a cartoon question mark over my head because she smiled and nodded and said, “I know, I have the same last name as the owner of this bar, but it’s a coincidence. We’re not related.”
“Quite a coincidence,” I said. “Because I also have the same last name as the owner of this bar, because he’s my uncle. And the funny thing is, I was asking because I thought you must be related to my ex-girlfriend Samantha. You look just like her.”
Except I said the actual last name – another last name which starts with a C. I’m not going to tell you what that name is for some reason, it’s just another C name, don’t worry about it. Let’s say Clark.
And Monica said, “Did you say Samantha Clark?”
“Sure did,” I told her, because she said the same name I did instead of Clark.
“How weird,” she said. “I went out with a guy named Bill Clark, and his sister was named Samantha, but I never met her.”
And the weird thing was, my ex-girlfriend had a brother named Bill. Now that I’ve changed the names, it’s less striking. Their real names are not so common – I knew it had to be the same person.
So we compared notes and figured out that Monica was dating Samantha’s brother at approximately the same time I was dating Samantha. The two siblings were dating unrelated Chalfants, and it never came up and they never knew.
And then ten years later, I saw Monica and thought she looked like Samantha so much that this conversation happened. Which means Bill Clark was dating a chick who looked just like his sister and probably just like his mom – go look in the mirror, Bill. Something’s wrong there.
And also, since my uncle and father were both swinging, divorced bar owners from the Seventies – well hell, it was perfectly possible that Monica was really my half sister or cousin. Now that I thought about it, it was possible that practically anyone under a certain age including Samantha Clark Herself could have been my half sister or cousin.
Still – a weird coincidence, if we were going to meet. It wasn’t through our significant others, but instead ten years later, standing in my uncle’s bar, and if either of us had left out a single piece of information, we wouldn’t have known that we’d met, or that we’d ever had anything in common at all.
That’s the kind of coincidence that is going away now. If we ran into each other in a bar in 2011, our phones would start humping each other. Doesn’t matter if I know you, if my phone knows you, and oh yes, my phone knows who you are all right. My phone’s like J. Edgar Hoover.
You’re going to miss the secrets America, I’m telling you. The digital age is going to take our secrets away, and it’s going to hurt and it’s going to make us cry. I learned part of that in a bar ten years ago, and part of it today on Facebook.
What did you learn today, Blogosphere?