Monday, June 01, 2015

Harbor bar

The harbor bar at sunset.  Those five words elicit a contented smile within me.  My blood pressure drops twenty points.

It sits upstairs, on the roof really.  There's a full restaurant below, but I never go there.  The bar is open air, providing an untainted view of the sunset over the bay bridge to the west.  You can see the cars, so tiny in the distance and completely silent, as they disappear over the bridge.  (Over the crest of the bridge, not plunging off the side or anything, just to be clear.)

It's always crowded but somehow there always seems to be an open table.  Inevitably, there's a band playing whose only redeeming quality just may be that they're not quite as bad as the last band you heard here.  But the deck is large so that if you sit far enough away, the music blends in with the hum of the crowd.

Down below, scores of people stroll along the harbor walk, excitedly boarding or disembarking from one of the many boats.  Dolphin tours, sunset cruises, fishing charters, and other sea craft, all designed to lure tourists and their vacation dollars.

A lone man stands amidst them all strumming a guitar and singing Jimmy Buffett songs for tips.  Upon hearing him, you conclude that despite all its other magnificent qualities, the harbor bar is not a music hotspot.

You think of the old cover band joke, "The more you drink, the better we sound."  Then you wonder if that really is an old joke or if you just now made it up.  If you did, you conclude that you must be a genius.  Like Einstein-level brilliant.  In fact, you decide you would like for people to start referring to you as Einstein, and not in an ironic way either.  (None of this thought process has anything to do with the two-and-a-half Shock Tops you've imbibed.)

You're not sure why you're referring to yourself in the second person all of the sudden.  Perhaps it's something geniuses do.  Your 9th grade English teacher (not to mention Jocelyn, oy!) would probably cringe.  But why should you care?  She let the girls in class call you "Elvis" the entire year.  Just because you curled your lip when you smiled and got a bad poofy haircut from your uncle who eventually wound up living near the coast for thirty years with the same male roommate.  Besides, why is your 9th grade English teacher even still reading your blog?  A little creepy, Ms. M.

(For those who may be curious, you feel you should mention that you soon returned to your 77-year-old barber for the remainder of your high school days.  And stopped using hairspray.  But thankfully, Elvis lives on forever in 9th grade yearbook photos.)

Beyond the boats, you can see the levee and seawall, and further out the Gulf, silvery and shimmering, at her most serene this time of day.

You breathe in slowly and completely, taking full advantage of the calming, mind-clearing powers of the sweet ocean air.  You savor the feel of the breeze as it chills your sun-stung skin.  (You're a guy so you try not to shiver, but it's difficult, and eventually impossible.)

Then you realize that all this, virtually everything you see, is only here because of the water. Without it, there would be no ocean breeze, no seagulls, no boats, no bay bridge, no tourists, no Jimmy Buffett wannabe, no harbor bar.

It's not a particularly profound realization, but even theoretical physicists (and those of us that should have been) have an off day now and then.  Probably.

As you amble toward the stairs to leave, your waitress runs up to you from behind.  (You had thought she was kinda cute, but had no idea she may have felt the same.)

"Hey, Einstein," she says.  But before you have time to wonder how she knew about your new nickname, you see her holding up a familiar plastic rectangle.

"You forgot your credit card."

"The King," circa 1988.

This came from a writing exercise I found on author Chrys Fey's blog.  Sage interviewed Chrys on his blog recently, which is how I made her blog-quaintance.  This particular exercise was to write anything that comes to mind involving water.  It started as a description of one of my favorite places near the ocean, then evolved (devolved?) to include a tiny bit of fiction as well.  See more writing exercises here.


  1. Nice writing--I need to get back into using some of those writing prompts.

    1. Thanks, Sage. Me, too. I really liked several of the prompts so hopefully I can fit a few more in.

  2. Ooh, since I'm sitting here next to Lake Superior, this prompt speaks to me. Hmmmm. *brain goes all spinny*

    So this English teacher gets to call you Elvis now, right? Forever?

    The only thing your post is missing is a photo from your 9th grade yearbook...

    1. I doubt she even remembers that nickname. I doubt anyone does. And by doubt anyone does, I mean hope everyone doesn't.

      Regardless, I've gone back and added the requested photo. And suddenly the reasons behind the girlfriend drought of 1987-1989 become a bit clearer.

  3. Thank you so much for exploring my blog after checking out Sage's interview, and for doing one of the prompts in my challenge. :D

    I love it evolved into something else. That's the best part of doing a challenge; seeing what happens. Really nice writing. I want to go to that bar now. :)

  4. hummm I could write about water... like the lack of it and "These pretzels are making me thirsty!"

  5. I can't believe I haven't thought to call u Einstein on our scrabble games! It always sounds sarcastic to me so I think instead I will use KING. King bone! You're adorable. Glad you shared your photo! Great imagery..wish I had a

  6. (iPad froze!) a harbor bar by me to hang out in!

  7. Love how you set the scene - it was descriptive and welcoming.

  8. That sounds like a bar I'd like to visit - I miss the ocean! Great writing, Bone. As always!

  9. I'll take a bad band bar over a karaoke bar any day.

  10. you write with an ease that puts us there, whether it's at the shore or in junior high school. :)

    thanks for stopping in!

  11. I really like this and where you went with the writing prompt.