Last night I had dinner while sitting at the bar at Muggs. I didn't feel like making dinner so I made the bargain with myself. I would walk past Muggs and if there was a seat open at the bar, I would eat there. If not, I would get something to go from somewhere else. I brought a book with me just in case. Muggs usually has sports on tv. I'd rather read.
There were no seats at the bar, so I cheated, or rather negotiated with myself and took a standing room only spot at the large picture window. It wasn't long (less than a pint, which is how I tell time at Muggs) before a seat became available at the bar and I was on it like an Italian ship captain on a rescue boat.
While I was there, I got into a conversation with a kid who was a senior, pre-med, at Wisconsin. He was from New Jersey, home for spring break, waiting to meet friends at the bar before going to a show in the neighborhood. I explained the difference between cask ale and beer on tap. (I should point out that he asked, that's why I told him. I didn't just start pontificating.) I asked what branch of medicine was he interested in. He didn't know yet. "Well, I have a friend who's a cardiologist, and he says business is booming. Because of Americans and their bad diet, no exercise, it will probably be a growth industry for years to come, sad to say."
His friends arrived. A couple, in both senses, in that there were two of them and they were dating, stayed behind to have a drink and watch the basketball game. The girl took the kid's seat as he went to his show. I chatted with the two left behind. She was an English major and he was a philosophy major.
"That's why you smell like pot" I observed.
He laughed and began explaining that Western philosophy is basically divided into metaphysics and epistemology, going on to define the terms. I didn't have the heart to tell him that I already knew this and on top of that, he forgot ethics.
Discussing literature with his girlfriend, she mentioned she liked Hemingway and asked me who I liked. Italo Calvino and Nabokov were the first names that came to mind. "I've read Lolita" she offered. A girl that likes Hemingway and has read Lolita? She is built for guys to love her.
I should point out that he was wearing a UNC sweatshirt. UNC was winning the basketball game against Duke, but their lead was eroding. He began saying "I hate Duke. I hate them. I wouldn't care if UNC lost to anyone else, but not to Duke. I hate them." There wasn't any anger in it, so much as it was stated as a matter of fact. Both major premise and conclusion.
"Maybe you should study Buddhism at school" I offered.
I bought them each a drink, sub-rosa, by asking the bartender to add a round to my bill. I said my goodbyes and headed out the door, then realized I hadn't said goodbye to one of the bartenders I had chatted with who has not working but just hanging out. I walked back in to say goodnight, and apparently in the less than 60 seconds after I left, the other bartender had told the kids I bought them a drink. They were so thankful and seemed touched that I would do such a thing. I felt like an ass, as if I had walked back in the bar just to get my "thank you's." I really didn't expect the bartender to tell them that fast.
"My pleasure" I told them. "I remember what it was like to be a student."
English and philosophy? They're going to need someone to buy them drinks. They should go into medicine, maybe cardiology. The future belongs to those who can fix people's hearts.