This afternoon, UPS delivered a package to me. (Two posters from the Bonny Doon Vineyard, of wine labels designed by Ralph Steadman. Quite cool. The company also offers fun t-shirts and other goodies, and lots of wine that cannot be delivered by mail within the borders of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.) Because the package was sent from a wine company, someone had to sign for it, so the UPS man rang the doorbell and waited instead of dropping the box and bolting, as they usually do.
The UPS guy was not the one I’ve previously seen: this fellow was about my height, with short-short dark hair and a mustache, while the normal one is tall, blond, and lanky (as best I can tell from my few sightings of him running back the walkway and leaping into his truck to speed off).
I stepped onto the porch to sign the package-tracking/signature-storing gadget. As I signed, the UPS guy said, “Been to the Brick House lately?”
This gave me pause. The Brick House is a restaurant/bar in Butler and is my typical hangout in town. And sure, I’ve been there often enough to know the bartenders and managers by name. And yeah, Butler is a small town. But to be recognized as a Brick House patron within seconds of leaving my front door? It felt like a sign of … something.
I searched my memory for anyone looking like this guy and came up blank. All the same, I had to admit it was possible that I’d met him previously. I might even have had an extended, multi-drink conversation with him. Some nights are fuzzier than others.
Apparently my face displayed at least part of this internal dialogue, because he said, “I’ve seen you there.”
I smiled and acknowledged that yes, I’d been there recently. Last night, in fact. With my brother-in law. That still didn’t seem like enough of a reply, so I added that the place had been pretty empty.
“Yeah, I was there a few weeks ago and it was dead. It was comedy night, you know? And these two comedians … they weren’t good. Not funny.”
I nodded sympathetically at the problem of unfunny comedians.
“I don’t usually go during the week,” he added. “Just weekends.”
I said that this Friday night would be a good night, as there would be a great band playing there.
“I can’t go out Friday nights,” he said.
I said that was unfortunate.
We nodded at each other a moment more. Then he ran back down the walkway, leapt into his truck, and sped off.