Monday, December 17, 2007

disconnect and hooks

so it's a saturday night and Girl and i decide we will rupture our usual stay-home-and-pretend-to-work routine by actually going out. i'm thinking shady bar, she's thinking posh bar. i'm thinking i don't mind anywhere as long as i can get a drink. we're both pretty much dressed to the gills. we decide on a not-too-shady, not-too-posh bar and walk in. and then everything seems to happen all at once.

the bar is full and we're thinking we might squeeze in somewhere along it until a table frees up, but we didn't bargain for the manager. he notices us seconds after we enter and swoops down to greet us. a sofa chair is pulled out of nowhere and offered to us in a tiny alcove. a table is promised. a menu thrust upon us. in minutes he has pulled apart the seating at the table of a cosy couple. two extra chairs have been distended from their arrangement and a tiny table conjured up from behind the bar – to make us a cosy table for two. through the evening, waiters descend asking if we are alright. our email id's are requested, our satisfaction levels queried after. everytime we look around, a hovering manager checks in on us.

but apart from these many connections with the managerial staff, we are strangely disconnected. bangalore has never felt this alien. droves of men walk in, in horizontal stripe tee shirts and collared shirts. i have never seen so many collared shirts on a saturday night before. Girl plays spot-a-hot person. i spot a good looking girl walking in to sit at the table next to us, but not much else. we can't seem to find anybody we would want to make conversation with. anybody interesting-looking. we play guess-their-profession. we guess HR, management, software. yawn.

the couples at the table next to us are playing a game too. guy in horizontal striped shirt is playing “how hot is my girlfriend”. his girlfriend's the one we both thought was hot when she entered. the other girl at their table is having her birthday. waiters bring her a little pastry with a lone candle wavering upon it. muted music plays happy birthday. the other three at the table get excited and begin singing happy birthday and photographing her blowing out her candle on their cell phone cameras. they look around to check if people are watching. horizontal stripe shirt man shouts that drinks are on him. he adds on him “at home”. his girlfriend laughs. he goes back to playing “hot or not” about her, now badgering the others at the table to rate her. i'm tempted to raise my glass in a toast to the birthday girl but she isn't looking at me, and Girl is darting them dirty looks.

weird, its been a while since i went out and couldnt find a single person i wanted to go up to and engage in conversation. it's like playing one of those games in a movie museum where a movie runs on a tiny tv screen and you have to feed in dialogue to a microphone, attempting to coincide your conversation with the actors movements. of course you're always functioning completely separately from them and there's a huge disconnect on screen. in a museum its kinda funny, but in real life, watching people streaming in and out, and chattering at tables, it feels sort of like you're watching yourself from the outside, a sort of out-of-body experience.

the droves of single men are scattered around the pub, but they're united by their expression, a sort of waiting expression. it's like they are waiting for something big to happen and just killing time till it does. no one's really into their conversation much or look like they are savouring their drink, instead there is a restlessness in the air, and expectancy. and there's a disconnect with them that i can't pinpoint. it's like there's no hook linking any part of them to any part of us. i can't fathom it. next time, girl and i say we will go to another bar and check about hooks there. maybe we'll have more luck.