Isn’t human nature a bitch! During a language (English) lesson today, someone asked me if I loved Happy Hours and I said I did. Well who doesn’t? At given hours, you go to a bar, and for every drink you order you get a serving of free finger foods….the magic word here is FREE. That IS what makes Happy hour HAPPY, the concept of getting something for free. When I lived in the Caribbean, I remember, the busiest hours at the bars were happy hours. Happy hour was also the rowdiest hour when any imbecile that had two brain cells to rub together used it to create a scene.
For a writer, such scenes are a gold mine for character mining. So in a way it was fun. However, I was NOT a regular. If anything, I avoided happy hour. For two reasons. I was working as the Editor of one of the leading newspapers on the Island and I was careful not to party with the locals. I guess you can call it ‘taking care of my reputation’. I’m sort of eccentric you see. To the average eye, I look like a party animal, and more so because I enjoy people, I wear a happy disposition most of the time and tend to be bubbly and lively around others. I’ve been told often enough that smiles and laughter comes easy with me. It is true too. But my most enjoyable moments involve very few people. I enjoy twosomes, I enjoy my own company. Heck I am a Gemini! I can’t be bored as I always have something interesting going on either around me or inside me.
I didn’t chose to be a writer because it was a financially rewarding career, I chose to write because I can get lost in worlds I create. And I can create worlds that entertain ME if the one I find myself in stresses me out. One of the men in my class made an interesting observation about the little town I live in, he said “The average age of the people in Rapallo is 95, it is full of acidic senior citizens!” I agreed with him during the lesson because in a literal way, it seems so. There are more older people than not. However, when I was driving back home and I recalled that line I burst out laughing. I’ve lived in this little town for about a decade and I don’t consciously feel like I am surrounded by old people.
Granted, the first time I came here, I though I was in a retired hometown of sorts. There were old people everywhere. Now don‘t get me wrong, I have nothing against old people. However, when the average figure you see is one of a bent frail person all bones and wrinkles with a sad gloomy expression, it puts a dent on your spirit. My first thought? “Great! How am I supposed to survive here? Who will I make friends with?” Where I come from, friendship between people with a huge age gap is rare. I figured, well, these people surely must have younger relatives (?)
I decided to resolve that dilemma by going where ‘young people would go’ - bars or parks right? WRONG. It was the right venue though for those sneaky old bastards to stick their greasy a$$es, staring and making indecent proposals because after all I was a coloured woman and coloured women are call girls. Yep, they told me just that to my face! As time rolled by, I learned something important, it doesn’t matter if I was young and wanted to dress in a trendy manner, I don’t have the liberty to dress the way my Italian age mates would. If they dressed trendy, they are ‘young’ if I did, I was ‘provocative’. So that began the end of Happy Hours for me, the end of trendy dressing and the end of high heels.
The old women however, were different. They were full of nostagia, they had stories to tell, they gave advices, they shared about the 'mysteries' of life. I learned from them, the value of friendship, the importance of relationships and the true meaning of loneliness. Yes, I have a substantial numebr of elderly friends. I guess that is partly the reason why I don't feel like I am surrounded by old people any more. On the other hand though, I've a handfull of younger friends as well, some as young as in their twenties.
I still love happy hour, but I have learned to create mine. Happy hour is that hour I have friends over for a meal and we sit back afterwards with a couple bottles of wine being silly and laughing at nothing! Yes…I still love happy hours for the FREE stuff I get, the free sincere company of friends.