I love happy hour. One of my favorite things to do in public, especially in a bar, are creating lives for people I do not know.
Just ahead of me and to the left there is a high top of four older men around the age of retirement. They each take turns leading the conversation that ultimately erupts them into the most contagious laughter. Most people would see this and think nothing more. I immediately am taken to a school playground where one of the guys defended the others against the school bully. This heroic act at the tender age of 8 forged their everlasting brotherhood. They became inseparable. They helped each other through all the darkest days. From what seemed like the end of the world going through the first heartbreak to not knowing how to recover from a loved one dying. But they were also there to celebrate even the smallest of victories to the biggest triumphs. I figured they have a standing date to meet once a week and relive the good ol’ days which brought me back to reality. I fell in love with the fictional life I had created for them.
To my right there is the couple who met for a drink just to test out the waters. This usually ends up one of two ways; They either not keep their hands off each other or not being able to get out of the bar quicker. I usually imagine the awkward dates as a meet up from an online dating service. He is breaking every first date rule by talking just about himself, not asking anything to her and all the while she is trying to figure out exactly how many years ago his dating profile picture was taken. This always makes me giggle. Then there are the couples who act like there is no one else in the room with them. They are intoxicating. It is that fresh puppy love where the world is something you have never experienced before. You never noticed how good flowers smell, how good coffee tastes in the morning and how colorful your surroundings seem. In that moment, their life is perfect in the other and no one could break this connection.
There is the waitress who is working two jobs just to make ends meet, the business man who is convincing himself he made the right decisions, the student using free wifi, and the sweet married couple who know each other so well they could order perfectly for the other. These are people I have never met and made up lives that could be the furthest thing from the truth. However, there are some people that though I may not know you or your life, I see your emotions. I see you at the bar by yourself or sometimes in a group, sipping your drink of choice while just trying to keep it together. I see your mind wander in thousands of directions. You always have the same far off distant stare in your eyes of being somewhere, anywhere than where you presently sit.
I have always been aware of my surroundings and in the process of just looking around I became interested in who occupied the same area as myself. I wonder if this make-believe life I create for these people is an escape from my own stress and sometimes very anxiety inducing world. I try to please everyone in my life and hope that it brightens up their world more than before I was in it. I usually am some kind of referee making sure both sides play fair and get equal playing time. I work hard to make sure I am the best version of me but being my toughest critic, I usually fall short. It is just draining to me. The pressure I put on myself becomes more than I can handle at times and thinking of other lives in almost therapeutic for me. My life isn’t always hectic. There are days that my heart is so full of love it could burst heart confetti onto everyone. There are days that I truly succeed or feel myself moving forward to reach my goals. At the end of the day, no matter what our real lives are, we are all just trying to figure out this crazy thing called life. Isn’t that what happy hour is all about? People are either celebrating or getting the drink they need to figure out their next step.
So, cheers to you because today was a day to celebrate the highs.