Every Thursday Someone picks me up after work and we go to our favorite pub for show tunes and libations. The bar consists of an outside lounge area and an inside spot with bar, stage and tables. In clement weather the wall dividing the two areas is rolled up to connect the spaces. Someone and I like to sit at the bar, to better see the videos and be near to Kat, my future ex-wife, who ‘mans’ the place.* The average age of the patrons at Kobalt (for that is the name of the gin-joint) is ‘up there’, reflecting the demographics of thems who still go to bars. Last night, to my amazement, sitting out in the lounge area, were four young men. The fellows, who looked to be on their early 20s, weren’t watching the screens but chatting among themselves while they all looked down into their laps at their cellphones. I felt as if I was observing a herd of animals thought to be extinct. I cannot remember when I last saw young people – let alone at a bar.

When I was in my 20s, back before cellphones (can you imagine?) in order to find future ex-wives or other types, one went to a bar. There was nowhere else to go other than dangerous places. These bars were fun, often crowded, and with the sense of adventure who knows what sorts you may meet. There was a careful craft of chatting -or cruising if that was what you wanted. Over the decades the bars declined in number and in necessity. Youngsters can find similar sorts elsewhere, and with apps one does not need to go out looking for disquisitions. Bars – what few still up and going – are considered ‘fogey’. They are still good for a fundraiser but what’s the point of going to just hang? Besides, they play old movies and old music sang by old people. Impudence !

I had mixed feelings about seeing the lads. Part of me was happy to think gay bars may be having a come back** if the next generation starts going. Another part felt like an old geezer watching whippersnappers walking on my lawn. I wanted to go over to the group and schmooze a bit as if we were in the 80s again but I sensed they wouldn’t have a clue how to do this and I would be seen as an interloper, an object of suspicion, or worse yet – a wicked old screw. So I didn’t. I sat with my boulevardier (not rubbish) and listened to Babs singing “Don’t rain on my parade” which is probably another one the kids out front haven’t a clue.

I will be curious to see how fare the bars now that the covid19 restrictions are loosening up. After a year of isolation perhaps folks – even the young ones – will want to congregate for company again. I hope the oldsters make them welcome and Kat keeps employed.

Speaking of company, last night one of the youngsters came in to use the loo and he stopped at the bar to ask Kat what was presently playing. It was “Being Alive’ from ‘Company’. Someone have to restrain me from falling off my barstool or swatting the scoundrel when he voiced ignorance of song, musical, and the composer. This is what happens when kids are let loose unsupervised.

*Someone need not worry. Kat may be #1 on my list for future ex-wives, but her list of future ex-wives is quite long and I’ve lost count where I stand. The likelihood of us getting together is less than winning the lottery.

**”I hate that word ! (said Norma Desmond) It’s a return”.