Last night my husband Mike and I wanted to do something besides shovel snow so we went to a bar and grill in Montclair, NJ that makes one of the best burgers you’ll ever taste. When we walk in the door awe usually see someone we know and we see the “regulars.” The “regulars” are distinctive either in looks or attitude or fortitude (you notice them by virtue of the sheer amount of alcohol they consume without falling off their bar stools).
Last night Mike and I saw a couple I call Dick and Jane; they are regulars we’ve seen absolutely every time we’ve gone to this bar and grill. Atypical this evening, though, Dick and Jane arrived after Mike and I. Happily ensconced on bar stools sipping our drinks, I saw Dick and Jane first. I nudged Mike and he, good husband that he is, obediently glanced over his should toward the door. Dick and Jane, looking as somber as usual, glanced around the large oval bar for two vacant barstools. Only thing was that Mike and I had copped the last two open bar stools. Interested, I watched what Dick and Jane would do: Would they take a seat at one of the very few open tables? Would they stand bellies to the bar? Would they leave? I was curious.
Dick and Jane settled for the one available bar stool; it was hiding in a far corner and Jane dragged it over to the bar. Dick sat and Jane stood. She’s lanky and he’s a bit shorter. I wondered if he had back problems. The bartender brought them their usual drinks: beer for Dick and White Zinfandel for Jane.
Dick and Jane qualify as regulars for another reason: They are distinctively dressed. They always wear matching barn coats, those button-down-the-front army green-colored, hip-length jackets with the brown corduroy collars In addition, they wear matching expressions; they look serious to the point of severe. Unlike Mike and me, I’ve never seen them talking or even looking at each other. They sit at the bar, drinks in hand, and gaze off into space, neither looking to the left or right. After a couple of drinks, they leave. If they weren’t wearing matching coats and expressions and sitting next to each other you’d think they were two random people who had stopped in for a quick drink.
During a lull in our conversation some time later, Mike nudged me to take a look over at Dick and Jane. She was talking to Dick and he was listening. She was gesturing and Dick was watching her. Whoa! Talk about a sea change in behavior! This was one set of regulars who deviated from their norm. On the other hand, the couple to my right, definitely regulars, continued with their norm: first they took a shot and then they drank a beer. Okay, so some things don’t change.