Saturday, February 11, 2012

Happy Hour at CRUM's

Keith walked in the bike shop tonight about quarter to six.  In his one hand, his typical coffee cup.  In the other hand, a small brown fancy boutique paper bag with twisted loop handles.  Two clear bottles stuck out of the top with just enough showing to invite curiosity and maybe toss a hint of what was inside if one knew Keith like I did.

I was in the last gasps of a "Rock Shox Reba RLT" fork install.   The customer, Young Jim, and I were finally figuring out where we went wrong when hooking up that cutting edge Pop Lock Button for the fork lock out. 

I was ready to be in an end of the week bad mood when I looked up and saw Keith.  I took a second or two to recognize the bag.  I smile,  "Hey Keith you asshole, finally brought me something beside a smile and a handshake.  About fuckin time jerkwad."

"Got any ice?"  Keith sets his fancy boutique paper bag on Bike Shop Jim's work bench.  Reaching in, he first pulls out a bottle of Schweppes Tonic Water.  Then with some over the top gesticulating pizazz and fanfare, he pulls a half full pint of Gordon's London Dry Gin out of the bag.

I look at the spirits he offers.  On automatic when offered free booze, "No.  But who needs ice?  I do have some cups."

If Keith is present and gin is in the vicinity, I let him take charge.  The man knows how to mix gin and tonic - light on the tonic, heavy on the gin.  Especially if it's decent gin.  I hand him the cups and finish up business with Young Jim.  Young Jim passes on the offer of a cocktail.  Tells us A has told him they have to clean the apartment before they go bowling with friends.  Keith and I look at each other and grin.  We both remember those early years of domestic cohabitation and trying to fit our sorry guy asses in with a woman's program that hasn't been in play long enough to account for what sorry ass companions we guys can really be.

It took two stiff cocktails each and a thirty minute conversation to finish that pint of Gordon's London Dry Gin.  We discussed bike geek intricacies of various high end bike componentry.  We went over Keith's day on the slopes up to Attitash Mountain.  Crowded he said.  Damn Mass-holes everywhere.  And none of them knew how to ski.

At some point, maybe mid way through that second drink, we both fell silent.  Keith stared at his drink and absentmindedly circled jerked his cup and watched it as it twirled.  I zoned out and stared at the new wheel I just built for my commuter bike.  Each of us lost in personal moments and appearing grateful to share them silently with each other.

Keith suddenly looked at his watch.  "Uh oh, time to go  Paula's got dinner waiting.."  He got up to leave.  I nodded at him and smiled. 

Now I sit here at my computer trying to relay the absolute perfection of that half hour sharing drinks and conversation with a good friend.  Nothing earth shattering transpired.  No problems were identified, solved, or resolved .  Nothing heartfelt was passed from one to the other.  I guess that is what was so special.  Neither of us felt the need to do anything but enjoy the drink and the company. 

Who needs money to be rich?  I have all I need if I have a friend or two, a wife who puts up with me, and a dog or cat ear to scratch every once in awhile.



Kulkuri said...

With a true friend you don't need to be talking all the time. You can appreciate each other's company silently.

Mr. Charleston said...

There is nothing I cherish more than moments like that with old friends.

Demeur said...

As Dana would say "life is good".

Love the graphic of your last post.

okjimm said...

well, I think Gin sucks.... so if I brought Scotch and water... would you still talk with me& help me replace my brake pads?


silence is golden

BBC said...

Rick and I do that all the time, sometimes we talk, sometimes we don't, we can just sit there and drink together and be fine with it.

Ol'Buzzard said...

There is a camaraderie with male friend over a drink that women can't understand.
the Ol'Buzzard

Randal Graves said...

In other words, yay booze.

PipeTobacco said...


Excellent essay! It describes well the effect, impact, intent and joy of the similar friendship and sharing of pipes and libations I have with my elderly father-in-law.

The essay brightened my day. And to okjimm... it is sad (for you) that you do not like gin. I alternate back and forth between whiskey and gin and brandy with my father-in-law. Each is good.


okjimm said...

Mr Pipe.... just never developed a taste for Gin or Vodka. :) To be honest, I am mostly 'just' beer drinker... micro-brewed...not mass produced swill. Anyways... a drink with friends is a special event. Stuff&such...if my friends liked Gim and stopped in...why gosh, I would keep a bottle. ;)