Yesterday UJ and I decided — unwisely, it turned out — to go to a sports bar to watch the Browns. The place was crowded with hopeful fans, so we had to share a long table with a couple. As the game started, an old guy asked if he could sit at the table, too.
We said sure . . . and then I was surprised to see that, rather than sitting in an open chair farther down, the guy sat right at UJ’s elbow. During the game he kept chattering away and interrupting, clearly hoping to engage us in conversation. At first it was weird and annoying, but eventually it got to be so absurd it was funny. As the Browns’ horror show mounted, it became one source of humor in another otherwise grim Browns debacle.
It reminded me of an experience Kish and I had on a trip. When we passed through a common room in a hotel, an older man was sitting there with a few bottles of wine and invited us to come back for a “wine tasting.” Kish felt sorry for him and said we should join him, so later we did. The guy turned out to be a colossal know-it-all who chattered away non-stop, overriding the comments of others and one-upping every observations and anecdote. No matter the topic, he knew more about it than you did. Name a place, even a remote spot in a foreign land, and he had had an extraordinary experience there. It was an amazing performance — so extraordinary that when Kish and I finally escaped the onslaught, we also got a few laughs out of it.
Although they produced a few chuckles, the incidents with the Wine Guy and the Random Browns Fan were kind of sad, too. I can see going to a bar to watch a game on satellite dish that’s not on regular TV; I’ve done it before. But I’ve never tried to intrude on the conversations of others, and I’ve certainly never bought a few bottles of wine in hopes of enticing random people to sit and listen to my boring tales. (That’s what a blog is for!)
There must be a lot of lonely old guys out there, searching for positive human contact.