Early Friday night over at The Leicester Arms pub was slowly getting crowded and noisy. Being close to Piccadilly Circus and Regent Street is a guarantee for high traffic — tourists, business people on the run from nearby offices, buddies striking a quick one to start the evening before going off to clubs or restaurants. We were just that sort of traffic — get there, get a beer, drink it and get out.
We took turns for getting beers at the bar, then exchanging a few stories and discussing a bunch of little office related gossips and rumors. It was my turn to fetch a couple the beers.
‘Two pints Guiness, please, mate.’
‘Is Guiness any good in London?’ — asked a blond woman next to me waiting for the bartender to total up her purchase. An office worker — white blouse and pants, a big purse on a shoulder, blond hair in a pony-tail. Eyes totally sad, voice lost and unsure.
‘I don’t think it’s bad’ — replied I.
‘Guiness is good only over in Ireland. It hates being transported.’
‘Well, I’d love to be over in Ireland right now, but it’s hardly possible, I think’ — replied I. ‘That does not look like much of a drink, by the way’ — I pointed at a tall glass full of ice, a slice of lime and some transparent liquid at the bottom of it.
‘That’s vodka. Pathetic, isn’t it? It has been a rubbish day and a rubbish week.‘
‘There is not much left of it,’ tried to cheer I, ‘And there will be a new day and a new week.’
‘It will all be just same rubbish.’
‘Well, you’re right, it’ll be the same rubbish, but at least a day will be different.’
‘I’m sorry,’ she said, ‘Have a good evening.’ And left to sit alone at a corner of already occupied table with a bunch of youngsters cheering and drinking beer.
I watched her sit and consume the drink, which she has diluted with some water or coda. Still transparent and looking very cold and sad, just like her. A small island of total isolation and pity in the middle of a crowded bar.
She drank and left, hurrying up to the tube station, to live through the rest of a rubbish evening, not looking much for the rubbish weekend ahead, followed by another set of rubbish-full workdays… Ad infinitum…
And I sat there and thought, why have I not walked over and really tried to cheer her, instead of stupidly rephrasing a “same shit, different day” saying.