Last night, M and I were sitting in this amazing little pub here in Aberdeen. I was eating some sort of amazing chili thing, she fish and chips. We were talking; I was imbibing cider. The staff was kind and cordial without being too doting. The music featured George Michael and the Jackson 5. We had a cozy table. Lovely. . .
Then, in wandered 25 or 30 rowdy, loud teenagers in . . . golf pants, golf gloves, visors, and lots and lots of argyle. They were tossing back drinks with the energy of frat boys, and then randomly falling to the floor or jumping onto the railings or chairs around the pub. There was much picture taking, and even what looked like a professional photographer in the midst. It was quite intriguing, if a little loud and annoying.
When the barkeep came back to take our payment, I asked what was going on (as an American, I can express interest – or at least think I can – in most things without seeming too ignorant). He, with a rather intense eye roll said, “Pub Golf. It’s a thing the kids do.” I asked if it made him tips or good money. Another eye roll. . . “Hopefully they’ll be gone soon.”
As other non-quasi-golfing patrons and waitstaff wandered by our table, we experienced a social phenomenon that I like to think of as “communal suffering and annoyance.” Men would walk by on the way to the Gents and shake their heads; our waitress sort of groaned when she checked on us. The women in the bathroom were muttering in solidarity. The pub golfers brought us together.
Then, they wandered into the street to drink at another at least 8 pubs. My guess, the way these guys were going, they were going for the full 18.
The experienced reminded me of the first time I was in Britain, studying in southern England, and I was in a little pub where the American students were learning to play skittles. I went out to the bar to sit and “relax” and before I knew it a large group of rugby players were in the room. . . but that’s a story for another time. . . (see how I built in a little intrigue there. . . I’m tricky, I know).
M and I stayed a while and more – again without having to shout so loud that we started to cough – and headed home for a little Daily Show on delay via the wonder of the web.
But the pub golfers stayed with me because they reminded me of something crucial about writing – i.e. you can write about anything that’s interesting or that you can make interesting. (If I didn’t make this experience interesting, don’t tell me; I’m still on vacation.) Anything – even the annoyances of life that involve really bad, baby pink argyle – can turn into an essay. That’s the thing I probably love most about writing – the world is my oyster, or in this case my pint of Strongbow cider.
So what rather puzzling, goading, fascinating experiences have you had? How could you write about them? Tel me your stories; you just read mine.