Glass windows. Line of people outside, huddled under the awning out of the rain. Damp shirts and moisture-splattered jackets. What, we're going in here? Yes. Yes? Yes, do you want a drink? A drink? Um... Through the door. People smash in on all sides. Bodies everywhere. I need to step back, their faces seem pressed up against mine.
Oh, there you all are. I lost sight of you in the dim light. No, I don't think I'll put my jacket down. I'm fine. Is there music on, the way some of you keep swaying back and forth? No room to sway, but you're doing it anyway. But all I hear is the constant din. Noise, that's the only word to describe it, just noise. Some people at a booth are having burgers and fries, and I feel like I'm practically sitting in their food. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, but no one apologizes in a place like this. I'm in all of your laps. The group bunches so close together we might as well all be standing in a closet. I wring my neck just to see the person standing next to me. The conversation spins faster and faster.
Laughter. Voices. All of it smashed together, a processed, ground-beef patty of noise. I can't pitch my voice just right to be heard over it. Assuming that it is possible to hear anything through this - I can't hear myself, can't hear anyone, and it astonishes me that anyone can. Oh hi, how are you. Every time I say something, you say what and I talk louder, practically shouting, and you tilt your head to hear me. I'm talking into the hole in your head, into your head and the pinna of your ear, not into your face, and it bothers me. Look at me. Watch my face. Someone asks if I want something - oh, it's food, some kind of food - and my hand raises in the sign for food and drink. Are you getting anything to eat or drink? But you don't know sign. Shoot. I shout again. How much easier this would be if I could just fingerspell and have you U-N-D-E-R-S-T-A-N-D. But I can't see anyway. Touche.
Neon signs. Television blaring. Advertisement swoops up for NCAA March Madness. Barista swoops in and out with drinks. Walls are a rose pink. I stare at the artwork. Most of it seems a touch raunchy, advertising drinks with suggestive names. Friends lean in past me to talk to each other. I've just shaken the hand of a guy whose name I keep missing. He's cute enough, but - no, never mind, not if he talks like that. Not a snowball's chance of understanding him. I'm weaving through the sheets of people. All of these vertical bodies, no room to be horizontal. My eyes hurt, and it feels like I'm squinting through smoke, but there's no smoke in here, only darkness. Yet the way everyone else talks seems so natural. What? Repeat that, please? Um, yeah. Okay. Everyone's laughing. What did you say? Never mind.
And, finally - you're heading out of here? Now? Can I go with you?
(How I feel when I go out to a bar with friends on a Friday night. What a wonderful college pastime. And my friends ask me why I'm boring and stay in on the weekends.)