Next time we'll wear sneakers
Amazingly, we can't find a place to get a cup of coffee on this part of Broadway at 1 in the morning. Coffee's probably nearby if we just hunt hard enough. But one of us is wearing a pair of brand new shoes that have been doing a number on that one of us' feet and a lot of walking's not in the cards. We wander a block, down to 8th Ave. and have a choice between a too brightly lit bread and dessert place and a not too dimly lit bar. We choose the bar where the one of us with the new shoes thinks she can kick them off under a table where no one will see or care.
Close to last call, the place is nearly empty except for a group of tall, burly middle-aged men in jeans and workshirts at the bar.
"Bears," Uncle Merlin tells me the next day when I tell him about it. He's thinking like a gay man.
"Stage hands," I counter, thinking like a theater buff who knows the bar's around the corner from Studio 54 where the Roundabout Theatre Company's staging Threepenny Opera and figuring that at this time of night, the final curtain having been wrung down a couple of hours ago, the props have all just been put away and the stage dressed for tomorrow's performance and now it's Miller Time.
I suppose we both could have been right, though we were both just as probably wrong.
Whatever they were, they all smiled at us and nodded as we came in, and the middle-aged waitress who had just cashed out and was on her way home welcomed us and showed us to a back table as if she had been able to tell at a glance we were looking for a little quiet space to ourselves and she apologized in a sincere and friendly voice that she couldn't take our orders herself but the bartender would be glad to help us, which he was, and he didn't care that all we wanted was a couple of sodas and he pretended not to see when the new shoes were kicked off and so we finished the night there, talking quietly, sipping sodas, relaxing and unwinding, content and happy, but thinking next time we'll wear sneakers.