Obnoxious loud-talkers who sit at bars, rank right up there with dogs who lift their legs on your welcome mat.
Take, for instance, the fella at the bar beside me. He launched into a well-rehearsed speech about his world travels. First, the Alps. Then, Belgium, France, Italy, South Africa, Timbuktu.
By then, people at the bar had cleared out.
He asked me, “You done much traveling?”
I shook my head and said, “No, but I’ve woken up in a cattle pasture.”
Loud-Talker rolled his eyes. “See?” he went on. “Now THAT’S your problem. You can’t find your true-self unless you TRAVEL!”
So, I paid my tab and traveled my true-self outside.
The truth is, I’ve never owned a passport, never stepped foot in Canada, and the closest I’ve come to self-discovery was South Texas in July, where I saw a real mirage.
I’m uninteresting on paper. I concede. But I regret nothing.
My life hasn’t been bad. After all, I’ve known exceptional people. Like my friend who I’ll call, Alan. Alan has no face. Nothing but eyes and pink flesh. This happened when he woke up in a burning mobile home. Pieces of the smoldering ceiling fell on his face while he slept.
Alan taught me more about life than any passport could.
I’ve also done fun things:
I’ve fallen asleep in the Conecuh River—only to wake up half-naked, sunburned, and lost. I’ve climbed hundred-foot oaks. I’ve seen every Andy Griffith episode.
I’ve worked construction with Mexicans who cooked lunch on their tailgates. I’ve watched the sunrise on the beach with Guillermo, Gehu, and Paco, who all missed their mamas.
I’ve sat in Bryant-Denny stadium and gone deaf. I’ve visited nursing homes and heard stories from the elderly—who know exponentially more than I do. I’ve laid good dogs in the dirt. I’ve visited Lambert’s, in Foley, Alabama.
You want more? Fine. I’ve known love. In fact, I know her so well, she took my last name. I’m also proud to say that at important dinners, I’m the guest of honor at the kids table.
I’ve stood around a fire-pit with Mama, discussing the man whose ashes we scattered in the mountains. I’ve played the triangle-game in Cracker Barrel, and won.
I’ve watched my buddy Alan strut into a supermarket, knowing full well that everyone would stare at him. And that some folks wouldn’t have the stomachs to look very long. And Alan has the gall not hold it against them.
Loud-Talker told me he discovered his true-self on the streets of Kathmandu. Well. I just hope he realizes how lucky he is.
Alan found himself the hard way.