“Do you know that song that goes ♬'Nobody loves me but my mother, and she could be jivin’ me too’ ♬ ”.
“Yeah man, that’s B.B. King”.
There was a long pause. I think the very drunk middle-aged man next to me at the bar already knew what he was going to say next, but it depended on me not knowing the song.
Finally, very slurred, “Well yeah, but have you ever met him?”
“B.B. King? No, I’ve never met him. Have you?”, I say enthusiastically, playing along.
“You know it man”
“Where’d you meet him?”
“I was remodeling the fanciest hotel in Vancouver. He sat next to me at the bar just like you and I are now. We talked a bit. I played it cool like he was nobody special, but I knew it was him. Especially when he picked up my whole tab!”
“Yeah man, B.B. King seems like a real class act. I bet that was a great experience”
I smile up to the very attractive young bartender. We had talked at some length earlier, and I thought we could share a quick smile about his old man. But when our eyes met I saw something I didn’t expect. She was completely appalled and disgusted.
That reaction made no sense to me. None at all. Sure, this man was too drunk. He was too old. He was too loud. Later in the conversation I even found out that he was too racist. But why be disgusted?
This old man lived a real life. I’m sure he made mistakes, but right now at this bar he deserved to have someone to talk to at least as much as I did.
The bartender never looked annoyed at me. I told her stories that were equally as predictable and lame. But she was very nice to me. Even flirted with me a little.
At this juncture, I was shocked to think that in her eyes I was so different from this old man.
To her, I was the young, successful, attractive man here killing time before he met his girlfriend for dinner.
To her, he was the old, disgusting waste of space, killing time before he dies.
To ME, the only difference between the two is time and some bad luck.
It’s important to respect all beings. That doesn’t mean that some people don’t get along better than others. And there are certain actions that should result in a level of ostracization from society. But sitting in a bar with strangers telling stories, you’re best to do all you can to enjoy everyone around you. You’re best to see what you have in common before you see what you have in difference.