Julie Seedorf: An open letter to an unknown man at the bar

Published 1:00 am Monday, October 16, 2017

Something About Nothing by Julie Seedorf

Marguerite Duras once said, “Alcohol is barren. The words a man speaks in the night of drunkenness fade like the darkness itself at the coming of day.”

As I read this quote I wondered if the young man at the bar the other evening might remember his behavior or if it faded like the darkness at the coming of the day.  I don’t know his name. I hadn’t seen him before. I noticed him early in the evening because he seemed like a nice young man — smiling, joking and quietly drinking. He would have been someone I and my friends wouldn’t have thought about again the next day or ever. But because of his behavior, he will stay in our minds for quite a long time.

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I remember being young and I remember times when things got out of hand with the people I was with. I didn’t always drink, so I wasn’t always amused at the behavior. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have times when I, too, might have one too many and my behavior wasn’t anything to be proud of.

Age and experience have changed things in my household in regard to alcohol, so I am not writing about this subject of over-imbibing because I am judging. I am writing out of concern and experience.

As our casual, relaxing evening with friends progressed, the mood of the bar got increasingly louder and more animated because of this one patron. Loud vulgarities and obnoxiousness came out of his mouth and took over his behavior. It isn’t that we hadn’t heard bad language before, but trust me this man’s mouth blasted over the entire establishment and all were chatting about it. He became belligerent and aggressive. Bar stools got knocked over from his sloppiness, and the atmosphere for the rest of the customers turned from fun to concern. I don’t know what his friends thought about his behavior but I will tell you this, he made our night memorable.

One member of my group asked the bartender if he needed help with the inebriated person. He said he could handle it. My husband and I used to bartend, and in those days if we had someone like this young man, and when I say young I mean under 30, we would have called the police and had him hauled out, but times have changed.

In the old days I wouldn’t have thought anything about confronting this young man and trying to get him to tone down, but in those days not everyone carried guns. I think some of the customers were concerned that this out of control behavior could be detrimental if someone interfered, because of the possibility of his carrying a weapon.

We left by 9 p.m., and this unknown young man was still going strong and getting louder. I have no idea what happened after we left. He was with his friends. I hope they drove him home.

Seeing this behavior made me sad, and I do have a message. To the under 30 young man in the bar the other night:  I almost took a video. It was tempting to record your behavior and put it online and maybe — just maybe — you would see it and it would be enough for you to get help, although, I doubt it. I am sure you probably won’t remember your evening, but the rest of the people in the bar will. I would guess this wasn’t the first time your behavior was out of hand. I hope it was your last. If you recognize yourself in this column, please get help. You might not only save your life but the life of the person in the other car if you choose to drink or drive. Change your life before you don’t have a life to change.

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at hermionyvidaliabooks@gmail.com.