February 24, 2007 § 6 Comments
Drinks last night with a new friend, and the night before with an old one. A hangover is keeping me home today, as is the uncompromising February cold.
It isn’t the same now, drinking. The course of conversation is altered, becoming slowly more distracted before stopping altogether. Parkas are zipped, scarves arranged, mittens donned; finally, you venture outside, bracing against the wind as your half-finished drink warms without you on the bar. If you’re lucky, it’s still there when you return. If not, you’re out half a drink.
A truly good conversation is as much an art as good lovemaking, which is to say that both have music at their core. There is a pulse that ebbs and flows, and, underneath, a common rhythm to be found. When it’s good, the conversationalist becomes that rhythm, instinctively responding to the slightest variations in tempo, the little rushes and lags, which conspire to sweeten the story’s eventual resolution.
In this sense, leaving a bar for a cigarette is no different than taking a cold shower every time you think you’re about to come.
As I walked home last night, I toyed with the idea of hosting a smokers’ salon, the primary goal of which would be to preserve the art of conversation during these long winter months. Someone has to do it, no?