I found myself at midnight in the Midnight Shift on Tuesday.
A sad confession, I know, especially since I was alone at the time.
I wasn’t meeting up with anyone, or looking to, I was just wide awake, struggling to think of something to write about for this column.
I’m not sure why I thought inspiration would strike at a bar with, oh, maybe 15 people listening to a Bananarama megamix, but this is the type of situation I find myself in occasionally.
Sitting alone at a bar isn’t the social indictment it once was.
It’s not necessarily akin to having a flashing neon Loser sign above your head, nor does it mean you’re there for the sole purpose of engaging in a desperate, late-night rummage.
For the solitary punter, today’s licensed venues provide adequate distraction -“ pool, pokies, plasma screens and people who still think drag is a viable form of entertainment.
Of course, if these offerings prove unsatisfactory, you can always bask in the blue glow of your mobile phone screen.
I had to get a mobile last year for a job.
I no longer have the job, but I’ve formed an intimate relationship with my little plastic companion.
Okay, so he’s not as flashy as some. He doesn’t have a colour screen and he can’t belt out a polyphonic ringtone.
Frankly, the venues provide enough electronic pap as it is.
So he can’t take photos -“ who needs a postage-stamp size memory of their last social engagement?
What he can do is text.
It’s like having all my best friends with me every time I go out.
Evidently this development has not passed unnoticed.
During those nightly fallow periods -“ 8ish, 11ish -“ you can see people everywhere hunched over their phones, the screens illuminating their intense expressions, brows knitted, thumbs twitching.
More than once I’ve been in a bar where the lone texters outnumbered the rest and I’ve wondered if they’re actually conversing with each other -“ u r hot, u r 2, wanna go 2 mine? and K.
Or perhaps they’re not texting anything at all, they’re just avoiding human contact, specifically the human who’s been trying to pick them up all night and still hasn’t taken the hint.
Or maybe they’re just doing what I do and using their mobile as a proxy mate.
What was that last message I wrote? Oh yeah.
midnight at midnight shift -“ bananarama. IT’S WRONG!