What the pub did for me

A shandy at the WarringtonAt a pub, I learned the English are hard to get to know.

But once you know them, it’s hard to let them go. And they don’t let go easy. They are like old dogs. Completely faithful. But they probably won’t leap up when you come in.

In a pub I learned how beautiful cigarette smoke is, filtered in the late afternoon sunlight, or swirling around an old geezer’s face, as he grips a warm bitter. He licked the paper of that cigarette himself. I watched him tuck the tobacco in with his thumb.

In a pub, I learned that some people don’t live in their homes. They only exist there, alone and bored. Lonely and sad, making noodles for one. At their local pub, they have friends and there is always someone to drink with.

If I lived in London, I lived in a pub. If I drank in London, I bought one for the guys at the bar, and one for the barmaid serving me.

If I lived in London, I was happier in the pub with no music. I was honored when the governor himself served me, and wiped the bar up with a towel after the pint dribbled. I was glad because the doors were propped open 9 months of the year, the air blowing through, and dogs lay content and miserable all at once at the feet of their wobbly people.

The pub is home for anyone who is British, however temporary. I had one of my own, in Maida Vale, but there are plenty of pubs to go around. Everywhere you go. One for you and one for everybody.

There must be, because a pub is home.

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Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She teaches and speaks about the rhetorical impact of beautiful writing. A recent transplant to Connecticut, she calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home. 

  2 comments for “What the pub did for me

  1. Grinder
    May 30, 2007 at 7:53 am

    “They are like old dogs. Completely faithful. But they probably won’t leap up when you come in.”

    And probably don’t need to go out every 8 hours to use the grass!!

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