Down in an orange county canyon, there was a bar not far from the foothill towns. I was with a local, we had got some beers in the afternoon, and now with the sun setting beyond the darkening hills, and the bar, noisy with a few people, dressed in leathers, where there are mountain lions, and cougars, and panthers, which give an air of danger, the possibility of an insecurity, not felt, or perhaps not imagined in the city around about.
It might be more dangerous with the humans around. Who can tell a foreigner, in a strange place. I have walked into bars in Boston, with closed windows and dim lights, where on enquiring, “do you know the way to route 93”, there will be a sideways look, a shrug, and not a word is spoken. It is then you feel the danger, and the naivety of a stranger wandering into somewhere, other wise local people would never tread.
In the canyon bar, with the bikes in their heavy chrome jackets out there. Something wild, like from before, perhaps before the goldrush, or before the strip malls came, but wild all the same. After the first beer, and you get to look around. Enough sense of security to make eye contact, and read the notice board, and listen to the conversational hum, outside and in. The engines and the leather, and the noise of the Harley’s arriving one by one, in groups of two or three.
In the middle distance, against the fence, just near another table, a chair with stencilled in red paint “Security”. The chair was unusual,… it was the only metal chair out in the dusty courtyard, it was a nice design – polished alumium, with an art deco flair.., but it was there, heavily secured to the fence, with a padlock and a chain. The padlock, like most padlocks in the universe, had probably not been opened for some time, perhaps the key was lost. The chair like the key, looked unique in the courtyard, populated by wooden tables and other things under the sun.
We wandered around the courtyard, looking over the bikes, chatting to the owners. On returning to our bench, I noticed an older guy had turned up drinking beer in a large black leather tankard. Had sat himself down in the chair stencilled “Security”. Not talking, but secure in his position and role in the courtyard. While all the younger people on bikes and in the bar, were talking and making life, here he was sitting on the secured designer chair, like he owned the place, if not for himself, for the security of the place, and I thought of a place in singapore, there was a guy there, who came in each evening, to play pool. He was thin, and keen of eye, but possibly well into his eighties, and this guy could beat anyone at pool, and he drank a stack of beer, big schooner glasses one by one. He would carefully place the beer on the side of the table, take aim and then pull the pool queue and let go, changing the universe once again with the successful sinking of balls, one by one. Never said a word, never smiled, just played pool, with a kind of happy look in his eye. He had his place, he came there every night… he probably still does…
There is something about having an older wiser guy, who’s lived through life, seen it all, and happy to not chatter away, making noise, but still keen to be there among the younger people who do, perhaps making the place a bit more secure, like a guardian angel in a way, a guardian about to become an angel of sorts, with old thoughts, and old ideas, of a world gone by. Thinking, drinking his beer, like everyday, sitting in his unique metal chair, with his name on it, in the yard, in the canyon, with the sun going down.