We were at the bar for Trivia Night recently when I looked around from my perch in the front corner of the room, our favorite place to sit. As I glanced at what was happening around me I realized that the scene looks basically the same every Tuesday night we’re there.
Outside of our comfy chairs, the tables are full of other trivia teams, most of them regulars like us. The beertenders (because this is a beer bar; they don’t serve hard liquor) are smiling and chatting with customers. The young girls who work at the Mexican restaurant next door enter the bar every few minutes with food orders, glancing around the room with squinty eyes until they find the table they’re looking for, their pace quickening as they stride over to deliver a large brown paper bag or two. Usually the owner of the pizza place across the street appears early in the evening, setting two large complimentary pizzas on a table near the beer coolers with the hope that all of us will enjoy it and order from him on another night, when we’re paying. Laughter rises up randomly in different areas of the room while we wait for our Trivia Host to set up and eventually, we start the game. These “Groundhog Day” Tuesdays are fun, of course, and somewhat comforting in their sameness…but naturally they aren’t really the same. Things are happening outside, behind the scenes, and inside everyone’s minds: we just don’t always know about it.
This realization-of-the-obvious has been, over the past year, brought to light for me by a young woman on one of the other teams. I don’t know her name. I don’t actually know anything about her except that she attends Trivia Night almost every week, she smiles a lot, and always exchanges kind words with the Trivia Host.
One Tuesday night I wondered if she might be pregnant. Even if I knew her, I never would have asked for confirmation. Never ask a woman if she’s pregnant, ever ever ever. The people who need to know? They know.
The truth soon became apparent to the general public because every week her stomach grew a little larger. Then one night she appeared at the bar with her husband and a baby carrier and the cutest little weeks-old baby boy with a full head of fuzzy black hair.
Here’s where you might feel the urge to quote the movie “Sweet Home Alabama” by exclaiming, “Look at you…you have a baby, in a bar!”
Ironically, it’s been in watching this beautiful baby boy get a little bigger every time I see him in the mostly static setting of Trivia Night that the idea of “the only constant in life is change” has been firmly cemented in my mind. Of course I’ve known that for a long time now, but I finally feel like it’s a part of me.
It’s a good reminder of how time flies and nothing is permanent, no matter how we choose to spend our days. Life is short, and while we don’t notice the act of aging in those around us week by week (unless we hang out with babies), it’s all happening around us. I’ve gotten pretty good at spending my valuable time doing things that I enjoy as much as possible, being with the people who fill me up rather than drain me, and being grateful for all of it. Something could change tomorrow and I might not have the same opportunities. Can you say the same? Think about it and let me know.