Overheard At The Bar: The Lonely Soldier



One of my favorite things to do in the evening is head down to the local bar and grab a drink and a snack before heading home for the night. Most times I either grab a soda, or maybe one beer, and play around on my phone/watch TV and kill an hour of time. While soberly hanging out at a bar, you are going to overhear a lot of things. Here is a sad story about what I overheard at the bar:

There was a man sitting in the center of the bar. He was in the age range of about 50-55 years old but his wrinkles gave the appearance that he had been through some s**t in his time. He was balding with gray hair and the somber look on his face emitted a feeling of sadness.

"I love you baby. I just wanted to call you and tell you how sorry I was for everything I've done. You are so wonderful and I know I'm the opposite of that. I'm sorry for all the trouble I've caused. I just wanted to let you know, before I go, that I love you." He spoke those words as he phoned this woman from his past. Possibly an old girlfriend or an ex-wife.

The man made the phone call because he was about to be shipped off to Afghanistan to serve another tour of duty for the United State Army. He was speaking these words at a bar, around 2pm in the afternoon. He was visibly and audibly intoxicated, and his loud phone call had all the other patrons of the bar almost in tears.


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As he downed shot after shot, the man made a second phone call. This one was to a watch repair shop. He spoke into his phone at a snail like pace, slurring all of his words as he introduced himself to the person on the other end of the phone.

"My....name....is...Jo...Jo...John Doe (real name redacted)...and...I...I...ammm...(pause)...a guy (position redacted) with the US Army...and I...I...I...need my watch...NOWWWW!"

Overhearing the conversation was awful. I felt bad for both the man and whoever was on the other side of the phone call. It was so sad.

The man screamed into his phone demanding that his wristwatch be returned immediately. The tone in his voice was so angry that it was scary. And everyone at the bar could hear it, and see how drunk the man was. And it was late-lunch time, meaning everyone else was sober as a judge.

Eventually the yelling stopped, and the man appeared to be content with whatever the watch repair shop told him on the phone. He thanked them, and hung up the phone.

For the next 10 minutes, the man sat on his stool, drinking straight liquor and looking like a man sitting at his own funeral. He had a blank look on his face, and he wobbled a bit as he sipped on the shot glass.

Then, he picked up his phone again...what happened next was even more sad and hard to listen to. He made the same exact phone call he made before, with the same introduction.

"My....name....is...Jo...Jo...John Doe (real name redacted)...and...I...I...ammm...(pause)...a guy (position redacted) with the US Army...and I...I...I...need my watch...NOWWWW!"


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After that, the same conversation took place that had happened before. It was almost eerie the way the call went, and ended with the man being once again content with the result.

Once again no longer worried about his watch, the man mumbled out an order of soup to the bartender. Once the soup came out, the man realized that the silverware in the napkin did not include a spoon. The intoxicated man's attempt to get a spoon was sadder than the phone call.

The man was so drunk his mind had reverted back to when he was a toddler. He could no longer say the words that he wanted to say. As the bartender walked by, the man attempted to ask for a spoon but all that would come out of his mouth were muted grunts and groans. He would point, and try to talk, and as the wait staff passed him by he would get a horribly sad look on his face.

Finally, the patrons around the man realized what he needed, and let the waiter know that this man needed a spoon. The people didn't want to make the man feel bad, but they knew he was failing, so they sat and waited until they realized that making him feel bad was the only way he would ever get a spoon.

When his soup was finished, the man picked up his phone and once again dialed...and again, but in an even slower, more mumbly, stuttering voice, he repeated his same opening line for the third time.

"My....name....is...Jo...Jo...John Doe (real name redacted)...and...I...I...ammm...(pause)...a guy (position redacted) with the US Army...and I...I...I...need my watch...NOWWWW!"

This was as much as I could take. This poor man. He was about to head to Afghanistan where he would be in immediate danger, and all he wanted was to get his watch. I've never felt worse in my life for some random person at a bar.

I left the bar as soon as I could, and as I walked out the door I thought about the sacrifice that our military members make to ensure that we are safe. I'm not sure if this man was a good guy, a bad guy, or what, I just know that next time I see someone in uniform, I'm going to go up to them and shake their hand to let them know that I appreciate everything they do...and I may cut down on my drinking...

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