Saturday, November 20th, 2010 in The Bronx, N.Y.
It's 4:24 PM in New York City and I just ordered an Irish Coffee in The Rambling House, my favorite Irish bar not only in The Bronx where Rambling House is but in the whole New York city (not that I know all the Irish bars in NY but they're almost the same and they all open very early). Everything is set up the way it should be. We are in an Irish kind of mood for drinks but we're going to listen two non Irish songs.
Earlier, Sophie had the courtesy to provide the songs to us (Monteverdi): Cosi Sik d'un chiara fonte and Hor che'l ciel e La Terra, both sung by Le Poème Harmonique. Strange thing though how they sound here in the middle of all this people talking and the loud music from the speakers. I must look strange to those around me while I do my thing connecting the earpieces to my smart Android phone and putting them into my ears. But maybe they're not paying any attention at all and it's just me thinking they must be looking at me. Anyway, I'm not paying attention to anyone. How could I know for sure if they're interested in me and the things I'm doing?
It helps to feel comfortable being in a place where you are recognized. The male bartender just did that with me. I used to sell Red Bull to them not too long ago. That's why I know the bar very well . That's how it became one of my favorites to go anytime I feel the desire to alter my senses with some drinks.
I'm sitting at the counter which is like an ellipse circling the bar in the center of everything. It is full of people. There are almost not empty places. Most of them are drinking Budweiser, an american beer brand, a few are having Heineken and one or two are drinking Guinness. I was expecting more loyalty and sort of attachment for the Irish brands.
About my coffee I'd say it's delicious, prepared the Irish way topped with cream, you can feel the distinctive flavors melting in your mouth: the whiskey on one side and the bitterness of the hot coffee on the other. I don't know why I think of this like some kind of a poison. Also, that this should be the perfect way to swallow it if you ever have the necessity to do it. Once you take your first sip you're entering into another territory.
A little pause to listen to the music.
One interesting thing about it and is amazing..., even if I hadn't heard these songs before or that the Poème Harmonique was the ensemble in charge of the performance, I would invariably recognize the voice of Claire Lefiliâtre..., but I have to admit, I can not concentrate here. I can't listen to the music well even if I'm trying hard not to pay attention to all the noise around me. I should listen to the noise then... But no, it's interesting the contrast; it's like one cancelling the other and the result I get somehow produces some calming effect in myself.
We shouldn't forget that we're in the Rambling House. People come here exactly to do that: to ramble.
One interesting thing about the places you go in New York city, specially in the boroughs (counties) is that they cater to the local population in their neighborhoods. It exists some kind of separation as well between the people that inhabit them. Some neighborhoods are almost exclusively Jamaican, others Dominican, or Italian, Africans, portorican, and so and so. In the area I'm in now, there are only Irish people and you can tell that in the Rambling House all patrons have that background. I'm the exception, the only Latino (Hispanic) sitting here.
I don't know how they see me but I'm accustomed and I enjoy to cross barriers, boundaries and cultures. I can say that I like the little adjustments you have to make to ease the uncomfortability of going to places different than the ones you're suppose to go because that's where you belong. It's like entering into a different world when you go from one place to the other to see what happens...There are though some fears you have to overcome when you cross some invisible boundaries that are there even if you don't want to see them.
Now I'm indecisive. I don't know if I ask for another Irish coffee or I switch to Jameson with Red Bull. The music is over again after repeating the songs two times. Ok, I'll go for the Jameson! As long as it is Irish there's not problem. In the end it's almost the same. Jameson it's a very recognizable Irish whiskey and the main ingredients in Red Bull are derived from coffee... Pretty woman on Rambling House speakers... and back to my ear plugs where I'm going to let the music continue to play: Claire Lefilliâtre and six Spanish songs from Manuel de Falla....
And I don't want to write anymore! Looks like I am very thirsty... I Just want to do what I do best which in this case is enjoying the drink, observing people and guessing what they are feeling or thinking based on what their expressions and their body language show....And I think I'll need more than this...., but not too much maybe another one (don't forget: drinking and driving in NY don't mix, neither in the USA, nor anywhere).