I went out with friends to celebrate Halloween this weekend, as people tend to do. We walked to our first crowded bar of the night, all dressed up and festive, excited for a good night out on the town. A guy larger than most humans stood at the door to verify, one-by-one, if we were eligible to enter. Since we all qualified, he let us through the threshold into a jam-packed room where dozens and dozens of people crowded a single bartop.
“I want to get you a drink,” my girlfriend proclaimed, making her way as close to the bartop as possible and eventually ordering a beer.
A few minutes later she weaved back through the crowd of people with drinks in hand, presenting one to me like a gift. Just as I was halfway through saying “Thank you,” one of the people in this massively overcrowded room bumped into both of us, presumably working their way up to the same countertop to get their own libation. Some of my beer spilled. Not much, but some. There was definitely still enough to enjoy.
“Oh man, I’m so sorry,” he said.
“It’s ok,” I said. “Sh** happens.”
He offered to buy me another, which seemed silly considering how much of my beer was still left. Sure, that one or two sips that had fallen into oblivion were gone forever, but there was still a lot of left in my mug to enjoy. And the night was young. That big guy at the door wasn’t limiting us all to just one then sending us on our way. Theoretically, I could stay all night and drink more beers if I chose to. Yeah, I’d have to go back and wait in line like everybody else, but eventually, I’d get mine. I told the stranger I appreciated the gesture but really, it wasn’t a problem.
Now, had he knocked over my beer on purpose, I would have felt different. But he didn’t. I know this because, well, common sense. The people intentionally knocking beers out of hands aren’t the norm in this world. In fact, it would be silly to just assume that a random guy in a bar would intentionally bump into me, like some kind of peacocking display for the rest of the crowd. It actually sounds a bit narcissistic to assume that somebody else’s unintended mistake is an intentional attack on me…all over a beer. Sometimes mistakes are just simple mistakes, even if some people make them more than others.
In case you missed it, yes, beers are a metaphor for waves here. And most of the ways we think we’re supposed to act in the lineup are honestly pretty ridiculous when you think about them in the real world (see the video above). Like a guy intentionally stealing waves (or beer) from you.
I did finish my drink, eventually. It was good. I still enjoyed every bit of it that was left in my glass. And at one random point later in the night the beer spiller walked by again, this time holding a brew in each hand. He handed one to me. It was good. I enjoyed it just as much as the first one. No more. No less.