I got to the bar a quarter of an hour after our predetermined time. She was sitting on the far end of the bar in a cute red and black dress. Her dark hair had been straightened and the dress artfully exhibited her tasteful tattoos.
My approach was noticed and I was welcomed with open arms and a hug. We had met once before in a brief exchange, but this friendly reintroduction was nice. As we took our place at the bar we ordered drinks and started a conversation.
"So you are also from New Orleans?" I asked.
She proudly answered, "Sure am, Cabrini, class of 2009!" She took a shot of chilled Jameson and added, "But what are you doing here?"
"Oh, that question...", I murmured. "It's temporary right now." I assured while leaning back, stretching my arms and placing my hands behind my head. "I'm just waiting for my time to be back in the mountains! I have a big winter trip planned and I'm hoping to guide again for rafting season."I continued as to not have a lull in the conversation.
She looked genuinely interested, "That's so awesome that you are living the life you want. Camping is really cool, I wish I could go more often but no one wants to take me." Her eyes became glassy and focused on a point not in this room. She was dreaming, "I would love to do Machu Picchu one day or see Grand Canyon. Nature is so beautiful sometimes!"
I wanted to keep on that topic, but before I could add something a gentleman approached. The same greeting I received was also given to him. He had a well manicured beard, a beanie cap, and was wearing a nice classic flannel. His pants were heavy canvas and a warm beige color. He looked like my buddies out in Colorado, or me if I ever trimmed my beard and had clean clothes. I entertained a short conversation with him. He was from Los Angeles and working here in New Orleans as a manager for a Starbucks.
I looked at him and was puzzled about his choice of clothes and stated occupation. I asked "So do you do any outdoor recreation?"
He looked at me with the same puzzled look.
He finally responded, "Not really, I went camping once out in Big Sur, and that was awesome, and I used to hike around the Hollywood sign."
I cut him off, "Bourbon." I said to the bartender. "Turkey, 101"
We all took shots, or I should say I took a shot and they sipped. My fleece smelled of campfire from the other night's backyard fire and it complimented the whiskey well.
My two companions were now in a simple conversation. They were talking about new movies and music; all things I've never heard or seen before. Then they began to share videos on their phones, and show off pictures from their trips to Seattle, New York City and Miami.
I removed the battery from my phone, and found a way in the two sided conversation, "It really pisses me off to have people show photos on their phone. I mean, seriously, you are undermining yourself." My voice grew louder and I threw my hands towards the ceiling, "If this is a treasured memory, why trivialize it on a 3.5inch screen? Hell, I would feel my efforts wasted if the only way I could communicate my last backpacking trip was through my phone. I value the experience for what I learned about the world and myself. I can never convey that in a picture on a cell phone."
"Well, you know they make tablets!", he quickly joked. The two laughed.
I was defeated. Their minds were in the pop, technophilic, culture of distractions and fallacies. They went back to talking and their phones. Shortly after I grabbed my fleece, it was covered with ember burns from countless nights by a fire, and said good evening to my new acquaintances. There were better things to entertain. I needed to find out how to take a shit in sub zero temperatures.