still oughta keep it to myself

I’ve been telling myself lately that there’s no need to be secretive about my affinity for Joe Biden and so last night, popping into a nearby bar at the end of a day that’d been productive and remunerative and aglow with the joy of Biden’s inauguration, I asked the bartender (one of my favorites) if he’d watched the inauguration.

He winced and said no, he slept late, but also, if he’s honest, probably wouldn’t have watched it if he were awake. He asked if I’d seen it and I told him that I had and that it was great and I told him about how I’d been looking at pictures all afternoon of Biden in the Oval Office, signing a stack of executive orders, and it still gives me this big stupid grin whenever I see it.

by Kay Crain

He says, “You like Biden?”

I said, “Yeah. I love Biden.”

And he nodded. And he looked away as though to process what I’d said. Seemed a little more contemplative than usual. Then he looked back at me with something of a grimace and said, “I don’t know how you can like that guy.”

I said, “As opposed to Trump?”

He goes, “Trump’s a baller.”

Which I guess I should have expected, cuz the guy’s young and fun and he’s got a frat-type humor that champions trolling of people who are over-earnest and virtue signaling, so it isn’t a shock to find that he’s a Trump supporter (or admirer, at least; he’s almost definitely apolitical), and the political difference certainly isn’t grounds for estrangement or scorn–but that got me thinking about the nature of our relationship. Cuz I confide a lotta things in this guy. He listens attentively when I’m going on about shit he couldn’t possibly care about. And vice versa. We’re friendly.

But is he just being a good bartender?

Are we friends?

Maybe the word “pals” is more appropriate?

I’d hate to think that our relationship is mostly transactional, and that he’d stop being so courteous and effusive with me if I were to suddenly stop tipping–but, when I think of our seemingly unbridgable political differences, part of me breathes a sigh of relief to think, Thank god this relationship is largely transactional and casual and has nothing to do with politics.

Although I’m sure there’s something wrongheaded there, too. I imagine someone asking, “You don’t think a transactional relationship is a political relationship?” but I can’t think of what the ensuing argument would be.

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