I'm clearly spending too much time in bars ... if that's possible.
I guess I've become something of an aficionado. A bar expert, if you will.
|They Bert's employee that keeps the bugs in check on the|
I knew right away that Bert's was a real bar, not a plastic little offering that you might find up in Orlando or in the heart of any old Applebee's. This place had some history, some character. As I sat on a corner stool, I could pick out the regulars and the almost-regulars. They'd shout names across the room, lift a glass and grin as someone new wandered within range of the beer tap.
|Yep... turtle races.|
And trying to make corner shot from the other side of the table isn't much easier--chance are, you'll be changing the song on the jukebox.
Every bar gives off a different vibe. At Bert's, in the heart of "old Florida," folks are pretty laid back. The first inclination of Bert's patrons, it seems, is to smile. Even as a wandering fly fisherman who spent his first day in Matlacha paddling a kayak through the mangroves ("Are you crazy, man? You should have seen the shark I caught just off the deck last week--I wouldn't get in a kayak if it was the last boat on the water"), the bar's regulars were welcoming ... interested in someone from "the outside."
And they told stories. Not directly to me, mind you, but stories among themselves that they didn't seem mind that I overheard. In three nights at Bert's, I knew more than I cared to about the lights-out habits of a number of the ladies, and was cursed with the information about a certain fisherman's, um ... rod ... that I would have rather not known.
I laughed, bought the gossip another round and just took it all in. I like bars ... they are, for the most part, comfortable places that dole out manic moments of excitement and revelry and then return to what counts as normal in a place where booze is served and personalities gather to consume it.
And I like Bert's. If you ever find yourself in Matlacha, Fla., stop in and have a beer.
And don't say I didn't warn you about a certain fisherman.