Into the Darkness

R.B. Winters
R.B. Winters
All, Bar, Friends, San Juan Diaries Leave a Comment

Stepping out a on Friday night is nothing new, exciting, or even that interesting to be honest. It’s a part of life for most people. A friend and I decided to brace the long line of cars clogging the one-way road to Old San Juan and find a new watering hole.

Dive bars are a preference for some [me], others prefer dim lights, faint music and well dressed waitstaff to pamper them. Of course the place we landed was a generic dive, though not a complete and utter hole, so don’t be scared off. Local #110 was blasting music form the 90’s, had florescent pink lighting and a chipper bartender who was heavy-handed in her pours. A true delight.

My friend and I sat talking, well, screaming at one another as we caught up on the week. Then there was a sound. That sound buildings make when the electrical current fades from their wires and vanishes. The disturbing winding down of life as the bar faded into black and the patrons mumbled to one another in a number of languages.

In New York, it’s almost a certainty that we would have been asked to pay and leave when the power was out for a few minutes. It is more difficult to keep track of people in the dark, especially when there are expensive bottles of liquor within arms reach. That was not the case here. We sat for at least another hour, the bartender lighting a candle, which I promptly pushed away. The last time someone provided me a candle during a power outage it resulted in the firey loss of my bangs. With hair this bleached, fire is not my friend.

My trips to the bathroom were much more interesting as the rear of the bar was completely vacant. I used the light of my phone to guide my way and iTunes to make it more interesting. After all, a trip to the baño isn’t nearly as exciting when you don’t have music to pee along to.

What was most interesting is who I turned into in the dark. I’m a fairly nice person, in the sense that I do normal things like say, please, thank you and excuse me. It is highly irregular for me to engage with strangers outside of such niceties. In the dark, I transformed into a social butterfly. Chatting up the couple at the bar, visiting from Chicago and getting a full-blown taste of what life can be like on a tiny island. We all had a good time, that is until we had to figure out how to pay without access to credit cards or ATMs. Yes, the struggle of modern life is difficult and fragile, a house of cards which collapses the moment a singular card is removed.

The night was so enjoyable that I look forward to the next power outage, I mean, the power should plant to come on as I’m arriving home, but it’s more than welcome to take a break during happy hour from here on out.