Friday. Mr. E and I went over to San Francisco last night to meet with the usual crew at O'Reilly's for a Guinness or two and then walked down Columbus across Broadway to Specs which is located across the street from the City Lights Book Store. I haven't been to Specs since the 70's where many of us would have a few drinks when we happened to be in North Beach.
And, what do you know, there he was smoking a cigarette and nursing a drink, the place packed with what looked to be an older (groan), but similar crowd. I knew him well enough to nod hello and be asked if I'd seen old so and so when I arrived in the old days, but there was no reason he'd remember or recognize me now and I had to confirm with the bartender that he was indeed the guy talking with the piano player. You weren't really considered a regular at Specs unless he'd 86'd you once or twice, but 86'd or not, he was also good for a bottle of decent booze on your birthday if you knew him well enough. A bit crusty, in other words: not overly PC, still nursing a drink and a cigarette in his seventies.
I don't remember there being a piano player back then (was there a piano?) and this may have been a special night of some sort as the remains of a crowd sized meal was set out in paper containers on one of the larger tables. I also remembered the place being somewhat larger, but again, it has been thirty years. Mr. E and I had a couple of drinks (most drank Beck's in the bottle back then and now he had Guinness on tap: why am I not surprised?) before we realized we were about to miss the last train and skedaddled. Some things change, some things never change I guess.