Not too far from my house there is a bar, one of these early morning to early evening places where you can go for a coffee, lunch and an aperitif.
I often stop off there for a coffee whilst out for a walk with the dog. In fact, I went there for a coffee quite often before we got the dog, such is my addiction to the short but potent Italian coffee. Said bar has undergone something of a minor transformation.
Gloomy Owners, Psycho Atmosphere
This bar was run by what I think was a family. There was mum, dad, son, and daughter. Well, there were four people and they were about the right age to have all been part of the same family, but we never really chatted so I don’t know. What I do know is that this group was about as happy as a camper in a thunderstorm. Boy, were they gloomy, much like the weather just before a storm. Never a smile, although the occasional grunt was uttered.
I have no idea what had reduced this bunch to the depths of near depression, but it must have been something pretty dire. Hence the nickname I coined for the place: ‘Bar Miserable‘.
Talk about atmosphere, you would have a needed a chain saw, let alone a knife to have made some impression on it. Grim it was.
“But why did you go there?”, you may well be asking. And in answer, I would reply that the bar was such a gloomy place, with such miserable staff, that it fascinated me in a morbid kind of way. I suppose I was also curious to see for just how long they could have kept on being so downright down. Or maybe I just wanted to catch them on a happy day, although I never did.
Eventually though, I started going there less and less, as the utter and total miserableness of the place was starting to get to me.
Well, not so long ago the grumpy group who ran bar miserable must have decided to hand over the place to another group of bar staff. I imagine it was either this, or one or other of the gloom mongers would have ended up as a serial killer.
New Life, but Not for Long
One day I noticed the new faces behind the bar and decided to pop in for a coffee. Initially, the new staff managed to be much more friendly, but alas, this state of goodwill did not last long.
I think the reason for this was that the father, as I’ll refer to him, still had a hand in the running of the place. He was often to be seen serving at the till, looking, as ever pretty damn miserable.
After a time the place slowly, but surely, sank back into its previous state of abject miserableness. There must have been something in the air.
Recently, however, the management changed once more and, after an initial state of semi-gloom, the new staff have finally managed overcome the glumness which pervaded the place and I’m happy to say it has started to perk up.
Finally, Good Cheer
I’m not the only one to have noticed the change, and the place is now quite packed at lunchtimes, and in the evenings I sometimes take my little one there for an aperitif on the way back from school. The titbits laid out on the counter have improved immeasurably too. It is now distinctly less miserable than before.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, the father who ran the place has not been in evidence, and the new chap, who, it has to be said, appears to have a tendency towards grumpiness (‘Could he be a relation?’, I ask myself), has even managed to raise a smile on more than one occasion.
The transformation, which has been slow and, I imagine, quite painful, has finally taken place. The mournful spirit which reigned over this bar seems to have been just about ousted and, I am pleased to say that it almost earns the nickname of Bar Cheerful. Well, it is about 1000% more cheerful than before.
Heck, you should have been there a couple of years ago, if only to have experienced the tension there. It would have been great place to have gone to when you felt that the world was against you. It certainly would have convinced you that you were right.
Still, those depressing times of old seem to be disappearing into the past.
Never fear though, because another bar, which we popped into recently, has managed to successfully (?!) inherit the Bar Miserable title. More about this ‘friendly’ place, another time.