Of Small Victories and New Friendships

Last night turned out to be quite a wonderful evening, although I had to be rather patient to get there. Soon after posting yesterday’s entry, I rolled up to the bistro. To be honest I didn’t know what to expect: I was hoping, of course, that everything would have been resolved, and that I would be able to buy a beer as everyone else can. That optimism, however, was not rewarded, and I was greeted with the same cold, nasty treatment that I received last week. I was stunned, and instantly decided that that simply could not stand.

I sat there for a while: who were these people to say whether I could or could not drink alcohol? I tried to talk to the staff, at one point asking to speak to the manager, but was ignored. A few minutes past, by which time some of the surrounding customers had began to notice. One bloke attempted to talk to the staff for me, but was told that they didn’t know whether I was taking any medication and didn’t want me to fall. I replied that that was surely my prerogative, but to no avail.

By then I was wondering what action would need to be taken to get the place shut down. A couple of people, around my age, was sat at a table nearby. They had noticed what had happened. They asked what the problem was, and I explained the situation, showing them last week’s blog entry. They sympathised, and we began to chat. It turned out that they don’t live far from me.

We talked for about half an hour, beginning to get to know one another. I didn’t want to give up and go home, as that would mean admitting defeat. The restaurant staff still wouldn’t serve me beer. I was told that I could have a soft drink, but I replied that that wasn’t the point. The situation, by then, was infuriating. My new friends, Amelia and Mike, sympathised, but didn’t know what they could do.

Then, all of a sudden, something quite incredible happened: half a Peroni was brought out for me – someone had apparently talked to the staff on my behalf, having read my blog entry. I was overjoyed. It may just have been a larger, but it was up there with the best drinks of my life for what it represented.

My mood instantly changed: it suddenly felt like a good evening for a party; after all, I had two new friends to get to know. By then, though, it was drawing towards my dinner time, and I needed to head home – Serkan would be waiting. Finishing our drinks, we decided to walk home together, at least part of the way; they seemed to like me. In the end, though, we came back here for a celebratory beer, covid temporarily slipping our minds. They were intelligent, jovial and energetic, reminding me of my university friends. They didn’t stay long, but we decided to certainly meet again. What had at one point started to look like a pretty miserable evening had turned out to be quite a glorious one of small yet significant victories and new friendships.

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