Once in a while my friends and I meet at this derelict farmhouse that belongs to one of my friends on Saturday afternoons like today.
It’s our ‘man’s hideout out cave’. A hovel.
It’s like going back to the Caveman’s era.
There is something primodal about going back in time to when man’s masculinity evolved inside a cave,and visitors were welcome through invitation only.
It’s very threadbare – a structure that sells beer, mostly on weekends only,and it is a sort of an exclusive joint.
You just can’t walk in into someone’s farmshed and ask for a beer;you have to be brought along by a friend who is a regular patron to our joint.
There’s a seating with plastic furniture.
Large parking in the compound.
We normally just pull a few seats and a table under a tree and bring out our drinks.
No corkage fee, someone in the group knows someone in the police force,so the law doesn’t harass us for peddling liquor in private premises.
Music is usually from someone’s car, brought
close to the table.
Nothing loud or intrusive, just a whisper of music like guys our age like it.
At some point, meat will be ordered and
some chap with big hands will whip up a meal in their rickety, dark kitchen.
There is always a band of Asians who also hold court nearby, doing their road construction thing.
Over time we have become friends, so it’s not uncommon for them to bring over some heavily spiced beef for us to try out and us to offer them our whisky.
Once in a while a traffic policeman will ride into the compound on his motorbike, pockets bulging with crumbled notes and casually ask for a beer,the two,then three beers,and then leave us in peace. Just another man on the hustle.
This bar is the safest place to drink in; no one will hold a heist in there and your car will never be stolen or vandalised as long as you are in the premise.
And if you buy a cop a beer, you will be investing because you know one day you
will call him when you are in a jam.
The place is completely derelict.
Completely local and very rural.
Some people might call it seedy.
We aren’t some of those people.
For us,it’s the place we go to connect, because the big city has a way of fading family ties,especially the brotherhood ties.
Brothers forget brothers in the rat race.
Cousins turn against cousins.
Family now only meets at funerals and weddings.
But for us, this farmshed is home.
The language is strictly mother tongue, unless one of us has invited someone from
across the hills.
Then we have to speak English, which isn’t no fun because the place doesn’t call for it.
Besides there are stories and jokes you just can’t tell in English.
They lose meaning in translation.
So we sit there in the open and have some good laughs.
Laughter that is restricted by walls but is set free into the skies, a testimony that the Lord just wants us happy.
When night falls, we sit still and as the night wears on the temperatures drop.
Jackets come out of cars.
More drinks come out.
Most people would be disgusted at that debauchery.
But life is hard enough not to find a place where you can all gather and derive joy from each other’s presence.
The place is so rundown that no woman would even sit there.
It’s a man’s lair, so strictly no women.
Any women who show up here, we count as men.
As one of us.
I don’t know if you understand what I’m saying.
Once in a while, though, one of us will show up with a special ‘invited lady guest’.
You should see how we scuttle about, pulling a chair,wiping it with newspapers, offering insincere apologies for our tacky locale.
The days when we have a female in our midst are not good days because we all have to wear our masks (and speak in English).
And avoid crass jokes.
It’s painful because the female will look so ill at ease, so out of place as she sits there, hugging
herself and perhaps wondering if this is the day she contracts shigellosis, while we all wonder when she will say she wants to leave.
I remember this lady who was dragged along by this guy we invited.
We remember her innocently asking for a menu.
A goddamned menu, for crying out loud!
Where did she think she was, Hilton hotels?
It’s still the running joke to date.
Nobody remembers her name; we all refer to her as ‘A La Carte Menu’.
There are tons of places like this around the country, where once in a long while, men go and their women just can’t get why they love such places.
But these are places men go to be men.
Where men go to reconnect with other men, to share ideas, to draw courage from each other, to seek advice, to reinforce friendships, to
table a conundrum, to get in line and to exhale.
Nobody goes there for the ambience.
It’s always for the company.
For the camaraderie.
There, amongst peers, you don’t have to wear a mask to face the world.
You only have to be yourself.
You are vulnerable because nobody judges you there.
A lot of sanity has been found or restored in such hovels.
There the truth flows easily and nobody ever takes offence because none is ever meant.
At the end of the cold night we all go away until the next meeting in another month or two.
This is an ode to those caves where we find sanity.
Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®