Travels Without Charley
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People: Sarah

She was alone at the bar ... a glass of water, a giant pile of French fries and a separate bowl of potato chips sat in front of her. The seats on either side of her were empty at an otherwise full bar.

“No” she said. “Nobody is sitting there”

I took a seat, introduced myself and she said her name was Sarah. I ordered a beverage.

Someone to my right was talking about a seminar being held that night on the topic of renewable energy.

Interesting. I wouldn’t really have expected that topic to be high on the list in this establishment. I surfed the conversation. Not my gig really. It sounded as if it was going to be more like a sales pitch than educational.

That didn’t put Sarah off who had heard the answer and asked if anyone could attend. Turns out it was invitation only, but the other person ambled off to see if there were any ‘spare’ invitations.

I asked Sarah if she was interested in renewable energy. Not specifically she said, but it’s always good to learn.

Our investigator returned but there were no spare invitations. She then spent time explaining to Sarah how she could get invited to the next seminar.

Conversation with Sarah was sporadic, and I eventually stood up, excused myself and went out for some air.

I returned 10 minutes later, the Barman had packaged up Sarah’s chips and fries to go and she had left.

I never learned her story, but the barman filled me in on what he knew. The previous manager had banned her but she had discovered that there was a new one and started coming again. The ‘carb loaded diet’ was what she could afford, the water was free. The spaces either side of her at the bar helped the other patrons breathe more easily ... hygiene was not her highest priority. She lived ‘nowhere’.

And yet she understood the world well enough to have a meaningful conversation with the lady running the renewable energy seminar ... though my guess is that what she was really wanting was some proper food.

The discovery of truth is prevented more effectively, not by the false appearance things present and which mislead into error, not directly by weakness of the reasoning powers, but by preconceived opinion, by prejudice.

Arthur Schopenhauer