Silence Fell When I Entered The Pool Hall

Here comes the rain again
Falling on my head like a memory
Falling on my head like a new emotion
(Here is comes again, here it comes again)

Beer Garden Pool Hall
Beaufort, North Carolina

That night I camped in a pine forest just off the highway. The rays of
the setting sun on the fallen pine needles created a mellow
atmosphere, but in the middle of the night the rains came. With water dripping from my tent seams, I was faced with the stomach-churning dilemma– put my rain suit on and pull up camp, or, lie in my tent as it slowly fills up with water. Past experience had taught me that the latter alternative was a drag, but while I was pondering my decision, my tent fell in on me. The ground was soft to begin with, and with the rain, it was not a surprising outcome. After I packed up my soaked equipment and made my way back to the highway in the dark, I buckled down for what would be a long, lonely, wet, hike until dawn. At first, I walked my bike, but a fear of snakes and gators making their way across the two to three inches of water on the road convinced me to mount up and ride.

I came to a small town. On the edge of it was shelter–a
coin-operated car wash. I got out of my wet clothes and spread out all my wet gear. I even managed a couple hours of uncomfortable sleep (well maybe an hour). 7 a.m. found me packing up my still wet gear (but not as wet), and heading north. 9 a.m. found me sitting under an abandoned fruit stand, waiting out the downpour. 1 p.m. found me miserable, wet, and hungry. I had had it. I was only a half days  ride from where I would board the ferry for the outer banks.
The forecast was 70% chance of rain for the next two days, and, on the outer banks I wouldn’t find much shelter, so I checked myself into Mike’s– Beaufort’s hotel– the best $10. I ever spent.

Inside my room I spread out my wet gear, and then jumped in the
shower—the best shower of my life. Beaufort was a small coastal town. It had no Laundromat, and, since it was Sunday, there was no place to buy beer. As I was discovering that fact, however, I happened upon a small pool hall that, through the window at least, appeared to be serving liquid refreshment. When I walked inside, the heads of the all black clientele turned in my direction, and the place got very quiet. I looked at the black bartender and ordered a draft. The atmosphere was uptight until the guy on the adjacent barstool turned to me and said, “What’s happening brother!” Everything seemed to return to normal after that. I stayed for a couple of beers and then went back to my hotel and ate a dinner of fresh caught flounder in the downstairs restaurant (a treat to myself).

Back in my hotel room, the TV weatherman told me that 3.4 inches of rain had fallen in the last twenty-four hours and more was expected. Another disheartening piece of news was the bug bites that covered my arms, hands, and legs. I was beginning to feel as if this whole trip was a bad idea. I was not out to martyr myself. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but I decided to enjoy myself while I could. With my bag of potato chips by my side, let it rain; who cares!

I settled in for a night of TV in my warm comfortable room.


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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6 Responses to Silence Fell When I Entered The Pool Hall

  1. CaroleSue says:

    Can you possibly date these entries? I like to compare where I was at the time, and what I may have been experiencing in your absence. 😉

  2. hugmamma says:

    Love your storytelling. Feels like I’m right there witnessing your life in person. Great writing! 🙂

  3. Mèo Lười Việt says:

    Don’t worry. Be happy. Sometimes you feel down to the bottom but it’ll be okie very soon. Big hugs to give you a mental supportment! 😀

  4. eof737 says:

    What do you think they were anticipating?

    • bwinwnbwi says:

      Well, since alcohol wasn’t available in Beaufort for purchase on Sunday , I suspect they might have been concerned that I was there to enforce the “no drinking.” More likely, though, they were just surprised a “whitey” would meander up to the bar–obviously an all black clientele bar and order a brewsky. Thanks for all your comments! Take care.

  5. Naturally the first image that crossed my mind was from Animal House…”Mind if we dance with your dates?”

    The last image however was from Tikal, showering in my clothes since there was no laundry, and then stretching out on the floor of my room and watching the night sky through the window.

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