Last week I wrote about the end of a local institution—or the end as we knew it, anyway. Hackney’s, our local tavern, has closed and will reopen in a new incarnation, sans bar. And I hope it succeeds, because, well, it’s in my neighborhood and I like the owners.
Meantime the regulars, having lost our lodestar, are wandering around the neighborhood on a kind of reconnaissance mission. We’re visiting other places that we haven’t been to in ages, checking into Facebook, reporting on whether we find familiar faces, texting each other about whether a place is quiet enough for conversation (a must), how the food is, and when bottles of wine can be had for half price.
For Beth and me, all things considered, we’d rather not have to deal with change that wasn’t our idea. We’ve done plenty of that. But it’s also been a healthy nudge to do some things we’d sort of kind of talked about doing but never managed to. Like drinking less, going out less, and when we do go out, getting out of our little Printers Row cocoon.
This past Saturday night, we got in a cab—with our Hackney’s buddy Brad—and visited places we’d wanted to visit for a long while, in the faraway neighborhoods of Pilsen and Bridgeport. (Faraway as in, you know, a couple miles.)
We had a lovely time, saw new places and faces, and had the kind of conversation we always have. Before hitting the hay, we stopped to sit outside at Kasey’s, another local watering hole across the street from our place that we’re fond of. Anthony, another Hackney’s refugee, walked by and we invited him to join us. We learned about the status of his project—a beautiful book of artwork by his late mother. And we talked. Like we always have.
The whole thing has been kind of funny—it conjures images of all of us wandering around aimlessly like zombies. It’s also sad—not just because there was an ending, but because a lot of people who used to work at Hackney’s are suddenly out of work.
But it’s also heartening. Because it’s reminded us, I think, that we don’t miss the place so much as we do each other. And with just a little effort, we don’t need to miss anything.