Downtown Lawrence, KS. On any given night there are bar people doing bar things in bars drinking bar drinks talking about bar stuff, bar nights, and things that happen in bars. If you want to bar it up with a Lawrencian and aren’t sure how to break the ice, here’s an initial list of topics to get you going:
The fucked-up state of Kansas politics.
The only way this topic would start a barfight is if you’re a firm supporter of Kansas’s present governor. Or really hate gays. Or have a large collection of automatic weapons. Or think that Kansas is better without an Arts Commission in the first place. The word “Brownback” has yet to be applied to a clinical disorder, but will be soon, I feel. Just say something like, “Brownback is a shitty governor,” and someone will buy you a drink.
The Jayhawks are always either at the top of their game or are disappointing everyone in town, but, either way, they drive up business for bars. Just say, “How about those ‘Hawks?” Whoever you’re talking to will take it from there. All you have to do is act like you know.
This seems to be one of those things people do but rarely talk about. There’s probably a reason for this. Just go to the Replay on a Monday night and you’ll find out.
Things that are going to happen and never do.
Try “Hey! Let’s start a writer’s group!” or “There should be a film club,” or “We should get together in costumes and go out drinking on Friday” or “Let’s take that clown class at City in Motion in Kansas City.” Don’t worry, no one will hold you to it.
THE WIRE, THE WALKING DEAD, BREAKING BAD, DOWNTON ABBEY. I can’t figure out how everyone around here has enough time to watch all these fucking shows! But this might explain why nothing ever gets done. Just watch PORTLANDIA or ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT and you’ll be fine.
Bar people in Lawrence seem to know about the most fucked-up stuff. Makes you want to drink more just to forget about it. This article about a man trying to saw his own arms off should make a good conversation starter but don’t be surprised when someone one-ups you.
If nothing else, Lawrence bar people talk about problems. There is a never-ending supply of problems. A weird rash picked up at a music festival. A crazy family member. Bad allergies. Noisy neighbors. A stupid boyfriend. A stupid girlfriend. Gay troubles. A bad pizza eaten at Intorno. Medical bills. Parking tickets out the wazoo. And, to offset looking totally self-involved about your own problems, it’s perfectly acceptable to talk about other people’s problems as well and to express a concern for their well-being. And then drink. And enjoy the time together. Maybe sing some ABBA at karaoke, “The Way Old Friends Do.”