First arrival at the Pub
I head down the long, sleepy alley, steeped in the sun of a morning in which there's nothing you have to do. After thinking more than once that I must have gone too far, eventually I spy what has to be the Pub. The clattering sounds of crockery, thick glass beer mugs and other trappings of this sort of establishment are filtering out through several windows, which have been all been left open a crack, or in some cases more than that.
I now see the other end of the alley, just beyond the door to the pub. Looks like I took the long way round -- to put it mildly. I think the walk put me in an open, non-judgemental frame of mind, however, and helped make me capable of fully absorbing the atmosphere of this unusual, yet so familiar place. I don't know that I could have avoided stupid snap judgements about the people here if I'd come in right off mainstreet.
I take off my backpack and dig around for the key which was mailed to me. I think I'm meant to hand it in once the staff have got a good look at me and will just be able to let me in next time, but I might ask to keep a hold of it. I might not be a very regular visitor, but I would hate to lose access. The key arrived several days ago and I've found its presence in my bag alone quite reassuring.
After a bit of jiggling around with the key in the well-maintained but old-fashioned lock, I get the door open and head in. Perhaps they keep the old door because the loud, scratchy sound of someone unfamiliar with it getting it open is distinctive, and everyone inside knows to put on a smile when they hear it, I think, a little nervously. I realise that I'm quite invested in being a part of this place, already, based on what I've heard. I realise that I must be one of the many citizens of the Internet who has been unknowingly yearning for somewhere like this.
There are only a few people around. Someone by the fire working on a laptop, a few others at a table playing cards, and a lone bartender. There is enough noise coming from a bright door behind the bar to suggest that there is at least one more member of staff working in the kitchen. The bartender gives me a smile and raises an eyebrow in a way which manages to invite my order in as friendly a way as you could want, without the need for words. I order a pale ale, sit down at the bar and open my laptop. The five or six of us enjoy the quiet morning in mostly-silent, yet very real community.
Lost in my own little world of browser tabs and deadlines, I realise that I heard the door close some moments ago. I must have been really focused there. I wonder what else I've missed.
I take a brief breather from my work and smile at the latest arrival here. It's good to see an new face. I'm reminded of my own delight of finding this place.
I wander down from my room in the pub, sit down at my usual spot at the bar, take a first drink of my pint of Midnight Mild then nod in welcome to the newcomer who has drank most of his pale ale by now. I'm still settling into the rhythm of this place but it seems to have a lively mix of newcomers and regulars.
As I sip my pint I wonder what adventures ~isvarahparamahkrsnah has gotten up to today in Nightfall City - now that is a man on a mission! As I smile wryly, I hear a plaintive meow from near the fireplace as a long-haired cat demands attention. Smudge! ~starbreaker was just mentioning him the other day...