DrinKkinG with Charlse Mudede
A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing
On the table sits a single tulip, in a glass that has a more scientific than decorative appearance. The table is black. The petals are yellow. The slim stem is green. And the stillness of this arrangement is softly caught in the day's remaining light, which enters the bar through two high-set street-level windows. The District Lounge is a sunken place. One flight of stairs from the first floor leads you there. It has a coffered ceiling made of dark wood. Its bar is also made of dark wood. Indeed, there is something that's at once noble and seedy about the District. It's the kind of place one imagines seeing a fallen angel drinking and quietly, calmly, and not too sadly thinking about how he/she now has hell to pay.
Recall that angel in Charles Baudelaire's poem "Loss of a Halo." Recall its opening line: "Eh! What! You here, my dear? You in a place of ill-repute! You, the drinker of quintessences! You, the eater of ambrosia!" The fallen angel then explains that he lost his halo while crossing a busy street. It fell from his head and got stuck in the mud. But instead of trying retrieve it, the fallen angel decided to leave it there and go to the bar. "I'm quite comfortable here. You're the only one who has recognized me. Anyway, dignity bores me. And I can't help but feel joyful when I think that some bad poet will pick it up and impudently set it on his head..."
When I walked into the District at around 6:30 p.m., the first thing I noticed was an elaborately dressed old man sitting at the wood-dark bar. He looked like he had once been an all-purpose entertainer in the heyday of Hollywood. In front of him was a shot glass, which contained something hard and stiff. I imagined him lost in memories of tap-dancing with a gorgeous lady with a slim waist. The man looked ancient and exhausted, but his attire was clearly ready for more, ready to hit the stage or at least to play a tune on a piano. And this is exactly what the District was made for: a little live jazz. But instead, an internet robot supplied the place with indie rock. (The District did once have a jazz night on Thursday, but it was canceled for some reason.)
As I drank a White Russian, a glass of house white wine, and house red wine, I stared at the flower on my table and recalled the words of a lovely jazz tune: "A flower is a lovesome thing/A luscious living lovesome thing/A daffodil, a rose, no matter where it grows, is such a lovely lovesome thing..."