so it’s like this

For years now you’ve been hanging out with your friends at a nice little bar, a place you’re all comfortable with. It’s not perfect; it can get a little raucous sometimes — not everyone there is perfectly behaved, to say the least —; but you sort of know when to drop by, and where the quieter corners are. (There’s a big flashy noisy club around the corner, owned by the same people who own this bar, but you never go there. Not any more. It used to be okay, though.)

But some bad shit has gone down recently, shit that has affected all your friends (though some more than others, and people whom you don’t know most of all) and things have changed. Lately, whenever you’ve dropped by, a good many of your friends are having Primal Scream therapy sessions in the bar. You understand why they’re doing this, and you don’t blame them; and from the sympathetic looks on the faces of some quieter folks around, you discover that they don’t blame the Screamers either. In fact, from time to time almost everyone lets out a scream or two.

This goes on for a while. And eventually you realize that it’s not going to stop anytime soon. Not only are there a good many people who simply need to scream, there’s also an emerging sense within the group that to stop screaming would be, implicitly, to say that everything is more-or-less okay.

When someone suggests that the management gently ask the screamers to go elsewhere, you just laugh. It’s not that kind of management. They’re hands-off to a fault, and in fact some of the shit that has gone down has gone down in the bar. So while it may have been a nice social place for you, it hasn’t been so great for everyone else. Which, when you think about it, doesn’t help your attitude towards the place.

Lately when you’ve been walking by at your usual time, you’ve paused … and then kept walking. You haven’t been there in a while. Somehow going home and reading a book or watching a movie seems better for your spirit. Your friends may be wondering where you are, and you feel bad about that, and you really miss them, but … it really belongs to the Primal Scream group now. Which is fine, you guess — they need somewhere to meet. But you probably won’t be back.