Cellphones, The Internet, Coffee Shops, and Clubbing
A friend of mine that I did a lot of time in prison with called me the other day. We speak every few weeks. Our conversation this time was on the new things we encountered when we got out of prison, and how we reacted to them.
“What was it like the first time you went to a club after you got out?” he asked. I wasn’t sure what he meant. I had heard the term "club" but frankly, I am not sure what they are or what he meant.
“Fine,” I replied.
Disinterested in my reply, he went on to explain how they had changed since he went to prison and returned to society a couple of years before I did. He seemed amazed at the difference.
That night I talked to Cynthia about clubs.
“Have I ever been to a club?” I asked.
“A what?” she replied absently, looking down at her phone where she was answering work emails.
She’s gotten used to me asking seemingly random questions at odd times.
“A club,” I repeated, hoping that she would know what my friend was talking about.
“When?” she asked. She was only half paying attention to what I was asking.
“Since I got out of prison?” She stopped looking at her phone and switched to staring at me.
“You better not have,” she said laughing and went back to her phone.
Curious, I picked up my phone and Googled “clubs near me”. It turns out there were lots of them, mostly referring to “Gentlemen’s clubs”. I began to scroll through the results.
“Do you think he was talking about gentlemen’s clubs?” I asked, staring at my phone. She did not respond. I looked up because I could feel her staring at me. Our eyes met before I could click open a link.
"Who?" she asked. For some reason, she was suddenly very interested in the whole club thing. I had a feeling my friend was in trouble with my wife. She glanced down at my phone and the search engine results. "No, Mike, you have not been to that type of club since you got out of prison." She seemed sure. I was pretty sure I hadn’t either.
"Okay," I responded. She went back to answering emails. "Maybe he meant nightclubs," I offered. She grunted in reply. I searched "nightclubs near me". Most looked like bars with dancing. Nearby they were mostly country western bars. I couldn't imagine calling themselves clubs. Only one did. The others were designated nightclubs by Google.
“I think he meant bars,” I said out loud, putting my phone down. Cynthia snorted. I don’t think she was interested in helping me assimilate further into this area of 21st-century life.
My friend lives in L.A. Maybe things are different in California. Maybe bars are called clubs. I’ll ask him next time he calls.
There were a lot of changes in society in the 90's and early 2000's but most people outside of prison may not have noticed that because it was just part of everyday life. Cell phones, the internet, fancy coffee shops, and clubs, are just a few of the things I had no experience with when I got out of prison. In many ways, I was naïve to the things of the world because my perspective was stuck in the late 1980's.
Still, I kind of like my cell phone. I also like the internet because I can get answers to my questions pretty quickly, even if some seem a bit odd to me. I like the coffee shop thing, but I usually go through the drive-thru so I don’t have to listen to someone asking for a concoction I don’t understand. But I think I am going to leave this club thing alone. Cynthia seemed pretty insistent on that.