Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Drinking Liberally, Memphis

After our interesting experience at the recent Steve Cohen Town Hall meeting, The Daughter and I thought we'd seek out other local liberals. I had read about the Drinking Liberally group on a blog a while back, so I looked them up and we went. I knew where the place was, parking was no problem and the group was meeting just inside the door. So far, so good.

It went downhill from there.

The bartender took us over to the group, saying, "I've got some new folks for you." The tables were already pretty full, and we sat in the first available seats we came to: on the side at the end of the table next to a man with a cute little boy. The bartender pulled another table up to make room for more folks, took our order (he was great) and told us where the patio was. We sat there for a while before anyone spoke to us, but one guy did get up and come down to where we were to introduce himself. He was cordial and asked how we learned about the meeting. Sometime during the hour and 15 minutes we were there, a couple of other folks who came introduced themselves; but everyone who came scooted in to sit next to the people at the other end of the table. No one ever did sit down at the table that had been added next to us. The guy next to me turned completely sideways in his chair so that his back was to me, making it impossible for me to see past him or hear anything that was said on the other side of him. The guy across from me was apparently new, too, and he told us he was interested in learning more about politics. He was there with his sister (I think), who talked with the folks at the other end of the table. There was no one seated to his left across from The Daughter. These people seem like they all already know each other and may not be used to strangers coming who have never met any of them before. We felt "really awkward" to quote The Daughter. They don't seem to object to strangers sitting at their table, but we figure it's probably a private group in actual practice -at least, it felt closed to us sitting where we were.

As we left I told them it had been nice to have met them, and they smiled in a sociable way, but I don't think they'll miss us when we never go back. The bartender seemed interested in having us come back. That's nice.

8/13/2009: I see this mention of the event at LeftWingCracker. I think the woman he identifies as "Kelly, the author of THE MEMPHIS LIBERAL" might have been the sister of the man who sat across from me, though I never heard her name mentioned last night. Her report of the meeting is here. It's evident, then, that they aren't a closed group and that they do welcome some newcomers. Sitting behind that guy's back where we couldn't see or hear anybody except for the guy sitting across from me (nice as he was) was just a bad place to be.

8/14/2009: LeftWingCracker is inviting everybody to Drinking Liberally at RP Billiards to visit with gubernatorial candidate Jim Kyle.


  1. Anonymous6:55 AM

    Gee, this sounds so much like my experience when my older son first joined Cub Scouts. Many of the other parents had known each other for years and I was the outsider so was basically ignored. I've seen this behavior other places also - if you're not already part of the group, you can't seem to become part of the group.

  2. Anonymous4:15 PM

    "The ugliest word inthe English languate is...exclusive!" -- Robert Frost

  3. I've updated the post. I found reports of someone else's experience that differed markedly from ours.

  4. Anonymous1:05 AM

    Weird. I used to set up blogger meetups here in Memphis years ago. At the last one I did, we had a huge turnout, but all the "liberal political" bloggers congregated at one end of the tables and only talked among themselves! It was like a separate party inside our party. They weren't rude exactly, just totally uninterested in anyone else.

  5. I couldn't even tell that they were especially talking about politics. Of course, I couldn't hear _what_ they were talking about at all, so it's hard to tell.

    I hear there's another liberal group -a specifically "Democratic Club" group- that meets monthly, and we may try that if The Daughter wants to.

  6. I'm sorry if you felt left out, because that is certainly never our intent, and I hope that you do come back and join us.

  7. Thanks. :) We realized that it wasn't your intent.