The ideal pub

X tells me he dreams of a pub, of his ideal pub. It’s silent, above all it’s silent. No music! he says. It’s like a library without books, where everyone drinks, where alcohol flows through everyone but no one talks. Except for the occasional friendly hello, thank you, and goodbye. A pub enveloped in an amorphous silence, vague yet clear, within which you can drift off or concentrate as you please, that’s what he dreams of, he says. The drinkers get up and go to the toilet and return to their seats. They get up and buy drinks and return to their seats. They read or write, stare into space, come and go as they please. As the sun moves across the sky. As dusk settles. At closing time we leave, he says, no need for a bell. No need to shout. No need for a sign urging us to respect the neighbours. Above all, no music! No jukebox. No fights, no one on the pull, no shrieking made-up women. No conversations, no laughter. His ideal pub, he tells me, that’s what he spends his time thinking about, when he’s in the pub.

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