because everything has a story

Natural Laws and Indifferent Universe Bartender

I don’t get this sign. I saw it in a coffee shop in Omaha. I got off the train at 6:30am after a restless overnight ride. I took an extended nap on the couch, then I wandered off into Omaha. I ended up in a coffee shop full of hipsters. Omaha hipsters were a little behind, hipster-wise. They still carried a hint of goth and hadn’t really gotten their ironic scarves sorted out, but they had the hanging-out-in-coffee-shops-all-day thing down. So I drank some strong coffee and watched the locals out of the corner of my eye. And saw this a sign on the door with tiny print at the bottom:

weird sign

“Use of tables, chairs, bathrooms and internet service is for customers only. We will enforce this natural law”

What natural law were they enforcing? I had no idea that using someone’s wifi without buying a two dollar cup of coffee was a fundamental human transgression.

Anyway. I think that the point of all this is that Omaha is kind of a weird place. However, my host on couch surfing went on something of a crusade to convince me that Omaha is a happening place. In a lot of ways he was right. Me, my host, and Kati (who was also visiting at the time) went to a bar in Old Market and I was impressed. The bar and the neighborhood both had a lot of character. We sat at the bar and drank craft beer and ended up in an argument about whether bad luck exists.

“I think bad luck only exists if you believe in it.” Kati is one of those impressively positive people that I don’t understand. She’s going to be a sunshine care-bear for Halloween and I personally don’t think she even needs a costume for this. She is the embodiment of sunshine.

Our bartender chimes in that white lighters are supposedly bad luck. “But then if that’s true then all those graphic lighters are bad luck because if you peel em back? All white,” he grins at us as he pours bourbon.

“I just don’t think bad luck makes any sense.” Kati is relentlessly positive.

I chime in just to try and inject a little uncertainty. Uncertainty is kind of my deal. “You never know, the universe is a strange and interconnected thing.”

“I just don’t think the universe would be that much of an asshole.”

Our bartender turns his head to address us as he walked past with an order of drinks. “Eh, I think it’s indifferent.”

Indifferent Universe Bartender is the absolute highlight of my time in Omaha. He is my favorite. Such philosophical heights were totally unexpected and that made it all the more delightful. Although, I must say I was surprised and impressed at the beer, the charm, and the cocktails I had there. Beercade was particularly great with an impressive tap list and old school arcade games. Anyplace that had Ms. Pacman gets an A+ in my book. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re ever in town.

So Omaha was not exactly what I expected. Then again, when does anything ever turn out how I expect? That’s the beauty of this universe. In addition to being (probably) indifferent, it is endlessly beautiful in it’s ability to surprise me and so I will, at least, never be bored. I’m grateful for that.




  1. I love this. “She’s going to be a sunshine care-bear for Halloween and I personally don’t think she even needs a costume for this.”

    Thank you for writing it 🙂


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