I remember the first time I showed up down at Pandora’s Tavern and told the bartender my story. He listened politely and said: “You are a Catskill Mountain hermit with a West Coast sensibility. You’ll fit right in around here.” He meant the tavern.
He himself is a dropout PhD in Continental Philosophy. He wrote a dissertation on the work of Roland Barthes but failed his defense. One of his faculty examiners summed up the problem with grim concision: “Your writing is marred by a certain whimsy and incontinence of thought.”
When the bartender talks to you, you can see the back of his head in the mirror behind the bar, just as you can see yourself in the mirror looking at the back of the bartender’s head. After a while, all of this becomes less disturbing—which itself is a bit disturbing—but over time even this goes away.