My Place at the Bar
I suppose this is an easy analogy to make. I'm the battle-scarred old veteran who comes here once in a while to tell war stories or impart some of the wisdom I've gleaned from my somewhat unique experiences, and who has the rapt attention and respect of the other regulars. I avoid the tables and booths, instead going straight to the bar itself, the most visible spot in the place where all eyes are on you. The place where only the most well-known regulars sit, and enjoy one another's company in a sort of semi-seclusion away from the new bloods and the trolls who sit at the various dimly lit tables either watching quietly or shouting their occasional two cents at us.
The bouncers, bartenders, and staff all know me by my first name. None of them bother to check my ID anymore or check me for weapons. They know I'm just as dangerous unarmed as armed, anyway, and even if I'm carrying, they know I won't do anything stupid or hurt anyone who doesn't deserve it and who they wouldn't hurt themselves.
I'm generally quiet and respectful, and quickly win equal or greater respect in return from the strangers sitting at the nearest tables trying to get a feel for the regulars, and perhaps trying to summon up the courage to approach us and see if they can't get into our good graces.
And when the occasional young troll becomes bold enough, or perhaps simply cocky enough, to think he can troll the regulars, I stand among the happy few who everyone looks to with a grin, waiting for the fireworks to begin, waiting for me and mine to show him why there are some here who are untrollable, who's skin you just can't get under and yet who will calmly and gracefully make you eat your own words until you choke on them, drowning the trolls in their own vomit.
But alas, "regular" though I'm called, my visits are sporadic. I'm not at a point in my life that permits me to come and lounge around here sharing stories and burning trolls all day. So it is that I'm as missed during my absences as I am welcomed and loved during my visits. Retirement is a long way off yet, but for now I like to spend my free time here, sharing a drink and some stories with friends.
EDIT: Brainy, one of the most well-known regulars just got up on stage after you and followed your lead. If that doesn't make you feel accepted here, nothing will. Welcome to the fold.