ambivilance comes at four dollars a pack.
i thought it was a weekend thing. a bunch of smokers pillaged the pio on a saturday, fought over who got to sing their raspy rendition of "betty davis eyes" and smoked out the entire stock. monday, tuesday, wednesday came and it wasn't replenished and this was fine because, like i said, bar cigarettes are expensive.
and then the liquor began to disappear. the bottles lining the back shelves emptied, then recycled but not replaced. new drinks were invented: apple pucker, peppermint schnapps and bitters, anyone? the kegs were emptied. pitchers of white foamy drool consumed.
the last time i went to the pio i could have a 12 ounce mug of guiness or a 12 ounce mug of wild turkey at room temperature. i opted for the guiness under the false assumption that the darker the beer, the higher the alcohol content. and that drinking wild turkey was the equivilent of a back alley tracheotomy with a dirty knitting needle.
i drew a shamrock with my finger in the foam, raised my glass and said "salut!"
but this was getting ridiculous, so i asked the bartender the specifics of the drought. how much longer and why? new ownership, she said. old ownership doesn't want to restock before the bar changes hands.
the bigger question was: why are we continuing to hang out there? forge a night out of white zin and pickle juice. gnaw on aged turkey gizzards instead of bar pizza. we were returning out of habit and convenience and familiarity with the eight top table by the door. afraid that if we left our abusive bar, we wouldn't find another to berate us when we burned the meatloaf.
yet, it seemed that any minute the owner would throw the keys to my landlord and say:
"finish off the supplies. turn off the lights when you leave and lock the door. i'm outtie."
on saturday i heard my landlord call the pio to confirm a rumor.
and no one answered.
whatever. now we go to quinlan's. or we don't go out at all.
back in the day, the pio had the comfort level of a friend's rec room in his cool parent's basement. rules have never really applied. on the fourth of july, jcrew brought in her own bottle of champaign. we used to stay well beyond closing time. i've poured myself drinks and made popcorn. i've had some of my least aesthetically appealing days at the pio, running a hand through my greasy hair and validating myself with: eh. it's just the pio. those effers are lucky they even get to look at a girl in this slop hole.
when the owner replaced the floor near the pool table with a rubber mat, it made it more safe for hank and i to explore our bar tricks: the one where i ran at him, bounced my pelvis off his, then catapulted my body into a handstand above him. graceful dismount. or the one where i did a back flip over his outstretched arm. or the times he just gyrated against a stool, trying to impregnate it to the song "pope" by prince.
jcrew and my unemployed friend, clutching, swaying and weeping to "tuesday is gone." daisy singing "love shack" and moccassins rapping along in a deep barotone.
hank riding his bike in the back door, then ekeing to a stop at our table and removing his headphones.
my landlord being named customer of the week -- which we dubbed athlete of the week -- at least once a month.
its where one of my most low-key mellow friends picked a fight with the pioneer trool because he had unplugged the juke box.
once i got drunk there three times in the same day.
its where the vixen met her boyfriend.
its where i got trapped in the bathroom stall with a regular and had to scooch out under the bathroom door on my belly.
its where my former roommate celebrated his 21st birthday by barfing into an unflushed toilet.
its where they burned the drinks and the pizza.
it was the back drop for 90 percent of my former blog.
tonight my former roommate called to tell me it had reopened. now its called "heroes" and they tore down the walls to reveal exposed brick. painted something green.
"and they actually have alcohol," he said.
when i got home to the duplex i saw my landlord pull up in front in his girlish convertible. scrubs and sneaks negotiating between snow bank and shoveled area as they teetered toward his car.
they were going to test this "new" bar. heroes, indeed.