7 p.m.: know what? i am going to go out. but i'm not going to drink. yeah. i used to do that. sometimes for months on end. go out. not drink. it can be fun. ish. funish.
midnight: mmm. i think i'll go out. and drink. but just a little.
12:35 a.m.: where the heck can i ditch my car overnight? i'm
gonna go out. and i'm going to go out and drink. weee!
we decide, on this night, to leave behind the airborne infectious spores of the pioneer for a place where its patrons' armpits have actually met foaming soap. dubh linn's irish pub is the place, and it is teeming with axe body spray's target market. and the women who love them. [aside: i'm not sure that this bar can technically be considered irish or a pub. i'll let it keep the dubh linn part, even though it seems the work of a knocked-up high school sophomore. i'm gonna name my baby dublin. but i'm gonna spell it different so it doesn't get confused with all the other dublins.] there is an irish flag on the wall. but the adjoining restaurant serves tex-mex. is that supposed to be cute?
my fun-o-meter is pushed to the hilt. it will take only the gentle nudge of sweet whisky breath to throw me into full frolic. our largish party is unable to score a table, let alone the shuffle board table, so we stand awkwardly near the door like the post-puberty, monotone speaking, nonbeer shotgunning, people who pay their own car insurance that we are.
"i wore a suck for a buck shirt one time," i tell chuck as a bachelorette party limps into the bar, glassy eyed and stringy haired and on the make. true story. birthday party. years ago. "i made three dollars."
fun happens around us. or maybe it is just loud happening around us. sometimes i get those two confused. it has become impossible to carry on a conversation with anyone without literally plugging your tongue into your audience's ear canal. and i don't trust my sign language alphabet well enough to know that i'm not telling someone to eat shit when i wave.
the rest of the group, in the meantime, has arranged an afterbar at the greeters. the longer we stand there with these people not talking to them, the more obvious it becomes that we are going to have to invite ourselves to this debacle. and so i invite us, and we are allowed to drink some of his gin.
the greeter has this fantastic apartment downtown. it has a view of duluth's most-frequently soiled street corner and roof access. there are all these nooks and crannies where a person could let her cat rot in peace and the smell wouldn't hit the living room for weeks.
he also has a snake living in a small aquarium. this, readers, scares the shit out of me.
i do not like the squiggly variety of animals, including, but not limited to: snakes of any denomination, worms, leaches. anything that slithers around on your body and can suck on its own tail or eat your blood or crawl into an oriface gives me the willies. much of this fear was born on a playground at st. piux x, the rest on lake vermillion with those barefoot, nature-flinging, lake water chugging smith boys.
the greeter yanks gus from the aquarium and chuck lets the corn snake twist into bangles on his wrist. the greeter lets gus sit on his face. bubbles lets the snake ooze across her shoulders and take refuge in her cleavage. this kind of cool, i cannot compete with. here is bubbles portraying every comic book fan's greatest fantasy, and here is me: cowering into the couch shaking. i keep my distance from anyone with a snake. if this were sixth grade, one of these assholes would whip that thing at me.
the highlight of the greeter's apartment is the roof access. the party moves outside and my friends scale a nine foot wall to get to the higher level. i stay on the main roof area, enjoying the way my spinal cord functions and not wanting to do anything to disrupt it.
we lay on fng's futon. we examine the ample closet space and strange configuration of his shower. we peer out windows and i mentally begin placing my furniture in this apartment and realize that even IKEA doesn't have enough wares to fill this space. i have apartment envy.
we decide to leave. our friends are still on the roof and we've seen all there is to see. "we can probably catch a cab at fon duluth," chuck suggests. ah. my boyfriend has the sense of a duluth sherpa, understanding the hows, whens and wheres and which bars and salt licks where the cabs congregate and mate.
sure enough, a yellow cab is waiting for us.
our cab driver caroms up the street and zips into an alley and my heart swells. here we are, a little drunk, and instead of zig-zagging the streets of duluth to bump up our fare, he's taking short cuts.
"i love you," i tell george. i think his name is george.
when 'don't stop believing' comes on the radio, i ask him to crank it. he does.
"i love you," i tell george. i'm pretty sure his name is george.
we ask him to stop at the ghetto spur. he does. and when we get back into the cab and 'brandy' is on the radio, he cranks it again. suddenly the word 'love' seems shallow and meaningless in light of my affections for this driver.
saturday night i pick chuck and chuck's fannie up from the bar. somewhere between the bong bridge and west duluth, chuck ends up taped to the front seat with the black tape used on hockey sticks. chuck's fannie is one of those unpredictible drinkers who burns things off the walls of bars, loads his pockets with suveniors and may tape your boyfriend to the front seat of the car.
right before chuck begins to choke on the strap around his neck, he giggles. i have to gnaw through the tape so his friend can get out of the back seat. when he's out, i wonder if he's stolen anything out of my back seat. then i decide it is okay if he did.