parking at pickwick, when you are actually going to eat at pickwick, feels a lot like driving sober at 2 a.m. down superior street. you will the old man wearing a reflective vest, the guardian of the lot, to challenge you. just like on a sober saturday night at 2 a.m. i'm prone to U-turns and triple lane changes just so, if pressed, i can blow .00 into the breathalizer and get a gold medal in the field sobriety test thus advancing to the regional field sobriety championships, then, hopefully, the Worlds. parades, nike sponsorships, talk shows, balloon animals bearing my likeness.
what i'm trying to say is that i was once damn-near tackled by a cranky old bingo caller when i parked at pickwick, then doubled back to fitgers. the sounds that man made ... it was like stepping on a t-rex's tail: loud, indiscernable, angry, prehistoric.
we ate at pickwick last night when my craving for a hummus sandwich from the brewhouse was bastardized by the 45-minute wait. instead i ate polish sausage slathered in saurkraut and we played the game: "date, or dad?" then "cougar, or mom?" as we surveyed the other tables. our dining area looked like the ballroom in vlad the impaler's castle, dulled only by the northern touch of hanging antlers on the wall.
"this is the kind of place you take your parents to tell them you're pregnant when you're 15," i suggested, looking around.
"this is the kind of place a 19-year-old girl, home from her first year of college, brings her parents to meet her fiance -- and he's 45," chuck added.
"and he owns a subway in grand forks and has a cell phone on his belt," i honed.
"nah, he's the manager at a subway in grand forks and he has a pager on his belt," chuck said.
i watched a woman to my left slam glass after glass of red wine, then teeter sexily from the restaurant on a young man's arm. cougar.
my food was awesome and tasted like camping.
we headed up the shore to the lakeview castle for the slivovitz festival. something about the word festival is so ... festive. it smacks of a man dressed in tights and wearing a miss slivovitz sash. it was only 10 p.m. "i think they crowned miss slivovitz a little early in the night," chuck said.
girls danced. upstairs, people were chugging small shots of slivovitz. some groups kept entire bottles on their table, plastic shot glasses stacked in the middle. chuck sampled two, i smelled one deciding that ingesting any form of alcohol on this night would be an immediate ticket to the emergency room and a spontaneous kidney transplant. i decided my vice for the evening would be cigarettes, which have never interfered with my ability to pee.
"you should try it," a man coaxed.
"nah," i said.
"what'reya pregnant?" he asked.
"no," i responded. "i'm just not in the mood to singe my esophogus."
two men escaping a wedding party played video games.
"the word douche-bag just popped into my head," i said.
"if this were a john hughes movie, that guy would date rape molly ringwald," chuck noted.
we spent a few minutes on a new game: which man in the bar is pissing off his wife the most. the winner was a member of the wedding party.
we decided to travel on in the most impractical way possible, the bar that is the absolute furthest from the lakeview castle: the alpine in gary.
there was saw, in no specific order, kevin neelon -- in character.
a man wearing a hat that said T&A.
when a tiny man told chuck he'd been waiting 15 minutes for a drink, we ditched out for schotz across the street.
i sang "let's hear it for the boy," and waddled back to the table with my extremities shaking in a way that says "yes, i can do karoake when i'm sober. but it results in a form of social epilepsy."
we went to moldeez, where it was an unrealized karoake night. instead of singers, the dj just played songs.
a man alternated between air guitar and pool cue guitar.
a woman went whitesnake video all over her boyfriend.
some guy was wearing his high school hockey jersey.
we debated the merits of the j. geils band, bon jovi, journey and determined that -- if given a lineup -- it would be hard to discern loverboy from foreigner.
"that guy, the one who has been playing air guitar? he's been open mouth kissing every boy in here," i noted to chuck.
then, as the dj was packing up his gear, i coaxed him into letting me sing "supernova." that cleared the dancefloor pretty damn fast.
we came home, ate spoonfuls of top the tator and watched battle star galactica.