i did it a few days ago. the bar was empty, save for biggie and ed grimley, who cheered my arrival with a level of frivolity that would suggest they actually recognize me when they are sober. they don't. and the former is my downstairs neighbor; the latter a sort of address unknown character who frequently hunkers down in the downstairs dining room on a feather bed and comforter i can only assume were stolen from a laundramat.
six hours and a throat-numbing amount of gin earlier, these clowns may have passed me on the steps and reintroduced themselves: hi. i'm biggie, this is my friend ed grimley. i live downstairs! we like to party! sometimes we pass out on your top step, if we make it home. haha! and you are ... ?
from the corner of the bar i heard a gentle mew: christa?
it was my landlord. his tear ducts dripping with bud light; his mood suggesting that somewhere, hours earlier, he had fallen face-first into an oozing mess of free chicken wings during halftime of the vikings' game. here he was now, playing golden tee and coicidentally wearing a golf shirt still bearing gap-caliber creases.
i chatted with him for a few minutes.
he told me how he'd gotten the shirt on sale.
i packed my cigarettes.
today i was back at the pioneer for another quick fix. i made my purchase and walked out into the street.
"hey, sister," a man said to me from the shadows.
"huh? wha?" i said.
"i like your hat," he said.
i squinted at him.
"thanks. do i know you?" i asked.
"nah. i'm just being friendly," he said. "having a cigarette ... where are you going? did you just stop in to hit a cash machine?"
i held up my pack.
"i really like your hat," he said. again. "i'm an old dead-head, so i can appreciate a hat like that."
[i got this hat at urban outfitters. i didn't, like, find it crammed into jerry garcia's armpit.]
"are you coming from luce? or are you just out, like, walking around?" he asked.
"just walking," i said, walking away. pretty sure that this man has just inferred that, based upon my hat, i'm either a stoner or a hippie -- not to mention, his sibling.
but really, i wasn't thinking that hard about any of this conversation. instead i was having a flashback to my last trip to the pioneer. the previous day. my landlord, the golf shirt, packing the cigarettes while we chatted.
this is when i realize that i'm pretty sure i smoked half of my cigarette in the bar while talking to him. i remember not knowing what to do with the foil, as there wasn't a garbage can nearby. i didn't want to set it on the counter because it seemed rude. i'd jammed it in my pocket and then i'm pretty sure i lit my cigarette, chatted, and left.
no one said a word.
this is how i know that in some places, i'm still above the law.