we met up at the bar formerly known as the pioneer, which formerly had a plate with his name engraved attached to the wall, which formerly had a clientele of skeevy albeit charming regulars.
now it is called hero's [watch your punctuation, kids, when you officially name your bar!], doesn't have a name plate, and my entire sensory system was overwhelmed by about 20 college students playing a drinking game they clearly made up two hours earlier. it involved shots of beer and flipping a keg cup.
"hmm," chuck said, surveying these idiots, "i just like to drink my beer."
having not realized it was five dollar beer night, we went top shelf with our beer purchases: honey weiss, summit, grainbelt. but we segued pretty seamlessly to the sort of gamey arm pit juice that eventually makes you wish you had just gargled with the liquid from a stranger's coppenhagen-tar-brown mountain dew bottle.
i approached the bartender with 15 dollars.
"did you get carded at the door?" she asked.
i gave her an incredulous look, trying to convey this message: sugar, i was making out with retired hockey players in the women's bathroom while you were still rocking oshkosh bgosh onesies.
"nooo?" i said. pointed at my table. "and neither did they."
"oh, oh, right, okay," she bumbled. handed me three keg glasses filled with drool and three arm bands.
on either side of me, two men simultaneously burst out singing, along with the juke box: "buffalo soldier ..."
i gave them both a long look. first the guy on the left; then the guy on the right.
"you're kidding, right?" i said.
"don'tchya know this song?" righty asked.
i tried to repeat the look i had previously given to the bartender. he misinterpreted it.
"do you know who this is by?" he asked.
"isn't it, like totally, lenny krevitz?" i wanted to say. instead i just walked away confident in my decision to henceforth only drink in the presense of people who do not quote inane bob marley lyrics in stereo into my head.
you never know what you are going to get when you hang with my unemployed friend. years ago, after a particularly abusive night with him, a friend mused: looks like unemployed friend's drunken russian roullette landed on 'mean' tonight. drunken russian roullette is about right. last night we saw 'drunk with a side of dirty aloofness.'
the way he kept checking his phone suggested: new girlfriend?
then when he began text messaging it suggested: new young girlfriend.
and when he damn-near licked my face while slow dancing to "tuesday's gone", it suggested: new young girlfriend, still in a lawless stage of the relationship.
"i bet all you're even texting is: 'no you are' over and over and over again," i said.
"nah," he said. "i just told her 'jeans and a blue shirt.' "
you have no idea how badly i wanted to steal that man's phone.
readers, we overindulged. all of us. and that tequila shot was completely extraneous.
chuck and i slow danced to purple rain. one of my life rules is to always slow dance to purple rain. knowing that, you probably shouldn't play it unless you want to go cheek-to-cheek with me.
we waited in the small doorway for our cab to arrive, and whisk us back to chuck's. a smallish woman had the audacity to come in and out of the doorway, holding the door open to peer into the street, call to her friends, flood our semi-warmish area with -20 degree wind chills.
only one of us was wearing long underwear, and on principle, you know it wasn't me.
"you need to shut that door," i told her.
she acted like i had asked her to do my laundry and bring me a whopper.
"seriously. you need to shut the door," i told her.
she huffed in a tiny, screechy voice, this little 5'foot almost person.
"we're older than you, we can do whatever we want," i told her.
she went crazy. screeching and angry that we would want warmth.
"seriously, smurfette," i said.
this riled her more.
each insult and screeched angst drew a hearty laugh from chuck, which in turn made me want to say more things and have her get more mini-mad.
"they're being mean to me," she said to her boyfriend when he came to pick her up.
he looked at us and shrugged.
in the absence of a jack's party pizza, i made us grilled cheese sandwiches with a three cheese french bread from amazing grace and a half a pound of gouda cheese. i bet they were good, but afterward the lingering smell made me want to barf five dollar beer right over the deck railing and right onto the paraplegic squirrel.