This particular diary will attempt to tie together a few disparate visits to different bars at different times and make a coherent whole out of it. More likely I will experience the same abject failure at writing anything the least bit interesting like you've seen in the last several diaries.
There are quite a few differences between this summer and last. For one thing, I'm not such an emotional cripple as I was last year, although I'm still psychically limping a little. Most of the time I'm in good spirits. In fact, when I get a touch of the blues it's over losing my house, or that animation I did on paper 25 years ago and never finished getting into the computer that was lost in the move, or the loss of that Doors tape. I also think I might have lost that painting I did when I was sixteen, the one my Grandmother loved so much. Evil-X was a nightmare, but I've gotten up, brushed my teeth and drank my coffee.
Secondly, I'm not on Paxil, that silly little drug that kept me constantly amused. When I first got off of it I was not the least bit amused. In fact, part of withdrawal for me was a feeling of rage. Rage against everyone, anger at the least slight. Kind of like giving up cigarettes.
Thirdly and most importantly, I'm no longer walking distance from downtown, meaning I can't get shitfaced drunk while listening to live music, unless I want to spend fifteen bucks or more for a cab.
I've mentioned Joe Frew and his band, Posamist a few times before. They're the “House Band” for Boone's now, playing there every Thursday night.
I stopped at Bread Stretchers' and got a sandwich and chips and took them to Boone's, as Boone's has great food, but only in the daytime. The kitchen closes at 2:00 PM. They don't do dinner, only lunch. I got a beer, sat down on the empty side of the brick wall (not that they were all that busy) and ate my supper.
The band started playing as I finished eating, and enough people had come in that I missed my chance at a bar stool. I sat at the table in the front corner and sipped my beer, watching the young pretties.
A stool opened up and I moved to it. It seemed, like it always seems lately, that there were nothing but couples.
I spied a strange looking woman standing by herself, looking both defiant and uncomfortable. She seemed oblivious to the music, although she stood facing the band.
I couldn't put my finger on why she seemed so strange looking, and still can't. There are some really weird looking people in this town, which is why so many of them looked like cartoons when I was on the Paxils, I guess, but this woman wasn't the least bit ugly. In fact, she had an attractive face and a nice figure, but something was out of place, and I couldn't put my finger on it.
Of course, I would have liked to put my finger in it...
As I was about to get up and walk over and hit on her, she walked over and put her arm around some guy who remained oblivious to her. Obviously, these two were married. For now, anyway.
“I'm Joe motherfucking Frew, how the fucking hell are you?”
Wild cheers from the now half-drunken crowd. “Social!” glasses and bottles raised in the air, the crowd screaming. “Hey, we have free CDs at the bar over there, just talk to Matt's lovely girlfriend.”
I think the cute little blonde bartender, whose name I don't know, had been flirting with me. I wish I could tell, I'd surely like to know that young lady better!
But at any rate, this was Thursday, so when the band took a break I walked up and said “hi” to them, and went home and went to bed. Damn, but I hate the alarm clock.
Once again, I missed my chance.
One evening last week, not sure what day, I went by the Firehouse for a beer. It was mostly empty (the bar, not the beer, at least until it was finished), but there was a fireman there. You could tell by his conversation with the bartender, another fireman, that he was a fireman. He was with what I assumed was his wife. She looked familiar, and I couldn't put my finger on where I'd seen her before. I got a beer and started drinking.
She was a lovely young thing; thin and shapely, with dark hair and dark eyes and that fake looking salon tan the young people all seem to waste their money on these days. I guess white skin is out of fashion, with all the white kids getting dreadlocks and deep salon tans and dressing like rappers with their pants hanging halfway to their knees and talking in ebonics, despite the fact that none of them would have the balls to drive through the slums with their doors unlocked.
But this was no “wigger.” This young lady was wearing an evening dress and high heels, despite the fact that it was only a little past six. Her hair was conservatively cut and coiffed (is that the right word? A word at all? Did I spell it right?) and her face was conservatively made up.
Well, it would have been conservative, except for where she seemed to have a bad aim with the eyebrow pencil. She was well more than half way to passing out.
“Hey, I know you!” she exclaimed. “I made you your first martini!”
Now I knew where I'd seen her before, on the other side of this very bar. “You're right, that's where I've seen you before.” I had been in there a month or two earlier, and when talk had gotten to alcohol and various drinks, I'd mentioned that in all my years of drinking I'd never tried a martini, so she made me one.
I hated it. Yech! How do you faux sophisticates stand drinking that swill?
I noticed her ring was on her middle finger, but she seemed to be with the fireman.
We chatted, I drank my beer, and another.
I finished the beer, told her it was nice seeing her again, shook her hand in preparation to leave, and could tell by her expression that I had fucked up yet again. Here I've been praying for a pretty young thing half my age, God delivered, and I was too damned stupid to recognize the gift when I saw it.
Rier Delandy's mom and dad bought Dempsey's for him last year, so he decided to celebrate his 23rd birthday this year with a toga party at his bar, open to everyone. “We're gonna have a kick ass band, and beer for a buck and a half!” I'd promised him I would show up.
So after getting back from my mother's and dropping my daughter off at her trailer, I cruised downtown to Dempsey's. By this time it was past ten, so the band would already be playing.
Rier's dad was at the door checking IDs, and the band was playing some disco shit. Gad but I hate disco, why couldn't the Gibb brothers been bricklayers or something? I talked with Rier's dad for a minute, and went in and found a stool.
“The usual?” the bartender asked. “Yeah” I replied, and he disappeared in the back. I pulled out two ones. “Two and a quarter” he said. I gave him a quarter. Halfway through the beer I saw the sign - Bud and Bud Light for a buck fifty.
Fucker! No tip for YOU tonight!
Rier's mom was talking to some skanky looking guy with a beard. He seemed to be hitting on her, and she seemed to be trying to be polite.
This is why I won't hit on women while they're working. She saw me and said hi and extended her hand. I shook her hand, said hi, and saved her from the wolf. Rier's dad owes me!
I bought a Bud and drank it. Not only could I not get drunk, as I was driving, but this band really really sucked. Yes, they were technically proficient, but they played nothing but covers of bands I always change the station when I hear their songs on the radio.
Apparently I wasn't the only one who thought their choice of tunes rather shitty. I half heartedly clapped a little on some of their less sucky songs, but didn't applaud much, and neither did anyone else. The band finished one song with no hint that anyone in the audience had ears, and remarked “That was our last Michael Jackson song.”
I yelled “Yeah!!” at the top of my lungs and cheered wildly. Laughter from around the room, with more applause from others. Rier, don't book those losers anymore, OK?
I finished the Bud and walked to the rest room. Rier was walking in, then right out. I'd seen him and wished him a happy birthday earlier.
“Full house?” I asked. “Yeah,” he replied, “I think I'll just use the alley.” I followed him out the back door. “I'd buy you a drink if this was anybody else's bar,” I said.
“I quit drinking,” he replied. “About three months ago.”
On the way home I stopped at a little redneck bar walking distance from my apartment. I don't know the name of the place. I went in and ordered a draft.
Halfway through my beer the fellow next to me, looking over at the pool table and spying a black man staggering out of the men's room, exclaimed “where'd that nigger come from? Who let that God damned nigger in here?”
If I hadn't guessed before, this would have been a really good clue that this was a very redneck bar, despite the fact that ACDC was playing on the jukebox.
“I hate niggers,” the fellow repeated. “I can tell,” I answered, looking him in the face and thankful for my green and yellow eyes.
“Is it a crime to hate niggers?” he asks. Um, yeah I think so these days... but he continued without my saying anything. “I've hated niggers ever since I was in prison. Know what I went to prison for?”
I was wishing I'd just passed this place by and gone home. “Probably something that shouldn't even be illegal,” I said, trying hard to be diplomatic.
“Bank robbery,” he says.
“Well,” I replied, “I can see why that ought to be illegal...”
“Hey,” he interrupted, "where'd that nigger go?”
“Dunno” I said, “Maybe he left.”
I finished my beer. “I have to go, too.”
“Oh, I'm sorry, did I run you off?”
“No, I'm out of money,” I lied.