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Monday, 02 April
Alone Again, Or What?

The wife's play has opened, and so I continue to enjoy some private time on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. This is ostensibly a good thing--it does one good to spend some time every now and then by oneself. Or so I'm told.

The real truth? I fucking bore myself silly.

It's an odd thing. When I've been spending time alone at home when she's off performing, I've been doing the same things I do when she's here: watching piteously bad police procedurals; watching woeful, dreary horror movies; reading my idiotic comic books; reading dreadful novels. (I just tonight finished up Hannibal Rising. Why? Because I read all the other ones, for Christ's sake, yes, even Harris' spirited "fuck you, nagging fans!" that was the rapturously stupid Hannibal. Anyway, as you can guess, it stinks.)

So I'm not doing anything different while the wife is off being the artiste. So why am I so fucking bored with myself? Why do I sit here with the blood roaring in my temples, staring at yet another "Law & Order" rerun or a copy of Iron Man Vs. Chemoglobin and think, Hey, me? You are fucking boring.

I could call friends. I do have them, and I love them. But I don't call them. Normally, I don't have to. I have my wife! (My friends don't call me, either, and I wouldn't if I were them. After all, fuck me: I never call. I have a cell phone that exists solely for me to be able to say, "I have a cell phone." It literally serves no other purpose.)

The thing is, I like being able to watch terrible visual media or read insulting literary refuse while my wife is with me. I'm not sure why, and I don't mean to sound corny or sappy about it. But it makes a difference. Maybe it's just the simple animal comfort of proximity; maybe it's the knowledge that at any time, I can turn to her and say something like "Iron Man is an irritating choad," and be met with a polite, "Well, all right."; or being able to share giggles over astonishing and confusing entities such as David Caruso and the Seattle Mariners.

(Now I kind of want David Caruso to coach the Mariners. He can stare at Adrian Beltre with those dead-reptile eyes of his and whip off his sunglasses to croak, "Let's see some hustle out there, Adrian," and Beltre will jovially blap, "Sure thing, skip!" right before he strikes out swinging and loses control of his bat and it sails into the stands and kills a mother of three, and then David Caruso stonily arrests him with some pithy quip like, "Sometime, coaching can be murder." YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHH!)

On Friday night, I had had enough of me. Me, I said, for God's sake, let's just go to the bar. Me and me had a deal, and so I went down to my new favorite bar, which is helpfully a block away from my apartment. It's about a year old, and I love it; I am sad to say that it has replaced my former favorite place, a faceless thing of a place that charmingly refused to do things like wash its walls. The first straw was when they removed the awful Megatouch machines; the second was when I was recently served a martini with tiny winged insects in it and was told, "They must be in the olives." Must they? Say, I think I'll have a beer.

The new place is much more upscale, done in dark wood tones, dim lighting and a somewhat forced Asian feel. It is a scratch bar, which I love ("We have a cranberry moat out back! Let me go stomp you some juice!"), and their drinks are refreshingly creature-free. They also feature wonderful bartenders who are not at all reluctant to tell you entertaining stories about how last night they got ripped up on some horrific Cambodian whiskey that was laced with methamphetamine and then discovered cellphone evidence of a late-night call to a sex line.

They also enjoy coming up with fanciful drinks with names like Bit of Guv'nor's Time?, Teenager's Lament and Ina Garten's Self-Satisfied Chuckle, and these drinks, though typically Baroque in construction, are unfailingly delicious, and usually feature unusual elements such as port, or Chartreuse, or Xylene. It all sounds very fussy and too-much, but it is not, and I adore this place. So I went.

I seated myself at the bar and fiddled momentarily with my cell phone, making sure that it still was in good useless working order: this is the lonely dance of the unaccompanied person at a bar. Fuck with your cellphone, make it look like you're staring at text messages or something, so you don't look so pathetic. Meanwhile, you are doing something pathetic like playing Canal Control. Which I was.

The other thing the unaccompanied person at a bar does: people-watch. After E., my good bartender, brought me my delicious Thicket of Dense Reasoning (gin, muddled dill, cucumber garnish), I began scoping out my companions at the bar. I was seated near two young ladies enjoying a night on the town; whenever E. would inquire if their drinks were okay, did they need another round, etc., they would titter and coo at him shamelessly. "Would you date him?" one asked the other while E. made their drinks. "I'd fuck him," replied the other, and they broke into laughter that rose to the ceiling like flushed, terrified birds. I stared into my drink and then fumbled with my cell phone again, pretending it was doing something of interest.

A few minutes later, the ladies ordered two shots of something that they called "Killer Bees," and I noticed with clinical detachment that they involved Jagermeister and some other hellbrew that I couldn't identify. By this time, I was working on another house drink called One Thousand Tears of a Tarantula (12-year rum, blood orange, flensed whale blubber, bitters), so maybe I can't say anything, but an icy shudder ran down my spine. After these nightmares, they finally called for E. to settle up. As they regarded their bill with fixed concentration, one clawed at her purse and produced a pen.

"I love these pens. They are so inky."
"They are awesomely inky. They're the inkiest."
The first girl then tunelessly sang: "IIIIIIIIIINKYYYYYYYY PEEEEEEEEEEEENS!"

I finished my drink, and settled up with E., tipping him well, of course. (You don't take care of your bartender? You're a fool.) It was time to go. My girl was coming home soon, and I didn't have to be bored any more.


Note: Comments are closed on old entries.

Comments

I'd love to know where one can get flensed whale blubber with rum! My local watering hole can also pour some mean drinks... xylene will indeed put hair on your chest. Or singe it off... I can never remember which.

Comment number: 012907   Posted by: kkap0w on April 3, 2007 09:05 AM from IP: 140.107.71.198

In my 20s, I frequented a favorite bar several times a week. One night, my very bored bartender pulled out a list of shots he was dreaming up. Something special for a girl's night out, he had named "Screw you, Malibu Barbie."

I am not making that up.

Comment number: 012911   Posted by: Mickey on April 3, 2007 01:59 PM from IP: 66.147.11.242

I fidgeted for days waiting for that post! I knew it was comming. Listen, I love you. You ejected one of those laughs out of me that purges the evil of a shitty Tuesday.I think you would enjoy a post I saw on Pajiba! for a review of Black Snake Moan. It was Skotesque in it's candor.

Comment number: 012914   Posted by: alyxmyself on April 3, 2007 05:32 PM from IP: 68.201.0.251

Dude, its a BOG. If they have a cranberry MOAT the owner must be royally twisted.

Comment number: 012920   Posted by: Nico on April 3, 2007 08:22 PM from IP: 198.92.67.157

I like the thought of a cranberry moat. That way, when the peasants are at the gates and the management is pouring boiling oil on them from the ramparts, they can slake their thirst and put out the flames with something refreshing and packed with vitamins.

Also, I'm going to permalink this entry so that whenever anyone asks why I refuse to pick up women in bars, I'll have the story of your two cackling banshees as exhibit A.

Comment number: 012928   Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' on April 4, 2007 04:58 AM from IP: 152.17.114.74

Yes, it makes a difference. I don't mean to be sappy about it, but my husband died a few months ago. We used to watch movies and read books and interrupt ourselves with all of our comments. We rarely went out. I used to worry about that. Now I know, we were having fun.

Comment number: 012937   Posted by: Kim on April 4, 2007 09:38 AM from IP: 149.175.200.225

Yep, people watching is the best and the most horrifying part of going out to a bar alone.

I've had the dubious pleasure of observing some of the most disturbing examples of humanity when I've gone to my favorite place to get out of the house. Which explains why I tend to be such a misanthropic recluse, like you.

Luckily, I'll have my friend with me tonight. Maybe she and I can sing the Inky Pen song. Oh, how I long to sing about inky pens!

Comment number: 012953   Posted by: Suzanne on April 5, 2007 10:47 AM from IP: 66.235.57.95

Well, we thought about singing the inky pen song, but Suzanne only had the kind of pen that undresses itself when you turn it upside down...
Plus, we didn't have quite that much to drink.

Comment number: 012966   Posted by: Carol on April 6, 2007 02:18 PM from IP: 70.89.135.106

Sir -- let me get this straight. You staunchly refuse to pick women up in bars, and people then question you about it?

What an interesting life. Or, not so much.

Comment number: 013025   Posted by: A on April 9, 2007 03:50 PM from IP: 12.171.13.133

Hmmmm. What?

Comment number: 013054   Posted by: Skot on April 10, 2007 11:23 PM from IP: 66.235.58.126

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