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Monday, 18 May
Bar Talk

"You have perfect hair," said Will to Warren. "But you don't do anything with it!" Will was drunk. For that matter, so was Warren. Will's excuse was: it was his birthday. Warren's was: it was Will's birthday. None of this explains any of these comments, except for the fact that, hey, birthday. Warren leaned into his liter of beer; I wasn't sure if he was hearing anything. It's probably best that he didn't. Will continued his assault.

"Look at your hair!" he cried. He seemed to study Warren's skull for a moment. "Look at your ears!" This might be my favorite male-to-male comment ever documented. "Look at your ears!" Hey, you can't! Anyway, then Will challenged me to shots of Stroh, an undrinkable rum brine that the Austrians have perpetrated upon society. I of course accepted. It made for a lousy following workday, and my mouth tasted like ants had set up shop there.

I love bar talk. This was not, technically, bar talk per se, but I'll take it, because it 1. happened in a bar, and 2. made me laugh pretty hard.

But let's define our nebulous terms. Bar talk does not necessarily have to make you laugh. It is enough that it makes you uncomfortable or embarrassed. Let me explain.

Warren again. He recently wrote a piece for the web in which he defended the movie Predator 2--against whom I am unsure--and argued that the movie qua movie was actually the best movie ever filmed. Now, this flies in the face of all sense and wisdom, of course. Predator 2 is actually an embarrassing pile of shit that is not worth the thousands of maggots that feasted upon its utterly unwelcome presence in Hollywood. But Warren would not be deterred, and thus regaled us at a bar recently about the unheralded merits of this terrible film. Even Eric, the bartender, was having none of it. I should point out that one of Eric's very favorite films is Cliffhanger, the noisome Sly Stallone mountaineering pic.

"Warren, you are full of fucking shit. Predator 2 is horrible," said Eric. "FUCK YOU!" screamed Warren. Warren likes to point his finger a lot; he was pointing at Eric, just in case Eric was unsure as to whom it was being suggested be fucked. Eric laughed.

Warren then treated us to his latest treatise on film, listing for us his top ten movies which were "ruined by women." Number two on the list was any iteration of Romeo and Juliet. ("Without fucking Juliet, you've just got guys kicking each others asses!") "You are fucking insane, Warren," Eric moaned. The wife by this time had her forehead in her palms. "Warren, you can never talk about this list to any woman you want to sleep with," I said. "The misogyny is horrible. Are you crazy?" Then I informed him, "Anyway, you really fucked up by leaving out Gangs of New York."

"OH FUCK! How could I miss that?"

Bar talk is important. It shows you your friends' true faces.

The other day, my friend Jonah was preparing to leave the bar. For some reason, the word "nutrageous" was uttered in the course of conversation.

"I haven't had a Nutrageous in a long time!" he exclaimed. "I'm totally going to buy one." I farted moodily into my barstool.

Twenty minutes later, I received a text from Jonah. "Operation Nutrageous was an unparalleled success." I read this and whooped. I immediately texted him back to explain that "nutrage" was going to be my new euphemism for a male orgasm. I also explained this latest strategic plan to Eric and the wife. I provided hypothetical examples.

" 'Feel the fury of my nutrage!' is what I'm going to say." Eric chuckled and gripped the bar a little more tightly. The wife was back to cradling her head in her hands.

This says something about me, I suppose. I just prefer to not think about what that is.

Wednesday, 06 May
On The Beach

The wife and I took Monday and Tuesday off this week; Monday was our sixth anniversary! Thank you, thank you. That's six solid years of faithfully not fucking other dudes, except for the four or so times I blew those guys at Volunteer Park. But way to go, wife, as far as I know!

We had a couple options as the date approached, both of which we'd done before: Oregon Coast or Whidbey Island. We opted for the latter, mainly for this reason: it was a lot closer. It's clear we're getting old. "You want a refill on your glass of wine, or would you prefer to stay motionless?" "I prefer to remain sedentary." "I concur." (They do not move.)

We did splurge a bit on accomodations and made reservations at the Inn at Langley, a magnificent establishment that welcomed us and our credit cards with a room with a fireplace, a windowed whirlpool tub, and a hardwood patio that with its three-story beachside view practically invited us to dump a body over the side, which we promptly did the first time housekeeping bothered us at 10:30 AM, wondering if we were ever going to leave so they could give us more toilet paper.

Apart from the gorgeous inn, our stay did not really get off to an auspicious beginning. The two-doors down tavern was shuttered with a mysterious "CLOSED UNTIL SUMMER" sign. Langley is nothing if not capricious about business hours, but that was a bit much. We pounded on the doors energetically, but were rewarded with nothing but a muffled silence and possibly slight creaks as angles were bent out of true by the coastal winds. The building dates to something like 1908 and looks like your grandfather's teeth; a spirit level is nearly required just to get your beer to the table. I hope someone's going to fix the old place up before it just slides into the ocean.

We instead made our way to the Edgecliff Bar & Grill just up the road a ways. A couple of local duffers were watching the Mariners play their peculiarly dumpy brand of ball (the AL West: May Require Goggles) and commenting acidly: "Who the fuck is this guy?" (Guy grounds into a double play.) "Never mind." I can't tell you how much better it is hearing stuff like this rather than hearing Mike Blowers' run-over oboe intonations.

But this was only a momentary respite. We then went off in search of food. The tavern being closed, we were denied salty fried things, and also giant squid attacks, and so we went across the street to the innocuously-named "Mike's Place." You know, I can't say we weren't warned right from the start. For one thing, Mike's Place has its own generally deserted ice cream counter. There is almost nothing more depressing than a completely barren ice cream counter. I imagined Archie Andrews sitting there, desolate and alone, raising a pistol to his head.

Our waitress greeted us at our table. "Can I get you something to drink?" The wife asked about their wine selection. "Oh, we don't serve alcohol here."

Don't even "family" restaurants--which Mike's assured us it was right on the menu--offer a fucking beer for poor Dad to drink so he doesn't run out and fuck his secretary on his new motorcycle? We sagged a little. (Our bartender friend Eric contends convincingly that they must have been busted at some point and lost their liquor license; the fact that they run a "trivia night" in the back--on the night we were there, actually--sort of backs him up. Who does a bar trivia night without alcohol?)

Wife sensibly ordered the fish and chips, but did also ask for a garden salad; I ordered the french dip (or, in Mike's grandiose parlance, the "Prime Dip"). And a couple of soft drinks.

The waitress reappeared seconds later to explain that they were sold out of the Prime Dip. This made complete sense to me, as we were two of the six people who actually were in town at the time. Whatever. Mike's menu mentions that you can get breakfast "all the time," so I had a "fuck it" moment and just asked for bacon and eggs and toast and hashbrowns and purple melted crayon jelly and also my original salad, which no longer made much sense, but, oh, fuck it, as I said. The howling emptiness of the ice cream counter was starting to weigh on my psyche.

The salads came out first. Fine. Dressing came on the side in the little plastic cups that always make me think of prostate medicine (for some reason; I'd like to emphasize that my prostate is, as far as I know, stupendous). We gnawed the begreased leaves agreeably.

Then the entrees came. I sighed at the sight of my bacon, which resembled tiny deck planks; the eggs, however, looked just fine. Then I looked over at the wife's alleged "fish and chips," and felt myself falling down the rabbit hole.

Here's all I can figure: the waitress must have interpreted the wife's garden salad order as "instead of the chips," because there were no fries at all. What she received was a tiny little saucer with about six little fried fishlet chunks dumped unceremoniously atop it along with a little cup of tartar sauce. She stared at this meager spectacle while the waitress asked, "Can I get you anything else? Salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard--" because, mmmm, fish and mustard; "--vinegar . . . "

"Yes, vinegar, please!" cried my girl. I rapped my bacon against my plate rim and contemplated its implacable juicelessness. "We are not seasoned at all," my hashbrowns trilled to me, and they were unfortunately correct. The wife continued to wait for her vinegar. "Maybe if I eat this really slowly," she said, chewing delicately.

We never saw our waitress again.

I don't want to sound like we had a bad time; we didn't. I mean, Mike's Place wasn't great, but it got better. We ended up having a nightcap at a really splendid place called Prima. And the Inn at Langley, while pricey, is really fantastic. We also fucked a lot, and that always seems to improve one's mood. It beat the hell out of Volunteer Park.










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