Archive for the 'Bar Stories' Category

28
Mar
13

Why I will only eat the No. 6

The short answer is, the Jimmy John’s No. 6 vegetarian sub may very well have saved my life.

On the evening of Sept. 23, 1997, I put myself in the hospital with alcohol poisoning. That is to say, an ambulance and some paramedics put me in the hospital, but I’m the one who started it.

No. 6 vegetarian

It looks kinda like this, except they dont do sprouts anymore. (Courtesy of JimmyJohns.com

It was my 21st birthday. My job laying out the student newspaper held me up, and I was late meeting my friends at the bar to celebrate. Time before last call was short, so I drank something like four beers and nine shots in less than an hour.

I remember this much before waking up on a gurney as I was wheeled into Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Mich.

  1. Thinking: Should I do those last two shots?
  2. Thinking: Hell yes.
  3. Stumbling home on the shoulders of two of my roommates. I didn’t so much walk as allow myself to be propelled forward by gravity and their patience.
  4. Rolling off the living room couch into pure darkness to hit the floor, clutch my gut, and commence vomiting.

Continue reading ‘Why I will only eat the No. 6’

30
Jan
13

Hot August night

A familiar face peered out from the shelter of an open trunk. He was fussing with something inside, and he was trying to get my attention.

“Hey hey hey!” I shouted.

“Alex!” he called back. He knew my face but not my name. I didn’t remember his, either, so it seemed hypocritical to correct him. Continue reading ‘Hot August night’

28
Nov
11

tweedle-dee, tweedle-douche

It has been a long day. I need a little sit-down where everybody knows your name. Funny enough, I know none of the names of the half-dozen or so fellas scattered around the bar, and I suspect none of them knows mine. So I figure I’ll make it a quick one and head home.

I’m sitting there with a lager, and a guy down the bar gets into an impassioned discussion with his companion about ’90s music. It’s ’90s music, I think. Why bother?

His friend pushes out from the bar to throw some money in the jukebox.

He calls out to the bartender to get his attention. “Hey, Vince. I have two problems,” he says, loud enough for everyone to hear. “We need a couple more drinks. And … all I have are large bills.”

He ceremoniously hands over a 50, slowly. I can see Grant’s stern, almost reproachful, gaze from six seats away. I think he must want me to see it.

Oh, Jesus, I think. What a problem. Oh, you poor thing and your burdensome cash flow. Please, honey. A 50 is not so huge.

Continue reading ‘tweedle-dee, tweedle-douche’

17
Jun
11

Two cheeseburgers to go

“I don’t care if you’re taken or not, because you probably are, but I’m going to ask you a question anyway.”

She said it without punctuation, and it came at me by surprise, the sort of introduction that makes you assume you’re not going to want to answer the question.

I was sipping a beer, waiting for a couple of cheeseburgers to bring home for me and my husband. She was the person nearest to me at the bar, two stools away, and was also waiting for her brunch. My order was to go. She had silverware.

She looked about 50 — maybe late 40s. It was hard to tell. She had brown hair that looked natural enough to me. The skin around her eyes was mostly unwrinkled. She was small, not unattractive, but not fit. She wore glasses and had a little nose that turned up at the end. Mousy, I would call her. Librarian-esque. IT, maybe. She wore minimal make-up; just some eyeliner, some powder. Just a neighborhood gal out for brunch on a Sunday by herself.

I didn’t want to talk to her, but my need to not be rude trumped my need to be left alone. “Uh, sure …” I said. Continue reading ‘Two cheeseburgers to go’

17
May
11

Can’t Win for Losing

Some people are naturally competitive about everything they do. I am not.

That’s not to say I want to lose, or that I don’t like to be my best. I get jealous when someone is good at something I want to be good at. I want to be a success, and I want people to think I’m successful, but my goal is merely to be accomplished. I don’t necessarily want to be better than anyone. I just want to be as good as they are.

I don’t need to win. Sometimes I don’t even like to win, because I feel bad that someone else had to lose. I just want to be evenly matched. And then if I should happen to win, its not my fault that someone else lost. It’s just down to a good hand. Luck. Fate.

And I don’t like to celebrate and carry on. I don’t like to stand under a spotlight as draw attention to myself as “the winner.” I definitely don’t like to put it in anyone’s face.

But then sometimes, when I drink a lot, I behave much differently.

Continue reading ‘Can’t Win for Losing’

28
Jun
10

Foxy Boxx Really Rocks

Pandora Boxx, Miss May

Pandora Boxx, Miss May

It’s always May in my house, because my RuPaul’s Drag Race wall calendar is forever turned to Pandora Boxx‘s page. She is my drag obsession. I might even have a crush on her.

A recent visit to Chicago last month coincided with an appearance by La Boxx at a local gay bar. The night of the performance, my husband and I were sitting around with some friends, contemplating going out. I looked at the clock. 9 p.m. I looked at my husband. I looked at my friends. I looked at the six packs and the chilled bottle of white wine waiting for us. I heard the gentle hum of the air conditioner. And I decided: I am too tired to deal with a dance bar full of screaming gay boys, flashing lights, and ka-thunk ka-thunk ka-thunk — even to see my favorite fake lady. Heaven forgive me, but I am staying in tonight.

Sometimes getting old is no bloody fun.

I never felt good about the decision, and since then I’ve been looking for a chance to make up for it. It came last week. Pandora Boxx was in New York for a Gay Pride kick-off party at the Gramercy Theater, and I was able to get on the VIP list because my company had something to do with the event. This was it. I was going to meet the Pandora Boxx! Get a picture with her! Shake her hand and tell her I love her and that she was robbed on season 2 of RuPaul’s Drag Race — robbed, I tell you!
Continue reading ‘Foxy Boxx Really Rocks’

05
May
09

Going for a Song

A bartender the other day was telling someone a few stools down from me about a regular he served the night before. He was some corporate lawyer drunk who the bartender theorized had a need to subdue his conscience with booze.

“It doesn’t work, but he has fun trying,” he said. And they all laughed.

“You can tell when he’s wasted because he reads the closed captioning.” He gestured toward the TVs stationed behind the bar. “He sings it. He sings the closed captioning.”

I looked up at the television sets. Words scrolled, line by line, disappearing up into a netherworld of text. It just keeps coming and coming, with spelling errors, with missing words, missing phrases. Sometimes it’s just gibberish for a few seconds until something, a computer or a human, catches up.

“He always said the closed captioning looked like Morrissey lyrics,” continued the bartender.

Well, I’m not sure if this says more about the lawyer or about Morrissey.




the untallied hours

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