Quote of the day:
"Jeremy and The Coco are husky and take up space for a reason! Dude write that in your blog OK?"
-The Coco, friendly fellow who lives on 4th and Taylor
Friday, April 23rd
As it relates to the title of this blog post: if a bartender says it then it must be true, right? ;)
Tonight's visit to Jack's was preceded by a drive home from San Francisco, where I'd just spend a pleasant evening with an aunt and uncle of mine on my Dad's side of the family. They'd come up for a coin show at the San Francisco Mint. We met up around Mission and 5th, then walked in the cold wind to Little Joe's Italian Restaurant for dinner, passing up the usual mix of locals (retail people, business people, street walkers come over from the East Bay via BART train and homeless people) and tourists along the way.
After dinner we walked up to Geary street where the aunt and uncle's hotel was situated and had a nice long conversation inside, followed by picture taking in the lobby. It was here that I learned my great grandfather on my Dad's side sent his visa back to Russia so a friend of his in the German immigrant farming community (that had failed farm-wise) could enter the United States through Galveston, Texas (did you know Galveston saw 133,000 immigrants come through? It's like the Ellis Island of the South) and make his way to Colorado to where my grandfather was staying. This man couldn't have immigrated otherwise because back then you were not permitted to enter the country without a valid visa and papers showing someone in the States had promised you a job.
The family is pretty sure Galveston was where our last name morphed from Gruinemier to Grenemyer. This also explains why certain Colorado State Sheriffs with the last name of Clay look in on my Great Uncle every now and then to pay their respects.
After goodbyes, hugs and handshakes, I left the hotel and walked back to the parking garage. The walk through that part of town was awesome. Anyone who's spent a Friday night in San Francisco will tell you the city is a blast to be in. Tonight was no different. I wonder which streets Pizza Jorge knows best? Or Miss Stephanie? Or East Side Scott?
Dressed as I was (steel toe boots, thick weave khaki work pants, layered red shirts under Oakley jacket, beard in full effect and a blue Miller Lite beanie) the homeless people panhandling for spare change only nodded at me when I looked at them, saving their requests for the people walking behind me on the sidewalk. They either feared the beard or thought I was a well-dressed homeless person lolz.
I stopped to look through the glass at rock and roll artwork and was tempted to walk in to the multi-story Rasputin Music, but I had a schedule to keep if I was to make it back in time to hit Jack's before midnight. (Lolz did you see where my glass slipper went? Can't find it.)
The drive south on 101 was fast. I must've made it to San Jose in 40 minutes and didn't even finish listening to my Squirrel Nut Zippers CD (well, it's actually Sugi's, but some things don't always change hands as they should when two people separate from each other).
Anywhoo, back in familiar territory and I chose to park in the sweet spot by El Tarrasco as it was closed this late at night and I spied some familiar faces as I got situated in my truck (recount cash on hand, Crapberry in pocket for note taking inside the bar, make sure fly is zipped, etc...). Gary was standing out front and that's a rare sighting right there. Ras Dank was on the door and Robert was to his side.
I said hello to all of them as I walked up to the door and Gary pulled out $3 bucks and gave it to me for my first drink of the night. Gary: you fucking rock dude. Thank you! Gary seemed a bit down as his lady was off to a bachelorette party, but he was with friends and still showing kindness despite his glum mood. Gary's awesome like that.
Robert (pronounced like "robe" and "air") was in a bit of a mood too. I'd call it a pissy mood. Robert is fun to tease (yep, I'll tease and even flirt with men who I know to be gay because for some strange reason I'm good at it) when he's in these kinds of moods so tonight I hit him with verbal jabs and complaints. He just couldn't do anything right in my eyes lolz and that only exacerbated his grumpiness.
Matt and Charlie were behind the bar tonight. DJ Vagabond and DJ B Rich were trading off at the turntables and another DJ with an armload of vinyl walked in to the bar just before I did. Teddy (the handsome chap with bulging biceps in an old school STP oil t-shirt) was bussing tables and covering the back patio.
Out on the back patio I took up a spot with Tempe, ACME and Robert aka Grumpy Smurf. Twas here that Tempe tested my Top Gun movie knowledge. Question: Who played Merlin in the movie Top Gun? Answer: Tim Fucking Robbins. Holy shit! Tim Robbins was in Top Gun? Was he in the manly man shower scene? If so, how was he manly?
Lolz, I kid (a little). Tim Robbins is awesome. His portrayal of Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption was top notch. I just can't see him being a shower stud opposite the likes of Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise.
Robert pointed out that Merlin was the name of a cb radio set. Then he mentioned he's got family back in Colorado just like me. But I don't think anybody besides me was listening.
As Tempe migrated to another table and ACME asked me to watch his beer while he went out front for a moment, a woman named Kiai ("Ki" like "sky" and "ai" like "yuh") walked up to our table and asked if she could set her drink down. Robert and I of course said it was fine and she placed her Cosmopolitan next to Robert's drink. We got to talking and I learned that Kiai had just moved out of the neighborhood owing to a dispute with her roommate over dishes not washed. She'd just come back from Vegas and her roommate ambushed her and blew up. As my uncle might say in a deadpan voice, "Two women living under the same roof and not getting along? Yeah that never happens."
Back inside the bar and Martha and Mercedes are here with three other girlfriends. They took up a spot at Table 5 and made it look great all night long.
As I passed them I ran into Tower Patty (this Patty is 1. Awesome, 2. Beautiful, 3. A former Tower Records employee) and we got to talking about the Jack's Party Bus. She was here with two of her friends and they whipped out their phones to check schedules and make plans to attend. I hope they make it!
Patty is a Jack and Coke type of woman who also likes a little Jamison on the side. She also knows DJ Vagabond through a mutual Tower acquaintance (Eric, if memory serves) and it's a small world after all, isn't it?
I catch some more air out front of the bar and notice the moon is slightly more than half full at 11:37 p.m. Then it's back inside for another beer which Charlie already had pored and waiting for me. As he passed me the beer he said he'd been waiting for me all day and that I'm a beautiful sexy bastard. Teh awesome. Thanks for the beer Charlie!
It should be noted I had to reach past Crystal, Thunder and Dego to get that beer. Thunder mentioned in a loud voice that he'd read that I'd likened him to a Klingon. Realizing I was about to die, I chose to maneuver into the line of fire (something Travis the bartender taught me, though you're supposed to have a bunch of marines at your back when you do this) and I think I said something about personally tossing Thunder across the room before he ultimately crushed me in final victory.
Then Thunder bought us all a round of shots. Thank you Thunder!
With beer from Charlie in hand at 11:51 p.m. I went back outside and counted 34 people on the patio. There I ran into Kiai again and promised to buy her another drink when her current one was finished. She said she wanted another Cosmo, with less alcohol and more juice.
Kiai went out front to meet a friend and I hung out with Pizza Jorge, Ultimate Raiders Fan Kelley and ACME. Soon Kiai returned with her long time friend Donovan, who's a handsome fellow in a late 80s, early 90s Bobby Brown sort of way. I soon learned that this was Donovan's first trip to Jack's bar. I also learned that Kiai is a Santa Cruz native. In the background I could hear Pizza Jorge talk about waiting in a line a block long for his San Francisco Giants Snuggy. Behind him the three DJs were chatting amongst themselves.
The time came for the promised drink to be delivered, so I braved the masses in the bar and caught a lucky break at the center. I slotted myself into the opening and chatted with Coco and his brother until I caught Matt's attention and ordered up the Cosmo. When Matt asked "Anything else?" I should have bought another beer, but I was distracted by the mystery woman to my right who wore blue jeans and a blue flannel over a wife beater and crossed-at-the-back suspenders. She'd just taken the flanel off and I could see a hint of red tattoo ink wrapped in blue flame over the top of her spine where her wife beater ended and her skin began. She turned towards me and I commented her on her "real" suspenders. In response she smiled, said "Yep" or words to that effect and pulled the suspender straps out with her thumbs before letting them snap back in place.
That the straps fell back on her ample breasts before curving around them to rest in place was not lost on me. My look must have communicated volumes because she looked me in the eyes, smiled a knowing smile, then grabbed her just bought drink and made for the back patio with her equally pretty friend at her side. I soon followed with the Cosmo in hand.
I delivered the drink to Kiai and didn't stay out much longer on the back patio. I knew Jack's would close it soon and not long after I walked back into the bar and took up a spot against the wall near Table 5, that's just what they did. When this happens it's a sure sigh Travis and Tall Nicole have returned from Fat Cats, as Tall Nicole stops to chat and say hello while Travis acts as another body to usher people out from the patio and keep them out.
Tall Nicole gave me a big hug and told me she'd soon be looking for another place to pick up work. Though she's not made a decision yet I made sure to tell her that if the work involved bartending then she ought to let me know so I can show up on day one, chat up the locals at the bar and make sure the owner knows Tall Nicole is the kind of bartender who is a good draw and brings in the business. And she does.
Travis, done herding cats for the moment, showed me his badass black Gibson Less Paul guitar with four knobs and faded plastic pink switch. Damn there are layers to that onion.
Thunder worked on ordering another round of shots for us all so I left my beer at Table 5 where Mercedes and Martha were having fun with their three friends. I was intercepted by a woman named Vannet (her spelling) but pronounced like "René". She was Thai or Filipino or some juicy mix of both and didn't hesitate to put hands on and in my beard, but softly. For my part I appreciated her pressing herself up against me as she did this, but then Thunder reminded her she needed to ask permission first. Lolz at that point it was all good dude. Shoo, Thunder! Shoo!
Speaking of Shoos (or rather, shoes), Crystal was having a difficult time tying hers (and blocking the path to the restrooms, squatted over as she was) so I bent over to tie her shoe. Almost instantly after she got up and went to the restroom, Ras Dank dropped his keys in the exact same spot on the floor. When you're buzzed that's a significant set of events.
I turned around and saw four beautiful women sitting at Table 4. I recognized one of them from last week, then another came up who I recognized also. At that moment I was in the vicinity of ten beautiful women at T4 and T5, with four more to my right thanks to Vanet, Crystal and two of Vanet's friends dancing with her. Sure it's Man Jose, but not at Jack's at 1:01 a.m. on Saturday morning.
Before I forget I'd like to thank the chocolate skinned woman at T3 for dancing her heart out all night long. She did the bob and weave from too much drink each time when walking to and from the restroom, then transitioned to mad dance skills that left me entranced whenever I watched her. Interesting how women can be that buzzed, yet still dance with grace and raw passion.
Tall Nicole hollered a goodbye to me YMCA style. Hands up over her head, fingers forming a heart, then her arms come down and she flips the heart over to make a pair of hand-shapped balls, as she says "I love you Jeremy you've got big balls!" before turning and walking out of the bar. :happy:
1:20 a.m. and last call is coming as ACME and I guard Table 5 by sitting at it while Mercedes and Martha walk their three friends out. For my part I spend my time tracing the lines of tattoos visible under dress straps and on the arms of the five lovely women at Table 4. It's then that I realize the bar stool I saw a woman throw down onto the floor and bust the seat off of last night is now the one I'm sitting on. Seat comes right off.
1:29 a.m. and Vagabond gives out the Last Call! yell, which Ras Dank echoes in his much louder voice. Vagabond plays What's Going On by Marvin Gaye. I totally dig how the DJs play the perfect music to wrap up the night with. Teddy busses my now empty glass out from underneath me. I tell him I wish he could fill it up and he asks what I'm drinking. I tell him and after watching him confer with Charlie I see him dodge keg tubes while ducking under the bar wing (it's still got kegs underneath it with the red cooler modified to receive bar taps sitting on it) with a new beer. Thank you Teddy!
At 1:33 a.m. B Rich takes over and I watch Vagabond dance with a beautiful woman to the sounds of California Soul (by Marlene Shaw) at Table 3.
The lights come up at 1:38 a.m. and Christian aka Monkey arrives, then is gone in a flash after saying "What's up?"
About this time the ladies at table 4 depart and I stop to thank them for coming in. Turns out I've met them before lolz. These two women are not the two women from Table 4 I recognized earlier, but Jessica and Stephanie in particular remember me from times past that I've since forgotten. (Note: these beautiful ladies are not to be confused with Marilyn Monroe or the Lady Under the Tree).
At 1:55 someone says that underwear is their savior and I finish my drink fast as I can as the bartenders and bouncers are taking no prisoners. Just then Feisty Irish walks in and swear to God my heart gets all warm inside. I smile at her and she gives me a huge hug, then straightens out my lopsided beanie. That woman is just beyond awesome.
I leave a $5 tip at the bar and say thanks to the bartenders before heading out the front door. I will end up at Thunder and Crystal's house later tonight. Poor Dego, he takes a lot of shit but he's a trooper and is perfectly willing to hurl paper airplanes through the drive-thru window at McDonalds without even having to be asked.
Still with me after all these words, Dear Reader? If so, you're a trooper too. ;)
Thanks for reading and see you Saturday night at Jack's!