Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 235 - A Simple Night

Monday, August 23rd

I walked to Jack's tonight. It was a warm night out; the crickets and the air conditioners knew this because unlike last week (when I walked to Jack's and it was silent out but for the sounds of cars rolling buy) tonight everyone and their mother who had an AC unit was running it and the crickets were chirping away in the light of the full moon.

Walking into the bar I was greeted to by the sound of the bartenders and regulars saying my name out loud. I so feel like Norm (from Cheers). And you know what, it's a pretty fucking awesome feeling. Thank you all for the warm greeting.

I spoke to Trey tonight. He's a young kid (well, young man) with a solid head on his shoulders and a load of good stories for someone fresh out of college. If you ever meet him, take the time to ask him about the victory arch some kids formed for him as he was completing the return leg of a three block run wearing only a pair of skivvies plus the shoes he wanted to buy from the store owner who dared him to make the run for a $10 discount on the shoes. (The skivvies were complementary, as it turned out).

We swapped stories and I told him of my adventures in Long Beach for the Flugtag over the weekend. Now that I think about it, the trip was more like a three day journey to Huntington Beach, with a side-trip to Long Beach on Saturday.

The reggae seemed like it started kind of late so I didn't get to hear any of the good music; it's too bad I had to go to bed early tonight because reggae has its hooks in me and whenever I hear it I want to dance to it. But I did get to see some pretty ladies who were real nice to my beard before they graced me with sincere smiles and gave me warm fairwell hugs as they departed.

I'm also convinced Grant can punch a hole through a 2x4 with his thumbs. Only thumbs that strong are capable of kneeding the ever present knots out of my shoulders.

The walk back home was uneventful. I do wish I could have spoke to Wes a bit longer, but I'll see him again.

Night all. See you Tuesday at Jack's.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 223 - Did You Need A Tampon?

"A little sip of Perrier here. I had to stop drinking alcohol because I used to wake up nude in front of my car with my keys in my ass."
--Robin Williams, Live At The Met

I like walking into Jack's in the midst of a conversation going on between patrons and the bartender.
For example, today I walked in as the bartender was saying to the largest and quite possibly the most dangerous man in the bar, "I see your vagina's bleeding. I've got a tampon if you need one."
Hehe. Good start.
Today at Jack's a man introduced himself to me. Turns out this guy was making his first trip to Jack's Bar & Lounge.
He'd sat quietly watching the TVs until at one point he asked Aimee B. what the Flugtag was all about (there's signs all over the bar for it). She gave a general description which I was happy to elaborate on: five dudes, one themed "flying" contraption, no taller than 10' and has to be pushed off the edge of a 30' tall pier. 
The new guy said they ought to have a party bus follow the Flying Rock Clan and their contraption (a flying rock) from Jack's to Long Beach for the event.
This led to me telling the guy about my first and only trip on a Jack's party bus, at which point he noted he was originally from Chicago and "back home" they used to have so many neighborhood bars that you'd go on busses to the White Sox game, then come home and there'd be tons of food laid out at each bar for people to eat no charge and have a drink with.
He said he's been gone so long that he's not sure what it's like anymore. Just like me this guy has been moving up the coast of California over the years, following work and opportunities as they come along. Unlike me, he made the jump from San Diego to "the city" (i.e. San Francisco) and has been slowly moving down the peninsula until he finally ended up in San Jose.
The guy had the kind of short, one syllable name you'd associate with a mid-level mafia boss, but since I didn't get his permission to use it I won't post it here. Hope to see him again.
Not much more happened after that as I'm still on the one-and-out program this week.
See you Thursday at Jack's. Wait..before I forget: Aimee B.'s behind the bar this Sunday morning from 11 to about 5 or so. Sunday mornings are tough if you're nursing a hangover, but it's not so bad when you visit Aimee and have a round or two while you count the minutes until the headache goes away.
Come and visit, if you have the chance (and the intestinal fortitude to drag your hungover self out of the house—a pair of cheap sunglasses helps, believe me).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 222 - Some Real Hard Lessons Learned...I Just Hope They Take

Lessons learned at the bar today.

1. Man up. If you messed up, let people effected by and concerned with your behavior know that you realize you screwed up and that you apologize for your behavior. Don’t wait around. Talk to everyone you think might have been effected.

2. We all have a responsibility to check each other at the bar. It does not matter that some or most of us have gone on drunken benders in the past. It does not matter if we're all friends with an otherwise high tolerance for drunken shenanigans. If one of our number is out of line, regardless of who that person is and regardless of our own past nutty drunk actions, it's the responsibility of those of us "still in line" to check that person. A good rule of thumb is this: if the action would get you tossed out of any other bar, then the person in question needs to be checked. This does not automatically mean a confrontation; a request for help from the bartender or door person works just fine.

3. Speak your mind. If someone wrongs you or wrongs someone you care about, speak up. It does not matter if they're drunk, belligerent or sure to respond negatively: speak your mind without delay. However, don't sweat the small stuff; only something that well and truly bothers you requires the effort to speak your peace. And when you do speak your mind, be simple, direct and honest. Don't look to start a fight—instead state the facts and your feelings. Don't fear consequences. Get it off your chest and be clear about it. The bar will support you in the long run.

I'm glad I learned these lessons and I'm thankful to the people who taught them to me tonight. To tell you the truth I'd pretty much determined I wasn't going on the Flugtag trip later this month, but now I'm feeling enthused again. Because of tonight I'm not turned off on the idea of going on the trip like I'd felt the past couple days.

As for the particulars of why these lessons were learned: no need to discuss that. I'd very much like to give you the reader some context—and in just about any other bar situation I would—but not this time because it's too close to me and others.  Thus, there's no need for names.

You know who you are and you both mean a lot to me. Thanks.

Other random thoughts and notes in no particular order:

Thanks to Devito for coming down to see if I was at the bar today. I'm sorry I all but abandoned you like as soon as I got in the door and that I couldn't make time tonight to do some serious foosball training (you really need to level that table anyway -- it totally favors the home team in my not so humble opinion) but we can make up for lost time in the near future.

I'm looking forward to George Clinton this Friday and possibly a room with a view just prior to the show. Thanks you-know-who (no, not Voldermort) for the Friday invite.

Thanks to Christian for squaring away the Flugtag trip plans.

@Erin A.: On Sunday you told me that you read my blog and really enjoy what I write. I responded that I hadn't written in awhile and my tone came off somewhat accusatory, as though I were implying you actually hadn't read the blog recently because that would not have been possible due to the scarcity of posts.

You paused, then said you did in fact like the stuff of mine I had written.

I'd like to take this chance to apologize. When I said I hadn't written much of late, I meant it as more of an apology/excuse and not as a "Aha! Caught you!" type of accusation. You see I felt bad for not writing regular, consistent posts to the blog after having earned the privilege of good people like you taking the time to read what I write.

Your praise means all the world to me and I really do appreciate your taking the time to check in on the blog.

One last thing: Tanisha, thank you very much for poring a beer and handing it to me in person. I hope you know it's a real privilege to receive that kind of service and I don't take it for granted.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 216 - Stealing Poetry

Not stealing, actually. More like borrowing without permission.

Today at work I ran across a poem that was drinking related, so I'm going to post it here because A) it's topical to the blog, B) you obviously haven't been reading any poetry lately (and that's not healthy), C) I think it's cool and D) nobody who reads this blog will make a fuss about me borrowing the poem anyway (amirite?)*.

Without further ado:

"For the Drunk"
by Carole Oles
This being part two of a set of two poems found in Tri-Quarterly, #61, Fall 1984, page 98.

Where the river cleaves
our city from theirs
I watch from the sidewalk at 10 a.m.
him dart in front of the ranch wagon
which rocks to a stop
as he bends, disappears, behind the front fender

muttering, scoops up a handful of something,
cover it, with the dome of his palm,
zigzags onto the pavement
where the wind yanks
off his hat and drops it in traffic.

I'm reading his back
Santucci Bros. Contractor
wondering is it safe
to walk close when he

unlids what almost killed him —
two black bars on a yellow down face,
the most lost, puzzled duckling
that ever wanted its mama.

I handed him his hat.

So...if you see a drunk during your wider travels around the world, be kind. You can keep your windows rolled up, of course. Just don't assume the worst of him or her, especially if it's me (I'm not a drunk, but I do one hell of an impersonation).

...and in case you're wondering if I work in a book store or have lots of time to look shit up online...well you're close.

I work at a library in a very esteemed university here in the Bay Area (rhymes with, well, whatever Stanford rhymes with) . I don't work for the University, rather I work for a popular tech company (rhymes with frugal) that happens to have a voracious taste for books, new and old.

See you Thursday at Jack's.

*Carole Oles did graduate from the University of California at Berkeley (and Queens College) so that's like "E)" on the list of reasons.