Tonight, as a “we’ll miss you”, the two bachelors who live in the basement took me out. They’re really nice guys, but I’m five years older and fifteen years more married than either one of them, so for me it was like a night on safari. It was a real life Animal Planet, with beer and live music.
It didn’t start out that way. It started out as a nice dinner.
J and S had a party last night (their dog turned 3, so it was as good an excuse as any for loud music and beer). I threw some meat on the grill, met some of their friends, grabbed a bite, and said goodnight. C was better with the small talk, and I ended up meeting our newest neighbor. He reminds me of Steve Zahn. Nice guy; would have loved to have had him for a neighbor.
Anyway, so tonight J and I were going to hang out. He suggested food. He’s a food snob, so I was game for any place he suggested. He ended up taking me to this little Mediterranean place, where I ate incredible beef and impressive chicken. I also had my first two beers. J had a drink so strong that his leftover ice tasted like a tequila snow cone.
That’s when S called.
Two pitchers of beer later, the bar we’re in is getting boring in spite of the pictures of Telly Savalis, Steve Martin, Burt Reynolds taken from vintage magazines and turned into Men’s Room wallpaper. The pitt bull over by the pinball machine is now taking up a booth to itself, and the DJ has been spinning the same beat since the last time I went to the bathroom.
We grab Flex (S’s Boston Terrier) and we head to a place by the pier, under the viaduct, where three guys in leather and their drummer make eyes at the only three women in the place while they played Silverchair, The Darkness and Chris Isaac.
I hoot and holler and drink another beer. I bang my head. It’s been twenty years, my neck could use it. After the band finished their set, another Chandler and Joey who came out that night continued to drunkenly sing along to the Guns N’ Roses CD that played as the drummer packed up gear. I sang along, not knowing if I was enjoying it in an ironic or nostalgic way, and not caring. I had my fifth beer.
Most everyone was hanging out front. Some were smoking, all were drinking, and the homeless were asking for change. I struck up a conversation with a few of the underprivileged. Two were just guys on the hustle. One was a very sad woman, and two were the real deal. One man, Mike, took the time to talk to me like a person. He has a warm place for tonight, but who knows about tomorrow. Another man, I didn’t catch his name, sang me a song. He says he’d get a gig if he could… and he looked at his feet.
I thanked him for his time and went back to the huddled smokers in the tiny pen by the front door of the bar.
The guys in the band turned out to be cool guys, and I almost bummed a smoke from one but realized it’s been over two years since my last one and decided not to even tempt that demon.
Back into the bar, the Sing-along Twins are belting out Poison’s “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn”, and playing air guitar. That’s when I realize I haven’t thought about the herd of boxen in my kitchen for almost six hours.