Let’s play catch-up

It’s a crying shame when people who rarely post anything, post more than I do in a single month.

We all know I went to MN and much was accomplished. I was knocked down a few pegs when I got back, and I think that contributed to the lack of posting. The people you expect the most out of can sometimes be the ones who let you drop the hardest. The week I got back really reminded me why I was estranged from one side of the family for such a long time, and I wouldn’t be completely adverse to letting some connections die off.

Anyway.

There have been a few bands through the bar, most notably, Fickle. Seriously, get their album and see their shows. Tell them MontiLee at the Chill sent you. Great group of guys and fantastic playing.

Things have been up and down at the bar, but the rough patches have been mostly smoothed over and things are almost back to normal.

Lemme tell you about Gary.

After the festive rowdiness of the previous evening featuring one of my favorite performers, STEVIE (who, by the by, is playing this Thursday), the bar in the early evening was quiet and uneventful. I was writing the beginnings of a nibble of an idea inspired by Neil Gaiman when Gary walked in. He was on his bike and he asked f he could park it next to the pinball machine. It was fine since the damned thing hasn’t worked in more than a few months.

Gary is probable pumping 80 proof in his veins therefore I get the diving rantings of a man who realizes that it is off limits to hate Blacks so he’s moved his bigot fence to the religious setbacks. He talked about the tornado of 1997 that roared down I-75 and called it The Hand Of God that wiping out the Muslims and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, sparing the Madonna that faces Lakeshore Drive but crushing a Kingdom Hall. He said the Latinos are trying to run the bar out of business. “They won’t shoot you because you’re pretty,” he tells me in low tones, “but *him*” – and he jabbed a thumb over his shoulder at my uncle – “he’s a goner.” Every third word was the f-bomb.

He stalks the bar, putting a dollar into the jukebox. He choose Tina, Dionne, Seger, and Taste of Honey. He does a little jig to the songs and tells me that’s he’s a Detroit boy from way back. He looks dirty as if he’s been working hard doing outside work, or perhaps just not bathing. Part of me feels sorry for him, and another part thinks that this is how men end up when they don’t have people to take care of them.

Gary is an argumentative drunk but not violent, not that I would ever get close enough to be hit. His four songs end, he knocks back his beer, and he and his bike depart and again I muse on the words of my uncle and the amount of time I send with each customer.

I am not well-versed in the art of small talk. I tend t avoid conversation, especially with people i don’t necessarily want to be friendly with – drunks, players, and pretty much everyone else. This unfortunately spills into conversations with people I do want to talk to. I like hearing people talk and I like the stories they tell. Not having any interesting ones of my own, I just like to listen.

My uncle is naturally gregarious – at least on the surface. He is friends with everyone and people really like him. He makes people feel welcome and they end up staying for a few drinks. He says goodbye to them in a way that makes them feel like they might be back in a few hours for another round.

I am naturally suspicious of people. I work in a bar. Men talk to me because they can imagine my clothes in a pile on the floor. Women talk to me because they can imagine my clothes in a pile on the floor (Oh, there is still the story of Amy, she of the “Lesbian Slut” tattooed on her hands …). I have something they want, primarily booze, followed by small talk, and then maybe my number, though that’s never happened. Booze I can almost always provide since the bar lives on the edge by providing just enough of everything to be considered full service. Example: post band nights your whiskey will Early Times, your vodka will be Crystal Palace, your gin will be Old Colony. I can get you your domestic beers – MGD, High Life, Budweiser, but nothing light.

The small talk is a struggle. I can’t pretend to be happy to see you if I don’t know you. It’s quite simple to me. So I’m learning how to be interested without being overly friendly. I haven’t perfected my bartender carriage because to me it looks like “done yet” or worse “want to take me home?” Talking to Gary I felt like I was wearing a mask that was all false smiles and practiced nods. He bought it though,, left me a dollar tip for his two-dollar beer and I suppose that’s all that matters.

The number – forget it. I am utterly convinced one cannot meet a lifetime partner in a bar, try as people might to convince me otherwise. And seriously, have you seen the bar’s regulars?

FYI – it has been several weeks since I’ve seen Djoko (aka Jochen). I’m not terribly sad about this, but it has meant paying for my own drinks.

I really hope this post made some sort of sense. More later when I find my other notes.

Because now you’re dying to hear about Amy.