Ryan and the Technicolor Wardrobe
Short Stories and Essays

“Well, I met her in a bar, like I always say” – The Replacements “Message to the Boys”

While Paul Westerberg’s music a huge influence on my life, I’ve never looked at his lyrics as any kind of guide on what decisions I should make.  Living by his rules, I would probably have crazier stories to tell, but I’m probably more stable and happy from taking his lyrics as entertainment and not much more.  I’ve never been interested in meeting a girl in a bar, I’ve never been comfortable chatting it up with a random stranger in that setting, and it just doesn’t seem like the place you would meet someone looking for a relationship.  I know it happens, but it’s just not for me.  I watched my friend, Taylor, try to make it happen, and it only reinforced the fact that meeting people at a bar, or at least particularly, this bar, is a bad idea.

One night, we went to a bar that we refer to as “The Goat”, a lovable little local dive bar.  We went with Steve, another one of our co-workers, after watching a football game and having a couple of drinks at the office.  Little did I know that Taylor was already on the verge of being tipsy when we arrived at the bar, and Steve was drinking on an empty stomach.  So after a few rounds of beer,  Taylor was eyeing a girl at the next table, Steve was literally eating peanuts for dinner, and I was there with a court side view to watch the hilarity unfold.

I will not fault Taylor for his choice in this particular girl, she was indeed cute, but I will fault him for deciding to make a move, after the girl had left the the bar.  By the time he had gathered enough liquid courage, she had left, but he proceeded to ask her friends if they would deliver his number to their friend.  To be more specific, he  didn’t refer to her as “your friend”, he referred to her as “the brunette with the hammer pants”.  They turned down his offer to pass along his number because the girl had a boyfriend, she was in a 3+ year long term relationship in fact, so, hopefully that took some of the sting out of the rejection.

We drank another round of beers and Taylor tried not to wallow in any humiliation.  At this point, Taylor had hit a wall and he decided to take a cab to his brothers so she could sleep.  That left Steve and I at the bar, and Steve honorably notified me that he was not in any shape to drive.  I suggested that we get some food, not because I was hungry, but because Steve was basically drinking on an empty stomach, save for the peanuts that he ate at the bar.  I decided that we should get the greasiest fast food that was nearby, Del Taco, but at first Steve was against the idea and informed me that he was on the Paleo diet, so he could not eat tortillas since they were not part of the normal caveman diet.  Desperate times called for desperate measures, and I ignored his plea for a more paleo-friendly dining area at 12am on a Thursday night.

Upon arriving at Del Taco, Steve ran into a friend from the past, and I’m sure he was pretty embarrassed to be seen by anyone familiar due to his drunken state.  After a first order of food, I asked Steve if he was okay, and almost on cue, he dropped his plastic cup of water in the ground, ice cubes spilling everywhere to basically tell me “no”.  After a second helping, Steve was finally coherent, and we called it a night.

While I’d like to think that I’m too old for these antics, it was only a couple of months ago that a friend of mine had convinced me, against my better judgment, to climb a ladder that took us to the roof of the building next to the bar.  Despite my fear of heights, I followed him up the roof, and then I was told we would be taking a less than death defying jump over to the bar.. His jump was much more graceful than mine since:

1) My friend isn’t afraid of heights and

2) He was wearing a dress that he found on the top of the other building, so he definitely won the battle of “style points.”

I didn’t exactly land on my feet and I ended up scraping up my hand, though the pain wasn’t what was on my mind. All I could think about was getting arrested, at the age of 30, because I didn’t have the common sense to bail on a plan that I didn’t even enjoy being a part of.  Even looking back, knowing their weren’t any real consequences, it does make me raise question about how often I want to frequent this bar.  Not that I look down on the patrons of the bar, I just think there have been too many strange events that have occurred in a pretty brief amount of time.  Perhaps, on the surface, Taylor, Steve and myself have committed acts that are common, and our stories are ones that every group of friends have. I can see it with Taylor and Steve,  but I can only attribute my rooftop experience with my other friend in a dress, as an experience that only happens at The Goat.