Friday, September 16, 2005
A Moment In Time
It's Friday and I am just getting off work. I can't recount what I did all day, most likely because I didn't do anything all day. I'm in my favorite fleece, fleece being something I denied for years, like the color pink. I'm in my favorite jeans and I'm bone tired because I don't sleep enough. My entire body just wants to indent itself in my bed. When I get home, I throw my bags on the couch, the mail on the counter and myself into the bathroom to wash up. I try to do something with my hair. I've yet to discover cutting it and unleashing my natural curl. (Self-denial...what a forte...) So at this point, I hate my hair. I zip up my black boots and enjoy their clickety clack on my way out to the car. I pull money I can't afford to spend out of the ATM. It's chilly out. And damp. Bad enough to cling to my bones and turn my throat raspy - if not for the fabulous black fleece having been discovered and keeping me toasty. As I make my way up the steps, I lose all care for what people think. I have a mission - and one mission only for tonight. Inside, the bar glows against a dark grey, rainy fall outside. Wet leaves cling to the dirty tile floor. It's okay though, they'll have caught a ride back outside, on the bottom of some drunk's boot, by closing. Only a couple of people look up as my boots continue their clickety clack to the table. They're watching television. It's not late enough to be disorderly - people are still eating. Rachel emerges from behind the bar, long dark hair trailing behind her. She drops a cold, sweating beer off at a loud table of six and when she turns around, she sees me and smiles. Quick hug. "You gonna drink tonight?" she asks. "Ugh, I dunno." I answer. "You will. Gin & tonic? Vodka & cranberry? Beer?" Ahhh, bar food. It can clog an artery, but on a night like this...it's really all you want. To be unhealthy. To coat your stomach in grease and then fill it up with alcohol. Mushrooms fried in some sort of batter, sticks of cheese fried the same, chicken strips, cauliflower, fried, fried, fried...burgers with cheese and ketchup and mustard and lettuce slipping right off the bun. Beer. "Ugh, is it time to go home yet?" Rachel laughs, stopping at the table for a chat. No. No, it's not time to go yet. Once the last family (complete with noisy children) is out the door, the alcohol flows a little easier. The music gets a little louder...the bar gets a little more crowded with some of your favorite names: Stacy, Kim, Mike, Jon, Mart, Jen, Leslie, Butch, Dawn, Barbie... The list goes on. Everyone just...shows up. And we're off...moving around talking to this person, yelling at that person, annoyed with the person in the corner. Get another beer, hit the bathroom for the eighth time - in pairs of course, smoke another cigarette...torture the bartender with fake impatience and keep her laughing by insulting people too drunk to know you're doing it. Drive a couple of people home, who can't drive themselves. Another Friday in the bag. Get back to the bar in time to sweep it up. Move the stools and turn out the lights. The air is chillier now. Have to let the car warm up. Might as well talk for a few minutes. 'Few minutes' turns into an hour and a half. Not really ready to throw in the towel. Follow each other out to the house and have another beer. Sure is getting chilly. Talk out on the porch. Wrapped up in fleece. The sight of your breath mixes with the smoke from your cigarette. Beer still tastes good at 4 a.m. Consider staying up until 5 for breakfast... You feel a tad stale in your car as you pull into the parking lot. The sun is bright and seeping into the room as clothes are shed and pajamas pulled on. It's morning. Time for bed.