Monday, September 23, 2013

Saloon Girl

So long, weekend! Don't let the door hit you on the way out! Whew. Let me begin by saying that I have fully realized I am old. And married. Old and married, that's me. A typical Friday night for Clint and me is an exciting outing for dinner at Jason's Deli, a stop at the bookstore where a latte indulgence is optional, then home to watch Dateline at 10:00. Whatever kidnapping, murder, or heist Keith Morrison is delving into is typically the extent of our Friday night excitement. If Clint manages to stay awake long enough to see Leno's opening monologue, I consider it a personal victory.

But this Friday night made up for any lack of weekend hubbub we may have been experiencing. A friend of mine, who for the sake of anonymity will further herein be referred to as My Friend (terribly creative, I know, please try to follow all this complexity), invited us out to celebrate a happy occasion in her life.

We don't really go "out" in that sense any more. "Out" is the bar scene: downtown--or Uptown as Charlotte likes to call it. It's for youngsters, for singles looking for dates, for people who don't care about Dateline but do care about Twitter and texting and mingling and who can stay out late and whoop it up. I did my share of whooping back in the day, but I've reached the age where it actually whoops me back, if you know what I mean, so this is not really my comfort zone.

We are told to meet at a bar that calls itself a saloon. Why it does this, I still cannot reckon. We did not enter through swinging doors, there was no sawdust on the floor, no cowboys at the bar. In fact, I have unaffectionately nicknamed the place TGICocktails for its generic approach to serving overpriced, watered down drinks.

Back in my heyday, we didn't wear dresses for bar hopping. First of all, we thought it looked like you were trying too hard. Secondly, it's not as comfortable as pants or jeans. In fact, the big decision for night-on-the-town wardrobe used to be: black pants, or jeans? This particular Friday night, I chose jeans and a silky peasant top--it was from Bebe, which in my opinion always means it is bar/saloon worthy. Banana Republic? No. Ann Taylor? Puh-lease. Bebe? Let me open the velvet rope for your cool self, miss. Right this way.

Once we arrive, I see that I am dead wrong. I am surrounded by a sea of girls/ladies/women in every shape, size, color, and hemline of dress imaginable. Except for those of the male persuasion, there isn't a pair of pants in the room. Except yours truly. We just arrived, it is already nearing my bedtime, and I feel old.

However, compared to My Friend, I was bright eyed and bushy tailed. Apparently, there were lots of celebratory drinks involved in this outing, even before we arrived on the scene. My Friend is a tiny girl and let's just say that all the revelry was taking a serious toll. She clutched a fistful of my silk blouse and used me to keep her in an upright position for a pretty good while. When she finally let go, I would have been relieved except for the fact that she promptly tumbled to the floor. And then stood up and fell again five minutes later.

At this point, I began searching for her ride, who we came to learn had decided to abandon ship leave while the getting was good. Clint and I go to the bar, get My Friend's tab paid up, and then have to physically pry her away. Seriously--this five foot one, hundred and five pound girl starts grabbing the bar and refusing to leave. Now, this is kind of baffling for me since the bar had not exactly been kind to her in the first place, and in the second place she could absolutely no longer hold her head up.

Thank God she's not heavyset, because we literally carried her down the sidewalk and to our car. Along the way, I bent down on my hands and knees and unbuckled her four inch strappy sandals that were serving as a serious ankle breaking threat and carried them, too. I felt like a fireman doing one of those challenges where they are forced to carry objects and run an obstacle course. As we pull up to the exit of the garage, My Friend announces she thinks she is going to be sick. I hop out of the car, open the back door, and wave traffic around our car as she loses some of the Jager bombs she very enthusiastically imbibed in a little while before. I offer my sympathy and some Quick Trip napkins I handily keep stored in my console.

Then we begin the adventure of finding her house. You see, we had only been there once before, and she is in no shape to be giving us directions. While My Friend is curled up in the backseat with the quilt our dog likes to ride on when he's in the car, we mercifully stumble upon her home. And fumble with all 45 of the keys on her key chain (why? what are all of these for?!) before finally getting it right and getting her inside.

While her little terrier is very happy to see us, she has not been a happy dog while she was home alone without her owner. Clint is nice enough to clean up the doggy 'business' that has been left unceremoniously in the den while I help My Friend to the bathroom. While she is worshipping the porcelain god, we take the dog out for some air, play with the pooch for a bit, and then fetch My (moaning, groaning, disheveled, near comatose) Friend some water. Then we throw in a blanket and a pillow for good measure, put her phone by her hand just in case, and head home.

What a night! A long, crazy, strange, exhausting night. We woke up Saturday still shaking our heads over that adventure and all its ins and outs. Clint texts My Friend to make sure she is okay. The response? She tells us (after announcing that she feels like pure death) that she remembers very little about us being there and has no idea how she got home. All of that, and she has no memory of the fricking fiasco. You seriously cannot make stuff like this up.

So after a very eventful out-and-about experience, I think we have had enough excitement for a while. If you need us, we'll be having our usual at the neighborhood Jason's Deli. If the night needs a little spicing up, well, it's almost time for pumpkin spice lattes over at the bookstore. And for my Friday night outings, dresses are absolutely optional. Actually, depending on the mood, yoga pants are optional. That's just the way this saloon girl does it.

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