Thursday, July 5, 2012

Night of 100 Weird Things, Part 1

This month's copy of Yoga Journal was in my purse when it was stolen last Saturday night, but that's not the worst of it. Maybe it my pictures of the kids that was the worst? That bothers me, but, unlike the kids themselves, the pictures are replaceable. Still, I don't like the thought of someone who had it in them to smash my friend's car window, reach in and grab my purse off the floor, to be looking at my children's faces.

It happened while me and a couple of friends of mine were in a bar, some time between 11-2:00 in the morning. There are a few things out of place with this. I don't drink so I don't go to bars, unless there's a specific reason to, like if there's a good band playing, but that wasn't the case Saturday night. The second thing that's weird about this is that I'm hardly ever awake between the hours of 11-2 anymore, and if I am, then it's because I am lying awake worrying about something while my purse is sitting safely in the next room. Also what was weird is that this was the SECOND bar I'd been to that night.

It started of with just me and my buddy Lucy going to see "Moonrise Kingdom," which I've been wanting to see for weeks, and it finally came out in one theater in town. But when I met up with Lucy at Canal Place she walked over to me with a perplexed look and said, "It's sold out."
"It's sold out?" I asked. "But we're a half hour early."
"I know."
"Yeah," she said.
" in all the tickets are sold?"
"So like...there were tickets but so many people bought them that there aren't any left for us?"
"Yeah," she said, just as weirded out by it as I was.

I gazed around at the mostly middle aged, well-dressed people around me. Canal Place has recently become swanky, serving dinner and wine with the movie, and it attracts, well, people who can afford wine and popcorn drizzled with truffle oil. These people were not here to see "The Avengers" in 3D. These people were here to see my obscure, artsy movie that no one else is supposed to know about. In the weeks leading up to its release, every time I'd mentioned it to a friend or a co-worker they would say, "I haven't heard of that one," and I would assure them that it looked good and that the writer/director was one of my favorites. To this they would say, "Who's Wes Anderson?" But apparently, I'd been asking all the wrong people. The bunch of winos surrounding me who all had tickets in their hands for the 7:40 showing had heard about it, and beaten me to it.

"These bitches sold out my movie," I told Lucy.
"Yeah, and the next one's not until 10-something."
"I'm not going to be awake for that," I said.
I was basing this theory on experience, and the fact that I was already tired. I'd been out to see my friend's band play the night before (which is as you recall the only reason I go to bars, except for when I want to have my purse stolen) and I'd gotten in unusually late. As far as I was concerned, I'd filled my late-night bar adventure quota for the year.

Lucy and I leaned against the wall of the theater, scowling at the people around us. We must have looked like hoodlums. In the midst of well-dressed, button down shirt, pearl wearing men and women, I stood there in my Dad's old black Ken-Po karate t-shirt, jeans shorts, and sneakers next to my short-spiky-haired companion. I was hoping we'd make people nervous, and that in our cool, dangerous silence they would consider handing over their tickets, lest they be whacked over the head. But we didn't look like the head whacker types. We just looked not-preppy, and so no one gave us their tickets.

"How do you feel about Jan and Rhonda's invitation?" she asked me.
"What the fund-raiser dealy at Tribute?"
"Yeah," Lucy said looking reluctant. "I don't know if I want to go to a bar. It'll be crowded."
I shrugged. "It's for a good cause."
"That's true."
"Jan said the lady they're raising money for went from stage 2 to stage 4 cancer in two weeks."
"Yeah. And the bar will be full of lesbians."
"That's also true," and then she hesitated. Lucy's open to the idea of meeting a new girlfriend, but not necessarily someone she'd pick up at a bar.
"Yeah, I know," I said. "But I think Jan and Rhonda are counting on us to go. And we could just skip it if OUR MOVIE HADN'T SOLD OUT!"
"I know!" she said.
"So what are we gonna do?"
Lucy sighed. "Well, I guess we're hittin' the dyke bar."

Later I would remember that my new camera was in my purse. It had pictures of the kids mostly, who were at their dad's that weekend. I never go out on nights that I have them. But there were also pictures of my friends, the beach, and some blurry ones of speeding cars at the Indy 500, that I'd gone to last month. There were none of my ex-girlfriend because I'd bought it after we broke up in May. But like the other people in my camera, her face is still in my mind, and I thought of her when I walked into Tribute, about how much she would despise that place. Crowded, smoky, and full of potential drunken drama.

We got there in the middle of a PowerPoint presentation on the enormous flat-screen on the wall. Pictures faded in and out of the woman we were all there to support, the one I'd never met, but knew of her plight through friends of friends. It played along with a song I didn't know, and every time a picture of her kissing her partner would fade in all the ladies would scream. The one of her behind a bar curling her arm like Popeye the Sailor got a lot of hoots and hollers too.

I wondered what pictures my friends would show of me if I were in the same position, and then I realized there weren't many. Mostly I was with my kids, not my friends, and mostly I took pictures of them. I, like most people I know, don't like having my picture taken and I'm comfortable being the picture-taker instead of the take-ee. But this woman, a bar tender who knew more people than Facebook, had a big smile ready for each shot, like she knew she was the kind of person that people wanted to remember with a picture. I decided to have my picture taken like that from now on - with big smiles even though I don't like my smile. And maybe some Popeye muscle.

Lucy and I had met at Jan's house and she'd driven us there. Rhonda had been there for an hour and was already mixing it up with the ladies at the bar.
"How many women is Rhonda dating now?" I asked Jan, as we walked over to her.
"FIVE??" Lucy and I said.
"How?" Lucy asked. "How does she keep track of that?"
Jan shrugged. She's going through a divorce and the complexities of dating aren't on her mind.
"I don't know. Rhonda!" I hollered.
The PowerePoint show ended as we approached her. She didn't hear me, though I was only five feet from her. She was talking to three different women at once. I had to lay a hand on her shoulder and shake her.
"Hey!" she exclaimed and kissed my cheek.
I didn't return the kiss. I just said, "You're seeing FIVE women?"
"Yeah," she said, through a grin.
"How do you do that?"
"They don't live in town. Never in town, that's the rule."
"It is?"
"Yes," she pointed at me. "That's been your problem."
I wanted to argue that during my last relationship we lived an hour away from each other for the first six months, and also that I suffer from several problems, but she was already talking to eight other women by then.
Maybe that's also my problem. I talk to women one at a time. Rhonda needs to write down these rules.

Jan went off to talk to a few other people, and Lucy and I just stood there for a minute before she said something about needing a drink.
"Want anything?" she asked.
I looked over at some people who were dancing. I thought about saying that I wanted to know how to dance because it would be something to do.
"Water," I told her, even though I knew that to further hydrate myself meant I was even less likely to dance.

When she walked off I saw two people who were not standing next to each other, but were both in my line of vision and both extremely noticeable. One was a really cute guy who was dancing by himself like Napoleon Dynamite. The other was a tall, lean-muscled woman in a blue tank top who stared straight at me and smiled.

To be continued...

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