Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Bar Leeches

For the past couple of weeks, I've been doing a lot of bar hopping because the wife has been away on vacation in India and a guy's gotta eat and food doesn't just grow on trees and even if it did I would have to go and pluck it and since I am a late riser, all the short people would already have been there and cleaned out all the low-hanging branches and I would have to go find a ladder, etc, so fuck all that, I just went to a bar.

Also, it's football playoff season and when you are watching your team play, it is a much more enjoyable experience with other people around you just so you can share the joy when a player on the other team breaks a leg or gets paralyzed from the waist down, nah I'm just kidding, what am I, a savage? No, we like it when they can get off the field without a cart.

But usually the give and take of fan happiness merely includes group slogan shouting, high fiving, or in the worst case scenario, helping other people off the floor after they've fallen from their chairs in ecstasy. There's always one guy who keeps doing that. Always one. But apart from these humanitarian exchanges, usually when I go to a bar, I keep my distance away from my fellow barflies because the thing about bars is that they serve alcohol and when people get alcohol inside them, they turn quite garrulous and excessively chummy and then the natural reaction for them is to grab the coat collar (or the spaghetti strap) of the person next to them and chew his or her ear off. That is why when I'm in a bar I like to pretend that I'm a foreigner and cannot speak English and I do a great job pulling it off because as it turns out I am a foreigner.

But, sometimes, the percentage alcohol by volume of the person is so high that it pierces through his, I won't say xenophobia, let's call it xenoreluctance, and when that happens, you're in trouble. For example, last weekend, as I was sitting in a sports bar watching the Cowboys game, wearing my brand new Eagles Jersey, this guy walked up to me and yelled in my ear, "You guys are gonna LOSE tomorrow". The capitalization of the word "Lose" was intentional and meant to convey the additional increase in decibel level for that word. And then he unzipped his jacket and showed me what was inside and underneath was a New York Giants jersey. Since I was also mildly buzzed from the beer and thus, more prone to expletive release, I yelled at him, "No Fucking Way, buddy".

He looked confused because I guess he wasn't used to foreigners swearing at him and walked away, apparently miffed. I felt a bit bad because I didn't know whether I had hurt his feelings or not. Miss Manners says Giants fans are also people, after all.

Which is why when I found myself sitting next to him at the bar after a few minutes, I took the uncharacteristic step of voluntarily starting a conversation with him because, you know, I'm getting old and I do not derive as much pleasure from hurting people's feelings as I used to.

"So what do you think about tomorrow's game?", I asked him.

I wasn't sure if he would recognize me through his beer goggles.

"Gonna be a tough one", he replied. Apparently he did.

"What's the deal with Eli", I asked him, instantly regretting my decision.

He launched on a detailed explanation of what the deal was with Eli. I listened patiently and then after convincing myself that I had paid off my dues, went back inside my shell and to my chicken wings.

"You guys are gonna LOSE tomorrow", he continued.

Goddamn, I thought we'd already gone over this, I said to myself. I began my nodding routine, the precursor for complete ignoring. In the meantime, I had also realized, to my dismay, that the guy was a shower head, one of those people who are quite generous with their saliva during a conversation. And I was eating.

"I like that ad", he said dreamily. That horrible car commercial with the people dancing and singing to that Sound of Music song. I opened my mouth to say something.

"Fuck Duke", the guy suddenly yelled.

Apparently a Duke basketball game was on.

"You got something against Duke?", I asked.
"Yeah, I'm from Seton Hall and those bastards at Duke never gave us respect."
"Hey, I have a friend...", I began, but got cut off.
"They never gave us respect. They come up to you and they do not give you any respect. You've got to give people respect, you know what I mean?", he asked me.

I did not know what he meant. I still don't know what giving respect means. I'm sure it means something because people here seem to be big on getting respect from other people.

"Look at that guy, he looks like a woman", he said, in a tone of considerable loathing. Evidently, he was having a hard time coming to terms with the long hair of a Duke player.

It was at this point, fortunately, that food appeared in front of him. It was a plate containing four slices of cake, a strange thing to order in a sports bar, but maybe it's a Seton Hall thing. He began to eat, thereby putting his saliva to better use.

Just as I was beginning to think he was done for the day, he again jumped up and pointed at the screen.

"Dammit what is with the long hair? Hey buddy, why don't you get a haircut?"

I noticed that the channel had switched to a women's basketball game. Regardless, I let him continue with his rant. Then, a stroke of luck.

"I gotta go to the bathroom", he said and left. There was still a slice of cake remaining in his plate.

"Is this seat taken?", someone asked me.

"Nope, it's all yours", I replied.

The bartender walked up and cleared away the cake. The leech was gone.

Somehow every time I sit at a bar, I am accosted by a leech. A couple of weeks ago, I was enjoying a quiet evening with zambezi in a bar in Jersey and a leech attached itself to us. This time it was a Jamaican woman and I won't say it was zambezi's fault, but it really was his fault because he began talking to her about what was wrong with the New York Knicks and about the problem lying with upper management and the Knicks having too many people playing the same position and all that talk was like showing a lettuce farmer a cartload of fresh manure and it made her spread out her roots like a banyan tree and then she made herself comfortable among us. She had one of the most irritating habits I've ever observed in any human being, basically after every sentence, she would stop and look very amazed at what she had just said and it was as if she was trying to transmit that amazement from her face to yours through sheer facial muscle exertion and honestly, what she was saying wasn't really very amazement-inducing at all. But basically, I had not driven 200 miles to spend my Friday night listening to a Jamaican woman babble on and on about the New York Knicks and look amazed so it was making me extremely frustrated. I don't know what zambezi was thinking at that point.

But the final camel that broke it's own back was when we finally extricated ourselves from the conversation and went outside in order to smoke, she goddamn followed us there and that was when zambezi finally told her, hey it's been great talking to you, bye bye. And we went back inside and took her drink and placed it ten blocks away from us. Sometimes you have to be cruel in order to move on with your own life. Oh and by a strange coincidence, this woman was from Seton Hall as well. And so is zambezi. Goddamn Seton Hall people.

But I think my worst experience with a leech was when I was accosted by a Jesus freak in a TGIF back when I was in New Hampshire, and it wasn't even a friday. For about two hours, yes, two hours this guy tried to convert me to Christianity. Only after I had promised him that I would at least try to attend church this sunday would he let me leave. Obviously that event had a lot to do with my eventual conversion to sado-masotheism. Sorry Jesus freak, no wings for you this lifetime.


RobRoy said...

It's a good thing you're an Eagles fan, or I wouldn't give you any respect either. No, I'm not going to tell you how to give respect. That would spoil it for others.

zambezi said...

he he. very very phunny,both wifey and me are having a great laugh reading it.

gawker said...

robroy : Why not? don't you want to pass on your wisdom to future generations?

zambezi : Now don't fight over the laptop. You can have the arrow buttons and let her have the numberpad.