Friday, April 06, 2007

A Quiet Drink Alone.

A couple weeks ago I stopped in at a neighborhood bar I sometimes frequent for a quick, and totally uncalled for, pint on my way back to my apartment after work. Broadway Station is the kind of bar that on one night can be brimming with the drunken yelps of local Mets fans hurling curses at one--or all--of the seven or eight television screens, the next night is a smattering of colorful mixed-drinking karaoke enthusiasts, and on yet another night (namely the ones that I enjoy patronizing) is utterly vacant.

On this particular night I saddled up to the middle of the bar flanked only by a bald man and his high-strung and extremely white date, the neighborhood's "Old Guy Who Still Drinks" whom I have seen sipping his way through straight house whiskey interspersed with gulps off of a Budweiser draft with ice cubes, and a hulking bro-dude of a bartender. Eager to become lost in this scenery I ordered a Smithwick's, paid the large biceps, tribal tattoo, and tiny eyes that poured the beer, left my remaining cash next to me on the bar, and promptly began writing nothing in particular to myself in a moleskin I was recently given as a birthday present.

A quiet drink alone often turns into more than just that, and my quick beer before heading home turned into four, five, and I think a sixth. I have attempted to transcribe my scrawlings from the evening despite their complete lack of where-withal and coherence (It appears I become fixated on the jukebox choices made for a largely indifferent and startlingly unpopulated audience):

There's something painful about listening to "Don't Stop Believing" in a bar. When an over-privileged white girl pumps $5 into a crappy touch-screen jukebox "Some will win/Some will lose" indeed. "It goes on and on and on...Strangers searching . . .." God help us all.

I think Tom Petty has said everything I felt or will feel in the most concise and musically traditional manner that they warrant being said in. You really can't fuck with that. "Gonna leave this. World for awhiiile . . .." I always feel like The Heartbreakers never got enough credit. I'd be pressed to name any of them, but that bass player only uses his thumb to ring out the notes, and the guitar player seems ever willing to put up with Petty's use of the D-suspended chord over and over again.

Shannon Hoon was a victim of the 90's. Many would cite Kurt Cobain, but Hoon really was: His band was wildly unremarkable, not unlike The Cardigans or Bush, but to his credit he sounds like he's earnestly feeling it on the vocal delivery on "No Rain." I mean, the lyrics make little-to-no sense, but the muscle bound bartender is singing along, "All I can do is read a book to stay awake/And I start to complain that there's no rain." Kurt Cobain was a victim of his own self, Shannon Hoon was a victim of a musically overly-saturated era--people remember details about Cobain's life and music; all anyone remembers about Hoon (if even his name) is that damn bumble-bee girl running into a field full of other bumble-bee people and the hippie-like frolicking that ensued in the video for this song. Though you know, no one is going to be singing along or reciting anything that I've ever written in 15 years at a bar. Don Henley probably has the lock on this though. You can't start a band with a name as ultra-American as "The Eagles" and not have an effect like that on people. "Blind Melon" just isn't going to cut it.

Evidently, and unfortunately, people still remember who Johnny Lang and Duran Duran are. Hell fire.

Watching a female sing-along with to The Dixie Chicks, "Wide-Open Spaces" is horrific. This bar is now officially the whitest place I've ever been since my bar-going days in North Carolina. I feel like I'm watching an end-scene for an hour-long comedy/drama on NBC. The main character, whose name I'm sure is Tiffany, just got over Skyler once and for all, and is free now to annoy everyone is a twenty-foot radius at local watering holes.

I just earned myself a free beer after this one. I do not really want it.

Is it possible to listen to "Love Is A Battlefield" without that image of the music video popping into your head? Furthermore, is it possible to endure the song without someone in the bar mimicking the dance moves from it? I'm glad I didn't come-of-age in the 80's. Pat Benetar really sucks, and I've always thought she resembled a lizard for some reason.

I wish Ernie Hudson had recorded an album instead of the guys from Miami Vice or Eddie Murphy. Ernie really shit the bed on that one. He would have had something important to say to us. Being the only black Ghostbuster had to be taxing.

I can't help but wondering what the guy who played Hawkeye on MASH is up to right now. Last I saw of him he was on some weird video series we watched in 8th grade science class. It involved a boat's scientific expedition. There was a deaf girl I'm pretty sure, a couple of other co-eds (for a slight hint at sexual tension), and Hawkeye. I remember in a particularly moving installment a character urinated on another character that was hypothermic. I don't know that it was Hawkeye who did the peeing, but I'm sure Radar would have simply hugged that individual back to health.

"Cigarettes and Alcohol" by Oasis? I think the last time I heard this song was on MTV just before heading out the door for another rousing day at Lake Braddock Secondary School in 1995. I forgot how British they were before "Wonderwall" got played every five minutes on the radio. Ryan Adams version was a lot better. Fucking Oasis.

The old guy is looking at me weird because I keep jotting crap down in my notebook every so often. He's probably going to start talking to me soon. Old men love talking to me at bars for some reason. I wish my girlfriend were here right now.

That's it; I'm leaving a free beer behind. I can't do this anymore. A quiet drink alone has turned into too many, and I have to work tomorrow. I think I can taste the morning's hangover on the back of my throat, and feel it in my sinuses already.



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