Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Getting the Hell Out of There 

I took a long drive this past weekend. Much too long for someone with nothing to think about. And when I arrived, I was in the beautiful city of Minneapolis. There I got to see several friends, drink several beers, and partake in one of my very favorite activities.

I got to leave a bad bar.

I love leaving a bad bar. It must be done with style. Little bit of flourish. Some anger. Definite indignation. But I also think suffering is important. One must first endure the situation for it to be worth leaving. On the outset, our choice of establishment looked promising: we were told this place brewed its own beer, it had lots of wood and animal heads on the walls, it looked and felt like an old German beer hall, and while it was populated, it wasn't jammed with people. Things went downhill from there, which lead to some of the key necessities one requires to leave a bad bar:

1.) The beer was bad. I know it was homemade, but it was flat. Tasted spoiled.

2.) The music was awful. Despite its German ambiance, the place was pumping out bad dance music. They weren't always playing dance songs, either. I heard the Doobie Brothers put to a 1-1 beat that would have driven any sane man to suicide given enough time.

3.) The music was numbingly loud. It was during a conversation about good music that I noticed it. Mike was talking about the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs and Bloc Party; I was talking about Frank Black and the Decemberists . . . when I noticed my voice was hoarse. This is because I had been yelling to be heard. That's when I looked around and noticed....

4.) My friends weren't having any fun either. Kyle was nearly asleep in the corner. Mike was cringing from the music. Brandon was staring into his beer like it was hypnotizing him, and Joe, Eric, Master Ash and Nick all looked like someone had punched them in the stomach.

That was enough for me. Those are the only four components one needs to leave a bad bar. I stood up and said, "I'm getting the hell out of here!" I finished my beer, slammed it down, and said again, "We're getting the hell out of here!"

It must be said with volume, anger, and desperation. Because one never knows how many of his friends will follow him out of danger. Indeed, I noticed the other Mike was in conversation with some young lasses, and two other idiot friends were on the dance floor actually enjoying the music. So I surely couldn't expect full cooperation (although I was later told that that Mike never "signed the deal" so I in fact had little to worry about). I just wanted the kindred souls with me. Luckily, that's what I got.

Others heard the battle cry, so that more asked, "What are we doing? What's going on?" -- stirrings from the slumber this bad bar had cursed us with. I said again, "We're getting the hell out of here!"

By the way, say that some time. As James Brown said -- say it loud. It's very liberating.

Admittedly, the whole rush out the door lost some of its joy when I had to rush back in to use the bathroom. But there was nothing better than feeling that cool night air hit my face as my friends stood around deciding what to do next to all the other people deciding with their friends what they wanted and didn't want. Where they should and shouldn't go. Whose plan intersected with whose and whose didn't, and how they could get it all back together again in the right place that hopefully would have good beer and better music.

I've always thought that the bar scene is about people looking for something. Mostly sex. Partially numbness. But when you're married with children, and can stand back and look at it all from a distance, the important things rise to the top: does the establishment care that I can hear my friends speaking, do they play good music, and for the love of Christ, can they serve a thick, cold dark beer that doesn't cost $8, but still slides down your throat better than the first one did?

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?