Odd socks, hammers and tongs! It happened again, I got busy and I forgot my internet life. It’s surprising to me that this happens considering how little activity outside of work I do in my daily life, but occasionally I do things.
Last weekend was pretty exceptional for me, firstly I went out with some people I know, and secondly I volunteered. Really, selfish-me worked for free for people who I never met prior to the day. And you know what? I even enjoyed myself.
Before making this sound like I developed a halo and brought life to a dreary soup kitchen let me warn you, it wasn’t for a charity. My Alma Mater were participating in a universities fair in the city, I’m on their mailing list and they said they’d like to meet up Friday night to chat and just generally have a little community alumni drink. What the hell, it’s not like I had anything else planned. Actually I will now digress from this and tell you a weird story of that Friday night.
So I finished work around 6, and we were supposed to meet up in the bar ‘from 7’ which meant no-one would be there until say 8. So I put a call out to some people to see if anyone was near me drinking. I got a response from a film critic/journalist friend (who else is drinking at 4:30 on a Friday?) so after work I went to have a drink and some food with him. He was already seated with a friend of his. Now children, let me warn you, if there is one friend of a journalist you don’t want to meet it is the journalists pseudo-intellectual, lecherous, attempted journalist friend. Guess which friend was there? Yup it was him, I’m gonna call him Fletch, not because he is like Chevy Chase but because he is a f—ing letch. Now the bar we were in isn’t what you’d call a dive, but it is by no means trendy. It serves burgers, chili, general bar snacks like fries and onion rings. Nothing fancy, but decent enough. So I join my friend at the bar order a drink and some food. Now here I should point out, I know the bar tender. He used to work in a different bar, and I bitched about that bar’s wine, how t was more paint-stripper than grape juice. Now he remembered me, and told me to avoid the wine, and we joked and laughed and chit-chatted away. Until, Fletch decides to invade the conversation. Fletch demanded I buy him and my friend , who we will call Cronkite (because I can’t think of any other famous journalists), drinks. I complied and asked the barkeep for a round. The drinks came, but I had two. Confused, I asked why.
Friday night is ladies night, buy one get one free style. Now the problem is Fletch decided to be a goddamn asshat. He demanded free beer as I had place the order. Barkeep explained in an incredibly polite way it was a promotion to encourage ladies to drink, and now I’ll paraphrase: not to encourage jobless, gutless winos, I think his actual words were “you”. Fletch then demanded to speak to the manager, yelled at the barmaid and the barkeep, yelled at the bar-back who was changing barrels, yelled at Cronkite, yelled at me and eventually huffed and puffed himself bright red. He then sat down. Cronkite and I apologized to the bar staff. It was at this point my food arrived, as a joke I asked if he’d be sending another plate when I’d finished this one, barkeep gave me “that’s funny but this is really not the time as I’m still pissed off” look. I took a bit of my burger and realized half my fries had vanished.
I lifted my plate to see where I’d knocked them, nope not on the bar. So I held onto the bar and peered down to the floor on the other side of the bar, with my feet resting on the brass railing running around the base. Nope no fries there either. I sat back down and resumed my burger. Where the hell did those fries go?
And then I noticed Fletch’s fat hand making a second kidnapping run of my fries. Let me explain that this was no mean feat as Cronkite was sitting between us and there were six or so glasses of varying fullness. I just stared as his fat hand grabbed another fistful of fries. Cronkite stared too. Barkeep started staring too. There was silence. The usual background noise continued but we were silent aside from Fletch’s loud-as-hells-bells chewing.
When I finished my burger I got up to leave, it was nearly 8 and I thought that If I stayed longer I would kill Fletch. I hopped off the bar stool and began paying my tab. Barkeep beckoned me to come close and leaned in, “I’m charging you for one beer and the burger. The other beers and the fries are going on Fletch’s tab. I’m amazed at how you handled that, considering how often I’ve seen you blow your top over nothing.”
Barkeep, you changed the angle of my night. I was about to go meet up with some complete strangers in a pissy ‘I hate everyone’s guts, the nerve of some people, imma break your fingers for touching me’ mood, and you made me happy. You gave a douche what he deserved, and you rewarded my lack of hissy-fit. Thank you times a trillion.
So I tottered off to meet with the Alumni group. Luckily for me I recognized two people immediately and we struck up a nice conversation, I was impressed by how easily we engaged everyone else in conversation too. Having one thing in common immediately made us a lot happier to speak to each other, it reminded me of those halcyon late summer days of university.
Anyway, somehow I ended up assuring the host I would drop by the universities fair to say hi even if only for 10 minutes. I got up early the next day, went to the bakery and picked up some breakfast, they were having a muffin sale (I mean wow, people who do this, I am amazed at your marketing skills) 6 giant muffins for $12 SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!
So armed with some tribute I shuffled off with my coffee on the cold winter morning to go and chat for ten minutes and then spend the day doing whatever it is you can do when broke. I got there and noticed that one of my friends who wasn’t at the alumni meeting the night before was helping out, just chatting away to people. Somehow I started chatting to people, and from 10 until about 5:30 I encouraged people to go to my old university, explaining the different departments and the different Masters courses available. I had fun, not only reliving my glory days, but also being an example for people to strive for, I’m so used to being a horrible warning rather than the shining example. It was a nice change. I’m glad I did it.