Waiting for ? 3
Originally uploaded by Mac(3).
"It's hard waiting for something when you don't know what it is."
Another one of those nights, after a couple of Becks, when I feel restless and bored. I want to go out; I don't want to stay in.
So I left a voicemail for M. and emailed Complex Carrie and Justin, but no one answered. They'd already left for either band practice or a birthday party. I couldn't think of anyone else to call on such short notice.
I wandered from couch to computer to kitchen and back. Lilly followed for a bit, then gave up and nestled into her chair. I did an Internal Shrug and changed clothes.
Off to The Ho.
Friday night at The Ho held the usual suspects: Larry bartending; the other bartender Marilyn sitting at the bar with a friend; and this other couple who are always there on Friday. I settled into a barstool a couple down from Marilyn, said hi to Larry and ordered the first dollar draft.
I wasn't interested in the various basketball games on the TVs, so I watched some PBS special on 50's pop music. On love songs. Ouch.
From my notes:
"Love songs. According to the music, life was easier then. Probably not. Feeling yearning for love which is becoming more and more and abstract, incomprehesible four letter word.
Why did I come here? Looking for what? To be drunk, force down the itchy Blue-haired Demons."
Marilyn and her friend are singing along to the songs on TV. She sways gently back and forth on her barstool. They talk about how they used to dance to these songs in their youth. How the music was "so much better back then."
I finish another beer and write:
"who am I trying to be? What am I doing here? Trying to be a Royko/Algren/DonLevy/Burkowski? Dingy bar and writing in a little notebook..."
One last beer, and I leave to find another local waterhole.
I pass The Lamp Post, but decide not to go in. I am not in the mood to feel isolated in a populated bar where the Chicagoian Blondes and Frat-boys glance and scoff at me. I walk the sidewalk to a bar I remember driving past a few times. My Place.
But my place is closed.
I let my feet take me toward Howard through some clipped grass, tree-lined neighborhood I've never seen before now. The streetlights seem gentle here and the breeze hushes across a mystery park. I pass a woman walking her German Shepard, and we exchange knods and smiles. It feels peaceful.
And then I walk onto Howard Avenue.
Cars roar past. A gang of boys yell at each other outside a seafood restuarant. Two different arrests are taking place within three blocks. I cut through an alley to avoide the boys and get away from the flashing blue lights piercing the night. Two more blocks down on Howard, another black teen is leaning forward on another police car as a detective cruiser speeds away toward the lake.
I finally come to a neon-lit bar. There is a bass thump coming through its wall of glass front. I pass by, peering in. A crowd. I pause to gather up some courage I need when entering an unknown bar, then enter the door.
A large black man cards me, and I notice a sigh reading "you must be 30 years of age to enter." I turn the small corner and go directly to the bar and look around.
Pool table, small round tables for four, DJ in the front, crowds of men and women dancing talking walking around, bottled wine in a glass-front fridge, and a bar that runs from the front of the place all the way to the back.
And, besides the one gay bald man in a too-tight T-shirt, I am the only white guy in the place.
[I have to go to a party now, so I'll try to finish this later]