Friday, October 31, 2008

Customer of the NIght #889: Fiesty Old Broad.

She was wearing a black velvet top hat (the kind that's scrunched down a little), with a cool coat and wire-rim glasses. She looked like she probably had at least a couple of cats. She was smiling and waiting patiently in line, and when she finally got to the counter, she set down a bottle of pre-mixed Bellinis, a bottle of bubbly, and some kind of fruity something.
"This looks like a fun night waiting to happen," I say, grinning encouragingly.
"These ladies I'm drinking with, they're such pussies," she sighed, rolling her eyes. "This is for them. I'll be drinking my single malt. They've just never acquired a taste."
"Well, good for you. I guess they're a cheap date, huh? And no wasting the good stuff."

She laughed and I laughed and she waved on her way out the door. I suddenly wanted desperately to go with her.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Customer of the Night # 651: The Shrieking Bitch.

This one's from a couple weeks back, actually, but I just found a note in some pants while I was doing laundry and I thought I'd go ahead and blog it.

I was working with W. It was a slow, slow Wednesday night, the kind that calls to mind the movie Clerks, and I start looking up random shit on the internet only after I have already cleaned every possible thing behind the counter.

So this girl comes in, obviously drunk, looking like a low-rent Par1s H1lton in a pink sweatsuit jacket and too much eye makeup. She is over-friendly and chatty and obviously stupid in addition to being half in the bag, and when she comes up she hands me a credit card with a guy's name on it.
I check her ID and tell her that I can't take the credit card.
"Why not?" she asked, still maintaining a sweet and innocent vibe. "It's my fiance's."
"Well, I have no way of knowing that, now do I?"
""So what do you need? A marriage license?"
"No, I need him. With an ID."
"He's out in the car, but he doesn't have an ID. He only has a military ID because he got a DUI."
"A military ID is fine."
"But we're MARRIED." Now she starts to whine. "I'm just having such a bad day." Faking breaking down in tears, she drops her head and goes outside. She returns moments later, after a loud and obviously heated exchange in the parking lot. Now she's pissed. A minute later a guy walks in. He is obviously drunk and likely underage. He mumbles something about not having his military ID, and she flips out.
"Where did you put it?!" Then, looking back at me, "This is bullshit anyway. I'm taking my business somewhere else." She slams her bottle of vodka on the counter in front of me and stalks to the door. "Fuck this place!!"
Smiling at a customer who is approaching the counter, I turn and wave.
"Have a nice fucking night!"
We watch as they weave drunkenly down the road away from the store. Since we didn't get a license plate number, we couldn't really call the police. Instead, W called the next liquor store down the road.
"Yeah, white car,m pink sweatsuit. Drunk and very dumb. Probably a stolen card."
I can't imagine how far she had to drive to get a drink.

Field Trip.

Yesterday the b.h. and I both had the day off and we took the boys and went up to the mountains. Stopped off and bought a couple of pumpkins at Burt's, went hiking at Amicola Falls, and got some apples and fried pies at Mack Aaron's Apple House.
I thought Wyatt was going to pass out on our way back up the falls, but he made it through. Slept all the way home in the car, though. We had a camera malfunction so I didn't get any pictures, but you can look over at Jamie's Blog if you wanna see what it looks like up there.
Anyway, it was a much needed rest, and now we've got plenty of apples to make pie with. I'm excited.

Oxford, Part Two.

We were ambling along through Alabama when my phone rang. The b.h. was wondering how far we had gotten. Then he told me what time the show was starting, and I realized that I had to step on it.
We got turned around in Tupelo, but after stopping for directions three times we got back on track and got to Oxford in plenty of time. We checked into our hotel first, got changed and headed over to the club. J had, in his fuzzy-headedness that morning, forgotten his shoes, and so wound up wearing flip-flops to the show. The club was lovely and the staff was very nice. I drank some kind of pecan beer on draft and took lots of pictures. We bought The Truckers album with Betty Lavette and a new copy of the Southern Rock Opera- both on vinyl. The show was great. I love seeing people see Goat for the first time, and watching the Truckers without having to stand in a room full of frat boys is a lot more fun. Hung out with Craig at the merch booth for a bit, then went outside while he smoked. I found him talking to two sorority girls, both in little black dresses and heels (at a Truckers show). There was some mention of the Vice Presidential debate that was going to happen the following night, and I was shocked and pleased to hear them both refer to it as "a fucking joke."
"Now I just have to convince my mom," one of them remarked.
In Mississippi.

Next morning we somehow managed to drag ourselves out of bed early. We headed back down to the square for breakfast, which came from a fabulous bakery. I got an apple and cheese brioche and a big cup of coffee. After that we met the band over at Rowan Oak, William Faulkner's house. It was neat. I apologize for not having a better word than that, but that's how it is. His office has the outline of one of his books written out on the walls.

The grounds are beautiful, too. I took a bunch of pictures, which I will post when I am feeling less lazy.

After we spent an hour or so there, J and I said goodbye to the boys and hit the road back to Athens. We got lost in Tupelo again for a minute, but we got home in plenty of time for me to see Okkervil River. They were fantastic. They did several songs off of the new record, but didn't skip some of my old favorites. I got a copy of the new record on vinyl and went home happy.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Road Trip To Oxford.

I worked at the Importer of Smoking Accoutrements on Monday all day, then on Tuesday for half a day, then went into the Local Liquor Store on Tuesday night. I got a co-worker's girlfriend to dog sit for me on Wednesday so I could catch up with the b.h. and company in Oxford, Mississippi. I closed the store and was home by midnight on Tuesday night. Then I packed and cleaned and hit the sack for a few hours. I told my traveling companion J that I wanted to be on the road by ten in the morning. He said he'd be waiting. I stopped to get gas the night before, and it was $4.19 a gallon. I was not certain where we would be able to find gas again, so I filled up anyway.
When I got to J's house a little after ten. I banged on the door for ten minutes before he finally answered, obviously having just rolled out of bed and in a bit of a panic. No sweat, I promised him, just get on with it. So he showered and packed, and we were on our way within half an hour. We stopped at a gas station in Monroe (or somewhere between here and Monroe) that always seems to be packed at breakfast and lunchtime. It's one of those with a counter where you can get meat and three for like five bucks, and the parking lot is always loaded with pickup trucks, so you know it's bound to be good. We got the last two biscuits they had (it was lunchtime for most working men), mine with egg and cheese and J's with that plus sausage, plus a slice of pecan pie. I checked the oil and put in a quart, and he picked us out some pre-mixed St@rbucks sugar and caffeine in a bottle! coffee flavored beverages.

Getting through Atlanta was remarkably easy. We stopped a little ways into Alabama to use the restroom. Getting into the gas station at that exit was a bit tricky, and when I walked inside the woman behind the counter was on the phone saying
"Yeah, we have some, but not much."
I used the facilities and came out and asked a guy sitting at a table smoking how long it would be until we saw a gas station with gas again.
"You know where ----- is?"
I can't remember the name of the town, but I definitely didn't know where it was. "Well, you gotta go almost to Birmingham 'fore your shore to get some."
I thanked him and got on my way. I could get well past Birmingham in my little car with what we had in the tank.

We decided to sidetrack in Birmingham to get some BBQ at Dreamland. Birmingham is a cool little town, in my limited experience, but one of the best things about it is definitely this place. I thought it would be nice to surprise the b.h. with his favorite food, since I hadn't seen him in a few days and all. J and I got food, extra sauce, t-shirts and bumper stickers, to the tune of probably seventy-five bucks by the time we got out of there. I was happy to note that somebody had changed a "GO BAMA" (that rhymes with "slam" or "ham", for those of you not from the South)license plate hanging on the wall in there to read "GO OBAMA". We got to the car and J realized that they had forgotten his mac and cheese. He set his bag on the roof of the car and headed back in. I was struggling out of my stinky t-shirt (forgot my deodorant in the rush that morning) and into a fresh one, hunkered down behind the wheel, when I heard a gurgled half scream from across the street. I popped my head through my new clean shirt and saw J rushing toward me screaming
"NODON'TFALLOHGODNO!!!" and then there was a crack as his bag hit the pavement. If you've never seen a wookie cry, then by all means continue to try and avoid it. If there were a bigger, longer, louder and more pathetic way of saying crestfallen that I could think of right now I would, but since I can't think of one I'll just stick with that. He looked like Charlie Brown. The good news is that when he actually opened the bag, his sandwich was intact, the extra sauce remained unopened, and his banana pudding, though it had burst the seam of its styrofoam bowl, was completely edible. He cheered up considerably, but still went back in to get another bowl. They gave him a free pudding. He cheered up immensely.
We scarfed our food and drove over to what I call the town square, though it isn't much of a square but more like a 5 point intersection that seems to be right in the heart of downtown Birmingham, so I could get a cup of coffee at the local outlet of a Giant Coffee Chain and so I could show J the Pagan Fountain, which he had never seen. This is a fountain, displayed in and presumably paid for by the city of Birmingham, in the American South, the Bible Belt, which features a goat wearing pants and reading a book to various assembled animals. I find it absolutely weird and totally awesome. It is my favorite thing in Birmingham. J was duly impressed. I rescued a grasshopper that had somehow landed upside down in there, and we each made a wish and threw a penny into the fountain before crossing the street to go to a record store. I stopped in the middle of the intersection, spraying coffee everywhere and lamenting loudly that I should have wished that I wouldn't burn off all of my tastebuds with my coffee.
I bought a copy of The Cars album Candy-O on vinyl, and grabbed a flyer for the Okkervil River show that was happening that night in town, and we got back on the road.

Asheville, Part Deux.

When I woke up on Sunday morning, I was alone in a different bed than I had crashed in. I vaguely remembered the b.h. snorting and wheezing and sweating like a whore in church and me waking up and peeling myself away from him around four in the morning and slipping into the other bed (luckily we had our own room). Now I had woken up because there was a knock at our door. It was D, telling us it was time to head out if we were going to the rally. I briefly thought about skipping it.
"What do you think?" I asked the b.h. "I don't care either way. You're the one who's sick."
"Yeah, I do feel like shit, but if we don't even try and everybody gets in and they wind up shooting hoops with Obama, we're gonna be really upset."

I agreed. We separated from the band, got lost for a minute, got back on track, found parking fairly quickly, walked a few blocks in one direction, and then got turned around to walk much further in the other direction in order to get in line. Asheville is very, very hilly. We hadn't eaten anything. Nor had I had anything to drink. Nothing. We walked for what seemed like days, not seeing a drug store or a restaurant or a gas station anywhere. When we finally got to the high school, the line was already really long.
We spotted the band easily (they were the ones dressed in long sleeves and black pants, of course) and slipped into line with them. It was hot. HOT. The sun was brutal, and the line snaked back and forth across a nearly treeless parking lot. The line snaked back and forth and each time we passed a tiny spot of shade we all huddled, basking in it's glory for as long as we could. Also, the whole of this particular campus was non smoking. Not a problem for myself or the b.h., but there were definitely band members that considered abandoning ship. Overall people were very polite and everybody was in a pretty good mood, despite the obvious lack of planning (there were a thousand t-shirts and buttons for sale out there, and no beverages anywhere, and when we finally got into the actual stadium three hours later, there were seven - SEVEN - portable bathrooms once you got past security. No kidding. And you couldn't leave once you went through security, either. Luckily there was a concession stand. I got a water and a g@torade and a snick3rs bar. I have never eaten a more satisfying candy bar in my entire life. Oh, the ladies restroom at the concession stand was also out of order. We got through security and stopped briefly on the plastic grass of the football field. It was hot and sticky and gross, so we made out way across the field to a grassy knoll in the shade of some trees and sat down to wait.
The speech itself was, to the surprise of no one, fantastic. I didn't know what to expect as far as how I might respond emotionally, but I did not lose my shit Beatlemania style at any point, nor did anyone else that I saw. I didn't see signs of any obvious Stepford voters, but rather a whole lot of thoughtful, hopeful people who were just happy to be there, watching history in the making and looking forward to having President who we can all respect.
After the rally the b.h. and I ate in a restaurant in downtown Asheville and hit the road. We got home just around dark and watched a couple of episodes of my new (old)favorite show Slings and Arrows before getting to bed quite early.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rock and Roll, Fever Dreams, and the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

Yesterday I worked at the Local Liquor Store at eight am. Since it was a game day, there were customers there before I was. I have been sick for the last couple of days, so I downed some cough medicine in the bathroom when I got there. It worked great, but I ended up blowing my nose all day, which was a pain and somewhat gross. So when I left to go to work at the Rock Club last night, I decided I had best take something that would combat both my lung funk and my sinus issues. I decided on Dayqui1. Wow was that a mistake. It only took me a minute to get my bar set up, and then I went to have a beer with the b.h. before the club opened. It didn't taste good at all, which was not a good sign. I was feeling very antsy and headed back to the club, finishing up a few details and greeting my fellow bartender, who it turns out was also ill. I can't really describe what happened for the next couple of hours, except to say that I have never done acid but I now feel like I have a good idea what it's like. The club proceeded to get packed, and I was on auto pilot, sweating and swilling bottled water and trying hard not to fall down. Everything was just- swirling. I felt all floaty and weird, but not in a fun way at all. I was, for the first time in a long time, thankful for the smoking ban, and I was also relieved that I didn't have a headache, since the lineup included comedy and heavy metal. Whew! Weird. I started coming down around midnight, and after that I just felt like shit until I got home and went to bed.
I am not good at being sick. I don't get sick very often, fortunately, but when I am I tend to be kind of pathetic. Today I stayed in bed until after one, at which point I came down to the couch, where I have been for the past nine hours.

So anyway, I'm going to try to backtrack over some of the past week and a half. I am currently hopped up on said cold medicine again, so forgive me if this is convoluted.

That trip to Asheville last Saturday was super cool. The b.h. was playing at the Rocket Club. I was assigned by my beer geek co-workers to go to Bruisin' Ales, a specialty beer shop, and pick up some stuff that we can't get here in Georgia. There was some question as to whether or not we could get there before they closed(9pm), but I was bound and determined, because we had also found out that Bar@ck Obam@ was speaking at a rally on Sunday, and if we intended to get to that, there was no way to get to the beer store as well. I ducked out of work at five (I should mention that I had to be at work at nine in the morning, after having worked at the Rock Club the previous night, and after having had virtually no sleep for the prior two nights, reasons for which I will explain later) and raced home to pick up the b.h.. We hit the road around five thirty, and sped toward Asheville. The b.h. had gotten directions online, and everything went very smoothly up until the last turn we had to make to get to the Beer Store. If you haven't been to Asheville (I hadn't up until then) then you can't possibly conceive of how totally and completely fucked up it is. Streets start and stop and pick up again in other places. They turn without warning, become one way, curve unnecessarily - oh, and they're also packed with people and cars on a beautiful Saturday night, and many of those folks were from out of town also because of the whole Obam@ thing, and the town isn't that big, but the Beer Store is really small, and let's face it, how may people are really that into beer? - so we had trouble finding anybody who knew where it was. I tried repeatedly to call W, my co-worker, because I very stupidly did not write down the phone number for the Beer Store, but W had just gotten a new cell phone two days before and failed to give me the number. Fuuuuuck. So we drove and drove and circled and cussed and swerved, and I was just about to give up (it was five minutes to nine) and try to find the club instead when lo and behold, we found it. I jerked the car into a parking lot and practically ran inside.
I greeted the owner, who knew I was coming, and he offered us a beer. Apparently, you can actually drink on premise in a beer store in Asheville. Nice. I cracked open a Bell's IPA, which was hoppy and lovely and exactly what the doctor ordered, and got to work filling orders for W and S, while Jason, the proprietor, waited on some other people.
It took about forty-five minutes, but when I left I had everything W had asked for, half of what S wanted, and sixty dollars worth of stuff for me. I was thrilled. We got back in the car and went looking for the club.
The only reason we found the club was because there was a guy outside smoking and I knew we were kind of close.
"That has to be it," was pretty much what I said, and then pulled a U-turn and got back to it. There was no sign, no address, and there were no other people outside at all. But there was Arrogant Bastard Ale on tap, so all was well. Turns out the guy who owns the place is from Chicago. He used to work at the Empty Bottle, which I frequented when I lived up there. He was really nice, and he introduced me to a couple friends of his that had just moved down from Chicago a couple weeks ago. I wound up talking to them for much of the evening.It was fun and it made me a little homesick. The show was very good but sparsely attended.
At the end of the night we went to the hotel and checked in and were both starving so we headed back out in search of food. The b.h. was really sick with a cold, so we stopped at a gas station and got him some drugs. The only food option was Waff1e House, which is never really good but can usually work for me in a pinch. When we got in there, there were only two tables and one guy eating at the counter. There were four people working. The b.h. ordered a pork chop dinner, and I got two waffles with pecans. What followed was surreal, like a scene out of a movie. I was so tired I thought I was going to puke, but I knew I needed to eat, and the b.h. was fevered and wheezing and wiping his nose. The guy next to us was slurping and smacking his food very noisily, adding to my nausea. He was clearly a regular. A pair of hippie kids came in and sat at the booth next to our seats. They were so high they could barely see out of their eyes. The two cooks both had dyed black hair and acted like they had either just broken up or were trying hard not to act like they liked each other. The girl knew what she was doing. She was fast and on top of it at the grill, and it seemed like the guy was probably being trained. He had a couple of facial piercings and a black leather Social Distortion belt. He might have been wearing eyeliner. The b.h.'s food was ready in short order. We watched them box it up and set it aside, and then drop the waffles. The waffles browned up in about five minutes, and the girl cook took them off and plated them and sent them away with the waitress to a table far away. I watched them go with longing. Five minutes after that, she put a couple more waffles on.
It took us at least half an hour to get our food. We stumbled into the hotel, I ate around the edges of my mostly uncooked waffle, picked the pecans out and ate those, showered, and fell into bed.

More later. I gotta get some hot tea.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Quote For The Day

"I think McCain is down to seeds and stems," - Rick Hertzberg.

Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for that. I really do have some stories to tell, folks, but I can't seem to find the time. I did get to see the next POTUS on Sunday in Asheville after a great rock show and blowing three hundred bucks (mostly other people's) at a really great beer store. I'm at work right now, so I gotta run, but I will be back. Promise.