This entry is brought to you by the letter "F" and the number "4".
Last night I was That Girl who was sitting by herself at the bar.
You know what girl I'm talking about. The one that has a cigarette attached to her bottom lip as if it were needed to breathe. That Girl who makes eye contact with you briefly, smiles in an awkward way and quickly looks around to observe the quirky decour of the establishment that she obviously does not fit in with.
I was That Girl.
I've often seen other That Girls before... They are easy to pick out; They talk to anyone who briefly speaks to Them; They watch the sports broadcasts playing above the bar although They have no interest at all in football, baseball, NASCAR, or what wonders are occuring in the world of tennis; They always look as if they need to pee desperately but decide to hold it in because leaving Their drink alone would be far riskier than unplanned public urination... such is the difficulty one is faced with when sitting in a bar Alone.
When I saw That Girls in the past I often wondered what They were doing there. Were They whores looking for a trick? Were They just stood up by a blind date? Was Their blind date actually there, too, but took one look at That Girl and decided to pretend like he was deaf jockey from Brazil? If so, would That Girl ever find out? And if she did would she ever come to this bar again or be able to appreciate Deaf Brazilian Jockeys as she had before?
(Not the most linear line of thought, but I wanted to prove that I had given That Girls some thought. And I think that I have....)
Never did I think that I would become one of Them.
Yet, there I was on a late Friday night, sitting in some bar in Minneapolis, staring up at the bar televisions pretending to be interested in the life story of some guy who once swung a bat so hard it broke.
I admit, I was smoking more cigarettes than I should of just so I could talk to the bar back when he came by to clean the ashtray.
Me: Very quick at the cleaning there.
Barback: Yep. It's my job.
Me: Well you must be employee of the month because you got your job down.
Barback: Ha. Ha. Ha. I'm going to move on now as not to get caught in a conversation with you.
Me: lighting up another Camel You'll be back bar boy. You'll be baaaaaaaack.
I hated the way I felt sitting there. Alone. Desperate. Just wanting to talk to anyone, someone, but no one at this fucking bar was friendly.
Texas, I will admit, I missed you at this point. It's been sometime since I've told you how much I appreciate your friendly ways. Never in my time living in you have I had difficulty striking up a conversation with a stranger in a bar.... there's always some drunk old man to strike up a yarn with or some pissed off woman wanting to bitch about her boss or her husband or her kid or her vericose veins or about perferated edges on coupons. Often, I've tried to avoid these conversations.
But sitting in a bar called Sally's in Minneapolis, I longed for the day where I'd bum a Capri 150 from some random Texan and come away with a story about a missing shoe and a broken heart (or ankle).
Instead I found myself submerged among people that would not even acknowledge a stranger's presence.... even if that stranger offered you her matches, the time, or told you that you left your cell phone on the window ledge.
No, I wasn't looking to be your best friend, I just couldn't stand to hear you say, in the most God awful pitch of voice, "You guys, I'm seeeeeeeeeerious, I think that Clareace stole it. She totally would do something like that."
I had to get out of Sally's.
I paid my tab with the bartender who only said the following four words to me the entire time I was sitting three feet away from him:
Out into the cold Minneapolis night I went. After walking a few more blocks, I found Stub&Herbs.
Minneapolis, thank your lucky stars that you have an establishment like this.
An establishment where a That Girl can become The Hot Dish From Austin.
All for the low low tab of $9.00.