Saturday, March 6, 2004
quote du jour:
"And there's beer on my breath as I lean towards your ear. I try not to yell but you can't hardly hear. I close my eyes and try with all of my might. Can you remember that feelin... Like anything might happen tonight." - Charlie Robison, "Tonight"

There is a bar across the street from my apartment complex. It's always seemed like a popular place -- the front lot fills by the time rush hour begins and people flow in and out until the wee hours. But for the nearly two years I've lived here, I've done my best to avoid it.

My fantasies of being known as a Norm Peterson, Cliff Clavin or Dr. Fraiser Crane aside... I guess I've always considered a bar across the street to be just a bit too convenient. It seems, however, that I couldn't stay away forever. Some friends finally lured me into the place a few weeks ago and I fell in love.

Patrick's is in a building that could be called a small strip mall, except that it dates back to a time before such things were called strip malls. At one time, the building probably had a half-dozen businesses with each having a slightly different facade. Now, my new favorite bar occupies the space behind all but a couple of the old storefronts.

The bar caters to every taste. There are plenty of stools, plenty of tables and plenty of booths. There are even a few couches thrown in for good measure. The place is dark, but lit enough in the important places that you don't feel the need for night vision. There is music, but rarely is it too loud. The place fills up, but there always seems to be enough empty seats. There are TVs, pool tables, intimate spaces and large tables for plenty of friends to gather around.

Okay, I'm done with the commercial.

Last night, some folks I know called and said that they were headed to Patrick's for a few drinks. I showered and headed across the way.

When we walked into the place, a girl we know from work was at the table with a friend of hers and this rather odd looking guy. The guy was an uninvited guest. He'd thrown a $20 down on the table to pay for the girls' drinks and sat down. It seems that they had been trying to get rid of him ever since. Needless to say, our arrival was welcomed and it began what I can simply call, "a good night."

*   *   *

Maybe it was the fact that three guys walked up to the table at once. Perhaps it was how we did it -- as though we belonged and he didn't. But when we showed up, weird guy was gone in about 25 seconds. I say that he was weird because of how he acted and especially because of the way he dressed. He sported a goatee, horn-rimmed glasses and some sort of indie-style layered t-shirt thing going on. However, he'd told the girls that he was a professional fisherman on some Outdoors Channel. Something didn't match. Indie fisherman dude passed our table several times during the night, but not once did he stop by or even give us a look. Weird. Yes, indeed.

*   *   *

After an early trip to the bathroom, I returned to the table to find a beautiful brunette in my seat. Most everyone at the table -- with the exception of the brunette, of course -- looked directly at me to see how I'd handle the situation. I leaned over her shoulder, extended my hand and said, "Hi, I'm Thomas." She got up and brought in a chair right next to mine. We ended up chatting for most of the night and developed a pretty good rapport. Nothing happened... but it's still nice to be able to develop rapport with beautiful women.

*   *   *

This one lady -- a M.I.L.F. some might say -- kept walking by and brushing folks with a set boobs that looked about 20 years younger than she did. One of my more intoxicated associates asked the woman what we all were thinking, "how much did you pay for those?" So, I had the pleasure of walking over to reassure her that we all thought they were natural and that there was no reason for her or her boyfriend to be hostile. Number of fights avoided: 1

*   *   *

I explained to the brunette and her friend that I didn't mean to be rude earlier when I wanted my seat back. "I'm getting older, though," I explained. "It's not so much about the girl in the seat anymore as it is about the beer in front of the seat." Maybe I do have a future as Norm Peterson.

*   *   *

Debbie showed up after we'd all been there a while. Debbie is a girl I know but I don't really known how. She is a friend of a friend, I should say... but through stories our mutual friends have told, we sort of knew each other before we'd ever met.

I went drinking with her and a friend Wednesday night at Patrick's and she said that she wanted to buy a house and needed a roommate. My lease is up in June and I'm open to all options. I told her to talk with me when she bought a house. She mentioned it again last night. She's already bought a house. Wow, that was quick. We should probably discuss the matter some more when I'm sober.

*   *   *

The guy who questioned the naturalness (Is that a word? It is now.) of that lady's breasts is named Curt. He is probably the most interesting guy I know in Franklin. He isn't afraid of of saying what everyone else is afraid to. He isn't afraid of mixing prescription drugs with large volumes of alcohol. He certainly isn't afraid of his alcohol. He is the one person I know here that is totally unpredictable. Bringing him to the bar guarantees entertainment.

Towards the end of the night, a fight broke out at the opposite end of the bar. As soon as we all noticed it, Curt got up and headed that way. By the time the cry went out, "someone stop him," Curt was almost to the fight. I hurdled a few chairs but a friend of mine beat me to him... and had to drag him back to the table in the headlock. Like I said, he guarantees entertainment. Number of fights avoided: 2

The anecdotes probably don't mean much to anyone who wasn't there last night. And for every big detail that would make some sense in writing, there would be a dozen minor ones that would lose their value if I tried explaining them here. When something just feels right, it's hard to write about it.

I went out with friends. Everyone had good chemistry. We met new people and had good times with old friends. No one got hurt or arrested. There was no one reason why the night was so great... and that's probably the best part of it all. It's easy to explain something when there is a cause and effect. When something is great for no reason at all, however, that somehow seems like greatness in its purest form. When it happens, you don't ask questions... you just soak it up because it doesn't happen that often.

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Copyright © 2004, Thomas Fletcher. All Rights Reserved.