Saturday, September 29, 2007

Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.

I started off yesterday evening at a 4:30 spontaneous happy hour with two guys that I work with. I’ve been on a vodka-soda kick lately, and was experimenting with flavored vodkas (Absolut raspberry and soda for instance), when around 6:00 I got a call from the Kaiser that he was at the Pub and I should come join him, so I did. The Pub was packed and I remembered why I used to like it so much. Frankie’s waitress was there, but she was busy and we were not in her section. All the other servers there are still great with me and the Kaiser. We had two beers. He had to go pick up Marie, but said they’d call me and we could meet up. I said OK, and we left the pub a little before 7:00. I had no plan for the evening, but I love hanging out with the Kaiser and Marie.

No later than I had gotten home, I got a call from the Kaiser. We’ve had a long standing boys’ night out planned for tonight (Saturday), and Marie wanted to know if they could make last night a “date night” instead. I love Marie and totally understood where she was coming from, so I told the Kaiser there was no apology necessary when he said he was sorry, and told him to enjoy his evening with his lady, and to give her a kiss on the cheek from me. Thing is, now it was 7:30, and I had no plan for the night, and worse, I was a bit buzzed – certainly enough to get myself in trouble if I did much driving.

Who doesn’t believe in serendipity? My phone rang shortly thereafter, and it was my co-worker Samantha. Sam is demographically very similar to me – in that she’s in her early thirties and single – and really a fun girl to hang out with outside of work. A long time ago, I thought she may make a good match for Frankie, and I made the introduction. Although there were no romantic sparks, they got along really well too, so now we all hang out on occasion, and she gives him all kinds of shit about things like the waitress from the Pub, whom Sam christened “the Knuckle.” Anyway, Sam had gotten a call from her friend Heather, whom I met last month. Heather’s sister was in town from Minneapolis and they were out at an outdoor country bar in BFE. Did I want to go? I was intrigued. But I certainly couldn’t drive there, and I told Sam that. She wasn’t far from my house and volunteered to stop by and be my ride. Suddenly I had a Friday night plan.

The drive to Tumbleweed Flats was about a half hour, and when we got there, it was packed. A wedding party had a rehearsal dinner going on, and the place was chock-full of shit kickers. A bunch of picnic tables and bonfires surrounded a concrete dance area, and an overweight troubadour alternated between the Eagles and Willie Nelson for the crowd. Beers were $2.50, and hamburgers and chili were the bill of fare. All in all, a very cool place. We found Sam’s friend Heather, her sister, and an entourage of folks, all of whom fit in at the place. Somebody had brought a bag of marshmallows and they were roasting them on the bonfire. I bought a bowl of chili, with cheese and onions, and sat to eat it. The folks at our table were all exceedingly nice. Most of them were school teachers, it turned out, and one guy was a state representative with aspirations to run for Corporation Commissioner (huh?). He asked me for a contribution. I told him I was registered to vote in another state (truth), and he said he couldn’t accept my contribution, then. I offered him $20, knowing he couldn’t take it - $15 more than I’d have actually cared enough to give him if he could have taken it.

Here’s a little known fact about Jack Gordon: the fucker can country & western dance. He took two semesters of it back in college. It’s particularly impressive because most people never see that skill coming at all, given his musical tastes. He will stop referring to himself in the third person now, and get back to the story. I started dancing with the ladies in the group. Sam got a kick out of it, since around the office you’d never even suspect I knew a two-step dance from a twelve-step program. As I said, all the people there were very nice, and I think I even caught a couple of the ladies checking me out at one point.

As the night progressed, and I ate my chili, a group of four girls in the group were talking among themselves, I don’t know about what, though I heard Jesus come up once or twice. One of them – the cutest one – started to tear up. Then she sobbed. And then the tears came down. It was the sort of crying that comes from a sad/moving/emotional story – not from anger or insult. Another little known fact about me: I carry a clean handkerchief with me at all times. I have since I was a kid and I wanted to be like my dad. I’ve drawn a lot of shit for carrying a handkerchief (and a comb) in my life, but these moments justify the practice. I passed the crying girl, whose name I never learned, my hankie. She took it and cried into it for a while. Heather’s sister gave me a hug and said “You’re great.” It was a highlight of my evening – and a wholesome highlight at that.

Around 11:00, Sam asked if I was ready to go, so I bid farewell to the crowd. I was in bed before midnight, and got a great night’s rest. As far as the night went, I only wish I had taken the opportunity to introduce myself to the crying girl. As I said, she was cute, and she had no ring and was not there with any apparent guy. Working against me was the fact that I was a complete stranger to the group, the girl was crying, and Sam was my ride. Neither obstacle was insurmountable, especially given my dancing skills and handkerchief chivalry. In such foreign situations, I can never figure things out fast enough, though. But you know what? So it goes. For all I know, the girl will track me down to give me back my handkerchief. And if she doesn’t, that’s all right too. I had a good night and still have a baker’s dozen of clean handkerchiefs in my dresser drawer waiting for further adventures.


Jamm-o-rama said...

Ha! You little devil you! ;) Definitely let us know if you hear from hanky girl.

Unconscious said...

Dude, no way, you shocked twice with two very arbitrary things we didn't know about you. Nice work, and keep it up, very suave yo!