The trouble with working in the suburban office park is that there is no watering hole you can reasonably count on for after-work bitching, unwinding… performing of “numbers…”
That’s probably for the best.
The place across the street from where we work is very much a chain, and very much a family spot after hours (the very poor pre-op Tranz at the bar last night aside) and in fact the whole town is a mass of post-shopping mall watered down drinks, faux antiques on the walls and “death by…” on the dessert menu.
I said, “where do the locals go?” And we went in search of a bar bar.
Well, not a noir bar, but somewhere nobody would know our names, and the drinks would have drink in them.
I was not expecting to wingman – we weren’t even paying attention to our surroundings, more mesmerized by Reba McIntyre on the “CMT Pure” video screen, and the mystery of her lost upper lip.
Study that here. Weird, right?
So when my friend excuses herself to the ladies, and Joe Bag ‘o Donuts crosses the room to our table, I honestly expected him to be borrowing the ketchup. We were suddenly Hot in Cleveland.
“How ya doin’ – I gotta ast ya. Is yaw friend single?”
This is not insulting at all, by the way. I know my role in bars. I’ve been wingman to lovelier catches since my first boyfriend used to flirt with the shoe salesmen. Always a Pink lady, never Stephanie. (Notice how I picked Grease 2. Also never the A team, me)
I wasn’t prepared with my best lines, and not enough Pabsts-es in to be creative. I said, “I don’t… really know…”
This he did not believe, by the Larry David face he gave me. I tried to recover: “It’s an off-again, on-again thing.”
“Well, she’s very attractive,” he says, as if I grew her. As if she is a #9 Pocket. As if we bought her off the Seattle Mariners. He is a big guy, workin’ man size, with a sox cap over his certainly bald head and a sox jersey over his pocket T. Which is weird because what we are watching is pre-season Patriots.
“I’ll let her know you said so.” I say, and he goes back to his place behind the bar where he can see and not be seen from behind the tap-pulls. He never does come back over and make his move, because I never leave the table. Lisa has promised (she never threatens) to tell him that I am into him so she’s going to back off if I leave her alone in his sights. Instead he checks his phone for several hours, then picks another hunting spot.
We move outside after the DJ gets too loud (and anachronistic). Outside you have to transfer your drink to plastic because the road is right in front of the deck, with a view of the local packy, which we decide is selling drugs after a number of pick-ups pull up and little bad-asses run in and out without anything in their hands.
At the end of the deck some good old girls smoke loudly and disagree “No SUH!” on something of no importance. And a guy named Mike (because they are all named Mike) “asts” us if we are from around here. Lisa, in corporate fleece, cops to “we work down the road,” which I think is actually Raytheon but does give us some cred. He is a thousand. Or 50. Who can tell.
We stay until the mosquitos and the threat of karaoke drive us out (because Lisa really doesn’t “threaten”) and admit that we got what we were looking for (down to the great burger), but we should probably not become too regular. We might be in over our heads.