KT, MJ’s roomie, contacted me last week about a surprise birthfest party for Matilda Jane on Saturday night. After checking my social calendar, I found that the night was free and agreed to go along. I normally don’t like birthday celebrations, because I’m not a gift-giver. I don’t even get a card. Yes, I’m an inconsiderate friend. But, on the bright side, I ask for nothing on my birthday in return. Just save that money and buy yourself something, and you can consider that my present to you. It just makes things simpler and less stressful.
Moving on, the dinner time was moved from 7:30 to 6:00, which didn’t cause too much of an inconvenience to me, what with my overbooked social calendar and all. We were to meet at the Blue Marlin in the Vista, and MJ and her man would arrive shortly thereafter to be surprised.
I got there at 6:05, and after some text-message-banter with VB, discovered that she and Cute Neighbor were already seated. Now that I’ve spent some time with the guy, I have to say that I like him. He’s definitely a nice guy, and he’s got a sense of humor. It doesn’t take much more than that for me to like someone.
VB, CN, and I sat in that booth for the length of a Bible waiting on KT to show up. KT couldn’t leave the house until after MJ got picked up by her man (VW Guy), and VW was running behind. Finally, after about an hour, KT shows up looking quite hot. Literally… like sweating and panting and such. But she still looked good enough to leap across the table and ravish on the floor. (If I were the sort of guy to do that. *cough*)
We figured that KT’s arrival meant that MJ and VW would be showing up soon… this was not the case. But it gave us all plenty of time to talk and check out watches and try to ignore our growling stomachs. Finally, about 7:45, MJ and VW rolled in, completing the birthfest crew for the evening.
Everyone had seafood, with the exception of myself getting a steak, and the smell of all that shrimp and fish was enough to make me feel nauseous. I didn’t complain, though, because I was enjoying the company and didn’t want to pull the spotlight away from MJ. (Happy Birthday.) When dinner was finished, the cake came out. It was chocolate on chocolate on chocolate with some kind of berry thrown into a mushified chocolate center. I’m not a huge chocolate fan, but I ate a piece, and it was pretty good.
Since it was MJ’s night, we made her pick the next stop. After an hour or two of standing on the sidewalk waiting for her to decide, she picked The Clubhouse. KT snuck off to run the cake home, promising that she would be right back.
The Clubhouse is a sports bar, except that there are women there. Attractive women. In jeans and football jerseys. What the fuck? Had I known that this town had a bar where women were not afraid to go out wearing jeans and sports attire, I would’ve been prowling this place for years. (That’s right, ladies. It’s sexy to wear jeans and a sports jersey. Throw in the baseball cap with a ponytail pulled through the back, and you’re the hottest thing ever.)
The Clubhouse is also the place where I got to make my final assessment of Cute Neighbor. He stood at the crowded bar, being a nice guy and letting every woman who walked up order ahead of him. Of course, this meant that all of us at the table were wondering why he was taking so long, and VB finally went over to help CN order, returning with the verdict that the bartender sucked. It was cute, really. Especially when I walked over the the bar, waved my money in the air, told the bartender what I wanted, and got my drink within a minute. I might have to sneak CN off to the side and teach him some assertiveness tricks.
After a couple of beers, shots that the bartender poured poorly (I guess he did suck after all), and the return of KT, MJ declared that our next stop would be Hush. This was followed by KT whispering to me, “You do know that it’s black, right?” I can’t really describe how I felt at that question. Was I offended? Was I amused? Maybe a little of both… I’m not going to dwell on it, though. Racism is something that deserves it’s own post. (I’m certainly not calling KT a racist. I think she might’ve been concerned that I was one, though.)
So we went to Hush, where DJ Swill was spinning some bass-heavy hip-hop mixes. The music was all right. It’s not often, in Columbia, you can find a club where the DJ knows how to transition smoothly between songs. I grabbed a screwdriver (the drink, not the tool) and we parked on one of the couches near the back, for about 15 minutes. And then… it’s time to hop. Next stop: Locals!
Given my aversion to bar-hopping, my loathing of Locals and Five Points in general, and the fact that I was buzzing hard enough to be unable to drive, I tried to bow out. They wouldn’t let me. Since I couldn’t drive, I ended up in the back seat of CN’s car, with VB carting us over to Hell. I mean Locals. (I would think it would suck to always be the sober one, presenting the expectation that you’ll drive and put up with all of the drunken antics.)
VB, CN, and I arrived before the others, so we slipped in. CN and I immediately hit the restroom, and when we emerged, VB had claimed a table. A TABLE! At Locals! FINALLY, no more standing in the middle of people-traffice with nine-bajillion* strangers’ asses rubbing against my own. Thank you, VB! And then MJ walks in… and right past us, despite my screaming her name from two feet away. And then VW walks by, also not hearing my scream. KT follows, equally oblivious. (That’s how loud it is, folks.) Fuck. They parked right in the middle of the crowd. After my nervous twitch settled down, I moved over to stand near them. Let the ass-rubbing with complete strangers, chicks and dudes alike, commence.
We came to Locals so that MJ could partake of their birthday tradition. Taking a shot, having it poured from the bottle into your mouth, rather, while kneeling atop the bar. I stayed long enough to watch, and then I excused myself to stand outside.
Standing on the sidewalk in Five Points, after a football game, almost always means that someone will randomly come up and talk to you. Saturday was no exception to this, but it was certainly a surprise when a short, cute college chick walks up and starts chit-chatting with me, then asks if I’m dating any of those girls I was with inside, then tells me she’s heading to the Art Bar and gives me her number. What. The. Fuck? How completely random was that? Fate, however, decided that it needed to balance the cute girl incident by sending another guy to talk to me. A drunk asshole who is trying to find “a house where my friend lives.” He doesn’t know any street names, or what neighborhood, or any landmarks. As I’m telling him where the houses are in the area, he begins to complain about “all the black people” in the area. And then he starts saying hey, and touching every girl that walks by, which creeps the random cute girl out enough to wander off. And then he starts on with his racist bullshit again until I stop him, tell him to walk on and shut his mouth before someone shuts it for him, and begin to wonder whether I project this image that makes people think I might be racist. I didn’t have time to think on it then, because CN and VB popped out of Locals (it was packed so tight in there that they literally made the cartoonish “pop” sound) and sat at a nearby outside table.
So I moved over to hang near CN and VB, until the rest of the crew pops out. The call goes out that we’re moving to Bar None. Put of all the bars in Five Points, this is the one that I don’t mind. It’s laid back, not quite as packed, and they play decent music most of the time. (They played Pink Floyd, for example.) MJ was beyond drunk at this point, and I think all of us were tired (It was 1:00am), but we went along and camped out around a table in Bar None.
Once inside, MJ vanishes for like 30 minutes. I don’t know whether she was in the bathroom puking or what, but it gave me some time to talk to VW Guy and get to know him. He’s also a really nice guy. I’m hoping that VB and MJ hang on to these men, because they’re both keepers.
MJ reappears and sits down at a table with us, immediately knocking a beer glass of a shelf and smashing it to bits. And thus, we get thrown out of the most laid back bar in Five Points. VB and I both yelled “Yay! Bedtime!” and that was the end of the evening’s festivities…
*A bajillion has so many zeros after the one that counting them will make your head explode.