Friday, September 7, 2007

If you want to date Michael Jackson you must . . . B14

There's no Starbucks in sight as I leave Gjerdes, but I remember a Bar & Grille down the street, so I set out on foot. It's 96 degrees out, and I want to die by the time I reach it. Sweating profusely, I take a seat in the bar and prepare to camp out. It's 5:15pm, and the DNB hasn't yet called to say he's left the hospital.

Relaxing a bit with a Happy Hour Drink Special in hand, I look around. I'm the youngest by 15 years, and one of the only people here by myself. The other loner is an older gentleman wearing a cut-off shirt, green cargo shorts, tall white socks, and brown leather slip-ons. He glances my way and smiles. Everyone is smoking.

The smoking thing has been strange to me here. The cities, as a whole, are extremely environmentally friendly (those buses that can legally cut you off? Hybrids.) and health-conscious. Yet it seems like everyone chain smokes. Pick your poison, I guess. They'll all have 3% body fat when the lung cancer sets in.

Another older man sets himself up at a table nearby. His arms are full of large markers and bingo sheets. Bingo Night?! Would I?! As the 7pm Bingo Witching Hour approaches, the Bar & Grille fills up quickly. The old folks are out in force, because what is Bingo Night without them? They all seem to know each other; maybe the retirement home sends a bus.

I have to make a decision, because at last the DNB is on his way. I reluctantly decline the proffered bingo sheet and close my tab. Thirty minutes later he slides into the seat next to me. I smile at him drunkenly, and we head back to the city.

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