Saturday, October 14, 2006

I Know, I Know

I haven't updated for a while. Kathryn and I had a great weekend last week, and this weekend I'll be busy doing work at home. "Homework," one might call it.

As for last weekend, here's one true story of many:

Kathryn and I went to a Grateful Dead bar in a section of Colfax Ave. that reminded me of downtown Phoenix. Once inside the bar we quickly grabbed the only high table available, and she held down the fort while I went for drinks.

A note here about the bar. Any bar dedicated to a specific band is bound by contractual obligation to contain two elements: first, it must be covered wall-to-wall with said band's concert posters, artwork, photos, etc. Second, it must have hardcore fans miming along word for word while said band's music pipes in through the jukebox. This bar had both elements. In spades.

There's another element that bears discussion, though, and this element is not limited to dedicated bars: the dude on the prowl. I don't think I've ever been in a bar on a Friday night without spotting at least one. Hell, I've been that guy - but not often, and not within the past five years or so. I've witnessed dudes on the prowl, though, and have entertained myself for hours watching the awkward advances and jackassery associated with them. And the one thing I've learned from observing dudes on the prowl is this: if you see a woman sitting by herself at a high table, do not, under any circumstances, attempt to pick her up. Don't speak to her. Don't even bother with eye contact. She is either with someone, or someone is about to meet her there. Always.

It just so happens that dudes on the prowl in a Grateful Dead bar are a little - oh what's the word I'm looking for here? - creepier than dudes on the prowl at your local Appleby's. Dudes on the prowl in Grateful Dead bars will fall into two categories which coincide with Grateful Dead fans in a broader sense: they are either highly educated, progressive, and generally nice people, or they are filthy hippies who give the Left a bad name. Now, I'm proud to be in that first group. The Dead's music is, at times, revelatory. I'm not a hardcore Deadhead by any means, but I love their music and am always thrilled to meet other people who love the Dead as well.

That second group, however, is infamous for its drug use, questionable hygiene, and lack of personal integrity - they can't hold a job because that would require motivation and commitment. They can't interact with normal people because that would require social skills above and beyond the phrases "wow, that's a really powerful statement, man" or "yeah, but the best weed comes from Humboldt County, man."

Now, Kathryn is the kind of person who will attract attention when she's sitting alone in a bar. A dude on the prowl with lesser powers of observation than myself might mistake her for someone who wants to be picked up by a filthy hippie. One would think a hippie couldn't screw up the courage to wear a tie to a job interview, much less approach a woman who is way, way, WAY out of his league.

And so it astonished me when, after taking no more than three minutes to retrieve our double rum and Cokes from the bar, I returned to our table only to see Kathryn being approached by a dude on the prowl. Three minutes. I left her alone for three minutes and a dude on the prowl had spotted her and gone in for the kill.

I'd witnessed the last ten feet of his act: shoulders drooping and swaying in that hippie kind of way, he leaned into Kathryn's personal space right as I arrived with two drinks. He was in the process of opening his mouth to speak.

Now it's not like I'm a big guy or even all that intimidating. But when he saw me, he closed his mouth and pivoted with surprising alacrity and balance for someone on that many controlled substances. Funny, funny stuff.


At 9:12 AM, Blogger Rosellen said...

I have the total picture of this scene. Thanks for sharing.


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