Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My shot

I don't get out much. You work the nightclub circuit long enough, you realize your ideal Friday night has you in bed sleeping before most people your age even step in the shower. When you do kick the agoraphobia for a night, the idea is to get thee to an empty dive bar, trance yourself out on ESPN, take down twenty or so pints of warm Bass, then scroll through your stored phone numbers looking for an ex-girlfriend who'd be amenable to paying your cab fare.

As enticing as all this may sound -- and for me, it's about as good as it gets -- such scintillating affairs have been few and far between as of late. Most of my friends are now either married or living out-of-state, and so my options have been severely limited over the past several months. I've been fine with this state of affairs, though, because I've had a ton of work to get done, and because the past two years of thrice-weekly Guidothons have unleashed my natural misanthropic tendencies to such an extent that instead of being thrilled with potential weekend invites from friends, I now instinctively look for ways out of them as soon as they come rolling in.

Now, I can be fairly good company when I'm in the mood. I can hold up my end of most conversations, provided I'm not being grilled by someone I dislike, and I've managed to shake off most of the social awkwardness that had been the result of a particularly nasty family situation in recent months. Still and all, I'd rather simply stay home. I'm assuming -- read: hoping -- this'll change when I eventually quit bouncing for good, but for now I'd prefer, on my nights off, to avoid the crowds, the noise and the bullshit that go hand in hand with any evening out around here.

Bouncing fucks everything up in this regard, especially when you're no longer in your early to mid-twenties, and you find yourself needing more rest. And by "rest" I'm not referring to fatigue. Let's say you have a night off between bouncing shifts. You work, say, Thursday night, you have Friday night off, and you're back at the door on Saturday. The last thing I want to do, on my free Friday night, is anything in public, especially activities involving drunks, loud music and people from New York. Fuck that.

So, in the grand scheme of all things me, this past Friday night was an aberration. A monumental deviation from my norm. I was out. And about. With friends. Drinking, cavorting and enjoying. And the irony in all this was that the aforementioned drinking, cavorting and enjoyment was taking place amongst huge crowds of obnoxious people who were engaging in behavior that, on most nights, I'd assume to be designed specifically to piss me off. Because, as everyone knows, you're all part of some grand conspiracy against me. And I truly believe that.

But I wasn't pissed off on Friday. I was out with my crowd -- my "boys," if you will -- and I was happy. I wore nice clothes. Slipped into a pair of relatively expensive shoes, sculpted my hair -- I'm growing it out some -- and applied a tasteful hint of cologne. Ready to roll.

Dinner, several pints, and an inexplicable toast of mudslides, and it was time to hit the bars. To peacock on in like we owned these places and show the world how important we'd become. To enjoy each other with impunity again, like we did back in the day. And it wouldn't take long for bouncing to come to the surface.

"Hey," she said, examining my left hand while her friend aggressively tugged at my sportcoat. "You're cute. How come you're not married?"

"What's this?" I asked, eyeing a pair of matching sashes around each of their bare shoulders.

"Answer my q-question," she slurred.

Fucking shot girls. "I dunno," I replied, scanning her sash for liquor company logos. "What'd you ask me again?"

"I...well, I don't see a r-ring on your finger. How come you're not m-married?"

"What are you selling?"

"Wha...huh?" She looked genuinely confused.

"You're both wearing sashes," I said, still in club industry mode. "What are you trying to sell?"

"Wha..huh? Y-you think we're h-hookers or some shit?"

I shook my head. "No, but I don't want a shot, thank you."

"I'm not a shot girl!" she screamed, shoving me away. "We're a bachelorette party. And you're fucked up, asshole."

And a bit rusty, evidently.