Winners of the Rat Race

It’s Monday, and that means you get a recap. But first, allow me to introduce the Cast of Characters:
Giggles – We all know and love Giggles. The other half of my bookclub of two. The easy laugh. Basically everything our hero hopes to end up with when he settles down with a wife.
Maple – Another co-worker. She basically does what I do for another department, which my department is merging with at the end of the year. A smoker who is a bad influence in these days of trying to quit. She’s also a very easy laugh.
Baby – He’s called Baby because he’s 23. He acts older, and we don’t mind. But this guy is wide awake when we older folks are starting to wear down. He’s also a smoker. Maple and Baby are typically who I wander outside with at work.
SingSong – I call her this because her voice is sing-songy. Let me immediately clarify this by stating that it’s not a BAD singsong voice. She’s not like a kindergarten teacher or something. She just has a melodic voice. I’ve never really dealt with her at work, so I didn’t know her.
Jazz – I call him Jazz because the first time I saw him, I immediately thought of some black guy sitting in a jazz club with a soul patch, snapping his fingers. He and SingSong hang out at work all the time, and it’s suspected that they are an item.
Friday Night was planned out in advance as a Sanity Break for the Work Crew. We had decided to meet at 8:00 at the Red Tub. This gave me time to get home, change clothes, and wind down. It also gave me time to get an email from Giggles saying that she wouldn’t make it. Her ex picked up the angels (really, these girls are adorable!) and they left crying, so Giggles felt like crap. I was disappointed, to be honest, but completely understanding. I hope she managed to find her smile without us.
I arrived at the Red Tub at 8:00 sharp, and was the first one there. This was most distressing, because I really didn’t know how many people would show up. I invited a couple of folks, who invited a couple, who may or may not have… well, you know how high school parties go. Just think about it like that. So, being clever, I sat at the bar and scoped the place out. There was a band setting up for some music, which had me dreading having to hold conversation over loud music. They were dressed like a Phish cover-band though, so maybe it’d be laid back music.
They all arrived at the same time, which makes me wonder if they had some inter-employee telepathy that I’m lacking. Maple, Baby, Jazz, and SingSong were all that came, so we huddled around a table. Maple was quick to point out that there was another black person there (aside from Jazz), which won a grin from me. I had to convince her that the white folks wouldn’t lynch her on sight. I sat down between Maple and SingSong. (Because, quite frankly, they were the only two girls and I liked it that way.)
We drank a good amount of alcohol. I had five beers. Maple had two beers and a mixed drink. Baby had a beer and three mixed drinks. SingSong and Jazz each had a beer and two mixed drinks. Aside from Baby and myself, the rest are lightweights when it comes to tolerance. I attribute Baby’s tolerance to a youthful metabolism. Mine is attributed to mass.
The band, thankfully, was laid back acoustic music, and they were actually pretty good. I never caught their name, though. The conversation was non-stop. SingSong and Jazz got into a heated Nature vs Nuture debate, as it relates to the way society looks at dating. (It was very much akin to Team Richardson’s blog entry about the Married,s The Singles, and The Outsiders.) The biggest thing I got from the conversation was that Baby and Jazz have really loud voices after a few drinks. I was expecting us to get thrown out, since Jazz drops the F-bomb more than I do. (And that’s quite a lot, children.)
Before I knew it, it was midnight. Maple was about to fall asleep. SingSong had gone into that stage where it was obvious she was fighting to stay awake. Jazz and Baby were still going strong, though. Myself, I could’ve gone either way. The old me likes bed. The new me wants to be social. In an effort of compromise, I suggested we relocate to a place that served food. This would give the sleepyheads a chance to back out and the all-nighters a new scene.
Maple headed home with a smile and a promise that we’ll make this a regular thing. SingSong caught her second wind and agreed to relocate. Jazz and Baby, well, there was no doubt about them agreeing. We decided on Yesterday’s in Five Points. The three of them live on that side of town, so I didn’t protest too much. I hadn’t been to Five Points in years, and figured it’d be nice to see the old stomping ground. I was wrong.
Five Points looks like a war zone. There is contruction blocking all sorts of crap, and the sidewalks have been ripped up around Yesterday’s. (I tracked sand in my house when I finally got home. Damn this city and its need for constant construction!) Baby and I were the first to arrive, and we found the door locked. So we shrugged and wandered down the street to the Five Points Diner. This gave me a chance to slip into the bathroom through some club and relieve a growing pressure. When I emerged (and yes, I washed my hands!) Baby was on his cellphone with SingSong, and they were arguing. Apparently, Yesterday’s was open, and we were supposed to use the side door. (Double-damn the construction!) We left the diner, but I made a mental note to come back here some night. Those burgers smelled good.
At Yesterday’s, the four of us crammed into a booth and ordered food. I’ve always liked the food here, but I can’t say if it’s because I’ve always been drinking by the time I arrived or not. We picked up the conversation and carried it until the place shut down. High points for the location were singing along to “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks and dancing to “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. Yeah, the zombie dance. I busted it out for laughs, and was rewarded by the crowd behind me. Apparently one of them (and a very cute one, I might add) had the same idea as me.
It was 2:30 in the morning, the hot spots were slowing down, so we decided to call it a night. The rest of my weekend was apathy and laziness, in prepaation for the bustle that is this week. Tonight, as with every Monday night, I get together with some friends to do That Which I Do Not Speak Of to Outsiders. Tomorrow I have a birthday dinner with my folks, and then an annual midnight date with my journal. (I’ll probably explain this later.) Wednesday I turn 31 and meet Team Richardson for dinner, drinks, and pool after a brief run to the Saucer to buy a Solstice glass. Thursday I’m going to dinner and probably the Saucer with some buddies. Friday I’ll probably be dead from social exhaustion, but if not, I figure I’ll be doing something pretty laid back.

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