Well, it’s a bit of a situation when your life interferes with what you truly hold near. I’ve felt a little stripped of my own self because I’ve been so entwined in work and preparing for my upcoming vacation. To catch all of you up, here are a couple of anecdotes from your favorite degenerate:
I like to have a drink after work seemingly every day. But while some of those days are spent solemn, searching for answers in the bottom of a pint glass, some of them are spent in wonderful conversation with lovely people.
The other night, post-Sonoma, I decided to take in a beverage at Vallozzi’s on Fifth Ave. Upon entrance, the two bartenders, both named Melissa, greeted me. I ordered a Woodford Reserve on the rocks, and began taking in, for who knows what reason, the Pirates game. I noticed instantly that I was sitting next to a quite attractive older lady and her husband who were out for a nice evening out of the house. Making friendly conversation with the bartender, we’ll call her Melissa 2 (solely based upon the fact that I met her after the other identically named girl, I began talking about how earlier on in the day); I had sold an outrageously priced bottle of wine. Listening in on the conversation, the gentleman politely includes himself in the discussion. It turns out that he fancies himself to be quite a connoisseur. His name is Doug, and his wife, her name is Michelle. It was refreshing in speaking to the both of them for the first ten minutes or so to learn that everything that I thought that I knew about wine was not total bullshit and that I had picked something up in the last year or so of drinking. Doug and I continue our conversation, touching on hockey and how much the city of Philadelphia is an awesome place with awful people and even worse sports teams, how the Pirates have managed to make a science out of putting a sub-par product on the field and still make money, and some of the best places to eat in Pittsburgh. This was slowly turning into one of the better nights that one could have on a Tuesday, but hey, good conversation is welcome any day of the week. Our back and forth spanned across many topics; I had slipped in that I would be taking a backpacking trip across five countries in Europe, just as he had expounded upon his fondness for a good Czech Pilsner. Things got a bit interesting from there, the conversation moved on to politics, which is never a good subject between people who’ve just met, but things seemed to work smoothly as I told them about my total apathy for the whole process due to the fact that nothing ever changes. Then, this happened.
Michelle: “While you’re in Europe, get stoned.”
Michelle: “Smoke, and fuck, and do whatever the hell you wanna do! It’s Europe!”
Me: “I. Um? I just…”
Michelle: You’re trying to tell me a pretty black man with beautiful dreadlocks isn’t going to get fucked up and have sex with European women? Come on, I know how you work.”
There are so few things that could render me speechless, but this was one. Shortly after this exchange, her husband escorted her from the bar, to their vehicle and wished me the best. I’m pretty sure the next time I sit at that bar, there will be a total lack of shock and awe, but hell, one must take these experiences as they come.
The next night, I decided to take my father to a baseball game. I had a French final in the morning, but still had time to buy tickets and relax for a good bit of the day. A few days prior to that, I had picked up some mushrooms, but had no idea when I would ever have the time to eat them, so I gave half to someone, and let the other half hang out on my floor. Coming home after my exam, I just wanted to relax for a little bit, maybe play some video games, maybe even take a nap. Of course none of those things happened. It was about 3 when I decided that I was just going to do it. I was going to eat these boomers, and see where my day took me. My dad showed up to my place about an hour later, and I still was feeling pretty normal.
My brother joined the two of us and we headed to the North Side to visit PNC Park. Sitting on the train between downtown and the stadium, for lack of better phrasing, things in my life started to pick up. After grabbing our tickets from the box office, I was full on tripping my face off. I was hallucinating in public, with my father and my brother, trying to concentrate on baseball. I watched as the city skyline in the background altogether blended with the river and the outfield fences of the park. The crack of the bat has never had such satisfying sound. Vendors calling out to fans to buy hot dogs, or $8 beers were lyrical. A gentle drizzle of misty rain even began around the start of the seventh inning. It simply could not get any better than that.
Naturally, it did. Looking down the row in front of us, and about 6 seats over, a plump, rosy-cheeked pre-teen sat down with a jumbo sized Pepsi, and an ice cream cone that encompassed the size of his head in both height and circumference. My eyes widened, tears rolled down, and laughter that could have been heard from ten miles away, bellowed from somewhere deep inside of me, to the tip of my tongue, and out of my mouth.
At this moment, I knew that the Pirates had won the game, but upon further review, I truly believe that I won the day.