Americaphiles

The Story Of My Fucking Life

Forty-eight

Posted by ilbebe on March 6, 2009

During a period at my old house in Oakland where I lived with nine roommates, some new blood, as new blood was wont to do, got fervent about cleaning up the backyard. Specifically, they wanted to move one or both of one of my roommates’ hulking dead vans out to somewhere more appropriate, such as a David Lynch movie. After trying the more direct and polite tactic of asking him nicely several times, they pulled the sneaky, backhanded move of calling the city property inspection division to come out and sticker them as “nuisances”. An unintended consequence of this was getting my car tagged as well, since my registration was expired. I’d been living at the house for about nine months at this point and working at the law office for a year, and was about to throw in the towel on both situations. A weekend out of town to clear my head was in order, and I decided to kill two birds by selecting the weekend that my dad’s girlfriend’s mother was visiting. I really had no interest in meeting an eighty year-old New Yorker who I was certain would ask me when I was going to start a real career and settle down with a nice Jewish girl.

Whitney and I left on a Saturday morning bound for Monterey, where her best friend Marie was living. We stopped at the DMV on the way out of town to take care of my registration problem and I smoked a celebratory bowl in the parking lot afterwards. It was late June, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the drive to Monterey took less time than I thought it would. We got to town around two and found Marie at the downtown coffee shop where she worked. She advised us to check out the “Blues” festival happening at the town plaza, so we secured a pint of whiskey and some soda and made our way over. The first band was a cover group that Marie had told us about, and I was surprised to find that she wasn’t exaggerating when she had told me they played an equal mix of classic rock, salsa, and Green Day. Also delightful was seeing that Marie’s impression of the keyboard player was spot-on; she was this petite woman in her fifties that stood as far back from the instrument as possible and extended her arms straight out while bobbing her head in a robotic and unceasing side-to-side pattern. Fucking bizarre.

We soaked that all in for a little bit and then took a pleasant walk down a pier where Whitney shared some amusing tales of getting stoned in Danville and decided that sea otters were lazy jerks, possibly worse than the fucking sea cows that hand out near Pier 39. Stopping back by the Marie’s café, we encountered this really suave guy in his seventies who had always flirted with Whitney in the past and seemed decidedly unenthused by my presence. While killing more time walking around drinking a quart of Natural Ice and waiting for Marie to get off of work, I took a call from my Dad and admitted that I’d gone out of town. The call was brief but uncomfortable, and marks a very clear point in the day where the mood began to shift. This was also when I began to acknowledge that I was pretty drunk-coincidence?

Marie got off, and the three of us cruised back her apartment, drank some wine with her roommate, and then set out again to go to Marie’s favorite bar, the British Bulldog. Whitney said she was going to take a short nap in the back of the car, so it was just me that Marie introduced to her friend Roger when we got to the bar. Roger was a British guy in his fifties, and quite a character, he was fond of brushing his hand back across his hair to accentuate his big earring and proclaiming how handsome he was. He regaled me with tales of being beaten up in jail in his youth and his travels with the British army in the sixties, and was not shy about describing specific things he wished to do to Marie when she “realized she wasn’t into the lasses”.

After a few hours Whitney staggered in and said that getting something to eat was a strong priority, so I asked for my tab. I disagreed with it, explaining to the bartender that I’d paid cash for my first beer, and initially this was met with no qualms. However, after saying goodbye to the folks I’d talked to, the bartender reemerged and angrily demanded another five dollars. I insisted that I’d already paid it, and was met with the stolid rebuke “No, you didn’t”. Quickly I grew upset, realizing that this was an argument that couldn’t be won, but stayed my ground. After a tense minute, some random guy walked up and put five bucks on the bar, saying he didn’t want to see any violence, but I still left the bar steamed. I knocked over a potted tree on the sidewalk outside and displayed some drunken bravado by throwing five bucks on the ground when Whitney said You’re This Upset Over Five Bucks? Fuck Five Bucks was my retort, but when she picked it up and handed it back to me I took it.

The rest of the night was a mess. Marie was having going-away party at her place and a bunch of teenage friends she’d made from the coffee shop showed up and made me feel old. I left at point to take a walk and fell asleep underneath a huge pine tree for a while. When I got back to the party, people were looking for someone to go on a beer run and I volunteered because I didn’t want to be there. The fog had rolled in dramatically, and the girl who went with me stole a watermelon. This guy at the party told me some interesting stories about driving a cab, and the watermelon proved to be a genius acquisition. Whitney and I went to sleep still mad at each other.

Back in New York, my Dad’s girlfriend’s mother is dying, and I wish I had taken the opportunity to meet her.

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