Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Grateful for the sunrise

I'm cursed with a job that I like and that I tend to get obsessed with.   This means that my benders have to be few and far between.  This last weekend was a probably the hardest one (on my liver and pocketbook) in a long, long time.   I'm trying to reconstruct the sequence of events, and remarkably, modern technology comes to aid in the form of credit card statements, which I may or may not pay off this month.


Metrorail, $30.   My friend Mug (from rugby and school) came to town and being a good friend I picked up $15 on a Metro card for him.    The other $15 was for me, which I actually needed this month since the harpy in Accounting who normally hooks me up with the $115 of government welfare Metrocheks wouldn't let me pick mine up this month.   Something about "missing the deadline."   Screw them. 

The Diner in Adams Morgan, $30.   Dinner and beers with Mug after meeting him at at Reagan.   We caught up (having not seen each other since a New Year's Eve bender) and discussed plans for the weekend.   He expressed strong desire to meet my girlfriend (Cricket) and to fulfill a particular plan of attack vis-a-vis drinking and tourism. 

I put him on the inflatable bed in my (junior) one-bedroom, the rent in which is greater than my grad-school rent by an amount greater than my increase in wages.    At least I can't see my bed from the kitchen.   It sucks not having a cleaning lady, though.   Having roommates made that particular luxury a no-brainer I'll start up again as soon as I make another few tens of K a year. 

I digress: Friday

I work all day trying to get enough stuff done to not feel guilt for the weekend away from work.   I don't succeed but justify it to myself by taking things home to read on the Red Line.    

Adams Mill Pub, $25.    First pints of the true weekend.   Adams Mill is a fratty mcfrat sort of pub, but in the happy-hour time it's a little more regular-folk.   It's the closest bar to where I live, so I wanted to show Mug the true flavor of my neighborhood.   He makes his first inquiries about 18th St.   I hem and haw and say maybe we'll go later.   I'm not sure if I or we can handle 18th St. at our advanced age of 30 and 28, respectively.  

Brickskeller, $75.     The Brickskeller is a second home to me.   I take all my friends there when they visit, I took my online dates there before I met the lovely and talented Cricket (who thankfully also likes going there), and I'd take my relatives if they were the sort to drink beer at all, which they're not (with the exception of my sister and BIL but they're in a family way, making any attempts to drink them under any table kinda sketchy.)   Mug and I hit the obscure Colorado section of the menu, and I slowly lose track of what I'm drinking.   A waitress who's either LIthuanian or Black Irish takes good care of us, but brings us ghastly food.   The Brickskeller may be a little slice of heaven, but a Michelin star it ain't got.     Cricket and her fellow Princeton alum K join us around ten-ish after hitting Chi-Cha and getting their own party going.   I undergo the universal brutal stress of girlfriend meeting close friend, and I think it went all right.    I end up downing two pints of high-quality stuff that tastes like a blueberry muffin, and, well, so much for my taste.   I leave my dart-collateral driver's license at the 'keller and they of course lose it.   (Probably should head to the DMV.)     Crash at the house maybe 3:30ish.


The plans to see George Pelecanos speak at Busboys & Poets ganged aft agley, as he started at noon and I was still in Dreamland.    Getting our shit together, Mug and I hit U Street.   As I was walking down U I saw a blogger and Unfogged commenter I recognized (Catherine) and felt like a total loser for recognizing a blogger and also for considering saying hi.   I was immediately distracted by a pile of free books on the sidewalk: I ignored the Garfield books and the shitty vegan cookbook and picked up two volumes of Simone de Beauvoir's autobiography.   It's pretentious but good, which is basically a summary of almost everything in my library that I really, really like.    The Bohemian Cavern is closed (so no half-priced Belgians) so we hit Solly's near 11th, which is a tight little pub tended by an Australian with cricket (the game, not the girlfriend) on the telly.   Mug picked up the  tab here, I think; or maybe I had cash from the ladies the night before.  

Food was required so we hit Ben's Chili Bowl.   I had a half-smoke with chili and we got the chili-cheese fries, too.   They're better than the ones in LA at that place whose name I should remember.

Home again for a nap and some laundry and preparations for the night.   Cricket and I run circles around each other on the phone trying to figure out dinner plans.    Mug's brought his sportcoat so I figure what the hell and put mine on and go find Cricket and K at Bourbon on 18th st.   We all worship at the altar of Hefeweizen for an hour or so and I get some cross-table banter going with some dudes who were aghast that I didn't know Peter Jennings was dead.   Whatever.   I knew he was dead, I just forgot and assumed he was alive for the duration of the sentence.   The guy most aghast had a Duke Lacrosse t-shirt on, so screw him.   I know they're not guilty, but that doesn't mean you're not a jackass for wearing the t-shirt.    As much as I love Duke (although it's solely due to the influence of a dear friend who grew up there and whose father played ball for Duke) I just wanted to hit him. 

Moving on, we hit Clyde's in Georgetown leaving a whopping 2 Benjamins.   Mug orders me whiskey from the bar (18-year Macallen) and is horrified when he gets his tab.   Yeah, buddy, shots of good whiskey run $20 a pop in G-town.   My paella is worthless and Cricket's pork chop is leathery.   Our waiter was unctuous and the check slow, but at least the cheese platter rocked.   I hope I don't get sick like the grandpa in the House episode, twenty episodes of which I've seen in the last week.   I don't know what  I want to get when I get my final at-bat, but it sure as hell isn't heavy-metal toxicity or an amoeba that gets treated with legionella.     The wine and scotch leave me tipsy so the bill doesn't bother me, and we head to Martins of Georgetown and drink beer and watch prepsters for a couple hours.   Georgetown really is amazing to me-- it's another world, another culture, that I'm simultaneosly covetous of joining but repelled by.    The Mug, being partial (bless him) to petite girls with fake IDs and no illusions about their own intelligence, is in heaven.

This is when things get sketchy.    A lot of pictures were taken at a billiards joint in Adams Morgan (the one next to the sneaker store owned by Adrian Fenty's parents) which was oddly deserted for a Saturday.    The ladies went home after that, having had enough of booze and men and wanting to get some shuteye before their early-morning run-and-brunch.   I know I dropped $75 at the Adams Mill pub, and I know Mug bribed the bouncer a double sawbuck to let me in.   This was the height of gross indecency, as no bar in DC is worth paying to get into, most especially not the toolbox dives around Adams Morgan.   And yet it happened. 

This is when my night turned into an episode of The Wire.    While sitting on the concrete stubs  at 18th and Columbia eating Jumbo Slice and talking (amazingly enough) about the Mug's work (he's a scientist)  I faded out in to a happy little limbo of thinking about work and tossing pepperonis at passing cabs.   I know, I'm thirty and not an 18-year-old having his first beer, but I was having fun.    Mug meanwhile makes friends with two women who offer us a ride to their afterparty.    We get into the backseat of not an Escalade but a crappy late-model Aerostar with rusted-out wheelwells driven by a friend who's doubly sullen: designated driving, and the company of two women spoiled by the arrival of two goons.  

We get driven forty blocks over into waaaaaay NE DC, and end up in the basement of a house with a side door with a red light on it and a bouncer wearing sunglasses.    We're the only white dudes there and we are not in any way welcome.    The Mug's newfound friend has some pull that I think kept us from getting robbed.   Which is to say, violently robbed.  Because I dropped $40 on two MGDs and who knows what they charged Mug.   I just remember the very, very bemused lady behind the bar refusing to take less.    There was a poker game in the corner with some bad, bad dudes, and our hostess told us to stay away from it. 

I suppose it's anticlimactic but I want to wrap this up.   Mug and I get the hell out of Dodge after polishing off the MGDs and begin the long walk home.    After a few blocks, I realize I'm not in NW DC and am walking the wrong way.    I'm eventually convinced by an increasingly blistered and irate Mug to go along with his plan of hailing a cab; the problem is, there's none to be found.   A cop pulls over and asks us if we know where we are.    Some derelicts stare at us.   A couple hipsters on their own troubled errantry avoid us and cross the street hurriedly.     Roundabout U and 10th NE we find a willing cabbie to get us to an ATM, and home.

Sunday we lay in the park with Cricket, watch some more House episodes, and drink 40s at the Lincoln Memorial, as planned long ago.   It's an amazing memorial, and sitting on the stone slabs on the south side of the Memorial watching the planes coast into Reagan is peaceful and good.    I heartily recommend it.

Mug bought the 40s because I had no more money.   It's going to be a tunafish and spinach week, with a lot of work getting done.   Good times.