Sunday, January 01, 2006

rivercity blues 1

I spent my first Friday night in beautiful downtown Rivercity (better known as Smalltown USA). It was not a pretty sight.

At about 5pm, I returned to my dorm room after a busy day of office politics. I have been here 3 days and the office accountant hates my guts because I did something for the boss. Never mind too much to tell and not worth it anyway.
I return to my monk's cell for a nap. My neighbor has his door open and is playing "stairway to heaven" on his electric guitar. I put in my ear plugs and actually sleep for half an hour.

The boss invites me to dinner in a nearby town and says meet me at 6:30. I dress for a night motorcycle ride. He shows up in a Ford F150. I change clothes. Now I understand that part of a woman's psyche. You must be properly dressed for the date.
We drive 24 miles and chat about sundry man-things such as work and women and some motorcycle stuff. Men can be quite chatty when there is no one around to mentally record everything they say and play it back later during an argument.

We eat at a bar/restaurant. The place is packed. This is the yuppie version of Wyoming while Rivercity is the blue-collar section. To put it in perspective, This town is Whitefish and Rivercity is Kalispell. This place has good hamburgers. The boss says (good naturedly) "Order me a regular burger and fries, you're paying." Oh swell a reversed Dutch date where one is invited to dinner and told to pay. Do they even have a name for that? Or at least a name for that which is not derogatory to some ethnic/national group? Anyway, I good naturedly pay for his dinner, cause he is the boss and he drove me 30 miles from my home in a rain storm. A $5 hamburger is cheaper than a bus or taxi ride home. (I will have to remember that trick.)
At the bar, we meet the three guys at Stroker's motorcycle shop, Jeff, Tom and a young gentleman who was of no consequence so I forgot his name immediately, maybe Chris. These were a jovial lot. Both Tom and Jeff are divorced, Chris has not yet married.

Tom was quite taken by the beauty of the bartenderess. Therefore Tom was buying rounds of Crown Royal and Seven for the table and paying with a diminishing supply of $100 bills. It is not that the drinks were expensive, but Tom was showing off his wallet to the bar maid. Tom is a plump, but fit 50-55 year old fellow with a full head of short hair and by 8pm, florid face. He is from Nacogdoches, TX so he is brash and loud. Even though he is from Texas, he is also quite witty. This proves my point that Texan's of elevated IQ come to the realization that they must leave the state in order to commune with normal people.

The table was quite boisterous after about five rounds of drinks. I, of course, drank tonic and lime. I wish I had brought my notebook so that I could capture the banter. It seemed to be the quality of the Algonquin Club at the time.

The bar was smoke-free and filled with women, of many stripes, both country and western. No, actually it was Yuppie and Tourist, but that is OK. Most were in my age demographic, which is OK too, because I was only watching. Since my boss had the wheels, I couldn’t very well dump him for some floozy and lose my ride home. Besides, I was enjoying the manly company, with all the commiseration about divorce and the perfidy of females.

Tom’s intended date for the evening was tall, slim, had light brown hair, a nice rack and wore a belly shirt. Unfortunately, this showed off some bright red stretch marks. I doubt that Tom’s eyes had traveled any lower than the bottom of her skimpy shirt. Perhaps he had not looked beyond the top either.

A chipper woman with short black hair and bright smile sat down beside Jeff and chatted with him. She knew my boss too. They joked about their mutual torrid romance. (The boss has been “happily” married for over 30 years.) Now I know how rumors get started. Actually he didn’t remember her, met her at work or something.

Why do people entrust their secrets with me any way. I say “hi, I’m a journalist” and they blab about all their affairs and high crimes and misdemeanors (like Bill Felt).

So there was ample fodder for the gossip mill, but of course, my lips are sealed and my sources are protected.

Jeff’s little cutie (actually, she was not little) was flirting with Jeff and he was enjoying the attention. Throughout the conversation, her girl friend (short, emaciated, blond and wearing a neck brace—I have no idea) is yelling at cutie to play pool. Cutie mumbles “I don’t play pool.” Then she yells over the table to her friend “I SUCK.” Boy that stopped the conversation at the table as everyone (who were not paying close attention like I was) lowered their drinks and stared gape mouthed. Jeff grinned widely. Then, Cutie’s husband wandered in the door and she dumped us.

Tom asked Jeff, “What color were her eyes?” and Jeff replied “36D.” I told Jeff that it really didn’t matter, because she out weighed him by 20 pounds. Jeff has been divorced for 6 weeks and really doesn’t care.

The boss and I left shortly afterward. I will check in with Jeff & Tom for the rest of the story. Driving home, I realized that my “new best friends” live and work in This town, because I have not met anyone here, except the office staff. I signed a statement as a requirement for indentured servitude that said I would not drink, take drugs on the job or date anyone in the office. When I signed it, I did not realize that there might be anyone worthy of dating in the office. This criteria being: female, old enough to appreciate me, not old enough to be a grandmother. Well, there is a lonely single-mom here that fits that criteria, so alas, now I understand why one should not date in the office. It causes an emotional dynamic that can be uncomfortable for everyone.

Back to the narrative: Since it was only 9pm when I returned to the monastery, I put on my motorcycle coat and rode down town to the only dance hall in town—the Starlight Lounge and bowling alley. I can hear throbbing 80’s rock through the walls of the building as I walk toward the battered wooden door. Smoke boils out when I open the foyer door (every business here has double doors, to keep the warm in and the bugs out). I am greeted by a 30ish year old Indian fellow who looks and is sized like Jabba the Hut. He had a pleasant demeanor, because I think he used his immense bulk to intimidate the patrons. I sat at the bar beside another character from Star Wars. The 20-something bartenderess had lots of piercings, a tight top, baggy cargo jeans with lots of rings to attach chains or carabineers or what ever. I remember spikes too, either a belt, WonderWoman wrist guards or choker collar, but not in her hair. The waitress was tall, short dark hair, 30-ish, full bodied, wide hipped and wearing a Victorian type Empire dress that was red and black. Embroidery over a net, wearing a slip and high heals. She was the best looking woman there. She was chewing gum, smoking a cigarette and eating skittles while serving drinks. Amazing job of multi-tasking.

The general fashion sense of the men was Harley-Davidson, Sturgis, oil-field, cowboy and Nascar. Everyone was a billboard for something. I was wearing a nice Western, Navaho-design, button-down shirt that I bought at the Salvation Army. I was way over dressed. My pants were not oil-stained enough.

The band were four 30s-40s guys wearing black, one bass guitar, one lead, another guy and a drummer. The drummer had a cigarette stuck in one nostril. It was not lit. Maybe he was using the filter to staunch some blood flow or something. All of them had thinning long hair.

On the dance floor, two Native American couples danced to the music. The Shoshone Indians must have been prolific buffalo hunters because most of them are plus-sized. Their dancing was as suggestive as it was clumsy. Those four people worked themselves into a frenzy of passion that they left all sweat soaked at 11pm.

Most, if not all the unaccompanied women in the bar had rings on their left hand. This did not prevent them from flirting with the band, nor dance among themselves. One woman in particular strutted into the bar wearing a shinny black mini skirt, shear off white pantyhose, black high heals, and a white satin shirt that was unbuttoned two buttons from the top and the bottom. Longish light brown hair and a not-attractive face. In case you missed it, I was not using the English double negative denoting understatement. Her face was not attractive. She tried though, because she used lots of blue eye shadow, some blush and lip stick. She almost made it, but through her shirt, I could see several spare tires stacked above her hips. I guessed that she was not wearing panties and fairly quickly, she proved me right. She was doing the Sharon Stone thing with the guitar player and I happened to catch the show.

By 11:00pm, I had inhaled enough cigarette smoke, drank enough tonic and lime and had seen a movie’s worth of drama.
I went home to my cell and my lumpy mattress and tried to sleep. I woke up with a severe cigarette headache. I feel the onset of depression. I am living in the wrong town. There is only one live-music venue and I saw it during prime time. I guess I shall have to ride to that town often.

That is the news from “Lake Woe is Me.”