So it’s Rodeo Weekend this weekend. I walked down to the corner store to get a Cup O’Noodles and passed by the only bar in town. Someone was singing House of the Rising sun over the din of garbled voices of a hundred people talking all at once. Honestly, the bar scene makes my skin crawl. But I couldn’t help but wonder if there isn’t something wrong with me.
I went to the bar plenty of times when I was in college. I was a regular at a place called the Smiling Moose. The waitresses knew me and all of my friends. We closed the place down about four nights a week, usually after an evening shift at the computer lab where I was working. My shift would end at 10pm and it was off to the Moose for a couple pints, some nachos, and good conversations with friends. It was a neighborhood bar vibe with only a few nights a year when the place was super packed. St. Patrick’s and Graduation. It was a college town. Even then it wasn’t all that crazy.
The last girl I dated took me to her bar when I went to visit her up in Wyoming. That place was like the Stockman here in town with the exception it was about five times bigger and shoulder to shoulder with people. Here’s the difference between a place like the Moose and a place like the Dollar or the Stockman. In the Moose, it was just people hanging out. We would visit over beers and watch the World’s Strongest Man contest on the TVs. We would say goodnight and drive home. The Dollar and the Stockman are a whole other critter. Big white cowboy hats, pie-plate sized belt buckles, and girls in tight jeans with big glittery crosses on the back pockets. Because nothing says you love Jesus like getting railed in somebody’s king cab.
At those kinds of bars it’s a fucking mess. People just shouting at each other’s faces to be heard, drunk as shit, bumping into each other, huge lines for the toilets, puke all over the floors. Everyone on the verge of fighting or fucking. Some jackass always gets mean drunk and gives you that smirk before trying to talk shit to you, trying to prove he’s the biggest asshole in the bar. I’m nearly deaf anyway when it comes to crowds. Years of playing the drums in a band fried any ability to discern what some Bud Lite Badass is trying to say to me over another verse of Tennessee Whiskey done by a local band.
I would rather stay and home and demolish my liver for a fraction the price and no threat of getting curb stomped by some dildo and his five buddies.
I really tried to fit in that night, but she had her world, and I had mine. Maybe that’s why she said she wasn’t feeling it and began to distance herself. Her world still hinges on going out to the bar and getting wasted every other week. And I guess mine isn’t nearly as exciting. I binge-watched Umbrella Academy this weekend. I threw the squirrels and the tennis balls for Penny. I wrote.
I dated a professor for a while who liked going to the bars and flirting with the cowboys herself. She actually called me anti-social because I didn’t like going to bars. Maybe I just didn’t like watching her get hit on across the room, pretending I didn’t exist. I did used to hang out with a friend of mine at a bar sometimes and we would fake our way through swing dancing and karaoke but those were always her haunts and dive bars are a lot like the Moose. Even then, neither of us got hammered. She would flirt with guys and all of her other friends and me would say “Do you not see the red flags?”
Maybe I just grew up? Does that make me boring? I don’t know.
I mean I’ve done the 1940s Ball and met interesting people, danced with beautiful women, and am very social in that kind of venue. I missed the Ball this year because of other plans and I didn’t have the heart to bump into my former gf. I met her there three years ago, watching people swing dance. I think it would have hurt too much to see her, knowing that there is a lot of water under that bridge, and as much as I might have wanted to meet her again, our worlds are very much out of alignment right now. If she couldn’t stay then, she sure as hell wouldn’t want to now with where I’m living and what I’m trying to make happen.
Somehow there is a lot of difference between dancing and drinks and good conversations and the meat market of a cowboy bar packed to the gills with drunken assholes. Like I said, I would rather drink at home by myself. It’s a lot cheaper, and I don’t have to wonder how many guys have ploughed the girl I’m with. It’s safer too. I’m not on the road. I can take a piss without having to stand in line. I can finish my drink and go to bed.
Sometimes I feel like there is something wrong with me. Maybe Professor Girl was right. I’m “antisocial.” I guess I just never had any use for the drama of the bar scene. Too many of my friends come back with stories about getting drugged, or going home with some douche lagoon, or watching someone get their teeth kicked out. And always the fucking guys throwing darts at women’s butts, like some kind of troglodite foreplay. Does that make me anti-social?
I sure as hell hope so.
Maybe I’ve just hit that point in my life where peace is the most valuable thing a man can have. I have found enough trouble in my life without ever having to look for it. I guess it’s just not my scene.
Not that I’m looking for a relationship anymore, but I do remember quiet nights sitting around the fire pit, listening to good music, smoking cigars, and drinking beer or whiskey or wine. Making out for a few hours and then going to bed. Curled up next to the one I loved. Simple things.
Beats the hell out of having a shouting conversation with some drunk I don’t even know, having to breathe that cloyingly sweet tobacco breath while you wonder what is taking your date so long to get back with the beers. Not my thing I guess.
I prefer a clean, well lighted place.