Posts Tagged ‘Budweiser’

100 posts, six months

March 9, 2011

Earlier this week, I celebrated the six-month anniversary of this blog and my hundredth posting. In honor of both occasions, here are my picks for the top ten posts to date…

BEST OF THE BLOG SO FAR

1. January 24, 2011 – The night I met her
“I was watching her earlier, out of the corner of my eye. I could tell from a distance that this girl had a magnetic personality, a natural beauty and just something different. Something crazy. She tells me she’s at the casino by herself, like I am. I tell her we should take the escalator down to the ground floor and cruise the tables. I overheard a cocktail waitress say ‘American Idol’ star Chris Daughtry, who played a concert earlier tonight in the casino showroom, is playing blackjack on Table 7 and is way shorter and uglier than you’d think from TV. But we don’t go anywhere. We stay at the bar and talk and laugh, and my Budweiser draft disappears with a quickness.”

2. November 3, 2010 – Sarah’s birth day
“Someone announces that they see a head. The curtain is blocking all the action. I look into the reflecting glass of a medical cabinet on the wall to my left. There, I can see the flurry of movement by well-trained hands, then the silhouette of a tiny body being lifted from its mother’s womb. A quiet, quick second passes, then… we hear the baby cry. A stuttering, hesitant billy goat bleat that soon escalates into a full-blown, hyperventilating wail. ‘Baby’s crying?’ Tiffany asks me. Yes, I tell her happily, choking back tears. The baby’s crying. A voice on the other side of the curtain announces that it’s a girl. Another voice announces the time — 8:06 am. I squeeze my wife’s hand and brush her left cheek. I’m also in charge of making sure her drool gets collected in the maroon plastic kidney-shaped bedpan. Side effect of heavy anesthesia, the drool.”

3. September 16, 2010 – Ambien and physical therapy
“Since I compound-fractured my ankle, my wife has been an all-star. She has earned a great big Thank You gift. I just need to have her help me into the car, drive me to the Hallmark store or wherever, get out my walker for me, carry around whatever I decide to buy, figure out how we’re going to pay for it, help me back into the car and probably wrap the gift for me, too. I’m a horrible gift wrapper.”

4. January 31, 2011 – My quiet neighborhood
“The house next door to us on the opposite side is vacant. It’s tiny and dilapidated, and it looks like it hasn’t been lived in for at least a decade. Still, during the nice-weather months, whoever owns it shows up promptly every Saturday morning to cut the grass and edge the yard. He cuts it with a diagonal crisscross pattern and everything, and it always irks me that the abandoned crack house next door continually has a nicer lawn than mine. Although, I will add, it doesn’t irk me enough to do any extra work on my yard.”

5. October 6, 2010 – Tubby custard hobblicoition
“I learned something new today. The term ‘abasiophilia’ describes the fetish of having sexual desire for someone in a cast or on crutches. My wife is not an abasiophiliac, and I’m pretty glad she isn’t. If Tiffany did have a cast fetish, I’d probably always be suspicious that she was trying to push me down the stairs or run me over with the car to achieve her own perverse ends. Because nothing turns a lady on like having to do all the housework and pay all the bills yourself while your husband is immobile. That’s white-hot, ‘Funky Cold Medina’ stuff right there.”

6. October 8, 2010 – I get the boot
“My exiled recovery has left me kind of like eccentric, late-period Howard Hughes minus the money. I’ve peed in the jug and let my beard and fingernails grow wild and free. When my leg cast was removed, I was grateful for the talons I’d cultivated as I dug in with some full-on calf, ankle and foot scratching. Seen the ‘Seinfeld’ where Kramer ends up dating the coffee shop waitress because she has elongated nails and he has a previously unscratchable itch? Same thing. My fingernails and my newly exposed cast leg were a match made in heaven. Howard Hughes meets ‘Seinfeld’ meets Andrew the Uniplegic.”

7. September 20, 2010 – Nurse Ratched’s sledgehammer
“My mom is so devoted to my recovery from this broken ankle that she’s going to turn into Kathy Bates from Misery. I’ll be typing away on the laptop one sunny afternoon, and the door will open. She’ll say ominously, ‘You’ve been out of your room.’ I’ll say no, I don’t know what you’re talking about. She’ll say, ‘Andrew, my little ceramic penguin in the study always faces due south.’ Then, out will come the sledgehammer. It will be for my own good.”

8. December 31, 2010 – Twelve new Christmas memories
#3, Christmas Eve: “Some might have received my proclamation that my family would start our holiday shopping on Christmas Eve as a joke, but this is what in fact happens. The snow is still swirling from the sky as we spend well over an hour stuffing a WalMart cart with our entire haul of presents. We pick out a couple things that we want for ourselves under the guise of, ‘This is your Christmas present to me,’ and later we get a big box of bargain Christmas cards from Walgreens. I used to have a cheat sheet listing which relatives received which bargain cards (‘Grandpa = puppy in stocking, 2008,’ ‘Tiffany’s sister = winking snowman, 2009,’ etc.), but now I get to experience the rush of possibly giving the same relative the same card several years in a row. Will they call me out on it? They haven’t yet.

9. September 7, 2010 – Day One of daytime daddydom
“When we had our second baby, child care began to cost us $13,000 a year. We abruptly decided I was going to quit my daytime job and watch Sarah and Silas for free. Mind you, I’m not high-income. I just celebrated – well, ‘celebrated’ is not really the word for it, more like ‘wincefully acknowledged’ – the tenth anniversary of my intended-to-be-temporary foray into serving and bartending at mid-priced chain restaurants. I graduated college with honors at the age of 21. I was going to take a year off and write a book. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s not 1999 anymore, although the band Smash Mouth and I both sometimes wish it was.”

10. February 13, 2011 – Seen Jamaica?
“The Wal-Mart checker was, I’d guess, in her late 70s. She was about halfway into the process of scanning my 56 items when she looked to her right and realized there were eight people in line behind me, and none of them had more than six things to buy. ‘Where’s Jamaica?’ the elderly checker asked loudly. ‘I need Jamaica! Hey Susan, have you seen Jamaica?’ I figured Jamaica was the name of another checker who’d turned her light off and left her line unattended because it had been dead all night, but what if there was another explanation? What if this old lady’s visions of visiting or moving to Jamaica, the beautiful Caribbean island itself, were the only thing keeping her going through this barrage of graveyard checker shifts in the twilight of her life?”

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

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The night I met her

January 24, 2011

Andrew Hicks

Wednesday, April 19, 2007
2:07 a.m.

I’m at the top corner bar at Ameristar Casino, by myself. Al is bartending. Al and I have a friendly relationship built on combined decades of music geekdom. When the casino Muzak is tuned to the ’80s or ’90s channels, we race to see who can first successfully identify the title, artist and year of release.

On a dead night at the bar, it keeps us both entertained. Right now, though, almost every seat at his bar is filled, so I plan to get a Budweiser draft and keep on walking. There are three other bars in the casino, and odds are, I’ll stop and talk to someone I know or quickly make a new friend.

I try to get Al’s attention up at the service entrance to the bar. He’s headed over to me when a female voice yells out, “Al! Al!” He turns his head. Six seats down, a striking woman I’d peg to be about my age is pointing down at the video poker machine in front of her. “Al! Do you have any gum? This thing ate my quarter!”

I hear that, and I meander down the bar to see the situation firsthand. Ordinarily, I’m not incredibly bold socially, but since I moved into my bachelor pad four months ago, I’ve been the indisputable life of the party again. I have the ironclad conviction that everything out of my mouth is borne of some form of comic genius. Whether I am right about this, I cannot objectively say, but people usually seem to enjoy the crazy talk that comes out of my mouth.

“Where did you put your quarter?” I ask the stranger. “There’s definitely no coin slot on a bar video poker machine.”

She points down at the slot next to the video screen where you’re supposed to insert your players’ card. It’s the size of a credit card or hotel keycard and definitely not the size of any American coin. I decide I should make fun of this girl in a jovial sorta fashion. So I do, and she tells me this is her first time in the casino since like 1997, a year in which there apparently still were coin slots attached to video poker machines.

“I’ve been watching you,” I tell her. “You’re crazy.”

This offends her for some reason. In my delusional, bloated head, this one-line gem of brilliance should only get a huge, warm laugh. I explain to her that crazy’s a good thing, that normal is boring, that I’m a lunatic, and that everyone who’s ever been close to me is crazy, too. And I was watching her earlier, out of the corner of my eye. I could tell from a distance that this girl had a magnetic personality, a natural beauty and just something different. Something crazy.

She tells me she’s at the casino by herself, too. I tell her we should take the escalator down to the ground floor and cruise the tables. I overheard a cocktail waitress say “American Idol” star Chris Daughtry, who played a concert earlier tonight in the casino showroom, is playing blackjack on Table 7 and is way shorter and uglier than you’d think from TV. But we don’t go anywhere. We stay at the bar and talk and laugh, and my Budweiser draft disappears with a quickness. One more, and I’m out of money.

I explain my cashlessness to my new friend, and she buys me a beer, but only after she determines that I really don’t have any money and am not trying to take advantage of the potential kindness of a stranger. She pulls out a Ziploc bag full of quarters, dimes and nickels — the odds and ends of tips she made from restaurant customers — and she buys me a beer with a pile of change.

She tells me her name is Tiffany, and later she tells me that she’s 35 years old. I don’t believe her, so I ask for her ID. The ID confirms it, and we start talking about my perceived generational differences between the cultural reference points of someone my age, 29, and someone six years older. She quickly reveals herself to be a great pop culture sparring partner, awash in information from before my time straight up to now.

All too soon, it’s last call. I wage a campaign to get Tiffany to come back to the bachelor pad with me. There’s something electric about this girl — instantly appealing, intriguing and comforting to me — and I really just want to hang out with her some more. She already gets me in a way that far surpasses that of the other casino bar strangers-turned-temporary-drinking-buddies I’ve met.

She resists, of course. She doesn’t ever go out in the first place, and she’s not the one-night-stand type. I’m not either. “We’re just friends hanging out,” I keep telling her. I run through my other selling points — I have roommates living with me, so I can’t be a psycho killer. I’m the nicest guy you’ll ever meet. I can show you some of those hilarious old Saturday Night Live sketches we’ve been rhapsodizing about. And I’ve got beer.

5:57 a.m.

My roommate Tim just left for work. He’s one of my oldest and best friends. Our bedrooms are connected by a bathroom, so once I heard his alarm go off a couple times, I brought Tiffany through the bathroom so she could meet him. This was late-night, manic drunk logic, but I wanted to introduce them. I figured Tim would recognize immediately that I stumbled into something special.

The DVD player is in Tim’s room. My bedroom is huge, and it’s set up for some good hanging out, but all I have audiovisually is a Bose iPod dock and a 13″ TV/VCR combo given to me by a guy from work. So when Tim leaves, I show Tiffany some of the highlights of the Best of Chris Farley SNL DVD.

We watch, but we talk about our lives — me preaching the philosophy of self-love and keeping things emotionally uncomplicated, and her telling me about her first husband and the abusive boyfriend she just broke up with. She’s kind, she’s thoughtful, she’s loving. This is someone I value immediately, and I have a hard time picturing the kind of man who would mistreat her.

There’s a gentle nervousness within me, but I’m most filled with an air of excitement. I’ve been truly coming back to life since I moved in here, and now I feel like I’ve met the other side of me that’s been missing all this time. And, best of all, I don’t have any of the accompanying obsessiveness, self-loathing and hesitance that have plagued me the other couple of times I thought I’d met the right girl. I know that, if I never see Tiffany again, I still had an unexpectedly amazing night.

Tiffany leaves. She has to work at 11, and she has precious little time to sleep off the abundance of Grolsch beer that went from my fridge to our bellies these past few hours. I watch a little more SNL while stretching across Tim’s bed, and I call my mom as the sun comes up. I tell her I met the woman I’m going to marry, but I tell her I’m going to play it cool and let it move at a natural, comfortable pace.

I call two other friends and tell them this was the night I met my Yoko Ono. “But Yoko broke up the band,” one of them pouts back to me. At this point, I have no idea that love’s going to crash down hard on my head in a matter of weeks, and that before the summer is out, I’ll be married and living in another state. And, for all intents and purposes, the old band will be broken up.

Right now, all I know is, I found her. She’s really real. She exists, she’s beautiful, and I found her.

FAMILY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Tiffany: a self-portrait she doesn't know I'm posting yet.