On Friday evening, I met up with Jeff, Chris, Cole, Josh, and Callie down at Charlie Hooper's for a drink. After all the musicians were assembled, we stepped out into the evening sunshine and went down to 75th St Brewery for a quick one. Both Jeff and Chris joined the Mug Club, as is evidenced below, with their Cardinal and Hamm's mugs. While at 75th, I got calls from Liz and Terra about a party over in the west Plaza area. We paid our tab, piled into Chris' car, and ran over to the Peanut at 50th and Main before going to the party.
I'm not quite sure what happened there now, and I know that we only split a single pitcher of Pale Ale, but we all had a great time at the Peanut, and I think it should be a required stop on more Friday evenings. Like a bunch of clowns, we all piled once again into various semi-open corners of Chris' Civic, with unidentifiable hands and feet poking in unlikely directions, and I somehow manipulated my phone into dialing Liz's number.
The party to which we were headed was a going away party for Liz's friend Steve, who would, in a few days, be packing up his guitar and moving back to the Chicago area. His KC-based band, called Flux was playing classic rock covers in what had once been the living room, while the greatest concentrations of partygoers congregated outside, drinking grey beer from a keg, having conversations, forgetting them, and having them again.
Chris and Jeff left after perhaps two hours, but Cole and I chose to hang around, and watch the keg blow about ninety seconds after missing our chance to get home for free. So, we made the best of it, and chatted with Liz, Terra, Kelly, Holly, Steve, Amanda, and anyone else that was up for repeating conversations.
Cole and I took our leave about an hour later, at about one o'clock. The plan was to go over to Tomfooleries, have a beer or two, and get a cab home. I wasn't remotely intoxicated, as the drinking been been inconveniently interrupted over the past five hours with wanton conversation, so I was keen to get a drink from a pint glass at one of the only Plaza bars I can stand. We walked in, and I made a beeline for the bathroom, where I did the unthinkable. I did a number two at a bar. While doing so, I listened, staying as quiet as I could, to the unhushed comments of disgust dispensed by the ten or so urinal visitors to the restroom.
I washed my hands, and dried them under a jet engine, watching skin on my hands ripple in folds under the force of the roaring, industrial hand dryer, and was struck with a thought. I voiced it when I got back to the table where Cole was sitting.
"Has the waitress been by yet?"
"Yeah, I told her I was still thinking, and that you were taking a dump."
"Thanks. Um, do you want to go home?"
"Yes. Let's go."
We stepped outside, expecting to see a line of cabs waiting for us, as there had been when we walked in, but there was none. I suggested that we walk over to O'Dowd's, where there are always cabs at the curb. Cole agreed, but about eight steps into our journey, a City Cab pulled up. I despise City Cab, because I have this idea that I thoughy may have just been circumstantial, that they try to go as slow as possible, and take roundabout routes, to try to run up the fare. If that thought is circumstantial, then it's been every circumstance I have ever experienced with this lamentable cab company.
An Atlas Cab driver once told me that the drivers for City Cab are one of two things: crooks, or immigrants working their first stateside job, and often, operating their first motorized vehicle. The obvious way to downtown from the west side of the Plaza is to go straight up Southwest Trafficway, hope on the highway for a split-second, and be there. It takes roughly ten minutes, even in traffic. The bars weren't closing for another hour and a half, so there was no traffic. Nevertheless, our driver, who had less than a kindergartner's grasp of English, proceeds to turn the properly-aligned cab around, making to head toward Broadway, a city street with lots of long stoplights and heavy, trend-agnostic traffic that guarantees at least a twenty-minute trip for thirty five blocks.
I quickly corrected him, and made it clear right away, that he was going to take us the fast way. "Okay," he said, in a tone that could also have been used for, "it's your funeral." Sure enough, he hit the brakes for every light, hoping it would turn red, and allow him to run up the fare. There was a police sobriety checkpoint between 39th and 33rd, that had a dedicated lane for delivery vehicles, police cars, and taxicabs. He stopped the car, seemingly oblivious to the clear path before him, even with police waving him through, and shouting, "Go!"
Anyway, we eventually got home, and Eeyore had managed to run us a $15 fare for what Atlas would have done for $8. Frustrated, we got some burritos, and called it a night.
The next day, I met Matt, Kristin, Jeff, Ryan, and Jennifer down in the River Market for homemade guacamole, tasty beer, and witty comebacks. We went from there to Arrowhead Stadium for my first ever professional soccer game. It was a lot of fun, but I'd say it was because of the people I was with. The Wizards(KC's team) lost to the DC United, 3-1, largely because of some terrible officiating. The beer was actually kind of hard to find. There are no walking vendors at Wizards games, and very few people had beer. Most of the crowd was children, and the whole affair seemed to be more catered to them. This is sad to say, but it made Royals games seem crowded.
That said, I'm not opposed to returning for another Wizards game. All the best players in MLS are in Germany at the moment, playing for their respective countries in the World Cup, so normally, there's a lot more talent on the field. We retired from there to Harry's Country Club, where I again used the restroom in an unsavory manner, and listened to someone come in and vomit into the sink. I went home soon after that.
The next day, Tony and Randy came over to help Nathan pack up his stuff and move to his new apartment. Randy and I talked for perhaps an hour, while Nathan was getting a load ready for transport. It was nice to talk with one of the old kcgeek folks again. After the move was basically over, Jeff and I met up with Eric and his mother at Fiorella's for some barbecue. After an interesting insight into what makes Eric Eric, we said good evening, and started heading toward Grinders. By this time, however, my nose was running basically nonstop. I had been waking up in the middle of the night just to blow my terribly running nose.
I have a theory about God. God has a sense of humor. God thought it would be a real gas to let me live the first 25 years of my life without any allergies, and then, with no warning, lay them on me. I'm probably on God's Funniest Home Videos. I have gone through four rolls of toilet paper, this weekend, from blowing my nose. I have probably displaced several pounds of water weight, through blowing my nose. As I write this, I have actually had to get out a new roll.
Anyway, after Fiorella's, Jeff and I walked over to Grinders, and ran into Matt and Kristin on the way. We discussed pleasantries and such for a while, and they wound up riding over to the patriotic symphony thing at Union Station, despite Matt's intense wincing. Jeff and I pressed on to Grinders, and ran into another Matt friend, and his girlfriend, Betty. I love that name. I wish more people had it. We took a couple of pictures, and made it to the bar.
Some trio of an organist, a sax player, and a guitarist were playing some really excellent boogaloo, and their music permeated the entire place, including the back patio which, by this time, was a very pleasant place to be. We sat outside and had a lovely time until the fireworks over at the Liberty Memorial started up. It was about this time that my left eye started to get itchy. It went from being itchy to feeling like there was something stuck underneath one of the lids, and I mercilessly fingered after it, whatever it was. I never found anything, and I just kept rubbing my eye, and reaching under the lids with my finger, sometimes getting joint-deep, searching for whatever it was that was irritating me.
During the more furious moments of my searching, Jeff was off to get Becca, who was joining us, and walk her over. I tried to stay quiet, and I was facing away from everyone else on the patio, but I'm pretty sure that some people heard me wincing frantically, trying to cure whatever had, seemingly all of a sudden attacked, my eye. It was torture. It seemed like an eternity before Jeff and Becca got to the table, and I was driven to the brink of madness, violently sticking my finger under my eyelids.
They did arrive, though, and the first thing they told me was to stop touching my eye, because it was horribly swollen by that time. See the picture below for a blurry, up-close view of how my eye looked after about ten minutes of leaving it alone. We hung out for a while, and then they had to catch their bus south: Becca to South Plaza, and Jeff to Waldo. I walked home with one eye, feeling wretched, and exercising all of my will to keep from touching my swollen eye.
I slept fitfully that night, waking up about once an hour to blow my nose, and pull open my left eye, which had taken to wrapping sinews of mucus around my eyelashes. It was like pulling gum off a theatre floor. It was disgusting and painful, but I somehow knew that I had to keep my eye clear of the stuff, so I picked it clean and washed it, each time.
The next day, Jeff moved in. In about four trips, he was able to get everything in, including his cat, which, presumably, is around here somewhere. My eye got progressively better all day, and I went to bed, assisted by Nyquil(the nasal congestion hasn't slowed down in the least). When I woke up, the mucus buildup, thank God, hadn't happened at all. I called in to work, saying I wanted to have the eye looked at. After making that call, however, I lay back down and slept for perhaps another hour. When I got up, I felt surprisingly good, besides the nasal congestion.
As of this writing(about 2:45pm, Tuesday), my eye looks and feels almost healthy, though I have made sure not to touch it. I think the problem was that I possibly did get something in it, and had the resulting problems because of how much I picked at it. Don't pick at it.
Feel free to look at the pictures I took in the last three days of the holiday weekend.
word. first friday this weekend?
8:13 PM, May 30, 2006
jeez dude. your eye. you could use a pirate patch. also, everyone was cool friday. i'm glad i went out. next time we call atlas cab though.
10:41 PM, May 30, 2006
Ooo First Friday. Can we hit 12 Baltimore afterwards? Cause last times I gots to dance with a lady.
9:58 AM, May 31, 2006
First Friday! Drat, though, I am hosting a kickball party. Y'all can crash it.
Good times on the weekend. Thanks for coming to the Wizards game. I'll line up a better one if you want to give it another shot.
10:09 AM, May 31, 2006
First Friday + 12 Baltimore= Salsa/Mambo. Anyone?
1:35 PM, Jun 2, 2006
I'm going to some filthy hippie gathering in Westport, early on, but I'd definitely be down for some 12 Baltimore salsa/mambo later on.
1:57 PM, Jun 2, 2006
No salsa there last night! Booooo!
10:57 AM, Jun 3, 2006