As I am preparing to change my stars I chose to take this morning and revisit some of my past. I drove out of my apartment complex aiming for the nearest Starbucks, instead I turned right and followed the street to the bay. Turning up Boulevard I saw it, this place that I called home for so many years. From the outside it looks the same…from the inside there are only minor changes. They no longer use old beer boxes to hold the condiments, they have added a side bar. There are all kinds of little changes…but the biggest change are the people. Most of them haven’t changed which is perhaps why I love it so much. (And I say it is the biggest change because turn over is so high in most restaurants and offices these days.)
Just for the record my mother thinks I am crazy for loving this place, but I do.
Driving down 646 I thought of a book I should write…not saying it would sell, but for the right audience it would be a hilarious endeavor.
“The Tales of an Aging Partier”
I can’t say that I was a partier, although I have done my fair share in this life, but I could write my stories and the stories of some of my favorite people. I would be a shocking read for some and the Southern Baptist Convention would surely protest. Because the first line would be…
“I’m a Baptist. A closet drinking, Bible thumping, Southern Baptist, who happened to fall in love with a place called Noah’s Ark.”
Then I would go on to tell you tales of the cook from Southern Louisianna who I could only half understand when he got good and drunk. His girlfriend we called Goldie, who isn’t so Goldie since his over dose. The other cook who exuded danger, only to find out that he was a convicted felon. Convicted for manslaughter, but it should have been self defense…if I am to believe the tale. He was amazing and troubled and kind. Unbelievably kind, until he drank Jack Daniels…then he wasn’t very nice and I was never there for that. I only witnessed the aftermath.
Then there were the B’s. We each had a name Baby, Queen, Baby Girl, Princess, Mama, etc…all different kinds of B names. B standing for ehem…a female dog…Not that I have been opposed to cussing on this blog, but I don’t agree with the term for these women.
These just happen to be very strong, independant women who have been hurt. They chose husbands badly, are defending what they have…sometimes by the skin of their teeth. It is an unforgiving existence. Always on your feet, always smiling, always seeming to be carefree…all the while wondering am I going to make enough to cover rent this month? Are the kids fed? Will the new babysitter walk out and leave my kids like the last one? Will my crazy ex show up and start something?! (None of this was ever expereinced by me while I was here…but I was a witness in the lives of many.)
Sitting here I remember the parties, the alcohol, the poker runs, and I think of the smiles mine and everyone elses. When you think of a bar you think of fun. I think mostly about the misery. This is not a life that 99% of the people reading this post have ever experienced. I hope you never do.
To imagine briefly what it is like listen to songs like “One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Beer,” “Highway to hell,” and “I love this bar.” See you didn’t know you would get a play list today. 🙂 Oh a film you could watch is Patrick Swayze’s “Road House.” Okay, so not quite as violent, but just as lively.
It’s a biker bar, for lack of other terms…for some it was featured in films, and for others…it is hell.
Still I love it here. I love the dysfunction, although I don’t ever want to be part of it again. I love the smoke, the atmosphere, the wild banter between barmaid and patron. In my day we kept riding crops behind the bar.
Now that you have read all of that…imagine being an extremely innocent 20 year old girl just moved in from a land where there were no bars and working here. I had worked for elegant bed and breakfasts to that point, quiet time between guests consisted of cleaning up and making the inn’s shiny so that other people could fullfill their dreams. I witnessed fantasy weddings, elegant buffets, learned practical tricks for preparing breakfast for a 100 guests with just a staff of three. I learned how to fold the impossible fitted sheet!
What I should have done when my mother said take this job at $9 an hour and stay in our hometown, I should have taken her offer. She was the head of HR for her company…I could have learned to budget. At the time I didn’t think it was enough to live on…oh what I learned…
We move down to what I have (over the years) refered to as the armpit of America and then found this job, working in this bar. “Coyote Ugly” had just been released and I admit I had this romantic perception of what it would be like. For the record, that movie only released the romantic parts.
Wow – my experience here opened my eyes to the fringe.
I learned too much about life here. I learned that people can be cruel and heartless, but that those same people will fight to the death if someone outside the circle tries to injure their circle. I learned a bit about bikers, a bit about rebels, a bit about gangs, and way too much to tell you on a blog post. I was an outsider from a world they hadn’t known and I got my education from the School of Noah’s.
Coming here I feel like I am at my Alma Mater. We talk about the old days. We lament the friends who have passed through over doses and accidents. We have seen many tragedies through drug use and even more because our friends ride Harley’s and refuse to wear helmets.
I would love to go to junior highs and high schools and teach the kids tell them….you see this path? I know this path looks like fun. I know this path looks exciting and charming and like something you would like to do…but don’t. Even if you don’t go on to be a doctor or a lawyer or wildly successful you owe it to yourself to be more.
I learned that…eventually. I quit here about three years later. Scarred and scared and hindered by a husband…not aware of the potential that existed. Still trying to work through all the experiences.
I think a book that tells the stories good or bad would be something many would read. I couldn’t add pictures. I would probably have to give someone here a cut of my percentage, but it would entertain.