Grab yourself a cocktail and get comfy.
The Missus and I were invited on some boat cruise for chicks who blog, meeting at 8:30 where we'd board a fake cable car and head to the Bay. As is standard, we agreed to meet at 7 at the bar at Scala's, for drinks and snacks. I hopped a cab and headed to Union Sqaure. Halfway there, Mel started texting. "You close?"
"Kinda. You okay?"
"Being hassled." She responded. "But nothin' I can't handle."
In my mind, Melissa was being gang raped by frat boys. I shot out of the cab and stomped up Powell Street, raring to fuckin' throw down.
She was sitting at the bar, snacking on bruschetta.
"Where are they?!?!"
"The people hassling you?"
Turns out, the entire bar wanted the barstool Mel was saving for me and she had to keep lying and saying I was in the bathroom. For like, 20 minutes. Mel has no problem doing this, incidentally. It's a testament to her freakish loyalty. She's delighted to piss off a bunch of standing strangers because I might want to sit if I ever showed up.
"So what is this chick blogger thing? A bunch of moms and their internet cookie recipes?"
"Beats me. Free food and booze."
As you know, Melissa and I will attend anything with snacks and cocktails. Anything. But we were having fun at the bar of Scala's. Too much fun, I guess. Our tab was 90 bucks and we were late for the trolley.
Oh god, we're going to miss a dinner cruise with moms. We feigned a rush to the meeting point, but alas, didn't make it. They left without us.
"Well shit, what the hell are we going to do tonight?"
I don't want to be your therapist, mainly because I don't give a shit about your problems. But if you ever want to risk either having a crappy night or maybe, the greatest night of all time, grab your closest friend and say, "Let's do shit outside of our comfort zone."
Which is how we ended up holding dinner trays in line at Lefty O'Doul's. Basically, Lefty O'Doul's is a dreadful shithole packed with oblivious tourist and oddly, cops where you stand in line with plastic trays and silverware for carved food and ice cream scoops of stuffing. A huge sign proclaimed "Cashier has napkins."
Which is when we coined our new favorite phrase, "Cashier has napkins, so quit askin'."
Lefty's also features a huge, under-staffed bar, 436 televisions, walls covered in old sports pictures and a bunch of tables, overflowing with mid-westerners in "Alcatraz Psych Ward"collared sweatshirts.
Ordering at Lefty's is, well, much like prison. Don't ask questions. Talk fast. Move along.
Instantly put on the spot, I ordered a salad. Hairnet dumped some iceberg in a little bowl.
"Dressing!?! Ranch, Blue or Thousand!"
"Um, oh god. Thousand."
He handed me some mayonnaise with lettuce in it.
"Can I get a side of stuffing?"
I was handed a baseball of stuffing, covered in beige goo. Melissa ordered baked beans, cabbage and vegetables.
"Vegetables?" I said. "I bet it's green with flecks of orange in it."
And it was!
We moved along to the cashier, passing pies nestled in ice. Melissa looked over at me. "Pie on ice. 'Cuz nobody likes warm pie."
Oh! It's also important to note here I was wearing 2 big, red silk flowers pinned in my hair. This'll come up later.
Lefty's has 4 kinds of Sutter Home mini bottles available ($4.99), red, white, pink and red. We found this hilarious. I selected the white and Mel went for the red.
We paid, and unlike Scala's, the bill at Lefty's was $21. Dinner for 2 with drinks? Well, shit. You can't beat that.
After our fine meal, Mel and I figured we at least had to swing by the piano section of Lefty's, where an Irish gent named Frank O'Connor was belting out standards and pop songs for people from Tuscon. I grabbed the last piano stool and Mel got us more wine.
Frank and his brogue zoned in on us immediately.
"Oh, look. We've got new lovely ladies here with us tonight. What's your name, my dear?"
For some reason, I felt like he wouldn't be able to handle Beth. So I gave him my real name.
"Oh, Elizabeth! Do you have any Irish in you?"
"Do you want some more?"
And thus began the constant barrage of sexual innuendo that is Frank O'Connor.
"Now Elizabeth, what would you like to hear tonight?"
My entire adult life, I always request La Bamba. Meant as a joke, everyone seems to get that I'm kidding.
We got comfortable. We weren't going anywhere.
Mel finally got herself the stool next to me and was soon verbally accosted by Frank.
"Oh, Melissa's horny everyone! Come and say hello to our Melissa."
2 drunk dudes actually approached her, including this gentleman, who asked her to dance.
We simply could not believe our luck. I mean, who walks into fucking Lefty O'Doul's? But this was slowly becoming the greatest night of our lives. Frank would ask everyone where they're from and work it into a song, as evidenced in my La Bamba. For example, there were three women here on business from Chico. Which prompted, "To a...day dream believer and...people from Chico." It only got better and better. Like when the homeless lady walked in and Frank screams across the piano, "Oh hello! How's the leg? Gettin' better?"
If I die and get to pick my heaven, it's sitting at the piano of Frank O'Conner.
So at this point, we start to pay attention to the people around us, like Bob celebrating a birthday with his wife and sitting at the piano with us. Bob's head was so specifically wrinkly it looked like tilework and he sat there, unmoved by the singing crowd around him, including his buxom wife in the Hawaiian top. And the headbanded girl from Redding who wanted to dance with everyone. I was seated next to Terry, Frank's "producer" who had a laminated "Reserved" sign at his place at the piano. Terry was very excited to learn that we are writers and Terry should be. I'll be plugging this joint till the day I die.
That's when Tommy came up to the mike. Tommy is apparently a very decorated WWII veteran, as noted on his hat. It was Tommy's 523rd birthday, and he sang us a song.
After his big ending, Tommy was congratulated on his service, fighting in the Pacific. Much to my delight, Tommy responded, "They'll be speaking their Japanese in hell!"
I called New Chris and as we had plans to meet up later, insisted he immediately hop a cab to Lefty's. "This is the greatest night of my life!" I screamed. Friend that he is, he arrived in seconds.
It only got better and better, Frank delivering his constant brand of customer cultivation non-stop.
When he sand, "If You're Going to San Francisco, Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair", the entire bar sang to me. We stayed until 12:30. I almost cried when we left.
We dragged Chris to Le Club, where he met the propriatress and drank a Gibson. I love Le Club. Every single person that I know that works there is the nicest, coolest person you could hope to open your door or mix you a drink. But the douchebag contingent can be a little high. Like some dude in a scarf who told us all about his private poker night on Tuesday's and how we just MUST come check it out.
"Oh, cool." I said. "I want in."
"Well, I'll put you on the list, but I need to check with some people."
Who? The cool police?
He then introduced us to his friend, a "Prada model."
I've never met a Prada man-model before, but I'm willing to bet they don't go around introducing themselves thusly. Much to our delight, a gorgeous woman was playing piano in the game room. She was no Frank O'Connor, but shit, this bitch was good.
Mel, Chris and I sat down to listen, entranced with her casual mastery of fun classics. But Scarf and Prada kept chatting away. Finally, I said to Scarf, "How old are you?"
Oh. Okay. Get the fuck out of my face.
I don't really know why his age suddenly made him more annoying to me. I mean, Chris is 24. But Chris also insisted on walking us the block home. Scarf would never walk anyone home. He's have to consult the cool police first.
I found myself sitting on the front steps on Mel's apartment, smoking cigarettes and laughing with two people I love very much at 3 o'clock in the morning. It was lovely. And while we woke up with headaches, Mel and I lay in bed for an hour in hysterics.
Because sometimes, when you throw caution and coolness to the wind, you wind up singing "Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw" at the top of your lungs with a bunch of conventioneers from Jacksonville...
*Update: I forgot to mention that most weekend mornings, Mel and I wake up (together) and check our phones to see who we'd drunk texted the night before. It's ALWAYS someone or something regretful. The night before, we'd be egging each other. "Oh my god, send it! Send it! Dude, that's SO good!" Then we'd wait. "Did he text back? OMG, you're phone just glowed! OMG!" But of course, in the sober light of day, we'd promise never again. Without fail, we do this everytime we go out. This past Saturday morning we woke up and Mel was instantly checking her phone.
"Nothing." She said to me, shocked.
Oh shit, lemme check me.
"Wow, we musta had a really good time."