Hopefully it's a good thing that I can still have kooky, wacky, wild nights and still be stone cold sober the whole time. Because Saturday night, I may have been like that episode of Murphy Brown where Miles Silverberg thinks the punch is spiked and wraps his necktie around his head.
Lisa and I headed down to this bar in Fisherman's Wharf called the Pub in the afternoon to watch her college alma mater, LSU play football with a bunch of people from Louisiana. The people from Louisiana are all very polite, and they were all comfortably wearing purple. All I really learned, other than the appropriate use of "all y'all" was that the coach of LSU chews on grass.
"Like a cow?" I asked.
"Yes." They responded. "Much like a cow."
After the game, we headed up to this fabulous little Italian restaurant, Allegro Romano, where Lisa knows Lorenzo the owner. We were given no menus, just course after course of amazing Italian food. And as we wrapped up our main course, Lorenzo motions us over to come sit as his table. For the next hour and a half, we peppered a former Blue Angel with questions.
Yeah. A fighter pilot. With the kind of stories you'd expect from a fighter pilot.
There is a confidence to the fighter pilot, a comfort in his own skin. He has a call sign. He's literally Maverick from Top Gun. Not Goose. Maverick.
And I realized, this guy has been tasked with one of the rarest, most intense, complicated jobs in the history of the world. It is literally one in a million, becoming one of those people who flies planes off the backs of aircraft carries in the middle of the night. Actually, getting selecting to go to flight training school is huge, just because the goverment is all, "Okay, now I'm going to invest a million dollars on your brain." And once they make it that far, 40% of them fail the whole flying on and off the aircraft carrier thing.
And this guy, Mr. Million Dollar Brain is all, "So, what do you do?"
"Oh. Um, I...write snarky things about people on the internet."
"For a living."
There is not a confidence to blogging, by the way. In fact, to be a blogger I recommend a solid lack of self-esteem and general nervousness.
Around midnight, long after the servers and kitchen staff had packed up for the night, we left our raucous table at Allegro and headed to meet Lisa's brother Doug on Union Street.
I make it a point not to go to Union Street bars. I find them intimidating, scary, imagining Steff from Pretty in Pink to pull the plug on the jukebox so he can publicly tear me apart in front of hundreds of gorgeous, popular onlookers.
But I'm 32. With each passing year of my advancing age, I care less and less what someone who owns a Abercrombie & Fitch charge card thinks. So I followed Lisa into Bar None.
Yeah. Saturday night at midnight, I was in Bar None.
I don't believe it either.
Lisa is very confident in these situations. She rolls in like she owns the place. I was wearing jeans and heels, trying to hard to blend and wondering if I should put my hair up maybe, or take off my glasses. I did neither, only because in walking into this packed bar that resembled a scene from Good Will Hunting, I realized I was one of the oldest people in there.
Children, virtual children, bumped into me with abandon. The bar seemed to go on for forever, and every section, every corner, every inch of bar was jam packed with 23-year olds. The women wore more mascara than I could handle. I spent a solid five minutes just staring at this one girl, amazed she could keep her lids open.
The guys were in rugby shirts or college t-shirts, all of them drunk and fresh-faced somehow, as if life had yet to smack them around.
From behind the bar, a huge, tattooed, smiling gentleman walked over and said to me, "You totally got dissed by the Situation."
Indeed I did!
It was Doug, Lisa's brother, cop in the Marina and friend of just about everyone within a five mile radius. From behind the bar, he passed over a beer and Diet Coke, and created a path for us to come and join his friends. I even had a stool. And a view of everything.
Doug's friends were all lovely, charming, funny. One arrived, was introduced to me and then came back up, kissed my hand and said, "All of this is great." He looked me up and down. "But you need to know, the glasses...the glasses are the hot sauce."
"What?" I yelled over the music.
"The glasses are the hot sauce."
"On the burrito that is me?"
"Yeah! The glasses is make it. It's hot."
I just about fell over. Sir, are you picking me up? But before I could respond, another one came over.
"Hey." His mouth was right against my neck. "Do I know you?"
This is why people come here. For years, I couldn't figure it out. I mean, why would you want to shove your way into a place where people angrily roll kegs over your toes and country/dance music blares from speakers directly over your head?
Oh. I get it now. The mere fact of being there means people will walk right up to you and close the deal. Badda bing, one night stand. I'd forgotten about that.
All I could think, however, was that I didn't want to wake up at 6am to find this guy awkwardly trying to make his way out of my foyer followed by me spending the next six weeks wondering if I got herpes. Were I drunk, things might have been different.
My confidence was up, though. My confidence was way up.
I took a sip of my Diet Coke and looked across the bar, smiling at a good-looking guy buying a mascara girl a drink.
"Oh my God." Lisa grabbed by arm.
Doug leaned forward and yelled in my ear. "Checking out Nate, I see."
"Nate?" I asked.
It was Nate Schierholtz. Of the San Francisco Giants. I looked back at him across the bar, he looked at me...and I gave him a thumbs up.
I know. I know. I'm a goober. I don't belong here. I can't handle the vibe of random anonymous hookups and professional athletes. Someone pick me up and drop me in the middle of that charming bar at Rose Pistola.
I did have fun at the Bar None, though. It helped that I was surrounded by Lisa and a collection of protective off-duty police officers who I figured would probably not let Steff from Pretty in Pink be mean to me.
And it was all guys in there. Desperate, horny, young guys. Ladies of San Francisco: if you are less uptight than me (all of you), you need to get yourselves down to Union Street and slap on some mascara. That's just about all you'll need to have some recent UC Davis grad describe you as "smokin'."
At 2am, the lights came up and the bartenders screamed at everyone to get the hell out. Lisa and I made our way home, driving across town listening to music and marvelling at our night.
"I can't believe we met a fighter pilot!"
"And a World Series champion!"
"And that guy who called your glasses hot sauce!"
"That was really fun. Thanks for an awesome night."
"See? The Marina. Not so scary."
Well, I wouldn't go that far. But I'll...yeah, I'll probably be back. Wearing my glasses...