Chapter 19


Sat Jun 21, 2003 at 09:10:20 PM EST

I walked downtown last night earlier than usual. Last week the teenyboppers told me they were going to meet me at Bread Stretchers and give me a copy of the picture they took of one of them and me. I really didn't expect them to show, but went down there, just on the odd chance they might.




I got to Bread Stretchers about 7:30 and walked up to the register, and asked for a Rolling Rock. He opened it and asked for $2.75.
What? I said. It was a buck too much. Imports are $2.75, he said
Then give me a Busch, I said. Besides, Rolling Rock is brewed in Pennsylvania, I told him, pointing to the label, where it was clearly marked Latrobe, PA .
Well, since I already opened it... he said. I gave him a buck and three quarters.
I sat down and watched a baseball game between two teams I had no interest in at all, while the kid played pinball behind me.
I couldn't remember if the girls had said 8:00 or 8:30. I finished the beer about quarter after eight, and walked over to the register. If I get another Rolling Rock are you going to charge me two seventy five? I asked. He blushed.
I can never get it straight... the microbrews like Sam Adams are priced like imported.
I got another beer, and drank it. As expected, the teens had forgotten all about my old ass. Before it was finished, the dorky kid from Dempsy's came in, said something about an interview, and left.
Then came back, and said to me, Uh, man, if you go down there tonight, don't say anything about the interview, OK?
After I finished the beer, I walked down to Marley's. Couples everywhere, except for close to the stage, where a few girls were taking pictures of the band setting up.
I walked over to the stage, and talked to the band. They were a hard rock group. Well, they weren't that hard, I found out later, but weren't bad. They didn't have a CD but we're gonna make one sometime this summer.
Just set up a computer and a couple of mics, I told them.
The door guy was setting up, so I got my hand stamped and walked down to Dempsey s, where they're starting acoustic night on Fridays. Last night was the first one. Joe Frew was around the other end of the bar with his girlfriend, so I walked over and talked to them for a while before wandering off.
As expected for an acoustic show, it was mostly women. Most of them looked rather lesbianish, which doesn't bother me... at least, not if they go both ways.
As I came out of the rest room, a pretty lady at a table of lesbianish looking women smiled at me. So I walked over and lit her cigarette. I chatted with them, and lit all their cigarettes for them (which is about all I carry a lighter for, as I gave up tobacco a few years ago).
One especially lesbianish looking woman with real short hair and a four hundred pound frame was a disk jockey at one of the college stations in town - and it turned out that I have my car radio preset to it. Like most college stations, they play an eclectic mix, from old jazz to country to ska to punk to about everything. Her show is at 8:00 Sundays, I asked her what kind of music she played. Female rap.
I don't think I ever heard of female rap.
One of them took me aside later and asked politely if I would leave them alone. My feelings were hurt. The Paxil stopped working. I walked to a table by the door and sat there by myself, finishing my beer. Sad and lonely, I needed company and could find none.
I finished my beer and walked down the street, dejected.
Mandy walked up behind me, with another woman. Hey, Steve, you OK? she asked. I guess my face belied my mood.
Yeah, just kinda lonesome, ya know?
It was her friend's birthday, and they were making the rounds. In Springfield, the bars all give you free drinks on your birthday.
We chatted a bit and I cheered up a little, and I turned to go to Marley's and they went straight.
Couples. Everywhere I looked, couples holding hands, walking with their arms around each other. I'm not even feeling horny, just lonely. Shit. I sit down and get a beer and some water.
As I was leaving, I saw Mandy and her friend again and chatted, then went on home.
The bar thing isn't doing it. What's worse, I can't afford it; they shut off my gas a couple of days ago. Fucking shower is freezing cold. I need to catch up on my bills, and I'm getting a beer gut, and this is just no damned good. I'm not meeting any women, and listening to music isn't as fun as it was.
By the time I got home, I decided that there would be one more trip downtown. My old friend Ed McCann is playing at Marley's tonight. I haven't seen him and Judd in a couple of years.
This morning there was an email from one of the dating services - a woman was interested in me. She left her email, and I wrote back. She seems like a dream; short, thin, likes video games, and in fact she says she's addicted to them.
I'm going to ride a train down to St. Louis for the July 4th weekend, and see some old friends about getting some wheels. I'll probably leave after work on the 3rd. Ironically, July 3 is my wedding anniversary. I may meet this new lady in the flesh then!
So, I'm off to Marley's to see Rock House. I plan to make it the last regular trip; like I said, I just can't afford it.
But I'll still be writing diaries. They'll just change a bit, like my life.


Chapter 18
Chapter 20

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