So last year Flynn, Alex and I went out drinking. We hit up several bars in Albany, I particularly remember going to the Lark Tavern. When we were there, Alex bought us both numerous shots. I remember hitting on some girls, one of whom later bizarrely IMed me about 6 months later! She was from Florida. I got really drunk, and when I went home, I threw up. From this blog, you’d think that I throw up from drinking all the time, but in reality, I’ve only blown chunks from drinking too much probably four times in my life. This year it was just Flynn and I, but we had a lot of fun. I lost my ATM card earlier (that wasn’t fun), and so I had to borrow money from Flynn. Fortunately Bud Light is a lot cheaper in Albany than it is in Anchorage or an airport bar. So I was able to stretch my personal $6.50 quite far before Flynn had to start buying me drinks. Not really that far. We went to the Lark Tavern, until I ran into a guy I knew who was in the Army. He was annoying before I joined the army because I ran into him at a party in Voorheesville, and he was one of two people who was full of negative ideas about how I was never going to survive basic training. Most people at least try to be polite and are like “I’m sure you’ll do fine, kiddo.” But it’s not like I was fat and decrepit before I joined and I worked out a ton anyway. The other guy who was saying the same things like “You’re too old” and “You don’t understand how much running you’re gonna have to do” was some clown from the gym who couldn’t wait for me to leave so he could screw my girlfriend.
above: the ex-girlfriend Anyway, this guy was back a few months from Iraq and extremely drunken, and I probably shouldn’t have been like “what’s up, man” and then reminded him that I was still in the Army. But I did, and that prompted a 15 minute rant ranging from a rambling tale of how the army didn’t pay him some bonus money they owed him until he pulled a pistol on some clerk (nonsense), to a sketchy tale about how he’d been to Special Forces Selection (I have, and could tell this was 1st rate utter nonsense). I’d just got done telling Flynn that I enjoyed the Army and had a lot of good friends there, and that contrary to popular opinion not everyone in the Army is a meathead or some poor 17 year old who was suckered into joining by some wicked recruiter because there is no way a kid from Flint, Michigan could go to college any other way (Michael Moore, you idiot, everyone in the army besides my friend Hyatt hates you) I digress with a quick comment about recruiters. They get a bad rap, but they are the hardest working people in the army. They work like 16 hour days if they’re lucky, and have higher constantly on their back about meeting quotas, which means spending untold hours with snotnosed punks (not everyone is a snotnosed punk – just the people who spend hours with the recruiters making up their minds) instead of their families. People say they are dishonest, but they are no different than a computer salesman or something. They believe in their computers, and would sincerely like for you to be happy with the computer you’ve bought, but of course they’re going to feel that everybody’s life will be better once they buy a computer. Anyway, I told guy that we had to go across the street to meet up with my brother and his friends (nonsense). Flynn and I went to Lionheart, where we ran into Martin Cadieux and his brother Andre. Martin is teaching ESL to immigrants in Nashville, Tennessee (yeah, I didn’t know there were any there, but you learn something new every day). He’s always been a friend of mine, and is a genuinely nice guy. We played baseball together, and hung out in high school. I run into him randomly more than anyone else. One time I went to a screen printing place in Binghamton to get some fraternity T-shirts made, and he was working there, which I found bizzare, since I didn’t even know he’d transferred to the school. I also once ran into him in the airport…in Washington, DC. I didn’t get a chance to talk to Andre, but said hello. He was a senior and a star of the varsity baseball team when I was a freshman. One time at the gym, I asked him how he worked out his forearms. He looked like he had a grapefruit stuffed under the skin. He showed me his secret technique – the behind-the-back wrist curl. I tried it, and got good results with my forearms. Not grapefruits, maybe lemons or tangerines, but I always appreciated how he was patient and helped out some little dweeby kid in the gym who interrupted his workout. After Lark, Flynn and I went looking for a bar called the Palais Royale (below).
It’s the premiere trashy bar in Albany. It is very old too, it opened in 1930. Whenever I’ve been there, there are about 4 other customers present, and an old, heavyset woman who functions as bartender and bouncer combined. I imagine that she started work as a barmaid back in 1930, when she was probably young, cheerful and skinny, but years of serving such ruffians like Flynn and I, who tend to come to such a place late in the evening when we’ve worn out our welcome at other establishments, have been hard on her. The place does not look like the last time they redecorated was in 1930 however, no it is vintage 1971 in here. Flynn and I looked for the Palais Royal, but could not find where we left it (more on this in a later post), and settled instead on a new trashy bar, the Madison Grille. We enjoyed the company of the other deadbeats drinking on a Wednesday night (it was Wednesday, my dates are screwed up, sue me), and marvelled at the sexy bartender Patty. She excelled in talent (tucking each of our dollar tips securely within the confines of her A-cup bra), hotness (she’s hot and thin and she said she was 33 but she looks 25), patience (i repeatedly thought it was funny to tip her four quarters instead of a dollar bill, and insist that she put them into her bra) and work ethic (every time the patrons of the bar dwindled to Flynn, myself, and a fat guy named Doug, she would try to put on her coat and leave, only to be met in the doorway by 2 or 3 other drunken stragglers). There was also the manager (owner?) there, who was exceptional in his managerial talents, which seemed to consist of hiding in a storeroom behind the bar and drinking by himself. After that, (oh you thought the night and the parenthetical points of content were over?) we went to My Place. Earlier in the night, we had decided on a strategy of starting to drink far away from home in Albany, and progressively moving to bars that were farther away. My Place is a Delmar bar/chicken wingery that is depressing because it’s full of people from Delmar, who still drink in Delmar (shut up, I only drink there on Christmas). It is also depressing because young people who are not old enough to drink go there and eat the chicken wings. I sometimes see them and am angered by their youthful appearance and how my parents would never let me stay out that late when I was their age, so I was forced to do my socializing skulking around in Beavis’ back yard and Flynn’s garage, neither of which place served chicken wings. We drank beers and ate nachos, and argued politics. A young professorly looking guy was there and he and Flynn espoused their anti-war theories, while I took the opposite viewpoint. I enjoyed this. If you are going to be anti-war that is fine. It is a free country. But at least don’t do so under the pretense that you care about “bringing our boys home”. I don’t want to go home and neither do my friends. All of us badly want to go to Iraq or Afghnistan. Maybe I’ll change my tune if I get blown up, but we want to fight. If it is for some cause, that’s bonus. If you’re going to be anti-war do it because you’re a kind, bleeding-heart liberal. I respect that. We saw a waitress named Sara, who I thought was hot but looked vaguely familiar. Turns out we went to high school together (she graduated a year before me). The reason I didn’t recognize her was that she has lost about thirty pounds, decided to start removing the hair from her upper lip and armpits, and stopped wearing a trenchcoat and Doc Martens. Unfortunately she’s still a lesbian. This is when I made my clinching point when I informed her why I no longer was an anarchist, student body agitator and the student voted “most likely to become a terrorist” in high school. I told her that I knew I could never be “the man” himself, but it was better to work for “the man” then to be some poor, downtrodden hippie. Right now I may only be at “goon” status, but someday I hope to move up to “thug” or even, dare I say, “henchman”. Better than being a hippie and someday moving up to old hippie. God Bless America! Everyone in My Place, inspired by the speech, bought me a round of drinks. Flynn cut his hair and enlisted in the Marines. The professor guy pledged to stop wearing jackets with the elbows patched, and Sara decided to experiment with bisexuality. She and one of her hot lesbian pals took me home and rocked my world. (Nonsense, nonsense, nonsense). Flynn took me home, and I settled for not throwing up. Flynn, if you read this, I sent an email to the hollyflynn address from your website. I need your snail mail address so I can send you the money I owe you from that night.