Sadly for Ned, what he mostly saw of my home town yesterday was the inside of a bar. And that bar was the Scottish ridiculous Inn. I am unsure if they've officially added the "ridiculous" portion to their name, but trust me, it needs doing.
When Ned agreed to come home with me for THANKSgiving, he said, "We get to see The Pub, right?" The Pub was this bar I was in, oh, every single night from 1987 through 1990-ish, and Ned's heard some stories. I had gone there as a kid, too, because my father played darts and there were always these dart tournaments at The Pub. I'd bring my latchhook rug, because it was 1977, drink Cokes and watch my dad win on snowy afternoons.
The Pub is also where my Aunt Mary met her husband, and also also where I went on my wedding night. Isn't it romantic.
So I set up a big meet and greet at The Pub with Hulk, my old pals Gertrude and Donna, my high school boyfriend Giovanni Leftwich, and my ex-best-friend Esmeralda. "Two o'clock at The Pub!" I kept saying. Yes. We were meeting at two in the afternoon, because we're old and because apparently going there at night now gets you shot by your rival gang or something. "Oh, you don't wanna go there at night anymore" everyone keeps telling me, pursing their lips.
I schlepped poor Ned hither and yon, trying to show him all the places I lived in this town, except (a) I've lived 800 places here and (9) I can't remember how to GET anywhere anymore. We'd be driving and I'd be all, "Now I have to find Gratiot street. I just have to turn down--crap. Maybe if I go--crap."
Dudes. I went back to Ohio. And my city was gone. Seriously, everything looks different. I was so lost.
My point is, eventually we stopped for lunch and while Ned was actually NOT having a salad, Hulk texted. "Is The Pub even open?"
See. I'd Googled it and they said open in the afternoon, but I hadn't considered the holiday thing. We couldn't have been the only people in town to visit, right? I'm sure others wanted to get their drink on at two in the afternoon, right?
Okay, maybe not.
We drove down there and guess what. Closed. CLOSED! I called Gertrude, heartbroken, and she said, "Let's all go to the Scottish Inn." "Will it be open?" "Pfft. It's ALWAYS open," she said.
The Scottish Inn has plaid carpeting ON THE WALLS, no windows whatsoever and hard liquor for people who like to get drunk fast. That's Ned's favorite line from It's a Wonderful Life and I am so glad I could throw it in right now. Because MAN, you guys.
We walked in there at 2 p.m. and the place was BOOMING. I am not kidding. We were lucky to get a table.
And sober? Enjoying their first cocktail and planning to sip it? That sums up the crowd in there. Holy cats.
I took 489 photos, which I still can't show you cause I'm here and queer and get used to me, but there was a table tent that read, "Shot of the month: Cinnamon Toast Crunch." It was Jager and some kind of rum, which, Mmmmmm. Break me off a piece of that.
Soon all my friends came, and it was good to see Esmeralda for the first time in THIRTEEN YEARS, and Hulk and Ned stamPEEEEDed to sports talk, and a good time was being had by all.
"It's ESMERALDA!" Some guy burst in from the snowy afternoon. "AND...WHATSHERNAME!" he exclaimed gleefully, pointing at me.
"And whatshername," said Hulk, peeing his own self. "Whatshername." He loved that. It tickled Hulk, is what it did. It was like he was sittin' on a feather, so giggly was he over this.
The guy, about whom Ned and I keep saying, "Was he drunk? Had he had a drink that day? Was he under the influence? It wasn't clear" was a guy from high school. "YOU LIVE IN CALIFORNIA!" he screeched at me, buying a round for the table, which was nice and which I'm certain he recalls distinctly today.
"No, I..." I started, but he was onto something else. Mostly a drink.
"YOU LIVE IN CALIFORNIA!" he said, a while later.
"I really don't, though. I--"
"WHY'RE YOU HERE ALL THE WAY FROM CALIFORNIA!??"
I was feeling like maybe actual conversation was not gonna happen with Drunk Guy from High School.
Eventually, it became, you know, the dinner hour, and I noticed a beleaguered family actually eating next to us. Because it was 5 p.m. and usually you, you know, eat dinner at that time. You don't have your fourth round.
"I feel bad for that family, having to sit next to this subtle table," I said to Ned.
"I'm thinking the family that comes here for dinner is not looking for nutrition or ambience," Ned noted.
At the other table, Drunk Guy From High School was speaking animatedly to everyone. "Gertrude's here. Did you guys see Gertrude?" It was like Gertrude was a unicorn.
"Do you think that guy from high school started off his day with the Cinnamon Toast Crunch shot?" wondered Ned. "Maybe he thought it was a breakfast drink."
People from high school kept coming up to our table. It was amazing. They should rename it "The Scottish ridiculous Inn, the Bar for Class of '83. And That's Not Sad at All." But it'd be hard to fit on softball jerseys.
Are they called softball "jerseys"? Hulk?
Oh, and speaking of Hulk, at some point he was just gone. Ned said he had somewhere else to be, like maybe reality, but the point is eventually it was us minus Hulk. With plaid wall carpeting.
The only positive from this scenario is at least when we left it was dark. If you leave a bar like that, coming out to sunshine just makes it more debaucherous.
It was fun to have everyone in the same room again like that. I just hope next time we do it, that room is not plaid.
June, with her kilt, out.