HANGIN’ OUT WITH CHICK #27
(Originally posted on the website Continuum…)
THIS PAST WEEKEND, I was hanging out with “Chick #27” and I think I broke her. Really. We went out on Friday night and then again on Saturday. Actually, it was more like Saturday spilling into Sunday. On Sunday afternoon, the poor girl was exhausted. We did quite a few things together. Here’s the story.
“Chick #27” and I go back a long way. We have known each other for a dozen years. During my first divorce, when my kids were just toddlers, she and her husband were an incredible help to me. Unfortunately, she is now going through a divorce and finds herself in the tough position of raising four young children on her own. Can I ever relate! Now it is my turn to be there for her, to repay the kindness that she showed me at a dark time in my life.
On Friday evening, we went to dinner at a Thai restaurant in Somerville. Due to the fact that “Chick #27” has a crazy sense of humor such as I have, we were bound to draw some attention to ourselves.
First, after I received a brief phone call from my daughter, “Chick #27” indignantly (jokingly) said, “You know, if your old girlfriend is going to keep calling you, I am going to have a problem with it!”
Not to be outdone, I bluntly (also jokingly) replied, “Oh yeah? Well you just better get used to it, honey, cause that’s the way it’s gonna be. If you don’t like it you can leave.”
The couple next to us stopped eating and stared at each other as if they could not believe their ears.
Next, I needed to use the men’s room to clear my Thai spice-induced runny nose. But wouldn’t you know it? Some poor slob was in there and wouldn’t come out. I stood at the back of the restaurant, which is basically one room with about 20 tables, waiting and waiting. What did “Chick #27” do? She called my cell phone. “What are you doing? You look pretty funny just standing there.” After half of the customers definitely noticed me when my phone rang. I went back to the table to wait for the bathroom to be empty. But it didn’t end there. The hostess noticed me too, came over to the table, gently put her hand on my back and said, “I’ll tell you when the room is open.” She did that. I walked back through the crowd of people to the bathroom, realizing that the whole place then knew that I had to relieve myself. I no sooner got into the room and you-know-who called again. “What are you doing?” Uh…
We ordered a coconut custard dessert to share. They only gave us one spoon. The ever-resourceful “Chick #27” decided to try sucking the custard through a straw. She nearly choked as a chunk of custard shot through the straw and into her throat. This evoked laughter from customers up to two tables away. Looking at all the chuckling faces, I tossed my hands and the air and proclaimed, “I do not know her! They seated me at this table because there was nowhere else to sit!” But what was the point? I was already labeled as the “bathroom boy.”
Later that evening we went to a concert at “Chick #27’s” church. There were a few people who read poetry, a few who sang songs that they wrote, and a band that nearly bored us to death. If it were not for the lingering Thai spices, we most likely would have fallen asleep right there in the middle of the concert.
However, this boredom was quickly cured by a trip to a nearby Dunkin Donuts where “Chick #27” asked for a medium warm hot chocolate, as opposed to a hot hot chocolate, since she has a very low tolerance for hot drinks. I, stud that I am, ordered a real man’s standard issue HOT chocolate. We sat there for nearly an hour making fun of people, remarking how some young girls will wear shirts which expose their stomachs even though those stomachs are rather flabby. One such girl in a bright blue shirt reminded us of a large bulgy Peep. Somehow the peep joking led to jokes about colons. “That’s not a Peep! It’s really a sugar-coated colon!” I don’t know. It was late.
For Saturday, I purchased tickets to see The Vines and Jet in concert in Philadelphia. “Chick #27” had never been to a “real” concert before. So I took care of that situation. I gave her four hours of young screaming Australians on stage, blinding strobe lights, and raunchy rock-n-roll guitars. We sat up on the balcony where we could see fairly well. At least I could. “Chick #27” had the misfortune of having a rather large girl sit next to her and block most of her view. Could it have been the scales of justice balancing as a result of the colon remarks the night before?
On our way to Philadelphia, we stopped in Lambertville. We walked across the bridge to New Hope, PA. We leisurely browsed through several stores: a few art stores, a used book store, several novelty stores. We had some good pizza and even better ice cream. Then we drove to Philly for the concert.
There were four bands that played that night, all from Australia. The first band was Neon. They only played a few songs, but they were good. The second band was The Living End. They were awesome. With only three members in the band they sure made some great music. They had lots of personality. The lead singer/guitarist was full of energy. The bass player used a checkered painted stand up bass. At one point he was actually standing on the side of the bass, balancing while he kept right on playing. The third band was Jet. Although I didn’t like the way they walked onto the stage with beer and cigarettes in their hands when there were so many young kids in the crowd, their music was exceptional. They really put on a good show. The last band to play was The Vines. The singer, Craig Nicholls, is basically the whole show. Watching him is like watching a one-man circus. He is very fond of knocking things over: mic stands, amps, drums. The stagehands were running onto the stage every few minutes to put things in order. They must have hated him by the end of the show.
By the time the show was over, we were starving. We drove around Philadelphia to find something to eat. We drove and drove and drove and found nothing in the city. We drove so much that we weren’t sure where we were exactly. Finally, at 1:00 in the morning, we found a place that advertised cheese steaks and they were still open. We went in and found that the counter was entirely behind bulletproof glass. We were too hungry to pay much notice to it, ordered food, sat down to wait for it. After the third person came in to buy cheap booze and cigarettes, we started to get a little nervous about the situation. We came to the conclusion that there was probably a good reason why there was bulletproof glass around the counter. Our food was done and we got out of there.
We drove in what felt like the right direction to go home. Eventually we met up with the PA Turnpike and found out that we were then 24 miles west of New Jersey! We wandered that far off course, risking our neck for greasy food. But I now can say that I have officially eaten a Philly cheese steak in Philadelphia. We got back to “Chick #27’s” parents’ home at 3:30 in the morning. I stayed in one of the extra bedrooms and slept until almost noon.
I woke up refreshed, ready for another adventure. But poor little “Chick #27” was tired and sick and worn out and… broken. When I sat down at the table for coffee, there was a list of “rules” that she wrote. She asked that I post the rules on the website for all the world to read and take heed. So I close with “Chick #27’s” rules for a good time out.
- No tight pants or BIG ASS bags at concerts. Ever again.
- You must administer food/juice every 2 – 4 hours.
- No getting sick when we go out – it spoils too much fun.
- No sitting next to really large women who HOG up too much space… or ooozee.
- Never eat at a cheese steak place in Philly at 1:30 AM where they need to have bullet proof glass between the counter.
- Never let “Chick #27” read when she is in motion. Ever.
- No more sad Warren Zevon music.
- Don’t let your cuffs hit the floor at a concert – ever!
- Lean on every rail that says, “Do Not Lean on Rail,” even when a cop is right across the street.
- Beware of musty old book stores.
- Moccachino and PB Choc. Ice cream must be repeated soon.
- Cool sunglasses are a must.
- Be as silly as possible.
One last thing… No, I won’t explain why she is called “Chick #27.” Sorry.