Thursday, January 11, 2007

Thursday January 11, 2007 - Olympia, WA - 7:13PM

I've decided that since i'm going to be blogging my road adventures that maybe i should find some way to categorize what specifically i'm blogging about in some way that is truly meaningful for the folks who might read it. and in thinking about what that might be i had to ask myself what i was truly qualified to speak on - aside from poetry and literature, because of course that would be hella obvious - and so i thought really hard and i've decided that in effect this tour's bloggin will evolve into a tavel memoir. and since i'm not always visiting very exciting locales, what could i blog about in my travels that might be interesting and useful to the reader at some point? and of course, i understood immediately that i had to blog about bars; you know, public houses, rum shops and the like.

so this is going to be a sort of weird Zagat's for alcoholics... and me. let's begin...

i'm in the Pacific Northwest which means first and foremost (cuz we're in winter) that it is dreary and grey and raining the whole time. what this means in turn is that one should stay indoors. however, if one stays indoors one's own house or place of stay, one contracts a virulent strain of cabin fever, but as luck would have it, i'm here on tour, to perform at venues throught the country and my tour begins, an hour and a half north of seattle in a town called bellingham. i am staying at daemond arrindell's place and daemond is extremely practical and organized so we set out well in advance of the gig and get there with two hours to spare. we are also hungry and i am... uhm... thirsty.

we call robert, the host of the reading series at which i will feature later and ask him where we can get a bite to eat and a beer. robert tells us to join him at The Beaver. now, the jokes we might insert here are way too obvious and i can hear them emanating from all your little brains so i will move on. daemond and i get to The Beaver, which in NYC would be called a dive bar. In Bellingham, it's just a bar, and the bartender (the only employee in the house) is a 20-something, pretty, white, woman who is bemusedly surly. i present her with my expired driver's license for ID and she says "...but this is expired". i'm flabbergasted. "Well Ma'am..." i begin, "here's the thing. the license is expired but i am not, and the information you seek - to wit, my date of birth - is still on this card, and since i am not presently driving and you aren't the police, can i have a drink?"

well maybe i wasn't THAT obnoxious, but i was obnoxious enough. this is a dive bar in bellingham, washington, with a bar that has fixed swivel barstools, two pool tables to the back, a juke box and really plain tables and chairs and they're trying to tell me i can't drink because my ID (which says i'm born in 1968) is expired. Kate - the bartender - explains that it's Washington State law and she's not trying to be a narc, but that she'll let me go since i'm with all those other guys whose IDs are valid. so in the end The Beaver comes through for me and the Beaver has really great french fries and the College Football finals are on and i get to pound two jack Daniels and two Sierra Nevadas before my feature.

After the feature we return to The Beaver, about 20 of us and we put on the jukebox and these fools play air hockey like it's the olympics. they take off their shirts and screma and carry-on and all in all The Beaver is good to me. The drinks are cheap (whiskey neat and beer together are $7.50) and the jukebox has a fairly good cross-genre selection of tunes. Add to that the free, very buttery popcorn and excellent steak fries and it's on to the break of dawn.

Tonight, i'm hanging out with my friend Gwen in Olympia, WA. We are going to two bars, The Brotherhood - known to the hipsters as Bro-Ho - and Hannah's which is a redneck karaoke bar. It should be a... hoot!


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