It would be a lie to say every bad decision I've made recently has started with a phone call from Heavy Metal, but it seems like a significant number of my misadventures are marked with the fingerprints of the reigning OSCW champion.
Last night, I was feeling very smug, self-satisfied, and proud of how responsible and mature I was being by going to bed early on a weeknight when at 11:11pm, the phone rang.
HEAVY METAL: Hey man, Boris (aka '1') and I are on Whyte avenue and it's dead. Where's a good bar to find women on Tuesdays?
As it happens, I know of one, within walking distance of my house, and relayed the information to Mrs. Metal's handsome son.
HEAVY METAL: You should come out with us, brother.
ME: Sorry, I'm going to bed. Next time, for sure.
HEAVY METAL: Come on, it will be fun.
ME: I work tomorrow. Have a great time.
HEAVY METAL: Come on. It will give you a story for your blog.
Say what you will, Heavy Metal knows the right buttons to push.
I justified my decision to go by thinking, "Well, maybe I'll have an awful time like the last couple bar visits and it will reinforce my decision to stop doing this to myself."
I arrived at the bar late and was confronted with an impossible line. For a moment, I thought fate had decreed I should go home-- "Pretty Decent" waits in line for no man--but one of the bouncers recognized me and waved me through.
Heavy Metal was there. Boris was there. A number of pretty girls and cool guys I remember from my bar-hopping days so many months ago were there and greeted me enthusiastically.
Damn it, I remember thinking. I'm supposed to be growing beyond this. The last thing I want to do is have fun tonight.
Unfortunately, I had fun anyway, even if The Work Countdown was going on in my head: "If I leave right now, I'll get to bed at 1 and have seven hours of sleep...If I leave right NOW, I'll get to bed at 1:45 and have six hours and fifteen minutes of sleep...If I leave right NOW...etc.
Heavy Metal taught me how to reverse a hammerlock on the dance floor, Boris started doing Boris things (jumping up and down, "accidentally" blocking women trying to walk past, and vanishing into the Phantom Zone), and the night was on.
I soon became painfully aware my social skills have been badly eroded by weeks of not going out and meeting strangers. I'm not too bothered--thank you, newfound Buddhist equanimity--but I find it hard to be a good wingman when I'm standing around smiling politely not saying anything and wondering if anyone notices me hemmoraghing game from a social sucking chest wound.
One does what one can. Heavy Metal became smitten with a rubinesque young woman, and I went in make the necessary introductions. That's how I met Brent, a handsome young man who makes a habit of hitting on overweight women in bars so he can get free drinks.
"I'm a terrible person, but I'm hammered and I've only paid for one drink all night!" he crowed to me, before saying words I've never heard an 18-22 year old male utter in a nightclub before. "Man, I really wish there were more fat chicks here tonight."
Brent demonstrated his method on a nearby overweight woman. I lacked both the heart and the balls to be a part of this but Heavy Metal played wingman, distracting the more attractive of the two so Brent could do his thing (another sentence I don't think I've ever written before).
Heavy Metal drew his woman onto the dance floor and began dancing with her from behind (*). By now Brent had lost interest and wandered off, so Heavy Metal's girl grabbed her zaftig friend and pulled her onto the dance floor. The result was a rather odd dancing formation: Heavy Metal with his arms wrapped around the woman from behind while she simultaneously held her friends hands with her own.
I wonder who leads in that situation.
I made a couple attempts to join in and entertain the friend so Heavy Metal could work his air guitar magic, but my heart wasn't in it, and everyone (except Heavy Metal, who was busy neck-nuzzling his new love) knew it.
I begged off and went to look for Boris, who had ninja-vanished, as is his custom. (I expected to see him clinging to the ceiling with a katana between his teeth, but no luck)
Meanwhile, Heavy Metal's vertical threesome continued for a while until a better man than me stepped in and peeled the friend away so Heavy Metal could grind in peace.
Heavy Metal tried to get the girl's number, but she faked him out with the "Oh-let-me-get-YOUR-number-instead-and-I'll-call-you-sometime" move that I once used on a gay guy (**)
Heavy Metal was despondent. As the three of us left the bar (Boris had rejoined us, doubtless after assassinating the busboy with his laser-guided throwing stars dipped in rattlesnake venom), he would not shut up about his lost love--a love that he had known for approximately forty minutes.
Fortunately, we saw the girls getting into a car. Even more fortunately, I devised an elaborate plan that involved me stepping out into the road in front of the car to stop them and then either a) faking being hit to provide a distraction or b) being pulled out of the way by Heavy Metal.
It was a brilliant plan and would have worked great...if we were in Europe. I stepped out into the wrong lane and the car puttered merrily past us while I got honked at by taxicabs coming from the opposite direction.
I have a rule. One near death experience per outing (three if Big Jess is driving)
It was time to go. The last I saw of Boris and Heavy Metal, they were sitting on the curb trying to figure out how they were going to get home with no money and houses on the opposite sides of the city.
Hope they made it. I wouldn't have a blog without them.
(*) I love watching drunk grinding couples when the guy is dancing behind the girl They can't see each other's facial expressions but you can see both of them. It's just a kaleidoscope of emotion: lust, boredom, resignation, oh-shit-is-this-the-best-I-can-do-what-will-my-friends-think? I will miss the club scene for that alone.
(**) Have I shared that story? It seems like something I would have written down, and yet I can never remember if I've ever put it in writing anywhere or not. Plus, I'm too lazy to look through the archives.