Monday, October 5, 2020

Sir, I’m So Sorry

At the punk rock dive bar with the heavily graffitied men’s room where the wild-haired woman who reeked of patchouli whirled around from her studious hunch over the jukebox to face me eye-to-eye and lament it didn’t have The Dead Kennedy’s “Too Drunk To Fuck,” they told me I couldn’t order a pitcher of PBR if I were drinking alone.

At the comedy club, the harried, frazzled waitress who didn’t check in for 20 minutes or more told me I couldn’t order two IPAs at the same time if I were drinking alone.

At the white table-clothed restaurant I wandered into empty-bellied on a business junket in a distant city, they told me I couldn’t order a full bottle of wine if I were dining alone.

They told me I couldn’t pair the halibut with a whole bottle of white, or the ribeye with a whole bottle of red. I could order by the glass though.
 
They were sorry. They were so sorry.
 
Disappointment stings, but you learn tricks. I learned them anyway.
 
You go to the theater and buy a balcony ticket. That way you can hit the mezzanine bar, abscond to your seat through the first entrance past the stairwell, drop the stadium plastic cup down to mark your seat, pop out the other side, and hit up the balcony bar.
 
Viola! You’ve got enough liquid sustenance to fortify you through intermission.
 
No one is metering how much you’re drinking. No one is judging.
 
The meter—the tracking—is what you want to avoid.
 
You invest in a flask. You pre-game. You funnel cheap vodka into a water bottle to make the nature trail hike more bearable.
 
There’s the world—its grotesque warts, structural flaws, intractable crises and all. Then there’s you. Some insulation is required.


Craft beer aficionado Joseph S. Pete is an award-winning journalist, author of two books, an Iraq War veteran, an Indiana University graduate, a book reviewer, and a frequent guest on Lakeshore Public Radio. He is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee who was named the poet laureate of Chicago BaconFest, a feat that Geoffrey Chaucer chump never accomplished. His literary work and photography have appeared in more than 150 journals, including Dogzplot, Stoneboat, The High Window, Synesthesia Literary Journal, Steep Street Journal, Beautiful Losers, New Pop Lit, The Grief Diaries, Gravel, The Offbeat, Oddball Magazine, The Perch Magazine, Rising Phoenix Review, Chicago Literati, Bull Men's Fiction, shufPoetry, The Roaring Muse, Prairie Winds, Blue Collar Review, Lumpen, The Rat's Ass Review, The Tipton Poetry Journal, Euphemism, Jenny Magazine, Vending Machine Press and elsewhere. Like Bartleby, he would prefer not to.