I was walking to the Registry of Motor vehicles the other day. There are a couple of obvious things about that statement, but that's not where I'm going with this.
I stepped out in front of a pickup truck driven by a man dressed in red. He shouted obscenities. If you live in Massachusetts and a driver is shouting obscenities, you come to assume that you are the object of their aggression. He recognized that in me instantly and pulled up alongside.
"Schilling blew a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth!"
I love that you can shout that to a bystander and have a good chance that they're going to care. Common culture is a dying concept, and baseball in Boston is one of its last great bastions. Suddenly my destination lost its importance. At this moment I needed to be somewhere; edge my fingers closer to the pulse.
Which is the great thing about sports bars.
Beers are too damned expensive at the ballpark to have the same camaraderie that takes place in a sports bar. You may not be at the park, but the game is on and the fans are rowdy and the person sitting next with you is far more likely to sleep with you. I looked to my right. The man in the truck hadn't followed. Perhaps for the best. But instead I saw my doppelganger. It was as if I was looking into a funhouse mirror, which rather than stretching my body converting my features into those of a blond, hip, gay man from California. It's time like these that you hope that your friends were just busting your balls when they accused you of narcissism. I braced myself for the ninth most awkward moment in recorded history.
Luckily I was saved by a call and didn't have to deal with him.
It was an old friend, who soon joined me along with his former roommate -- a film major who bears a striking resemblance to about seven other film majors I've met -- and his former roommate's current roommate. The night took a turn, shifted gears, and then decided to screw with me and leave me in the dust. Somehow I found myself walking by that same establishment on the way to the AMC Fenway. On the screen, David Ortiz hit one of his shots that comes off the bat looking like a pop fly but nonetheless damn near leaves the park. Two hours and change of Kevin Costner, William Hurt, Dane Cook, and Demi Moore later it was the only place on the block still open.
For some reason there's been a trend where sports bars are concerned to give them the same aesthetic as the newsroom of a 24-hour sports network. Fox Sports, which is to sports what Fox News is to news, took it a step further and added their logo as well to an airport bar chain. Just what SportsCenter has to do with drinking the booze is beyond me. Behind the bar were a man with a nice haircut, a woman with a nice rack, and a man who, I don't know. I guess he was a nice guy.
This is the extent to which I will complement them. They treated the tap like it was the soda fountain at McDonald's. My Irish blood boiled at their desecration of Guinness. Behind them were various bottles shelved on a backlit wall. The obligatory seven flavors of Absolut to qualify it as a "classy" joint, sitting and waiting to not be worth the money. Various rums, whiskeys, tequilas... was that a half empty Corona?
The tall glasses of summer ale arrived at the pace that one would have expected if the full gametime crowd was in. Luckily ruining Sam Adams is a task that's beyond their considerable skill.
There are some people who play a game where if someone catches them holding their drink in their dominant hand, they have to finish it on the spot. I have a game where if I see my double coming through the front door of the bar again, I drain my beer and head off to the restroom. Irritatingly, none of the people who laughed at me for even planning for such a scenario were there to see it put into action. It wasn't until after I closed the door that I realized that I'd run the risk of sending mixed signals, but either he hadn't noticed me or hadn't felt the need to follow.
When I emerged, my compatriots were finished. We took the time to notice that Beckett had extended his perfect record to 9-0, and toss a few high-fives around the bar that the others seemed to think came a bit late, before we left for greener pastures. Which is to say, we left and went to a place that wasn't there.