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    Friday, January 20, 2006

    Down from the mountain

    Things I've seen when I come down from the mountain for a few beers.

    I’m sitting across from an Elvis impersonator. He’s changed his cloths into a t-shirt and jeans with a black leather jacket and a baseball cap on his head. His sideburns are unfortunately too real as is the remnants of the gel he used to get his hair into character. He’s drinking a light red or zinfandel wine from a small wine glass. Minus the overall package of sideburns and black hair, his face is quite faithful to the transformation. But what finally gives him away as n impersonator over a fan is that he’s left two of the rings on. If he’d been a fan he would have left them all. He talks to no one but the bartender and seems lost here in this place that isn’t a stage.

    A coaster thrown across the bar hits me in my left tit. It’s meant for someone else. I guess I’ve been initiated now. The thrower apologizes and I yell back at him that there had better be a twenty attached to the coaster. I tell them I only allow things to be throw at me if there is a twenty attached. One of the women with the group tells me I could get a good whore with a twenty around here. I tell her I’d rather collect more so I can go somewhere else.

    Sitting across from me a man orders a small can of tomato juice from the bartender. There is already a small empty bottle of V-8 in front of him. He cracks the can and pours it into his three-quarter full glass of a “red” beer. He then hits it with some Tabasco. After he’s left I tell the bartender that I’ve heard of this practice before, but had never seen it. She tells me he was using the wrong kind of beer. I agree except I don’t think he should have been using beer at all.

    There are three large biker types sitting across from me. They’re wearing what could be described as false colors since I don’t think they belong to a gang of bikers of the pulp movie variety. However, they are large and press against and stretch the very limits of their cloths. One of them is Bald and has an extended goatee that’s more of a beard without the mustache or any facial hair above the lower lip. He’s sipping a white wine, which either makes him braver and more dangerous or shows something that his clothing hides. It makes him seem thoughtful somehow and I wonder if he quotes surrealist poets while he starts a barroom brawl.

    I watch a man pick-up a saltshaker and think he’s going to apply a small bit to his coaster to keep it from clinging to the bottom of his glass. Instead he salts his beer.

    There is a man here with a turned-up cowboy hat that’s seen more life than me. He’s skinny and his jean jacket folds over his shoulders. He has an eye patch and Willie Nelson hair that folds it’s blonde/brown/white length across his back and stops six inches over his chest. It turns out he’s the pinch hitting singer for tonight. As he starts to play his voice betrays his exterior. His rendition of “Piano Man” is pitch perfect and harmonic and somehow more dignified and sad than Billy Joel could ever hope for. It’s like watching a cowboy from the 1870s on display in a museum, except he gets it. He knows how to dissolve and disappear. It’s all in his voice.

    An older woman with her crippled husband try to come up to get seats at the bar while they wait for a table. Just before they make it, three feet away, but her husbands movements are hitched and delay their approach, two guys in their (20s) blow past them and take the seats. She quips to her husband that Chivalry is dead. I can’t stand this and tell her that’s the most vulgar thing I’ve ever heard and offer her my seat. I tell her that it will never be dead as long as people don’t allow it die. She takes the seat and thanks me. Later as she and her husband are leaving she tells me that between the time their table was called and the waitress got them to it, the same two boys had taken it without being seated. I know she’d right because I had watched it happen. I tell her they’ll get what’s coming to them one day. She smiles and says that she knows they will.

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