I headed straight from the office to this bar in a neighboring city were a bunch of people from work were gathering for a going away bash for our departing coworker. I certainly had an urge to do some celebrating myself, and wanted to help send my friend off in style. But from the moment I walked into the bar, I felt old. The bar was dark, and the only lights that seemed to be on were flashing disco lights. And the music was loud. A mixture of Latin dance music and hip hop. I think I recognized one song all night. I was feeling positively ancient and out of place. And to top it off none of my friends were there.
So, I got a beer and stood by the bar, feeling like a geek, much like I did for much of my 20s and early 30s while I was hanging out at singles bars. But mercifully some of my friends started arriving about 15 minutes after I did. And soon enough there was a whole throng of friends and colleagues there from work. People bought me a couple of beers and one shot of Jack Daniels (why Jack, I don't know, but I drank it anyway).
At one point a young woman grabbed my hand and pulled me out on the dance floor, with a beer still in my hand. I hate those guys who take their beer with them onto the dance floor.
Hey asshole, you are dancing with a hot woman. Put your beer down and pay attention to your partner.
I had become one of them. I felt silly and old and way too white, and giddy and alive.
At one point in the evening a couple of women I knew were going outside for a smoke, because you can't smoke in bars in California. I was invited to tag alone. Yea I know cigarettes are bad for your health, but I was craving one. Little did I know that craving would turn my night on its head.
The three of us were talking and laughing when one of the women in our party, we'll call her Rachel, announced that she needed to go to the bathroom. And no sooner had she left than the other woman, whom we'll call Phoebe, dropped a bombshell. She made a drunken confession that she had had a crush on me from the first time we met, about a year and a half earlier or so. I was stunned.
But then again, I am often stunned when I learn that a woman finds me at all attractive. I often say that a woman would have to hit me over the head with a hammer before I realized she was interested. But then, who would want to date a woman that would hit you over the head with a hammer? It's really a Catch-22.
This one was even more stunning because Phoebe is married. I know Phoebe's husband. I like Phoebe's husband.
But Phoebe just keeps going, fueled by her liquid courage, and perhaps aided by the fact that her husband is currently on the other side of the continent. Oh my God this woman is hitting on me. And if I was under the influence at all at that point, I start sobering up pretty quickly.
I must however admit that I liked the attention.
OK, so it's been a while since I've had a woman look at me that way. One of those looks were the person you are with is looking deep into your eyes like they are trying to look into your soul. And it's been a while since someone touched my hand that way. But she is drunk. And she is a married woman. She's not supposed to look at me that way. And more than that she kissed me. And I let her. I was feeling awkward and flattered and stunned.
About that time the bar staff, and some security guys who seemed to materialize out of nowhere, started trying to usher people out of the bar. It was 1:40 a.m., and that means closing time in California. So Phoebe and I sit and chat for a while, waiting for Rachel to return. But after a bit the security guys, dressed all in black with there little Batman utility belts and too much testosterone, start getting insistent that everyone needs to move outside.
So I walk Phoebe to her car. Well, Rachel's car, thinking I have almost escaped this flattering and awkward situation. But Rachel is not at her car. Well her truck. You've got to admire a woman who drives a pickup, especially a full-sized truck, like this one was. But it was a little hard to express that admiration, because Rachel was not with her fucking truck either.
Now I'm getting nervous. I have a drunk woman on my hands and another woman, the one with the car keys, who is missing.
So we wait.
I ask Phoebe if she has Rachel's phone number. Maybe she should call to see if we can find her. It takes about 10 minutes to keep Phoebe on task and get her to dial the phone. But there is no answer on the other end.
This can't be good.(To be continued)