tight pants and cold beer

Liquid360, the café where Birmingham Boardgamers is held, got their liquor license. They’ve also reportedly gone “corporate,” which means to a teenage boy (and sort of to me too) that everyone has to wear the same ugly style of logo-emblazoned polo shirt and … gasp … tight pants.

Mind you, “tight pants” means to this teenage boy “pants with legs that are loosely based around one’s own actual size,” as opposed to what we old people call “skater pants.” Or used to, anyway, until we realized we were old and that was the lamest thing ever to call them and by the way, no one says “lame” anymore either.

Regardless, I love skater pants. I love pants with legs larger than the human being wearing them. I own one pair of tight pants, which in Normal Twentysomething Speak would equal “boot-cut.”

Skater-Pants Boy, who works at Liquid360, is apparently about to be let go, since the Corporate Troll has laid down the law: “You’re not passing this bridge in those pants, young man.”

So Chad and I are staring at the huge glass case by the register, which used to be filled with diabetic-coma-inducing cakes and brownies, and scanning the gratuitous selection of imported beer. Between us, we recognize maybe 1% of the names. I remember “Red Stripe” because I like the idea of Jamaican beer; Chad points at a honey wheat variant, declaring: “O, that’s the beer you drink when you want a loaf of bread.”

I am almost afraid to ask for an iced mocha. But I do anyway. Smiling my best smile at a waitperson I don’t recognize.

Whew, they still have coffee.

The other bit of gossip is that they’re getting rid of the computers. Ah reckon ah never run one o’ them new-fangled internet cafés, myself, but Ah’m purdy darn shore ya gotta have computers in ‘em.

The veggie club sandwich, replete with avocado gunk and sun-dried-tomato mayonnaise, is still devastatingly good. I’m willing to sell out for an excellent veggie club.

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Any political stance, philosophy, or religion that is based around, “you do what you wanna do, I’ll do what I wanna do, and we won’t hurt each other” is usually okay by me. The trappings surrounding such tenets are the turn-offs; I think many different people can be right at the same time. More fool me. At any rate, it is difficult to come to terms with the fact that I have Strong Opinions that I am annoyingly passionate about.

One of these is about alcohol.

I’ve never been a drinker. Reason one: carbonation is, to me, the most bizarre, inhumane punishment that could be inflicted in beverage form. Okay, that rules out beer. Reason two: beverages should be both tasty and … ah, screw that. They should be tasty, period. Okay, that rules out 99% of the drinks I’ve tried.

I will drink – for example, I made a darling idiot of myself for Kandi’s bachelorette party not two months ago - but it requires me making one promise to myself. I promise not to drink so much that I puke, because I hate puking.

Well, two promises to myself. The other is to never to order a Sloe Comfortable Screw, because I’m so childishly enthralled with the name I’d be an alcoholic if it tasted even marginally good. “One more Sloe Comfortable Screw for the lady, ahahahaha.”

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In my mind, there is a very simple formula that goes a little like this: Alcohol + Strangers + Public Places = Loud, Annoying, Potentially Intrusive Strangers in Public Places. I know this because I have been one. Several times. I’m not proud of this, but I’m willing to live up to it because I expect other people to accept that they too can become idiots under the influence. The most bothersome aspect of this formula is not the annoying part; it’s the public places part. I like public places as long as I am not terribly aware that I’m in a public place. In other words, places like nightclubs, bars, concerts, large and unruly parties, and conventions keep me on edge. My proximity alarm goes off too frequently for me to concentrate on anything else.

This proximity alarm does, however, keep me out of potentially dangerous situations. I like to think of it as a car alarm that never quite resets properly, except instead of beeping or whooping, I prickle. Some people describe the sensation of “getting the heebie-jeebies” much the same way: the hair on the back of my neck stands up, I get goosebumps, a chill runs up and down my spine. I wish I could say that this proximity alarm never backfires, that it has never failed me yet, but that’s not true. My butt was recently hailed as the braille Rosetta Stone.

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Nobody’s groped me at Liquid360 yet, which is a major point in its favor, but I still bemoan its loss of small-time innocence. It’s loud now, and busy, and probably making the owner a lot of money, which is what the point is these days. Eventually, it will get too rowdy on Thursday nights for the Boardgamers meetings, and we’ll have to move elsewhere. I’ll miss Skater-Pants Boy, I’ll miss the Counting Crows albums set on infinite repeat, I’ll even miss the flat-screen monitors that go woojie when you poke them. But most of all, I’ll miss the quiet hum of coffee buzzes as I rearrange the letters on my Scrabble rack, looking for a triple-letter-score for my Z. Beer and Scrabble just don’t mix.

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