Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hanging with the folks at the VFW

It's been another jam-packed weekend so far. Friday night I went out with Megan, Paul and Steven to a local VFW for a few drinks. Steven picked the watering hole, which is not a place that the other three of us would have picked. If you've ever been in a VFW, or Legion Post, or something like that, they're all the same. I knew what it would be like before I even walked in the door. There would be a hard-looking barmaid slinging drinks to regulars who are there waaay too much. In years past there would also be a cloud of toxic smoke filling the building. The bar area would have pull tabs and mismatched furniture, which probably wobbled a little.

I was not disappointed. Much to my glee however, because of the smoking ban, there was no haze of cigarettes as I entered the building. Sure enough. Hard-looking barmaid, big-boned of some Northern European decent, pouring drinks to a bar full of people that she all knew by name and drink. I stifled a giggle as I walked to the table Megan, Paul and Steven were at. The Twins game was on, it was the Twins' half of the ninth, and we had the opportunity to tie up the game. Punto had two strikes on him. The slight inebriated guy at the table next to us kept looking at us and pointing at the screen with the hand that was clutching his Bud Light.

He yelled, "This is it! This is the last pitch. Right here!" The batter fouled one off. More pointing. "Right here! This time! We're done." Another foul ball. Emphatic pointing and yelling now. "It's over! This is the last pitch. This is it!" The batter hits a ground ball up the middle past the pitcher that looks like it's going to eke through to the outfield and NO! The second baseman picks it up and throws to first to throw out Punto. Game over. The VFW goes nuts in the drama that occurred in that three-second play. Last Pitch Guy is equally pleased at "calling" the last play (whatever, third time is NOT a charm) and equally disgusted that the Twins didn't rally. So he get up and goes to play the bowling video game. Bizarre.

Megan tells me that I missed some excitement right before I got there. She warned me not to use the ladies' room. Apparently some female patron had a little too much (at 7:45) and staggered into the VFW from the patio, with the intent of puking in the bathroom. Except that she didn't make it and threw up into her hands about half-way there. She then used her puke covered hands to push open the door and proceeded to spend about a half-hour in there, with her slightly drunk friends occasionally checking on her. She did eventually emerge and they propped her up in a chair on the patio again. Again, I repeat, 7:45. And she wasn't wearing a "Bachelorette" sash or Prom Dress or "Just turned 21!" shirt. Nothing to indicate a potential social pass for completely inappropriate behavior. (For the record, I have been that bachelorette with her head in a bathroom sink puking my guts out while my friends held my hair, because I didn't make it to the toilet. I have no problem passing judgment on this lady.)

So at one point in the evening, Paul looks around the room, leans across the table and says to me, "These are going to be your people. Your life is going to be military bars and VFWs." I looked around the room. Oh good lord. I hope not. I cannot spend the rest of my life in bars that only have domestic on tap.

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