Monday, April 27, 2009

No. 31

Beer: Heineken
Date: April 26th, 2009

Place: Yankees v. Red Sox, Fenway Park, Boston, MA

Scene begins in Fenway Park. A coolish 62. Twilight. Faint smell of hickory smoke looms in the air.

Bleachers: filled with extras. All who responded positively to at least one of the following criteria:
Must have two beers. One in each hand. Due to the lack of cupholders, extra must hold the beers at all times. If ever out, extra must procure two more.
Inability to find seats. Extras must always be in the wrong seat. When confronted, extra must pull out ticket, realize that they are in the row directly behind the row they should be in. They must then confront people in front of them. Row one will be empty until the 6th inning, thereby allowing this subplot to play out roughly forty times.
Boston accent. Must be willing to use it when referring to the Yankees as Retahds.
Loud friend. If anyone gets angry at friend, extra can just say she’s had too much to drink. Although, no one is allowed to get angry at friend. Because she keeps berating Jeter, Teixeira and the entire Yankees franchise/fanbase.
Smattering of Yankees. Must have diamond stud earrings (m) or silver loops (w), unnaturally colored hair (black, w: blond, m), jean skirts. Prefer wine coolers to beer. Pool halls to pubs.

Enter hero. Holding two beers. Could be mistaken for an extra - don’t write him off just yet.

Enter Yankee’s fan. She is carrying a bag with a NY insignia on it. Black hair. Heavy mascara.

Whitsons, stage left. In observance.

Hero, looking at bag: Good. You brought your trash bag.
Yankee’s Fan: It’s heavy. Filled with all our championship rings.
Hero: So you collect antiques?

Hilarity ensues.

End scene.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

No. 30

Beer: Harpoon Brown
Date: April 24th, 2009

Place: Somerville Theater, Somerville, MA

I can't figure out why more theaters don't sell beer.

Potential gripes from the management:
1) It will get spilled.
False. No one wastes beer. Not like soda.
2) It will encourage roudy behavior.
True. Probably something like laughing at a funny part. Or crying during a sad part. Or falling asleep during a boring indie film. So... false.
3) People will smell like alcohol.
Push. However, I do smell plenty of liquored up folks coming into theaters, already, because they can't buy booze there.

At least one place has their head on the shoulders which allows me to keep mine on, er, mine - so I spent Friday night with Zack at the Somerville theater watching a movie on Johnny Cash. Cash is one of those people (like Pachino) or bands (Led Zeppelin, The Who) or movies (Fellini, The GodFather) or ideas (Libertarian) or cities (Chicago, Los Angeles) or sports (hocky) or colors (purple) or companies (Bank of America) that heaps of people like but I can't just get behind it. And each time it is the same response I can't believe you don't like ... and I'm all Sorry, I don't and then they try and tell me how awesome it is or was or continues to be and I keep nodding my head and thinking about how it doesn't matter and they are going to try and talk me into it, still, still, even though I'm not going to go and give that person/band/movie/idea/city/sport/color/company another look/listen/watch/thought/move/play/shirt/business.

For the record, Cash is so much more badass than Bank of America. I had my thirtieth beer to show that I truly belive that.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

No. 29

Beer: Rogue Dead Guy Ale
Date: April 17th, 2009

Place: The Barking Crab, Boston, MA

Three drinks later, we were having dinner by the channel, looking at the city lights - which we rarely do - laughing and eating lobster and drinking beers and thinking that this is going to be an amazing summer. At least, that's what I was thinking. I don't know what the others were.

We'd gone for a drink with Pete and Charlotte after work.

I'd met Charlotte in line one late night a couple of summers ago. The line was one of three lines that I've ever waited in in my life for anything that doesn't end in -coaster, -wheel, -a-rama. I imagine if the guy I was with hadn't hit on a few ladies in front of us and they were at least accommodating and in the same boat and trying to also kill an hour then two years later I wouldn't be having a Goldrush while my wife had a Gimlet and Pete dealt with a strong Tennessee and Charlotte had a Mint Julep in a real Julep cup that was exploding with mint and making this whole night just feel right. That night I'd exchanged emails with Charlotte and her friend who'd shown up later had promoted The Station Myth - Daniel's band - so I was feeling rather connected to my new town and turned in Charlotte's resume at work and she got a job there the next year. And has held on despite all these recessionary waves.

It's funny to think of what twists and turns life holds. How someone can be a stranger, even if you've know of them for years and they you, if you've never been introduced and shaken hands. Or how someone can become a friend just because you shared breakfast once. I think of all the people who I've just happened to know by chance. How if not for this thing or that thing we'd not know each other and they'd be just a face in a crowd but how amazing is it when you see a face in that crowd that you recognize and it's color in the sea of black and white just because you are aware of each other and that's someone who is around to deal with this life and battle through the battles and whatever else.

It's so infrequent that we just go out on a Friday night and let the night take us where it may.

And they are so special when they start with let's go get a drink and then you end up, two drinks later, getting dinner, having a beer, then why let a good thing go to waste, hop in a cab and pay a super inflated rate, then pay a cover at a dance hall and having a couple'a more drinks and a dance or two and then we really have to get home.

On Saturday morning I was feeling about 78%. And I was glad I'd left that other twenty two with Charlotte and Pete and Marianna and a pint of Rogue.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

No. 28

Beer: Sol
Date: April 14th, 2009

Place: La Verdad, Fenway, Boston, MA

Without looking back at the calendar, I’m going to say this is the first Tuesday beer of the year.

Tuesdays don’t really have a good beer reason built in – sports, must see tv, sports, the weekend, going out for the weekend, lest we not forget sports – but they have certainly become my least likely night to have a beer because that is the night we go to our community group which the neu church now calls a Bible study.

Clearly (or clearly you’ll see in a minute) I don’t have a problem mixing church and beer. Jesus was one to make water into wine, lepers stop falling apart and sinners into salvation. And as I follow Jesus and his teaching and find there is a lot of baggage in the word Christian but I will still sport the title if bestowed on me and if I’m just talking myself I’m a follower of Christ I realize that going to heaven is so much simpler than whether I choose to have a drink or not. It really is. It’s about faith and faith is easy. You just choose to believe. You set aside what you think you think and decide to think something else. But then it quickly becomes way complex with actions and decisions and bringing heaven to earth. This is not the blog about that.

At any rate, we’ve been blessed to have found an amazing community of Believers of the Way in our church, Reunion, and in our Tuesday night community group. I really couldn’t ask for more in our church other than to have a few more blue haired ladies in the crowd but good luck finding any of those in Boston. Everyone here is a beautiful and young and single and post church.

As we’ve grown to know these sometime six and sometimes twelve and usually split down the middle people, we’ve gotten to know more about our community. Our church. Gotten to see people come together in marriage. And fall apart in despair. And search for hope and meaning and a way to figure out what this life is all about.

And I’ve found that there are a lot of reasons to drink beer on Tuesday nights. Which all pop up when you have a Tuesday commitment. Like the limited edition cask the brewery near my work releases every Tuesday night. Or the Heels games that all came on during the early spring. Or dollar taco nights at La Verdad.

We’d gone to our group on Friday night for Good Friday and then Tuesday seemed so close and that we needed a break. So our community group went to eat those dollar tacos, those forbidden for the past year by nature of their chosen night tacos, those taste better with a beer tacos, those too sweet to eat just three or four tacos.

Forty eight tacos and several beer and mixed drinks later, our community disbanded and walked into night. To reunite a week later. Or if something unthinkable were to happen, to reunite in heaven.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

No. 27

Beer: Arrogant Bastard Ale
Date: April 13th, 2009

Place: The House, Somerville, MA

It had just been in the fridge, staring at me for three weeks.

I'd bought the Arrogant in Freeport, ME as I was waiting for a meeting at L.L. Bean and I was down the street and had a few minutes to kill and I successfully killed it by buying beer at a wine store. I browsed around and pretended that I was looking at wine labels and where they came from and chatted up a vendor a second before I b-lined to the beer section and grabbed a bottle and then, as a penance, ended up talking with the propreitor for at least nine minutes as he kept my beer from me and talked about the difference of distribution of wines WINES! in New England in general and in Maine vs. the Commonwealth, in particular.

I'd just come back from a full day of meetings again -weeks later - at Bean and it was just the right time to crack open a beer and sit in front of the telly and hang out with my wife and play a game of Rummikub. Or play two games. Both of which I lost. My wife is better than me in a lot of ways one of which is staying focused and beating the snot out of me as I try to form sets of three or fours or runs as I'm drinking a strong ale. Other ways in which she is better than me: self control, naps, eating french toast.

It's been a struggle over the last few months trying to determine when is it the right time to have a beer, are the times I don't have one any less special, the times I do any more special, the thought that I put into it making me any more considerate, can a Monday night just like any other Monday like any other day be a beer day?

The only answer I know for sure is yes. It was a beer day.

The irony was not lost as I sipped my Arrogant Bastard whilst an interview of George W. came on in the background.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

No. 26

Beer: Anchor Steam
Date: April 4th, 2009

Place: The Goode's House, The Mission, San Francisco, CA

It started with an air mattress.

Well, I guess the follow up was an air mattress. It really started with porch painting.

The ad agency I'd started at had taken on a Habitat House as a project and I'd signed up to paint with an art buyer and a retoucher and an interactive producer or admin or whatever any of those account side jobs are.

We showed up early on a Saturday morning and made the best of it. I think whenever you are doing something for someone else the best of it is made because your heart knows that it is best even if your eyes are closing and telling you to sleep it off. Seems like those opportunities to help someone out are earlier than later. Character building, it's called.

That had broken the ice and a few weeks later we decide we're all pals now, let's go to the beach which also started early and built character or at least two marriages we'd come to find out.

We are at this friend of a friend's house and he has a guest bed and an air mattress and we have to draw straws to figure out what will happen and I reckon, in hindsight, that's what made Ian and Lori our choicest couple to play games with.

I guess we all won, because Marianna and I got the real bed and Ian and Lori ended up as a burrito in the air mattress because those things lose air overnight and you sink the the middle by then and I wasn't sure about being in a bed with Marianna but by now I've dealt with my demons about that decision.

Within a year Ian and Lori were married.

We'd play dominoes with them. We'd play board games, card games. I don't think we ever played card games. As we've grown closer over the years we've elevated our gaming and it's gotten tougher to see them and spend time and play games but they are our sister couple and I figure no distance is great enough to keep us all apart for very long.

Much like sleeping on an air mattress.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

No. 25

Beer: La Cerveza del Pacifico
Date: April 3rd, 2009

Place: El Matate, The Mission, San Francisco, CA

I wasn't really sure about Ian.

It was my first day of my first job in a town that I'd been in for 35 hours after I'd driven late through the night from Atlanta after a last minute red eye from Seattle. I'd closed up all my relations and jobs and apartments in Georgia and driven up and taken a job and was sleepy, scared, excited.

Ian took me to the photo studio to take my picture. That's what they do the first day of a new job in which you are underpaid (unknown at the time) and soon to be overworked (also unbeknownst). He was chattty. Threw out a number of pop culture references. I laughed. I wasn't sure about this guy.

My photoshoot was crap. But that's how all my photoshoots are. If you are an extrovert like I was when I was 25, you try to capture all you intelligence and wit in one picture. And then you just get a bad picture.

That following weekend, there was a theme party at an art director's house. I only knew my roommate, who'd started the same day as I had, and the guy who'd taken my picture a few days before. I talked with the chatty guy and threw out a number of pop culture references and laughed and thought what a lot of shallow, self preservationist types think Is this Ian guy cool? Or is he just being nice because he needs friends? Will I be the laughing stock of this party if I only talk to him? Where'd he get his shirt?

At some point my brain got the best of my and I decided to break off the conversation and meet someone else. Or many someone elses. Fortunately for us all, one of the elses I went to talk to was a petite Greek girl named Marianna.

As the weeks went on, I realized that Ian was chatty and threw out a number of pop culture references because he was simply one of the nicest and with it people that I've met in my life. He's a genuine guy. He trusts in people and does the right things and operates his business and marriage with self effacing humor and humility and tact.

As time went on I realized that Ian didn't need friends. He had plenty. All over the place. He never meets a stranger because he's got one of those personalities that makes you think that all in well in the world and if we all just smiled more and gave more of our time we could all be pals the world over and the wars would stop and the birds would sing a few weeks earlier and global warming is just a big opportunity.

Ian wan't chatty and throwing out pop culture references that first day because he needed friends.

He was doing it because I did.