As sure as the Popes Catholic I can guarantee before the clock strikes midnight tonight, I will find myself deep in the cups of beer, listening to classic rap and swapping stories with a German Mechanic about nothing in particular. Friday nights are for the living and I plan on doing plenty before the night is over. Between my first beer and my last there will be many jokes, many stories and more than enough laughter by girls pretty and some not so pretty. It will be a night I cannot forget until I can’t remember it because the Friday after will erase it. Can a man ask for much more than to feel so alive? How would the world be if we all drink a little too much, told crappy jokes more than once and spent one night a week surrounded by people who felt the same way? Besides, if you’re going to church on Sunday you might as well have something to repent for.
Community, that true sense of belonging and being is becoming a lost sense and lost skill in the day and age of technology and hurt feelings. Sitting across the table from a German Porsche mechanic, while a bartender who use to run the restaurants and bars of certain casinos in Las Vegas all the while, the owner lounges in his Hawaiian shirt laughing at his own jokes. Is an experience to be had. The world stands still there, patiently it waits outside the glass door. Standing watch to make sure it can’t enter is the head bartender and manager appropriately named Madisyn. Chances are most nights she’s one of two places. Dancing on the end of the bar as she balances the books and pours beer or sitting outside puffing away on her E-cig, as she takes her only break that day. Her long brown hair flowing in the wind, her lip, nose and ears quite thoroughly pierced and a smile that never left her face. She never had any fear of the drunken men coming or going. I can’t think of a one who didn’t love her in his own way. Many told her so between their third and seventh beer. Truth be told so long as they were buying beer. She was there to make them smile, but above all, she kept the world and its worries where they belonged. Forlorn on some distant planet, it was never allowed in.
As the night goes on it always followed the same routine. The gentle giant of a bartender by the name of Elijah usually ends up tending the bar by himself. There’s not a woman that comes or goes in that bar that doesn’t hug him. He’s as soft spoken as he is gentle and always keen to share his stories with whoever will listen. As he tends the bar, usually only the regulars are popping in or out for a beer at this time, we old guard have made our way outside to smoke and swap stories. I’m more than happy to find myself in a back corner on the patio, near the Vietnamese pool hall, laughing and singing with the mechanics that have just gotten off. While most of them are long haired, bearded hippies who are doing more than drinking, one happens to be a bald and bearded German. Who makes it his cause to teach us uncouth Americans, how to drink, sing and laugh like God intended. More often than not we find ourselves sitting across from each other, at which point I will crack a Nazi joke, he will feign a laugh, and then the night will get into its proper rhythm. Now we will be surrounded by the half dozen or so regulars, music will be blaring on multiple phones, everyone is shouting and laughing, a bottle or two of whiskey has appeared and now as it makes its way to him he slaps me on the back and shouts cheers. He then passes it to me and I shout, “Prost!” and pass it on to the next person. Round and round the bottle will go. No one is left out and no passes it by. Now the cards have come out and before you know it, we all start to have a good time.
Finally the night starts to slow down, more than likely I am slowing down. I have drank more than my fair share of beer. The bottles of whiskey are nearing the end and we have played drinking games and card games until we have all lost count. The German has put his arm around my neck and by now stolen my hat. If I’m still there, it’s only because some new and single woman hasn’t come near for me to chase after. None of us feel like chasing any girls tonight. That common laugh and shared moment we have all missed throughout the week is filling out hearts with content now. Some might call us drunks, some might bemoan us for chasing after the women that come and go through the bar. Some still might say we are wasting our lives on Friday nights drinking and shouting, making jokes that are insensitive as we swap stories about women we’ve had or escapades we’ve survived. None of us care about what those people may say. As we all come together that one day a week to share what others seem to forget about. That sense of community and belonging, that chance to say how you really feel and what you really think without fear of reprisal for simply being a person. While it may not be cheers, the owners aren’t retired baseball stars, but those whose go there on Friday nights know my name. More often than not, they’ve stolen my hat.