And today we talk about ... Day 4:
After marinating on Day 3 I was planning to give The Bartending Muse a little time to breathe. I would see if anything develops via the friend-of-"the friend" scenario from the previous encounter. Also, just pragmatically speaking, I didn't have time to go out of the way to check up on it, as Beyonce might say.
But, as it turned out, I did end up spending some time at the home of TBM. A few friends of mind sort of randomly decided to convene at her place of business. Unfortunately it was a total off-day for TBM, so this impromptu soiree was poorly timed from my perspective.
Anyhadda, after hanging out over drinks for a few hours, the group decides to part ways around 8:30 PM on a Sunday night. Usually I'd be preparing to watch The Sopranos, but this time I was caught outside, downtown, and far away from home.
I placed a call to a friend/acquaintance in the area trying to find a local tv, but I got no answer as the bewitching hour approached. I gave up and went to a pizza shop on the corner. I hadn't eaten dinner, figured I might as well do something productive.
Fated Decision #1: I decide to eat my slice in the pizzeria. Being downtown, by myself, I usually am of the mind to expedite my expedition back home as expeditiously as possible. This time, I decide to meander and loiter. I believe my actual frame of mind was focusing on the fact that this was my old neighborhood as a younger not-fully-assimilated negro, and I wanted to chill in this pizza shop that I used to frequent back in the dizzy.So I sat eating my slice, at the center table, facing the traffic outside. And about halfway through my eating, lo and behold who should enter stage right? You guessed it, ... some strange tall guy I had NEVER SEEN BEFORE IN MY LIFE. He walked across my field of vision, not once turning to take a look at what was going on inside the pizza shop. He exited stage left never to be seen again.
Fated Decision #2: I decided to sit at the center table, facing outside, enabling me to see people walking by. Of course, when by yourself, facing towards the outside traffic may seem like a no-brainer. This would classify as the standard eating-by-yourself entertainment system (EBYES). But I'm sure you artists/creatives/...bloggers(?) can relate to having an impulse to sit facing away from the traffic, so as to concentrate on your thoughts and internal TURMOIL. Since TAN is full of both, this was a choice that could certainly have gone the wrong way.
But then, right after him, came The Bartending Muse. The titillating blog post come alive, walking, resplendent, in all her Bartending Muse glory. There was no question it was her.
As she walked across my field of vision (did you know there's no "real world," it's just your "field of vision?") I struggled to remember her first name.
She was now exiting stage left, like the strange tall guy never to be seen again. I couldn't let this opportunity suffer the same fate. But I couldn't remember her name, so I went with the next best solution and screamed out,
There was no bar on the street. No chairs, no tables, no alcohol. And I thought it was a pretty good chance that no one in the immediate vicinity would actually be named "Bartender." If no one did anything out of character, she would be the only person who would respond to that exclamation.
She exited stage left. I left my seat and went to the door, calling out one more time, "BARTENDER!!!"
She was about twenty feet away from me, walking away. I knew she heard me. I knew I wouldn't call out again. I was on the fence after Day 3, this would be a make or break moment. I waited for a sign.
The Bartending Muse continued walking down the block. And then .... she slowed down. To a stop. And then ... she slowly turned around. Very deliberate, very begrudging, very unsure if she actually wanted to make this turn. And then ... she smiled.
And then I remembered her name. And I apologized for calling her "bartender." And I asked her if she'd like to join me for a slice of pizza. And she said yes. And so began the next installment of The Bartending Muse.
While I finished my slice (she didn't want to get her own), she told me that some girls had spoken to her a couple nights before and asked if she knew about The Bartending Muse, and if it was her or not. She was unsure of what they were talking about until they described me, TAN, and then she connected the dots and realized it was me. We shared a laugh at the little bit of "internet celebrity" getting back to her. She then let me know she was planning to meet a girlfriend of hers for a couple drinks. And if I wanted to make any progress on the story I would have to join her. And of course I did.
So we hung out for the next three-to-four hours. Got to know each other a lot better. I told her about finding a sister, my mother and that fateful cab ride. She told me her own crazy tales of mischief and mayhem. We laughed, we cried, we broke touch-barriers. We danced ... while sitting on bar stools. We drank. But not really. More talking, less drinking.
At some point in the conversation, after one of her more personal stories, she became acutely aware of the possibility of me broadcasting her personal details to the world. Or at least the infinitesimally small portion of the world that reads The Assimilated Negro (I love self-effacement). And she requested I not talk about the particulars of her life. I told her not to worry, and that I would only tell the cute little story about her being repeatedly raped by her uncle, and that was it. Scout's honor. Then I laughed heartily at my sharp, edgy sense of humor. Then I noticed her not laughing. Then I noticed her crying. Then I noticed me crying. Then I noticed I was crying because she kicked me in the nuts. Then I noticed me bleeding. Then I --
Ok. So the long and short of this is that there's not much more for me to tell. Nor much I'm allowed to tell. I don't know what the future holds for TAN & The Bartending Muse. Love? Doubtful. Friendship? Perhaps. Late-night booty calls? Perchance to dream.
What I do know is that, for now, the telling of this tale must come to an end. It's been a fun journey thus far, we've looked at life and love, and lapdances from leprechauns, and all the levels and layers in-between. But now the rest of this story shall be told only to the breeze, late at night, when no one listens except the stoic moon set above a pregnant sky. In a place where the cool mist dampens your face, and the wind rustles the wooly hair of The Assimilated Negro.