Once. One glorious night, I had a date with Billy the Bartender. It took over year to get that date, and it was worth every tip. His long-time girlfriend had finally ended it, after over a year of battling the flirtatious nature of the job that paid for her higher education.
Billy picked me up at the Concordia house. I was dressed in a navy blue, button-down, linen shirt dress. It fell to mid-thigh. I paired it with a bulky brown belt, my tan stilettos and tan legs. My legs were shaved. My hair was fixed. He drove a Lexus.
We started our evening at a quaint coffee shop at the end of a dead-end street. We ended our evening in the bar of a historic inn at the edge of the city’s largest park.
I celebrated turning 21 at this same inn bar. I had tried to go to the club just up the street, which was within walking distance of the house, but they turned me away. Something about the business day and midnight doesn’t matter and go away. So Roommate and I walked the extra thousand feet to the inn. The inn was pleased to serve me for my birthday, and in style. I drank for the next eighteen hours, and then went to the ER.
Billy and I sat on a leather sofa. We told stories. We sipped Grand Marnier. We set our drinks on an oak table. It was a night of comfort.
We had just come from dinner at an eclectic Mexican restaurant. It was in an ethnic neighborhood, as most of the city was. There was the Italian neighborhood, the German neighborhood, the Greek neighborhood, the This neighborhood, and the That neighborhood, and mostly only families of the primary descent had any luck with Real Estate. It was warm, and full of the scents of family.
When the meal was served Billy requested a side of sour cream for his dinner. I launched into a story of summer camp.
This one time at band camp…
I was thirteen. On taco night, about three Tuesdays in to a summer long adventure, we had an epic food fight. It was also Fireside Stories Night. It did not matter at dinner time that later that night we would be roasting at a fire.
It started with a dollop of Daisy: “toss me the sour cream, will you.” And sour cream was tossed. “Toss me the lettuce, hahahahaha!” And the bowl of lettuce flew across the table, bounced, and sailed over to the next table. Who tossed a bowl of cheese, and we ducked, so it went to the table on the other side. Who lobbed a handful of chopped tomatoes.
Counselors were already doing due diligence: quit now, don’t do that, stop it, this is uncalled for, and more that no one cared they heard. One of the boys’ counselors stood up on the middle of a table and shouted: “You are all going to regret this!” An onslaught of taco trimmings flew in his general direction and all the counselors ran for cover. Minutes later, too many to matter, the camp director blew the whistle and we ceased firing food and doubled over with laughter.
True to his word, the counselors made sure we regretted it. They left us to clean up our mess and went to shower and change. They returned as we finished in the dining hall, ready to shower ourselves. But there were no showers allowed. No changing clothes. No jumping in the lake. No rinsing in the water fountains. We sat on the logs at the fire circle and waited, stifling hushed giggles.
The laughter stopped when the fire started. Only after two waiting for a fire and two hours directly in front of the fire, singing camp songs and listening to camp stories, were we allowed to rid our bodies of the horrid stench that surely also punished everyone else.
I vowed to never eat sour cream again. Until Billy suggested I was missing out on something great.
He was right.