March 10, 2010

The weekend before last, we went up to Chicago to celebrate our friend Brent's 40th birthday. I should insert some sort of "holy shit, we're getting old" type of observation here, but the fact is, 40 doesn't really seem all that old any more. Besides, I'm only 38.

Our coming to town was a surprise for the birthday boy, and we went early to the restaurant where their family had dinner reservations. Mrs. theskinnyonbenny and I sat at the bar, which was unfortunately located right in the line of sight as one walked in the door. I jokingly suggested a code word -- Rosebud -- for when I saw their car in the parking lot, at which time we were to hit the floor and slide on our bellies around the back side of the bar.

About the time when we started our second round, I looked over Mrs. theskinnyonbenny's shoulder, and I saw Crystal and one of their kids walk through the door. I whisper-shouted "ROSEBUD! ROSEBUD," and Mrs. theskinnyonbenny froze with her back to the door. I positioned my face so that her head blocked me from the family's view, and they passed through without noticing us.

Mrs. theskinnyonbenny, still holding the wine tray.

They ordered a bottle of wine, and Mrs. theskinnyonbenny brought it to the table. She took it right over to Brent, but having never waited tables, she had the bottle on a tray, with the label facing away from Brent. He thought he just had a fool for a waitress and gave a sort of dismissive nod, putting his face back into the menu. She made no move to leave, and he finally looked up at her. It took a second for the annoyed look to turn into a smile.

On Saturday, Mrs. theskinnyonbenny sent Brent and me out with a shopping list. It was a short list, but if there were six items on the list, we needed to check six stores to find them all. By the time we were finishing it up, I suggested that the wives had already assumed that we were half-soused at the nearest bar, so we might as well make a stop. But believe it or not, we didn't.

For some reason, as we shopped, Brent started discarding the bags and putting the merchandise right into his jacket pockets. Once his pockets were full, I followed suit. When we returned, I told Crystal that we had decided to shoplift most of the stuff, and her eyes got big and angry as we started emptying jacket pockets.

Since we were there last, they've turned a standard-issue basement into a really nice bar, with big TV, pool table, and a really nice actual bar. Other people starting showing up around 7:00, and by 3:00 AM, the party looked like this:

The reclined guy is the birthday boy, passed out for the night.

It reminds me of some photos that we need to find. Many years ago, a group of us was at The Kerry, on Decatur St. in New Orleans. An old lady passed out with her head leaning on the jukebox, and we proceeded to all pose and take pictures with her. Because The Kerry hasn't changed a lick, I have no idea if this was 15 years ago or 6 years ago. It's somewhere in that range. I'll be certain to post those pictures if I come across them.

The only thing that I wanted to do but didn't get to is to pee my name in the snow. Perhaps that's a sign of the aging, but it seemed like an awfully big pain in the ass to get bundled up in a coat just to trudge out there and take a leak. Besides, we had snow twice in Baton Rouge this year and once last year. I should start acting like I've seen the stuff before.

I've got a few more pics, that I'll get posted as daily photos.