The Jennifer Chronicles - Volume XIII
June 8, 2010Making Friends and Influencing People - Joan Style - Part I
Saturday night at seven p.m. The reality dawned on me that I was going to see a band, I was going clubbing. I had never been much of a mover and a shaker. I had attended an occasional bar mitzvah; hardly a mosh pit of craziness.
I hadn't left the house yet and I was already expecting the night to be a bust.
"Are you wearing something black?" Carrie asked. "You can't go wrong with black."
You're right, I thought. It matches my mood. I sighed into the phone.
"What?" she asked.
"This is going to be a learning experience, isn't it?"
I heard nothing from the other end.
"You know I hate those. They always end with me searching for a fake contact lense or narrowly avoiding arrest. Or both."
"Just wear something black and go and try something different."
That was my problem. I didn't want anything different. I wanted to wrap myself in a cocoon of sameness, which led me back to my current predicament. I was my own little demented circle of life.
"I'll call you," I said and hung up.
What the hell, I finally decided. It was this or another night of chick movies.
As I crossed the parking lot of the club, I caught sight of the six foot tall two by four called a bouncer. His breasts were a 36C. Easy. Just one of his hands was bigger than my head. I decided it would be unwise to mention that. I couldn't stop staring. I couldn't help it. The man was a solid block; he went straight from head to shoulders. He couldn't turn. It was mesmerizing.
I smiled as I walked past.
Gigundo the Magnificent did not smile back.
"Where are you going?"
My inner Joan was cowering like a diaper girl, sucking her thumb. "Psst, let's go to the library, can we, please?" she said.
God I needed a life.
"How much is the cover?" I asked, in my best non-wimp voice.
I got the vertical once-over. Hey, just because you could swallow me whole, do not give me the once-over I said - silently.
"Fifteen," he said.
I paid, got stamped like a side of beef, and went inside.
Even as I headed down the stairs I knew this was a mistake. My fears became a self-fulfilling prophecy as I gazed upon a sea of Goth inspired patrons.
This week's best of the new bands was named Viscous Fluids. I was awash in a sea of earsplitting acoustic guitars and screaming. I decided to have one drink and then head for home. Sometimes I wonder about myself. I don't know why I stayed. It was as if I thought I would earn points for sticking it out. Points for what? A free Miracle Ear?
My black shiny pants, black boots, black top, black leather jacket combo did not impress the "I invented-the-all-black-look" Goth crowd. One guy with jet black hair standing up two inches from his scalp looked at me as if I was odd. I found that ironic.
I should have gone home right away. I should have listened to the little voice inside my head begging me to go. My inner Joan was already in her bathrobe sipping hot chocolate with the little marshamallows. But no, I went up to the bar and planted myself right in the line of fire.
There was an altercation on my left. Two guys I affectionately named Lip pierce and Nose pierce started some drunking pushing and shoving. Gigundo spread the crowd like the Red Sea. In a flash, he had a meaty hand on each guy. Lip pierce slipped out of Gigundo's massive grip and landed on my left boot. I cried out in pain. No one heard me. Then Nose pierce doubled over and threw up - on my right boot. Memo to me: need new boots. Pronto.
For a moment, I had a hideous deja vu of my many Joan disasters: bursting pipes, falling ceilings, breaking urns. The aura of doom and destruction never left me. Nothing ever worked out. I took a few deep breaths; I refused to blubber in front of strangers. Not that anyone would notice.
As I gathered my wits I became aware of the three guys talking next to me, one of them a dead ringer for Gomez Addams. I was completely jealous of his eyeliner. I was tempted to lean over and ask him what brand he used. At that moment, Gomez made a point with a sweeping arm gesture, knocking me clear across the face. I went down with a thud and found myself looking up at Gomez.
"Shit," he said.
Five minutes later I was back on the bar stool with an ice pack against my face. The ice pack was held by Gomez's girlfriend, aka Morticia. She was medium height, slender, and her porcelain skin was a start contrast to her mascara and lipstick. She wore the same fantastic eyeliner as Gaomez. Her face was framed by a cascade of black hair hanging to the middle of her back.
"You're so stupid," she berated Gomez on the top of her lungs. "Why'd you hit her? Why did he hit you?"
"I was in the way," I shouted.
"Oh," she said.
She sat on the stool next to me, adjusted the pack, and turned to the bartender lingering in the area.
"You should give her a drink," she yelled. "She's injured."
The bartender made a face and turned away.
"Worth a shot," Morticia said. I couldn't argue with that.
Morticia took the pack away and checked my cheek. She looked me up and down.
"You know the new age groups are on Friday, right?"
My inner Joan was sitting yoga style wearing a white robe, burning incense, and singing 'Kumbaya'. "You see?" she said. "She knows."
She did know and her name wasn't Morticia. It was Sue. And Gomez's name was Rob. And they were very nice people. Sue gave me the name of some cafes that had Rob Thomas, Cheryl Crow-type live music.
"It sucks when you're new in town," she said.
Yes, yes it does. For minute, I blinked twice. I think I had just met Carrie's doppelganger, only ten years younger. I felt myself smile. It felt like home.
Viscous Fluids came back for their next set. That was my cue. The evening wasn't a total loss. I met some good people. Maybe it hadn't been a typical Joan disaster after all. That's progress, I thought.
I got up and screamed a 'thank you' to Sue and Rob. I took a few steps toward the door, then stopped and turned back. I had to know.
"Your eyeliner is amazing. What do you use?" I shouted.
Sue wrote it down for me.
I got home at eleven and settled in with a chick flick and another bag of ice. I did a recap: blew forty bucks on cover charge and drinks, ruined one pair of boots, hit in the face, but gained one beauty product. On the whole not a bad night.
I had the weekend to relax and load up on calories in advance. Monday morning: off to the gym for my first spin class.
Next Week: Making Friends and Influencing People - Joan Style - Part II