I'm sitting here in my motel room, somewhere in the belly of North Carolina, visiting some of my favorite blogs and trying to figure out where I can get a decent meal, and I realize I haven't posted anything in several weeks. Now, unlike my friend Viki, who thinks nothing of abandoning her readers for weeks on end, I've got the guilt and figure it's about time I post something for my two readers.
I've got lots of stories to tell from my almost-weekly business trips, but I often forget to write them down. After a few minutes of brainstorming, I'm reminded of something I observed on one of my recent trips to Chicago.
The scene takes place at Pete Miller's Steakhouse, in a western Chicago suburb. I'm sitting at the bar having dinner. (Where else, right?)
A couple of guys are sitting on the opposite side of the bar. They're probably about my age, though they look a bit older (okay, okay, I've still got a big head from the compliments I received a few weeks ago…see here…and, get your mind out of the gutter…you know which head I'm talkin' about.) An attractive woman walks in. I'd say she was 40 to 42. She's dressed in black, blondish hair, slim and curvy in all the right places, nice tan (wonder if it's an all over tan…sorry, couldn't resist…sometimes it's hard to leave the gutter when you spend so much time there), short sleeve top sporting just enough cleavage to make an old horndog start to fantasize. In case you're wondering, the horndog would be me. Anyway, she's looking around like she's supposed to meet someone.
One of the guys gets up and goes to meet her. He introduces himself then brings her back and introduces the other guy. She takes a seat. One guy is sitting next to her, the other standing behind and leaning in to talk. While they're talking to her, she's looking around at other people, kind of like when one is at a party and talking to someone and that someone is looking around for more important people to talk to. Not that it's ever happened to me, of course, but you get the picture.
What little conversation there is seems to be strained…and she is making absolutely no eye contact. They all look a little uncomfortable. I get the feeling they weren't what she expected.
One guy says something to her. I think he's asking what she'd like to drink. She answers without looking at him. The two guys look at each other…one raises his eyebrows. They order her a split of champagne. Very little conversation for the next twenty minutes or so, and she doesn't make eye contact until she starts working on her second split. They look to me like they're negotiating something…like plans for the evening perhaps? Or maybe I was just getting carried away with my fantasizing. Oh, and did I forget to mention she's chewing gum while drinking her champagne? Classy, huh? Not.
So one guy excuses himself and disappears. A minute later the other guy does the same. They go to a corner of the bar, where she can't see them, and they start talking to each other. They're gone for a good 15 minutes.
The woman starts looking around, very discreetly, like she thinks they might have bolted (and left her with the check) but she doesn't want anyone to know.
The place starts getting crowded, with people standing behind the bar stools a few rows deep. Someone bumps her stool accidentally, and she spits the gum into her champagne glass. She looks at her drink, then looks left and right. She does this about half a dozen times. I think she's trying to determine if anyone noticed…probably no one but me did. Then, she suddenly sticks her forefinger into the champagne flute, spears the chewing gum, and pops it into her mouth.
Now, you can call me a snobolla (That's a N'Italian word I just made up, pronounced snob-'bowla), but that kinda' grossed me out.
Now maybe it was the sound of my fork dropping, or maybe it was just coincidence, but she made eye contact with me right after she scarfed the gum. I was too far away to make a wise ass remark, so I just smiled, made a chewing motion, and took a sip of my wine. For a split second I thought she was going to throw something at me (hopefully not the gum), but she just blushed and looked away.
Just another night in the travels of Badabing.
That's gonna' be all for now. According to the map I'm looking at I'll need to drive about twenty miles to a town where I might be able to get a decent glass of wine.
You're in the belly of North Carolina???? And you didn't tell me you were coming?
Great story. Allows the reader to conjure up all kinds of scenarios about the encounter. Meanwhile the gum and the champagne form a counterpoint to the underlying tension and mystery.
Lotta potential there!
First of all, I love your little travel essays. They always involve bars and attractive women.
Secondly, I do too feel guilty. I swear it!!!!!
I guess you can tell I spend a lot of time in bars :-) I've got another story from my little escapade last night...where else...in a bar. And yes, it involves attractive women as well. I'm going to try and post it this weekend.
BB: Re.: your comment on mine... (Boy, that's a lot of colons and periods!) Yes, I bought stock in several pharmaceutical firms that sell the more poplual hypertension medications before posting that blurb about taxes. Thanks for the tip!
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