May 15, 2000
Extra Calories, Please

"That was a DIET Coke, right?" asked the young bartender at The Fog City Diner.  And he set a tall glass of soda on the bar in front of me with a flourish.


When I told him that no, I'd actually ordered a *regular* Coke (There goes your tip, buddy)  --  plus an iced tea for David, who was outside feeding the meter  --  the bartender said "Oops! My bad!" And he made a big dramatic show of snatching up my glass, noisily dumping it out and refilling it with regular Coke.

"There you go, ma'am," he trumpeted, slamming the new soda down in front of me. "One NON-DIET Coke."

Some guys just know how to make a lady feel special.

     *     *     *     *     *

I don't remember the last time I sat at a bar.

Sometime in the early 1980's, maybe? ... back in the old Dave's Place Tavern days?  The Ex-Husband and I would hire a sitter and go to the tavern on Friday nights: I sat at the bar all evening, talking to friends, while the A.H. blew the grocery money playing pool. Or maybe it was in Oregon, a couple of years ago, when The Boyfiend and I would go to the trendy microbrewery in Lake Oswego occasionally for dinner.

I honestly can't recall.

Except for a brief period in my early 20's  --  when I was momentarily between boyfriends, and being carded was still *new* and *fun,* and I hadn't yet figured out that vodka shots and platform shoes don't mix  --  I've never been much of a bar person.  I've always thought they were too noisy. Too crowded. Too expensive. Too smelly. Too inconvenient, bathroom-wise. Too many different ways to fall down and make a fool out of myself.

And wayyy too public.

(I was Class Valedictorian of the George Thorogood School of Alcoholism: when I drank alone, I preferred to be by myself. But that's another story for another day.)

So sitting there alone at the bar of The Fog City Diner yesterday afternoon felt odd, to say the least. David was gone for ten minutes at the most, plugging quarters into the meter so we could enjoy a leisurely Sunday lunch.  But it seemed much MUCH longer. While he was gone I:

  • Thoroughly examined every receipt in my purse
  • Organized my loose change
  • Finger-combed my rain-frizzled hair and blotted the Maybelline off my nose
  • Folded my napkin into quarters, then into eighths, then into sixteenths
  • Chewed the end of my straw
  • Examined every receipt in my purse some more
  • Steadfastly ignored the Bloody Mary to my left ... the schooner of beer to my right ...  the rows and rows of vodka and gin and rum and tequila, four feet in front of me.

When David came back, he sat down on the stool next to me and wrapped a supportive arm around my waist. "Everything OK?" he asked. I think he was afraid the sight of all those martini glasses might have turned me into a quivering puddle of goo.

"I'm fine," I reassured him. "I can handle this."

For months now, David and I have been speculating on what it would be like to go into a restaurant bar or an upscale tavern, sit down and order a couple of sodas or iced teas. Just to see how it would feel. Just to enjoy a nice view, maybe, or listen to live music, or talk quietly to each other over candlelight. Until this weekend I wasn't sure if I was ready for something like that ... but now I know I can handle it.
Mind you: it's not going to be something I want to do every weekend. I still find places like that too noisy and crowded for my tastes. But it's nice to know that if the situation comes up, I'm not going to freak out.

Unless I'm required to submit to a body fat analysis before the bartender will serve me a goddamn "NON-DIET" Coke.

one year ago today

throw a rock