23 March 2017

Yesterday I walked into a restaurant and got in line at the register. There were two men in front of me in line. Middle aged, New Balances and tube socks, khaki shorts, potbellies stuffed into polo shirts. They seemed to have just run into each other right then and knew each other through some business venture.

“Did you get the deal?”

“No, I didn’t get the deal, did you?”

The cashier was trying to get Khakis 1’s attention and Khakis 2 kind of looked at her and looked back at him and was trying to figure out how to navigate the situation. The cashier said, “Okay, I guess not” and threw away his receipt.

Khakis 1 all of a sudden became aware of her again.

“I’m sorry, did you say something?”

“I figured you didn’t need your receipt so I threw it away.”

Khakis 1 made that pathetic face that middle aged men often make when they realize they’ve behaved very stupidly. Eyes wide, mouth agape, internally searching for the right thing to say.

When I finally got to the register I laughed for a second and the cashier laughed and we had that silent moment of commiseration about oblivious old dudes who take up space in New Balances.

When I left the restaurant, Khakis 1 was arguing with his wife in front of their kids while the suicide doors of the Tesla waited to whisk them away to a Hill Country McMansion.

 

Impossibly Cool

Please refrain from looking impossibly cool on the stairs in case there’s a fire. You may look impossibly cool in the pit or at the bar or in the designated smoking area but not on the stairs. The stairs are for sauntering up and down while your long, neglected, perfect hair moves on your shoulders like a heavy curtain in a light breeze.

Please ensure that the walkway remains unobstructed at all times so that patrons can move freely to and from the bar carrying three plastic cups full of beer in two hands, froth cascading over the sides, eyes darting from the cups to the crowds, shoulders level, gliding ballerino with a backwards cap.

In the interest of maintaining an impossibly cool environment for all guests, we ask that you please abstain from erupting in Whoops and Yeahs. Sir, if I hear another exuberant throatsong I am going to have to ask you to leave. You are to be stoic and unaffected, your eyelids at half-mast, you are a fog moving in or a storm that dies on the brim of a mountain ridge.

If you begin to feel buoyant, there are stoned baristas stationed throughout the venue who will be pleased to remind you that you’re oppressed and poor and uninsured and shot like a cannon from a womb to a tomb.

In an effort to elicit a string of profanity from the eccentric frontman, one and only one motherfucker is permitted to throw an empty cup at the flamboyant mutton-chopped percussionist.

We are pleased to announce an exclusive VIP section for guests over forty. Designed with the salty wisdom of the rapidly-aging in mind, this spacious area nestled between the restrooms and the bar offers a comfortable respite for our patrons who would like to reminisce about the mid-to-late nineties while making hostile remarks about millennials with their thrift stores and their mobile devices. Guests to the VIP area must show proof of at least one bitter divorce at the entrance. Please note that while you are free to leave at any point to victimize disinterested young women wearing plum-colored lipstick, the venue is not responsible for the total deflation of your masculinity with one withering glance.

Youthful faces that have yet to desiccate from prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals are encouraged to smoke natural hand-rolled tobacco in designated areas only. The designated areas are all of the empty spaces between other people. Health-conscious guests who prefer emitting mighty clouds of Glade PlugIn vapor from their smug lungs are asked to please stand near the stage as this creates a pleasing psychedelic ether around the musicians whose arms all move up and down at the same time as if connected by fishing lines to a puppeteer.

We appreciate your help in maintaining a brooding, self-conscious environment in which concertgoers can hear live the exact same songs they discovered from a single earbud threaded up the sleeve of a baja hoodie in chemistry class ten years ago. Please bring yourself and two sulking pre-anesthetized friends to the benefit party after the show in a clawfoot bathtub at 220 Waller Street. Free drugs with your donation of 20 damp dollars. All proceeds go to some guy with neck tattoos.