Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Can I ask you a question?

Last night, I planned to go home and make soup. (This is the soup that may never get made since I'm busy tonight and tomorrow night. Well, Friday is a good night to make soup, isn't it?)

At the last minute, Pele, invited me (and others) to go get a drink. She had an ulterior motive. A bartender at a certain bar flirted with Pele recently. The purpose of the outing was to see him again. Pele had moral support from a woman in her office, but the more the merrier.

We didn't get to the bar until around 8pm and there was a trivia game going on. Who knew? We were recruited to join a team of two (boy and girl). I was a trivia star (kind of--I knew who wrote "My Funny Valentine"). Pele's work friend said, "I feel so dumb." I said, "None of this stuff is making me any money."

One question was which country in Europe was the first to come up with something like social security--and the hint was that the country was landlocked. One of our teammates said, "Germany" (which was the correct answer). I said, "It's not landlocked." We debated the definition of "landlocked." I rolled my eyes. I suggested Switzerland.

Near us, a drunken couple (Mr. & Mrs. Strange--I could see their wedding rings) stage whispered, "Estonia." I shook my head. But they stated it again, forcefully. Mrs. Strange made eye contact with and said it again. I thought…'Estonia isn't landlocked. They call it a Baltic state for a reason.' A fellow on another team that was sharing half of our table said to me, "Estonia isn't landlocked."

"Right," I said, "put down Switzerland." In the end, the question was thrown out because the quizmaster didn't realize that Germany isn't landlocked.

Throughout the rest of the game, Mr. & Mrs. Strange made many, incorrect and useless suggestions to us. Mr. S made lots of unnecessary eye contact with me. Mr. S was a scruffy looking fellow with a crew-cut and a day's growth of beard, wearing a sloppy jean jacket and a sweatshirt. Mrs. S was a bleached out blond with shoulder length hair, tight jeans and a black leather jacket.

After the game ended, I copped a seat at the edge of a vacated booth--I'd been standing for over an hour. Mr. Strange sidled up to the booth next to me, sat down and started talking.

Mr. Strange: Can I ask you a question?

Jamy: Yes?

Mr. S: Which political party do you root for?

J: Neither.

Mr. S: Really?'re independent.

J: I suppose. I'm more likely to back the Dems than the Republicans.

Mr. S: Ok. So, if you had to choose between Hillary Clinton and Dick Cheney, who would you choose?

J: Hillary Clinton. [No, I don't like her…but given the choice, it's a no-brainer.]

Mr. S: Really. Why?

J: Because Dick Cheney is evil. [He just shot a man! No, that's not why he's evil--unless he did it on purpose.]

Mr. S: What? Why?

J: Well, he hates poor people--he's all pro-business.

Mr. S: Are you poor? [Are you kidding?]

J: No.

Mr. S: But you care...

J: I don't think we should screw the poor people...

Mr. S: You are very smart. Let me ask, where are you from?

J: Seattle.

Mr. S: Oh! Way up there--way north. Is it true it rains all the time there? Does it rain all year round?

J: No. It only rains in the winter.

Mr. S: (Laughs.) But does it rain every day?

J: No. And it doesn't rain hard.

Mr. S: So it doesn't rain every day?

J: No. But it's cloudy all the time. [You do not want to know how many times I've had this conversation about Seattle and rain. Did you know that the annual precipitation in DC is almost twice that in Seattle?]

Mr. S: So, what do you do for fun?

J: Umm...[I, uh, play pub trivia?]

Mr. S: Do you run? Hike? What do you like to do?

J: Dancing...

Mr. S: Like...ballet?

J: No. Like swing dancing.

Mr. S: (Makes a face.)

J: And salsa dancing.

Mr. S: That's great! So, will you promise me something? When you get married and you have your first kid, will you name him after me?

J: What?

Mr. S: Not after me, but, say you named him after some drunk guy in a bar.

J: [Yes, I know I was supposed to ask for his name. I didn't want to know his name.] So I can just make up any name and say it's you?

Mr. S: Yeah. Hey, thank you for talking to me. I hope you don't mind all my questions.

J: It's fine.

Mr. S: Really, I could see you looking at the bar...and you just look so smart.

J: It's the glasses. (Removes glasses.)

Mr. S: No, no, it's not that. You have...oh, you took them off. Thank you for talking to me.

J: (Smiles.)

Mr. S: Really, thank you. (Holds out hand, we shake. Slowly, he sidles away.)

I went to where Pele was sitting at the bar with her friend. "What is wrong with that guy? Dude, it's not like I don't know you're married. Ugh."

"They're swingers." Pele said.


"His wife is flirting with all the guys in the bar."

"Un-fucking-believable. You know what he said to me? 'Can I ask you a question?' And then he asks what political party I favor."

Pele said, "That's not the question he wanted to ask you."

I could see Mr. Strange staring at me for the rest of the night--I had to confirm this with Pele because I didn't want to turn and make eye contact with him. Much later, he came over and asked me to dance (no one was dancing). I said, "No thank you."

After I left, he went to Pele and asked, "What I could I have done to make your friend like me more?" I don't know how she answered. But he stood too close to her and said, "Am I making you uncomfortable?" Pele (uncharacteristically) said, "Yes, you are making me uncomfortable by standing so close." He went away and didn't bother her again. Pele told me, "You were nicer to him than I was!" Sad but true. At least she learned from my experience.

She also got a kiss on the cheek goodnight from the cute bartender--so at least someone had fun. Thank goodness.

Grateful for: the funny, funny stories.
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