A Night in G-Town

My new schedule has me gone from home eight days in a row, followed by six days at home. That has me on the road over the weekend. My plan is to work every other weekend so that when I am home, I'm not working too much and can have a good long time with the family.

On Friday, I worked until about 8:30 and I decided to head across the street from work for a little while. North Dakota has charitable gaming and the bar across the street has a blackjack table. The receptionist at work, a woman that I have known for about 27 years, deals and I told her that I might stop in and play a few hands. So, I did.

I don't know the last time I'd been in a bar. I talked a while back about stopping in the Legion Hall in SBGville, but that isn't really a bar, but maybe it counts. Suffice it to say that I don't hang out in the bar much, especially now that I've graduated from law school. Anyhow, I stopped in and the first thing I noticed was how damned smoky it was. Smoking in the bar is still legal in ND and man, is that a bad idea. (Remember, the Legion Hall is smoke-free.)

I pulled up to the blackjack table and Lori was dealing, so I sat down and since this is a small town, she introduced me to everyone. Well, sort of. She told everyone who I was, but no one actually told me who they were. I sat between a couple of old bar flies and got myself $20 worth of chips. My first hand was a black jack. I would play for an hour and not see another one. I'm not a big gambler, but if I am going to gamble a little blackjack is what I like to play. The per bet limit is $2, so this kind of play is strictly small time and actually, I played $1 on most hands.

In an hour of play, I saw only two aces, one of them being in my first hand. I had eleven once and ten twice. That's some pretty lousy cards, but I played pretty conservatively and I actually walked away with $6 in profit. That's not bad when I didn't have many opportunities to double down at all. My cards were almost comically bad, but I also only busted two or three times.

Anyway, I ran into a guy that I had know way back when I was working G-Town in college. Eric was working for the summer in Engineering when I was interning there. He and another guy out there were sons of big shots and they worked out in the shop. They came to work hung over every day, but again, their dads were big shots, so they could get away with that. When I said hi to Eric, he said you knew me back when I didn't drink. Lori and I said, yeah, at work, you never drank at work. He's still living the same life he was back in 1985. Good grief.

I was only in that bar from 8:30 to 9:30, but that was plenty. Pretty much everyone in there was really intoxicated and I'm feeling the smoke this morning. I didn't have anything to drink because I had been up since 3:30 and I had to drive 26 miles after leaving, so I thought even one beer might make that a dicey proposition, given my tiredness. After a while, I realized that I hadn't been in that place since the night my old buddy Cody died, more than a decade ago. I looked around the place, remembering that night and where I was when I saw my buddy alive for the last time. He'd be 35 now and probably married with a couple of kids. What a tragic waste that was. I felt myself getting angry about it.

As I drove home, I realized that I probably won't be going to the bar in G-Town again any time soon. I'll work when I'm there and then I'll head for Mom and Dad's place. Call me [a] stick [in the mud], but I don't need that scene.

9 thoughts on “A Night in G-Town”

  1. As a fellow stick in the mud, I understand where you're coming from. I can't really remember the last time I went in to a bar without food being the main reason behind it. I also never really lived in my hometown while I was of the drinking age, so I didn't find a bar to be a regular at back home. That's probably for the better, I think.

  2. The last time I went to a bar, you were there, so that should tell you how often I get out to them. The last time before that, I had only recently started posting here, and it was only because my best friend in Washington's little sister died suddenly and that's where we were gathering.

    It's a bummer that I didn't get a lot of time to enjoy the no-smoking-in-bars thing, but I have no reason to go into one anymore. A wise man (alright, a pro wrestler, but work with me here) once long ago told me "I don't go to the bars because there's nothing good that can happen." I would be a bar regular for a good five years after that, but his comment always stuck with me.

  3. Going to bars is a phase, and one I don't miss in the least. And smoking...ugh. I've been spoiled by living most of my adult life in a state that bars smoking in public accommodations (w00t!).

    I have a lot more to say on this policy subject, but it falls into the Forbidden Zone.

      1. I treat alcoholic beverages as luxury goods. As my income has risen, the quality of my consumption has risen, while the volume has decreased (keeping my share of income devoted to said consumption fairly constant).

        I see that as one of the dividing lines between youth and maturity. In my immaturity, it was about the buzz. By the time I left college, my interest in getting buzzed was nose-diving, while my interest in taste was sky-rocketing.

        Sadly, many people never cross that divide from gluttony to gourmandism.

      2. Getting fall-down drunk and making bad decisions has become a way of life for one of my brothers. It's a hell of a thing...he conquered smoking and several drug habits, and he went from a pathetic husk bereft of personality back to the funny, lively guy he'd been before, but thanks to his alcohol-feuled decisions he still lives his life as dangerously as he ever did when he was on what people consider "the hard stuff."

  4. I used to attend the St. Louis Minnesota Vikings Fan Club chapter now-and-then for a game (back when I sorta cared) at a HotShots, and I about had to burn my clothes afterwards. It was fun to hang with folks from Up Nort' (even met with Algonad there once) but the smoke (and the Vikings) finally drove me away for good. That, and a last second loss to the Cardinals in the last play of the season.

  5. My brother and I are an interest lab experiment. I went to college in DC where drinks are unbelievably expensive and I could always find something else to do. He went to school in St. Peter where the only thing to do besides go to a bar was wait for ATF to raid the meth lab next door (that happened to him). A few years later, and I still have no desire to go to a bar while he still will visit one quite often. When I'm in a bar, the vast majority of the time I just find myself watching the sports highlights on the TV.

  6. I didn't drink much in bars until about 3 years ago...then I drank a lot in bars.

    My 22nd birthday fell during the second week of boot camp - which was the first 2 months of full sobriety I'd had in probably 4 years. I did some pretty heavy drinking in school, but not in the bars. That scene didn't appeal to me and I was mostly broke so we just drank a lot at various houses. It's funny, I dropped out of college and joined the Navy at 21 having drank in the "college bars" for less than a year. Got done with boot camp and went back to drinking because that's what sailors do, but I still wasn't drinking much in bars.

    Tough situation there, I wasn't allowed to "fraternize" with the guys my age - they all outranked me. Instead, I hung out with the 18 year olds, the guys who were at my paygrade. Basically, I was the guy who bought the beer, but never the one who paid for it...I drank a lot of budmillercoors - but again, not in the bars.

    Then I got married. My wife had been a bartender and occasional bar patron, but she was done with college and starting her career so she wasn't into the bar scene anymore. We'd go out to bars, but rarely just to drink.

    Then I got out of the Navy and started law school...now it was time to hit the bars. I can (and do) drink a bit, but to echo bS, I've also developed a preference for "good" libations. Only problem is, I was 28 and most of the 1L's I was hanging out with were 23. These guys & gals wanted to drink the budmillercoors (and drink a lot of it) and I did not. Or, more accurately, I knew by then that I should not. Doesn't mean I didn't try though. And, whenever I tried to keep pace with them, mistakenly thinking another drink was just what I needed, it was almost universally not what I needed. I can't say that these activities were totally devoid of amusement, but my wife was none too appreciative of my antics (I'd say she did her growing up about 7 years ago).

    So here I am, about to graduate from law school and become a father for the first time and I'm finally getting it. It's taken a few years longer than was probably necessary; a few lessons that should have been learned sometime during W's first term are finally taking hold. Don't get me wrong, I still like to go to the bar, but now I go to watch a game with the guys or grab a drink before the meal. I can no longer afford to be doing otherwise.

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