I will beat this dead horse. I will beat this dead horse until it’s nothing but a tender pulp ready to meatballed into delicious treats for IKEA shoppers.
“This place has changed.” No, it hasn’t. We just have.
Along with gray hairs and seemingly ever-prevalent diarrhea, outgrowing once-loved bars is just another part of maturing. Most experience it; others, however, will seamlessly fall into the role of the thirty-five-year-old at the college bar, ever lurking with their awful Joey Fatone haircuts and body types while incessantly trying to seem relevant and not creepy to girls fourteen years their junior.
Luster wears off and we become desensitized. It’s like how conventional Internet porn and mild hallucinogens can’t cut it for us after awhile. We fall into this constant yearning for a return to the “good ol’ days,” but not in the way grandparents do where it’s discomforting every time I have to explain to them that desegregated schools are not just a “fad.”
My priorities have shifted since my drinking career began. As a younger boozehound I’d reveled in crowds, their numbers confirming that this venue must be amazingly fun. Now, though, as I plod through the Aeropostale-littered mobs I think, “It’s going to take forever to get a drink (1) and, also, since when did the bar-frequenting public start resembling slutty-looking children?” (2)
Twenty minutes and one swiped cocktail from an inattentive fat girl later, I’m finally at the bar. Never leave your drink unattended, mostly because people steal them. The bartender rattles off a bunch of fancy drink specials, all variations of sugary swills suitable, I suppose, for non-calloused drinkers or alcoholic hummingbirds (3). I tell him to bring me his cheapest beer with a shot of his cheapest whiskey and to never utter the coupling of “Pomegranate Dreamsicle” to me ever again.
Not wanting to relinquish my convenient access to imbibe-able fun, I remain standing at the bar. It’s not like I’m going to be able to find an open table or the people I came here with anyways (4). The patrons next to me, truly my only potential targets for conversation, are a chinless, Chum Lee-looking mountain of disgustingness who definitely keeps his t-shirt on when he’s in the pool and a girl dressed in something made out of sparkles who hasn’t yet looked up from her phone. It doesn’t really matter though; it’s tough to have an interesting conversation when you’re constantly screaming over music (5).
We haven’t exchanged words, but I’m thinking this Pawn Stars doppelganger and I are both craving something that’s some combination of salted, deep fried, and served with ranch. I have to show restraint and, so, I retreat outside to suppress my desires with a cigarette, remembering that the kitchen here is nothing except a glorified microwave (6).
My cigarette burns. This bar has become a movie I’ve seen too many times. Sure, Corky Romano was hilarious when I first watched it in middle school, but now it’s just predictable and exhausting to tolerate for any extended period.
I put out my cigarette and leave, embracing my career’s progression. Fortunately, the recourse is as easy as sending a mass text to the people I came with that reads something like: “Liquor store then home to ramble about nothing on the back porch for hours, you down?”