Intellectual bathroom graffiti: I F*@KED YOUR MOTHER!
Directly beneath this gem, in a different pen, a different hand: GO HOME DAD, YOU”RE DRUNK!
I’d like to stop right there. A flash-post. Call it done. Flash what? Not fiction. This one is real. On the bathroom wall of the Tune Inn, circa 1986. Every time I read it, I cracked a smile. And I read it a lot—I was a barfly. I could walk to the Tune Inn.
My kids can’t tell me to go home, sleep it off, stop embarrassing them. They can’t cut me off. I don’t drink. Anymore. Today I miss it.
I miss crowding into a scarred wooden booth. Empties litter the table. Puddles of beer working their way towards the edge. A double-cheeseburger with fries and gravy. A late dinner. After an appetizer of tall-boys and banter.
I miss ruling the table. Sinking two balls on the break. A half-drained IPA close at hand. A dozen sticky glasses keeping it company, waiting to be bussed or knocked to the floor by an errant pool cue. Lining up shots, dropping the balls. Against the Machine raging from the jukebox. In the zone—that drunken, confident, euphoric zone.
I miss dinner parties of mediocre food and decent wine. And sushi dinners washed down with Singha. And pizza feasts drowned in Anchor Steam. Tapas paired with Pinot Noirs, Zinfandels and Rieslings. A table of eight. Everyone tipsy when the check is served. Cab to our next destination. Live music & Jägermeister.
I miss quiet conversation late at night. An empty bar, Guinness stout to slow me down. Making the most of my weekend. Stretching it out by refusing to sleep. Trying to keep the moment alive. Flirting with the waitress—out of respect, not for a date.
I miss reading a book until midnight. A glass of wine at my side. Not drunk, but maybe buzzed. Engrossed in my story. The household silent. My wife and kids sleeping. Content with my story and my drink. The cat sleeping against my leg. Both of us at peace.
My to-do list at work is out of control. Cross off an item, add three new ones. I came home wanting a reward for a well-fought battle. A condolence for losing the race. A cold beer. A glass of wine. But this feeling will pass. It always does. Until it does, I live with my memories.