Monday, April 2, 2012

Booze, Bikes, Breakin' The Law; Another Greasy Weekend.

It's not necessarily the fact that weekends are greasy or that there are greasy things things to do, it just seems that being greasy in general on any given weekend gives rise to ridiculous situations. It can be acceptable to hang around with nothing but like-minded individuals, but one can't be anti-social and avoid leaving the enclave of one's own home for fear of ridicule or harassment by law-enforcement. Of course taking a ride on late night public transit seems to almost be asking for it.

I often wonder wonder if other types of cats get harassed by total strangers. I don't ever recall hip hop attired goofs with shaved heads ever having to endure catcalls in public such as ,"Hey Eminem!". Considering the over- abundance of hipsters, I am more than a little surprised that I have never heard anyone challenging them to a 1920's-style match of bare-knuckled pugilism. To make matters worst, in this city hippies seem to garner some sort of misplaced reverence, as if their layers of rags and half-assed philosophy give them some sort of special insight and maybe deep discounts on tofu. Maybe I am being paranoid or maybe the fact that all my greaser buddies are way bigger than me, but weird shit just seems to happen.

A friend of mine recently found a new spot to have a monthly Rockabilly Record hop. This is in addition to a monthly night featuring bands which I have described in detail in the past. You know the ones: the strange Saturday nights where drunken cougars want to touch our hair and inevitably fall on their ass while attempting to drunkenly jivedance. I am not saying that this was going to be any different, but this was to be held in a semi-private bar at the rear of a restaurant, so the weirdness might be kept to a minimum.

I met up with my buddy early in order to give him a hand setting up the equipment. It was quite a drive to get to this place. It wasn't quite the suburbs, but not quite the city. It was just far enough from downtown to almost guarantee funny looks just for showing up. We showed up incognito in a mini van. This was not done on purpose, but out of necessity. My friend's '46 Ford had an unfortunate run-in with a Toyota and the front right fender was pretty mangled. I am pretty sure the Toyota didn't survive and I suspect that my friend is holding off on repairs because doing body work on metal that thick is like trying to fix a tank. Pesky Toyota,  that'll teach it.

Ruminations about the laws of physics and kinetic energy aside, we finally arrived at our destination. This part of the city is quite old and the ancient building didn't have a back door. It turns out that we would have to haul the huge speakers and other gear right through the packed restaurant in the front of the building. One greaser waking through there raises eyebrows; two turns heads but two greasers hauling heavy speakers, straining under the weight as their wallet chains wildly swing from side to side definitely rate as a commotion. I can only surmise people's reactions as the evening progressed as a steady stream of greasers, hot chicks and vintage-clad people rolled back there never to re-emerge. I don't think there was any ill-will, the crowd seemed a bit older and if anything, I sensed bemusement. In a part of town where mullets and dirty track pants prevail, it might have been an entirely new experience for some of the folks there.

The evening went well as people enjoyed drinks while great tunes were playing. The seclusion of the back room and the private party feel made people feel at ease without any undertones of elitism. A few drunken cougars from the front did eventually find their way back there. The two parts of the establishment shared the same bathrooms, so I assume that on their way to the facilities the siren-song- like quality of the music enticed them back there. I suspect, though, that is was myriad of greasy haircuts. One spoke to me and was tempted to touch my hair, but knew enough to not actually touch it. I told her that her hands would get all greasy anyways to which she replied that she might like that better ( insert prolonged shiver here). Then the inevitable and abrupt time that all the folks who lived in the city had to contend with had arrived; it was last call for the last train.

We have an elevated subway/loser cruiser here in the city that while quite efficient, can be trying at the best of times. It gets exponentially stranger and annoying late at night. Years ago, I took a wrong turn in New Jersey late at night and searched in vain for the Lincoln tunnel. This eye-opening experience was disconcerting, but at least I was in a car. If you miss the last train in our own mini-version of Jersey, you are, to say the least, screwed. Cabs are hard to come by and few are willing to dead-head back from the city. Some of the more unscrupulous cabbies might sense your disorientation or desperation and take advantage. Either way you're looking at a 60 dollar ride. The only alternative is to take the lurch-mobile before one am and endure a short, but brutal ride.

Having caught the second to last train , I found myself alone. The overly-efficient waitresses had plied me with many staff-priced beers, so I was feeling a little lurchy myself. I wasn't quite hammered, but just enough to make me want to get this over as quickly as possible. Even though the distance is rather far, the train makes quick work of it and the ride lasts no more than 20 or 30 minutes. As I sat on the rock hard seat, I just stared at the floor. The interior light reflected on the windows and made it impossible to see outside. This when I started hearing " John Travolta" " Grease". I thought that I had had too much of the extra-cheap draft beer, but as I looked up I perused three louts simpering at me. They were dressed fairly well, but I couldn't figure if they were drunk, on drugs, just really fucking stupid or all three. They tried to engage me in some pointless conversation while they seemed to mock me and through all the yammering was able to gather that they lived in 'burbs and were going to town. Maybe they wanted to get a rise out of me. I couldn't really tell which. Even in my inebriated state, it seemed that I still had the ability to placate morons. My stopped finally arrived and I got off without incident. As the haze momentarily cleared, it dawned on me that these guys truly were morons; they were on the second to last train heading into town at one o'clock in the morning.

As I awoke more or less early the next day I thought about the previous night's encounter. As I finished my coffee I was still at a loss to explain it, but knew that the catalyst was the leather jacket and the greasy pomp. I was slightly annoyed at the fact that a man can't take a train home without being harrassed by three bonheads and was reminded of a few similar past incidents. I could carry a knife, but in these parts that usually lands you in jail. Next time I go out there, maybe I'll just steal a fish out of the kitchen before I leave. Some piece of shit would taunt me and I would menacingly reach into my jacket. The other dude would tense up and I would whip out that that fish and fish-whip him right across the face. No tough guy in the world ever expects to get hit in face with a fish.

All fish induced fantasies aside, I noticed that, after an all too long absence, the sun was actually shining. I figured that this would be great reason to go for a bike ride and a thinly-veiled excuse to have some beers as well. I got cleaned up, did my hair and pulled out one of my custom bicycles. I decided to get some espresso on a popular strip and enjoy the sun for a while. The authentic Italian place where I get my coffee is mainly populated by mainly retired old Italian guys. The funny part is that some of them actually have the same haircut as me, no doubt unchanged since the fifties.

My bikes  usually seem to garner a lot attention from these men and they all know me. As I sat down with my coffee I was engaged in small talk with two of them as I answered questions about my bike. I then spotted a friend of mine walking towards the patio of the bar that was kitty corner to the coffee shop. This particular friend of mine is working on a pilot of a show that pertains to kustom kulture and should the show get picked up, it could be one of the coolest things on TV. I called him on his cell phone and he hadn't spotted me. I told to him look a cross the street as I waved. In this age of texting that doesn't seem to happen all that often.After a good chuckle, he invited me across the street for a beer, I was done with coffee and figured it was beer time, so off I went.

My bike was parked on the sidewalk, so I walked it to the crosswalk. I literally had 50 or 60 feet to go, but I decide to ride the short distance. As I pulled up to the patio to greet my friend, I heard a stern voice behind me. A cop on a Harley had rounded the corner and was calling to me. The patio was right up against the sidewalk, so I had to maneuver my bike onto the street to see what the waiting cop wanted. It turns out he wanted my driver's license. Yep. Nailed again for not wearing a bicycle helmet.

The patio was packed with patrons and they eagerly observed the exchange. It must have been a ridiculous sight; a cop on a police-special Harley with a chopper bicycle right along side it. I couldn't get out of the ticket, it's provincial law and I can't do much about it . It also seems that city is cracking down on such dangerous scofflaws as jaywalkers and cyclists without helmets. At one point the cop glanced up at my hair and jokingly said that I didn't really need a helmet, he thought it was funny when I told him that it was water-proof as well. The ticket was only 29 bucks ( which is still a lot of beer) and the cop was actually being cool about it. The truly entertaining part was the aftermath that ensued when the cop left; everybody who had witnessed this was absolutely outraged. I spoke to most of them and they seemed to admire my sense of humor about the whole ordeal  and seemed a lot angrier about it than I was. I was glad to get the sympathy though, and a few of those fine folks even bought me a beer. When I finally got to sit with my buddy, he was still chuckling about the whole situation. He was also kicking himself for not having a video camera. That whole scene would have been TV gold for his show. Hell, you can't make this kind of stuff up.

After parting ways with my buddy, I decided to take a cruise down to my barber's for a bit of a neck trim. I also wanted to regale him with the details of this incident because I knew he would enjoy it. We had a few beers at the barber shop as I made sure that I had the copy of ticket on me, so I wouldn't get another one. I took leave of buddy and decided to keep riding. I had a few beers by the water where the seaplanes take-off and land, but the smell of aviation fuel and noise made it hard to concentrate. I rode further east to a secluded rocky beach and had a few more beers in the sunshine.

I thought about the afternoon's events and eventually came to a conclusion. " I'll wear a damn helmet when they make one in the shape of a pomp!".

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