Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The signs we didn’t heed

Sign #1: On the crowded rooftop patio of Sidetrack on a beautiful Labor Day weekend afternoon, a huge group of guys suddenly got up from PRIME guy-watching seats and disappeared as fast as Tom Cruise’s fake baby.

Sign #2: The group of guys we walked past on the way to grab the good seats cryptically advised us not to make eye contact. But they didn’t say with whom.

Sign #3: A purse and a pair of tacky bejeweled flip-flops lay mysteriously abandoned in the spot the all-male Suri crowd had just fled.

But we sat there anyway. And within seconds it came at us us: Drunken Mess Woman, a besotted, barefoot little fireplug with a mane of overprocessed pre-Raphaelite tendrils and an apple-shaped midsection squeezed into tiny black stretch pants in a way that violated every decency and kindness-to-fabric code ever written.

She instantly declared herself our best friend, sipping our drinks, blathering on and on about her friend Shawn who would be perfect for us (all three of us, apparently), and moving from our arms to our shoulders to our laps with alarming speed.

I’m never comfortable around the chemically sloppy, so I clammed up faster than Tony Snow at an unscripted press conference. But my friends quietly tolerated her. For a bit. Then she got violent (well, as violent as a 120-lb lush can get). But she aimed her violence only at me (probably because at 6’1” and 195 lbs, I was the runt of our group), punching me in the shoulder for not listening to her unfocused ramblings and then trying to strangle me when I wouldn’t let her straddle me lapdance-style. I gently pushed her away the first two times, but when she lunged for the second strangle, I pushed her hard—just as the quieter of my two friends suddenly bellowed “That’s enough!”

She landed, stunned, on her butt and stared up at us like a kitten being scolded for peeing on the baby. My heretofore quiet friend quickly launched into a stern lecture, telling her she was out of control and a mess and it was time for her to leave.

And then we left, which was totally unfair because she still got the good seats on the rooftop patio—all because she was a drunken lush in an unfortunate outfit.

But that was the only low point of my holiday weekend (other than the part where it ended, of course). My friends, who were in town from North Carolina for a weekend of Chicago adventure, took my offer to be their part-time tour guide and stretched it to a three-day stint as their Third Amigo—we hung out practically from the time I met them Friday after work until I took them to the airport on Monday afternoon. Which was an awesome—but not entirely successful—way to distract me from the loneliness of my first whole weekend away from Romantic Date Guy.

Speaking of RDG, we have only two more weeks to endure until he’s back in Chicago. But through the magic of text messaging, email and cell phones, we’re still as nauseating as ever. We just don’t get to be as obvious about it.

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