Annabelle – Chapter 1 – Nice to Meet You

I get the bill. “The second one was on me.”

The title for the Annabelle series was going to be: “The Final Elegant Arc” but in light of what I’ve learned in the last year, I can no longer call it that. So I’m not going to call it anything.

My life has its moments of elegance and moments of pain, but it is far from final.

I was meeting ex-girlfriend Michelle (See: Michelle – 2007 to Present – Nice to Meet You) for brunch on a Saturday. She was getting her hair done in the morning and then we would do our usual Saturday ritual. I was early as usual and her hair appointment was running long. (That kind of amazing beauty takes time. Just happy we’re still friends!)

I stepped into one of the shittiest hotel bars I’ve ever been in. Just because it was a block from the hair salon. The Warwick Hotel is a beautiful place on 17th and Locust. They have a restaurant a coffee shop and a bar connected to the hotel. Prime Rib is a nice spot on Locust and Tavern 17 is at 17th and Chancellor. I’ve been to this bar many times before when friends would visit the city and stay at the Warwick. The drinks suck, the service blows, the management turns over on a semi-annual basis and the way the place is laid out is in a way where you can’t see anything. There are all of these large pillars or supports that are everywhere through the bar area, and you can’t see what’s going on at the bar. The bartender may not see you and you’ll have to wait.  You can’t find your friend, etc. It’s just a suck bar.

But I thought the number 17 would bring me luck. 17 is my family’s lucky recurring number. It is very prevelant in my father’s life and I thought there could be something there. Recently my friend Trish (See: Trish – 2011 to Present – The She Wolf) asked what my birthday was. I told her 8/9/62. She said,  “What’s 8 plus 9?” I responded…17.

I walk in a little hung over from the night before. The website I worked for at the time had a huge party the night before and we were all a little shattered from it. I walk in Tavern 17 around 1pm on that fateful Saturday. It’s empty and dark. Which for once I was happy about. Behind the bar was a very tall, fresh faced, slender blonde working the bar.

I swagger up to the bar and ask for a Corona. I introduced myself and run my usual program on her. “What’s your name, what do you like to do when you’re not working here?” She tells me her name, and says she’s a photographer as her full-time gig. The Corona is crisp and deliciously ice-cold. It’s actually just what I needed.

Something tall and golden that is no longer Michelle.

Annabelle seems nice and I’m making her laugh with my fatal charm. She’s 5’ll”. Taller and leaner than Michelle. We exchange business cards. I tell her I’ll check out her website. (Michelle is still way prettier though! Michelle reads this blog!)

I text Michelle and let her know where I am. I’m having a beer and she can just come here when she’s finished.

I crush the first Corona just to knock the edge off the day. Annabelle pops the cap from another and places it front of me. It’s just as good as the first. There is no one else in this shitty bar at this time of day, and she’s happy to have someone with which to chat.

She says she does a lot of head shots for local actors in the city. Annabelle is very connected with the local theater community here in Philly. She also does some wedding work as well. I’m assuming that pays pretty good. I can’t put and age on her but she looks to be about 24 or 25.

I’m feeling better now. Chatting with this tall blonde is good and the cold beer has reactivated the alcohol still in my system, giving me a gentle but effervescent buzz.

The door squeaks and the sunny afternoon light pours into the bar. Michelle enters the bar. “Oh, and here comes another charming and lovely blonde.” I say on cue. I introduce the two ladies and we have a laugh. “Your hair looks great, Michelle”

I get the bill. “The second one was on me.”

“Thank you, Annabelle!” I tip up to what the bill would have been and gather my stuff. We say goodbye to Annabelle and head out of Tavern 17 into the afternoon to have some delicious brunch and drinks.

Then we’d probably head back to my apartment and watch Netflix, sip wine, and smoke cigarettes. I’d be in my chair and she’d recline on my sofa.

I later checked out Annabelle’s website and reached out to her on Facebook, but nothing ever came of it. I didn’t ask her out on a date or anything. I may have asked if she ever wanted to meet for lunch or something. My usual gentle M.O.

But like I said, crickets.

When you meet someone like that, and it’s brief, there is a good chance they will quickly fade from your memory. I met tons of people back in 2012. I had a job that was 50% socializing. I didn’t forget Annabelle, but I wouldn’t see her again until a year later in 2013.

And it would be a whole new ballgame.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

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Spinner – 2001 to Present – The Broad Street Bullies

The funniest guy I know…

Before I start this one, I’m very proud to announce that I have reached  500 followers! That’s 500 more than when I started this journey 6 months ago. I want to thank each and every one of you for reading phicklephilly. Your comments and likes have been wonderful, and I try to respond  to all of you. I have so many more stories to tell and I hope that this blog evolves into what it ultimately should be. I’m documenting my past loves and my quest to find true and sustainable love here in Philadelphia.

But hopefully I begin to examine who I am and how I got here, and what made me into who I am today.

I’m glad you’re all on the journey with me, and it pushes me forward to continue and never give up!

Thank you one and all!

 

I have known Spinner for over fifteen years. He is the funniest guy I know. He has a brain that somehow can put together words, phrases and ideas faster than anyone I know.

He used to work for me back in 2002. He was hired as a bank teller at a branch I managed in Mt. Laurel, NJ. I started to notice how funny he was after a while. He and I developed a good rapport. One day Spinner just stopped coming to work. So our head teller fired him. I think he just hated working for the head teller who was an angry asshole. I liked Spinner, so I kept in touch with him.

We actually started hanging out. We’d go out to eat at the mall and girl watch together. He was really cool to hang out with because he had such a quick wit. He has the ability to freestyle comic bits at lightening speed.

I remember he came over to my house one time. He had a flyer that had information about an upcoming comedy show at Stockton State College. As I read it I saw that he was headlining and that it was a fundraiser for spina bifida. Then I saw that my name was on it as one of the comedians on the bill. I laughed and asked him what that was about. He simply told me that I was one of the funniest people he knew and that I would kill. I thanked him and told him there was a distinct difference between me and the other comics. I didn’t have an act!

Although I was terrified, I was still intrigued. I wrote some material and went out and did it. The thing with fear is, unfortunately you have to run toward it to overcome it, not away from it. That simple piece of advice given to me by an old friend, helped me overcome much of my lifelong anxiety disorder. Stand up is terrifying. Playing in a band is scary until you get through the first song and start rocking, then it’s awesome. But standing alone on a quiet stage with a spotlight in your face, and making people laugh is really hard.

So I did it. It was nerve-wracking, but also fun. The peals of laughter coming back from the audience from what you’re saying is similar to the cheers and applause you get playing rock. It’s just a little different high. I did well and somebody even shot a video. Spinner ended up transferring it to a VHS tape and gave me a copy. He said I was the best of all of the comics. I was so happy. But try to find something to play that tape on now!

I have since gone on to perform stand up in New York, and here at the Laff House in Philly. It’s all thanks to my buddy Spinner.

Sometimes we would go to the Tropicana in Atlantic City, and he would gamble. He likes roulette. I’m not a gambler, so I would just blow through twenty dollars and then drink and talk to women. Sometimes he would win a lot of money, but obviously, that doesn’t happen all of the time.

I moved to New York and didn’t see him as much anymore. But we always kept in touch. If I was around on a weekend to see my daughter, sometimes he’d hang out too.

But in the last year or two Spinner and I have reconnected and have been attending sporting events. I’m not a sports fan, but it’s really fun to go out with someone who is, and understands the game. Plus, as an added bonus the guy is a fucking riot.

Spinner is a huge baseball fan. He loves the Boston Red Sox. We’ve seen the Sox, the Phillies, and most recently a Flyers game. I have realized hanging out with Spinner why men love sports so much. It’s the competitive nature of the game. I love the exchange of power. If your team comes out and they trounce the other guys, it’s no fun to watch. But if we’re up and they take away our lead, it’s on! We have to fight to get it back to win. It’s very exciting to me.

I was never into hockey at all. It looked violent and moved too fast. Now, I love it. The talent of these athletes! Chasing and controlling that little puck all the while on ice skates! It’s such an intense and fast paced sport. Really good. I loved seeing that game and really want to see more. (The Flyers won after a sudden death tie. It was glorious!)

So hopefully this interesting and enduring friendship continues. I want to see more live sporting events! As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been better at maintaining relationships, but in this case Spinner, he has been the one that has kept us connected over the last few years and for that I am very grateful.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

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