Johnny R – 2009 to Present – Dive Bar Blues

Johnny came into town recently. I hadn’t heard from him the entire day, and was concerned he would bail. I had just come off an exhausting evening with a lady, and was pretty tired. I had to work at the salon all day and then go meet with him. I wasn’t burned out because I hadn’t drank or smoked anything the night before. She simply wore me out. “Junior achiever, had the old bull by the horns.”(As Steven Tyler would say)

I kind of was hoping he’d bail, but thought it better to text him. It was the end of my shift and he told me he had just arrived at Mcglinchey’s. Being Sunday afternoon, I knew even if we hung out neither of us would last long.

I lock up the salon and headed over. When I get there some seats had opened up at the end of the bar and I beckon him down. I love this place. The staff is surly, the jukebox is good, and the drinks are cheap and you can smoke in this bar.

Perfect.

Johnny’s not happy. So what else is new? He’s always a little disgruntled about something. Currently, he’s pissed that the bartender is hanging all the way at the other end of the bar chatting with her boyfriend.

The bar has somewhat emptied out. There are just small clusters of drinkers at the bar. The jukebox is blasting country music. Which just adds to Johnny’s rage. I don’t care for country music either, but that shit was relentless. He blames the guy that he assumes is the bartender’s boyfriend. She’s not our usual girl, but I can tell she knows us. Johnny is making his faces and doing his hand gestures of disbelief about the poor service.

“Dude, It’s McGlinchey’s!” I tell him. But it does seem way off tonight. It’s not busy enough for us not to be getting the attention that Johnny thinks we so richly deserve. The country hits keep coming and it is getting on my nerves too. I should go over to the jukebox and play a block of Lamb of God, but I don’t know if we’re going to be around long enough to hear any of it.

We have a few rounds and catch up. I tell him what’s going on with work, life and this blog. I even show him in my phone his first chapter. He becomes suddenly giddy and loves that I’ve included him in my story. But, he’s still sore about the poor service and shitty music. “I have an idea. I’m going to hit the head. Be right back.” He says.

I’m still feeling a bit worn out from the previous nights nocturnal exploits. But this always happens. I’ll just go to bed early tonight and be as good as new tomorrow.

Johnny returns from the bathroom with a twinkle in his steel-blue eyes, and a spring in his step.

“Well this is a change in attitude. Did you meet a guy in there?”

“Ha ha. I just did a little bump of coke.”

“Oh nice. Maybe you’ll be in a better fucking mood now.”

“You look a little tired. Want some?”

“I’m good, Johnny, but thanks.”

I like Johnny on either adderall or coke. Stimulants help him focus and actually sober him up a bit. He’s Irish and he loves his Bud bottles. If he has a little something extra, it sustains him at the bar longer. However, things aren’t improving at our beloved McGlinchey’s tonight. I’ve had a couple of $2.60 glasses of wine with ice and he’s throwing back the beer and coke, but the vibe is off due to the music and poor service. Normally this is a bar we’re happy to camp out in for hours on end, but it’s just not happening.

I tell him we should leave and go to one of my favorite spots. He’s fed up as well and agrees. We cash out and hit the trail. The better bar is only about four blocks away. He’s complaining about the cold and doesn’t want to be out in it too long. I assure him he won’t die of frostbite. Plus his nose must already be frozen from the blow.

We get there and take a seat at the bar. Totally different vibe. Warm and happy. The bartender comes over to greet us with an open hand. Roman is one of my favorite bartenders in the city. There are better mixologists with more knowledge in the city, but Roman brings personality and creativity to his bar. He’s part of the experience and makes everyone feel welcome.

Johnny is happy when Roman hands him an ice-cold Bud bottle. It’s a nice upscale place, but there is something for everyone. Roman is letting me test out some new cocktails, and Johnny is feeling much better. After a while I no longer feel as tired as I did earlier. Just good energy flowing from all around.

Johnny’s girlfriend calls him. He thought maybe she’d be picking him up but she says that she’s not. He’s usually in two different places with Rachel. Aggravated or frustrated. They’ve been together for over eight years and that seems to be the way they love. Who am I to judge? Johnny talks about writing a blog again. I tell him, I’m not going to bring it up again. He says he has all of the information in his head. He just needs to let it out. It’s easier than ever to release your thoughts onto the page. The trick is to actually do it. Thinking a lot of great and wild thoughts is cool, but actually bringing them forth is quite another, and no easy task.  I think if Johnny would make the time, and could be on the right cocktail of drugs and alcohol, he would write some fucking great shit. But the only way to do that is to sit down and write.

Write everyday if you can.

After a while, we’re both feeling good, but Johnny needs to get home and feed his cats. He says that maybe the coke will put him in the mood to write. I don’t mind if he never writes a word. I just enjoy having him in my life as a friend. I know you were hoping we’d get into some vice this time, but again, we have behaved ourselves.

Maybe we’re both just getting older.

 

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Church – 2013 to Present -Seizure Salad

I’m sitting in my go to bar with Church. It’s our spot and it’s what we do. He’s sipping a Sailor Jerry and Coke, and I’m having my usual Chardonnay with a side of ice. He orders a salad and I go with the sliders. There is a couple a few seats down from me to my right. I know the guy, his name is Brian, but I don’t know the lady he’s with so I wave but don’t approach. He could be working.

On the left of Church, is a brunette in her thirties and an older gentleman. Looks like a lawyer. We don’t really pay any attention. We’re chatting and doing our thing.

Daphne rolls behind the bar and says hello. She tells me it’s a slow night. Not much happening. She goes back to her hostess stand and it’s just another night in paradise.

Suddenly, the woman who was sitting to Church’s left, goes off the bar stool and hits the floor. Normally, I’d call that Thursday night.  We see so many banged up people around the city losing their shit. But this woman was having a seizure. People within visual range are shocked and the bar goes quiet.

I point to the phone on the wall, because the bartender on duty didn’t see one of her patrons suddenly vanish from the bar. “Liz, call 911.”

She starts dialing. Church, with his cat-like reflexes, springs into action and goes from sitting next to me sipping a drink to all the way around the other side of her on the floor holding her head to keep her steady. I get down there and untangle her leg from the lower rail of his bar stool. I have the legs. Church is focuses on the poor woman’s head. She’s thrashing about, and Church is barking commands to those around him. He’s literally single-handedly coordinating the effort to help save this poor woman, and keeping her from injuring herself further.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but Church was formerly a Corpsmen in the United States Navy.

A Corpsman works in a wide variety of capacities and locations, including shore establishments such as naval hospitals and clinics, aboard ships, and as the primary medical caregivers for sailors while underway. Hospital corpsmen are frequently the only medical caregiver available in many fleet or Marine units on extended deployment. In addition, hospital corpsmen perform duties as assistants in the prevention and treatment of disease and injury and assist health care professionals in providing medical care to sailors and their families.

They may function as clinical or specialty technicians, medical administrative personnel and health care providers at medical treatment facilities. They also serve as battlefield corpsmen with the Marine Corps, rendering emergency medical treatment to include initial treatment in a combat environment. Qualified hospital corpsmen may be assigned the responsibility of independent duty aboard ships and submarines; Fleet Marine Service, SEAL and Seabee units, and at isolated duty stations where no medical officer is available.

Yea, pretty bad ass. That’s the guy you want next to you when somebody takes a header at your favorite bar.

She’s making what almost sounds like barking sounds, and staring wildly about. He’s got a good hold on her. He’s talking to her. But mostly he’s trying to keep her from bashing her face into the wooden wall of the bar. The bartender comes around, and some others have gathered. I grab a cloth napkin and ask if we need to put it in her mouth. I always heard that epileptics could bite or swallow their own tongues. Church says, no. He knows what he’s doing and has the situation well under control.

She seems to be calming down. I look over at the guy who was with her. He’s just standing there staring, and looking uncomfortable. The paramedics come and stabilize her. I feel so bad for her. It’s the holidays, and she’s out for a drinks and this horror befalls her. They get her onto the gurney and roll her out. The police are there and also ask some questions. Church is on point, he gives law enforcement the full report.

They also speak to the guy she came in with. He says he doesn’t know her very well. He met her over at DelFrisco’s steakhouse, and then brought her over here for a drink. That’s a big lawyer hang out. Not my scene. This guy didn’t do anything to help or comfort her when she had the seizure, and he didn’t go to the hospital with her. I don’t care if you just picked up the chick in a bar. Lady falls down, you go to the damn hospital with her. I’m thinking that weasel was married and didn’t want any problems. How would he explain to his wife that he was at the hospital with some other woman? I may be wrong, but I got the vibe something was definitely shady about that guy.

We go back to our seats at the bar and have another drink. Church is pissed because somebody was telling him to turn her head when she was foaming at the mouth and that’s not what you’re supposed to do. Me, I was just glad the lady was okay.

Daphne came over to chat and get a recap. I tell her what I know, and tease her.”You had to say it was a slow night and that nothing was happening, and look what you did, Daph…”

“I know, right? Me and my big mouth.”

Indeed…

 

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Emily – Super Baby Sister

Emily is a sweet young girl that works at one of my favorite bars. She is 22 but looks like she’s 15. She does a little bit of everything there. Bar back, hostess and server. She is really a nice little person and I always make a fuss over her. I started calling her “super baby sister” because she’s so cute.

I met with her recently at McGlinchey’s for a drink because I told her about this blog and she says she wanted a chapter. Normally I don’t tell the people about the blog because I am going to be writing about them. But Emily wants the attention. So she’s in.

I get to the bar and order my usual. Whatever the house white wine is with a side of ice. The beauty of this filthy bar is a few things. That glass of wine costs $2.60. You can smoke in this bar. The jukebox is good, and the staff is surly. The bathrooms are so gross. No doors on the stalls, so if you have to go number two you have to go next door to Jose Pistola’s, climb the steps to the third floor to take a dump in a private clean restroom. Mcglinchey’s bathrooms are so covered in graffiti I don’t even know what color the walls were ever painted. I describe going to the restroom at McGlinchey’s as if you are playing the game “Operation.” What’s the one rule in Operation? “Don’t touch the sides.” But I love that bar and have had some great memories there. Especially with my pal Johnny R.

Emily arrives and climbs up on the stool beside me. She is immediately carded. She pulls out her passport. I think this is odd, but maybe she doesn’t drive. It’s a city. Some people just don’t. She looks adorable. I bought her a pack of Marlboro 27’s  and hand her the pack. She’s very grateful because that’s her brand and cigs are expensive now.  I think part of me invited her out because I love young women. I purposely invited her out to Mcglinchey’s because I like the idea of a middle-aged man sitting in a shitty dive bar drinking and smoking with a girl who appears to be a teenager. Think what you like but that’s what I wanted to do. I’m not going to do anything to her, but I’d like to. And I’ll do it again. But nothing will happen. (Don’t worry, loyal readers, I have integrity, I’m Lorelei’s Dad.

Emily is from a small town in Pennsylvania. She is attending college here in Philly, and is in a co-op program there. She currently works at an event planning company part-time. She wants to do that for a living when she graduates. She wants to plan large-scale musical events and concerts.

She told me that she got into a relationship with a guy within a few months of entering college. They were together for a few years, but she said after a while he went schizo. That seems odd how a person would suddenly go schizo but I suppose anything is possible. Mental illness takes many forms. I know a half a dozen women that have heads full of bad wiring.

But they broke up and she was really sad. She says she suffers from anxiety and depression. I tell her I’ve suffered with both of those things my whole life. The artist’s spirit, my father used to say. I console her and tell her ways of working through your fear and sadness without drugs and alcohol. It’s a tough road to hew.

She orders a Jack and Coke and tells me that her co-op job won’t renew in the next semester so she will be working more at the bar where I see her. I tell her I have some good contacts at Live Nation, The Electric Factory, and Steezpromo. She says she’ll send me her resume and maybe I can help her get a gig at one of those places. I got my daughter Lorelei her last two jobs so I can probably help Emily too.

Emily says depression and alcoholism runs in her family. That’s pretty common. But recently she was busted for DUI. She lost her license for 90 days and had to pay a fine. She also had to take some AA related classes. She says she learned her lesson and she will never do it again. I hope she sticks to that. I tell her a few of my drunk driving stories to let her know we’ve all done it but you really should never get behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking. There are so many other options especially now in this city. UBER, Lyft, Septa, and taxis.

She says she likes to drink and hopes it doesn’t become a problem. I tell her it’s easier said than done. Alcohol is a wicked mistress. She says she hasn’t been having much luck with men since the break up with her ex. I ask her what’s she’s been up to lately. She says she hangs out with guys and they are usually drinking and she hooks up with them. She wants sex too, but she says then that’s all they want her for.

“They just treat me like a I’m a piece of meat.”

I think that’s terrible. I tell her she’s going about it all wrong. If a boy really likes you he will court you. He will take you out on proper dates. He will do thoughtful things for you. He will take you to the movies and dinner and enjoy doing things with you. If romance develops, then you will have mutual feelings for each other. At some point if you are both ready, you both agree that you want to celebrate your mutual desire for each other and celebrate that with the exchange of sexual pleasure.

I mean that’s life right? We all want that.

I know that sounds textbook, but it’s a fact. Sure, we’ve all hooked up with people in our lives. I was in three bands. I’ve had tons of tail handed over to me and I’ve relieved a few ladies of the burden of their virginity. But I was always  gentleman.

I tell Emily that she is a lovely, smart young woman who has her whole life ahead of her. Sure she gets horny, but I told her she has great value and deserves to be treasured. She has to resist her urges even if she really likes a guy and hold back.

I tell her my Tao of Steve mantra: “You always want that which retreats from you.”

Be inaccessible. Be a little allusive. It’ll make him want you more. Be unavailable. Don’t get right back to him when he texts you. Seem busy with your life. Don’t make him the center of your universe. You’re busy. You are the Sun. Until he proves his worth, he is merely a planet to you.

I tell her to stick with this advice and she’ll make better decisions. She agrees and tells me she has a date with a guy, that she met through a co-worker at the bar. I tell her that’s a good start and make sure he locks down a date and time and takes you somewhere nice to get to know you better.

Hopefully I helped her and I look forward to hearing more about how her life is going when next I see my Super Baby Sister.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

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