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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Charlene – Spiritual Innocence

Another tale of one man’s journey navigating his way through the dating scene in Philadelphia.

I was walking down the stairs from my building to Suburban Station. I don’t even remember why. There was a bunch of people coming through and I held the door for a group of ladies that were coming down behind me. This one attractive black woman wearing a hijab and a tunic was very appreciative that I was holding the door for everybody. She thanked me and actually stopped to chat. There seemed to be a very simple instant connection.

Charlene is obviously Muslim. We chatted awhile and I think she felt surprised that we were connecting. But she is very nice and has a pretty smile. I’ve had two girlfriends in the past that were black. I look forward to telling you those stories on here at PhicklePhilly. So we chatted and I exchanged numbers with her. I thought we could meet for lunch and I could get to know her better. I have had almost zero contact with any Muslim women. They simply don’t socialize with anyone outside of their circle. Someone once told me that if you saw a woman walking around in a burka that meant her husband was in jail, because once a black man entered the penal system he usually joined the Muslims that were already in the can. But frankly I think that might be bullshit. If anyone knows the reason, please send me a message or leave a comment.

There was some texting but nothing concrete. Apparently she had been laid off from her job and that’s why I met her at my building. There was some sort of job service, career training agency on the 2nd floor. They had so many people going there everyday, that the building gave them access to their own elevator. Which ironically, when you saw who the majority of people who were going to the job center, it almost felt like segregation.

A few weeks passed and I ran into her again in Suburban Station. We went to the food court at Comcast and had a nice little lunch. It was obviously noisy but we didn’t mind. We were happy just to be sharing a meal.

Charlene seemed fascinated with me in general. She kept asking why a businessman like myself would be interested in her. I told her it didn’t matter. She seemed sweet and nice. She took my hands across the table and looked at them, turning them over to look at my palms and feel them. It was as if this was her first physical contact with a caucasian man. But I kind of liked the attention. We decided to make a date. I asked her if she’d like to see a movie with me on the weekend. She has two daughters, like eight and thirteen. She said if she could get a sitter we’d go out.

This was some groundbreaking stuff for me. All I’d seen of her was her face and her hands. That’s it. The rest of her was completely covered up. I asked her if she was always Muslim and she said the last man she was with was so she got into character. She had expressed that she was debating whether to go back to wearing her regular clothes. But that’ll be her choice. When do you ever see a white guy walking down the street holding hands with a black muslim woman? I’m going to go head and say never! I asked her why she was no longer with that man and she said he was too controlling.

Insecurity is a bitch, guys. Believe in yourself and trust your woman.

So I told her I had to get back to the office and she had to go as well. I walked her up the steps and into the vestibule on 16th street to say goodbye. That’s when I took her face in my hands and kissed her on her soft full lips. She seemed surprised but I saw a green light, so I went for it. She smiled and I could tell it was all okay. I told her I’d be thinking about her and that I’d see her soon. It was a pretty bold move to kiss a black Muslim woman on the lips in public.

But fortune favors the bold.

That Saturday I set up where we were to meet. We were going to see “Meet the Patels.” A wonderful film by the way. See it. It was playing at the Ritz theater in society hill on Walnut Street. I love the Ritz theaters because they always show quality films and it’s quiet and full of responsible adults. Plus the seats are really comfy.

Charlene was driving in, and she seemed to be really struggling to find her way into the city. I was on the phone with her and it was very stressful for both of us. I’m a stickler for being on time when I go to anything related to the arts in any way. And when I say “on time” I mean 15 minutes early. Anyway,  we finally got her there and made it into the movie.  We got some popcorn and settled in the back of the theater and watched the film.

It was a bit of a chilly day. Overcast I remember. After the film we walked around Society Hill a bit. She was a little chilly so I put my coat around her. I was still wearing my signature blazer so I was fine. Normally I’m impervious to the cold so no worries there. We sat down on a little bench and chatted. There was some kissing and cuddling but she was getting cold and it was late so we headed back to her car. More kissing and grabbing ensued. She even said things like “when we have sex” and great things like that. So this was all very exciting to me. She was kind enough to drop me off in Rittenhouse.

There is something simple and sweet about Charlene. She isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but I would rather spend time with someone who is genuinely a nice person than some one that is smart but not a nice person. I’ve met plenty of those assholes. We all have. But there is something to say about the simplicity of Charlene. She’s really happy to spend time with me. There are many things she doesn’t know or understand, but she doesn’t really need to know all of that stuff. She works at her job, and takes care of her house and her two daughters. (Whom I have not yet met.) I kind of like that she seems proud that I’m interested in her. She also seems a bit submissive which is refreshing. Sometimes it’s nice to just spend time with someone who never says shit like “My kind of crazy…” or “I’m a raging feminist.” I think Charlene is the kind of girl who is just happy not to be controlled by some insecure man. She really feels special when you take her out and is very appreciative. It makes a man feel good that he’s with her. That’s rare these days.

So I kept in touch with her but schedules were off so I didn’t see her for a while. I don’t know if I reached out to her or if she to me but I remember speaking with her on the phone. She seemed upset. When I inquired what was wrong she said that they were somewhere and somehow her thirteen year old had gotten in her car and started it and smashed into something. Her kid was fine but that is some alarming shit. She said that she couldn’t deal with her eldest daughter and she wasn’t listening to her anymore. I’m thinking regardless, how did the kid get the keys? I think she wanted me to give her some assistance, but I couldn’t do that at the time. I don’t know if she didn’t have anyone to turn to or what, but I couldn’t do that. I mean, we’d had lunch together. I took her to the movies. I can’t be giving her $500 to fix her front end. I’ve paid out so much in my life, it just didn’t make sense. I like to help people and I’ve been described as a giver, but it was just too early in the game.

I still liked her and was sorry I couldn’t help but that sort of puts you off a person for a bit. But she was still on my mind because she was such a sweet gentle woman and I was attracted to her!  Some months went by and she texted me out of the blue. That was two weeks ago. We’re supposed to meet up for lunch again soon so I’ll continue this saga then. If she doesn’t bail.

Update: She got a job! She had a work conflict so she couldn’t come down. Maybe we’ll go out again sometime.

 

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

I publish new Dating content every Monday at 9am EST. I publish Updates and bios and stories about related characters, such as male and female friends and acquaintances on Wednesdays at 9am EST.