Posts Tagged ‘The Fan’

Years ago I lived in a really cool apartment building in the Fan with my fiance.  Along with my full-time job, I also worked a part-time job, and as I got to know some new hires at the part-time job I realized one of them had just moved into the same apartment building I lived in.  I asked her what she thought about the place, and she said she really liked it and liked the neighbors she’d met so far.  We chatted about a couple neighbors we both knew, then I asked if she’d met Joanna, who lived next door to me on the second floor.  Joanna was a sweet girl, short, with dark hair and a little bit kookie.  My fiance & I had nicknamed her Mrs. Kravitz (“Abner!!”) because she had a habit of peeking into our windows from the fire escape stairs and starting up conversations if she saw one of us.  When I described Joanna to my coworker, recognition dawned in her eyes.  “Oh yes, me and some friends met her and her boyfriend the other night.”

“Boyfriend?” I was confused.  “Joanna doesn’t have a boyfriend.”

“Well, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t just some random date.  They were very, VERY friendly with each other and certainly acted like they knew each other very well.”

Hm, that just didn’t sound right.  Joanna’s love life was a topic she often brought up when she came by the apartment, and she’d recently popped by just the past weekend and there was currently no guy in her life.

I decided to clarify.  “You sure it was the 2nd floor, and she was short, with dark hair?”

She nodded.  “Yeah, we were hanging out on the 2nd floor deck last weekend, and she and her boyfriend came out of their apartment onto the deck, they were pretty drunk and they were listening to old records.  It was funny because they started playing ABBA songs and they knew all the words, though to be fair we were singing along too.  A little later they all of a sudden started making out and then went back inside and I think they started going at it right there on the living room floor where we could hear them.”  She laughed.

Wait a minute.  Joanna lived behind us, in the back of the apartment building and didn’t have an entrance to the deck from her apartment.  Then it began to click.  Me & my fiance lived in the front apartment and we had an entrance to the deck from our apartment.  And just last weekend me & my fiance had fixed a kickass meal and drank several bottles of wine while we listened to old records.  One of which may have indeed been The Best of ABBA.  My fuzzy memory seemed to recall talking to some people out on the deck, but there was no light and it was quite dark so I didn’t remember their faces.

And… my fiance could also be described as short, dark hair, and kookie…

And lastly, I remember how the evening had concluded…

My face flushed a bright red.  My coworker looked at me funny.  “What?” she asked.  I didn’t know what to say.

“Nothing, nevermind.”

“Oh come on, don’t leave me hanging!”

It was inevitable that she’d figure it out eventually, with us being neighbors and all.  I suppose it was best to just get the embarassment out of the way now.

“That wasn’t Joanna that you met last weekend.  That was my fiance… and me.”

“What?  Oh…” it was her turn to flush red.  “Oh.  I see,” she arched her eyebrow at me and chuckled as we went back to work.  I think my blush lasted a full hour.

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It’s been quite the momentous week for me.  It started improbably enough last week after getting off from my part-time job super-stressed out and grumpy.  I’d worked all day at my full-time job, went in to my part-time job working at the local college campus, and had to deal with clueless rude teenagers for four hours.  I either needed some stiff drinks or some comfort food, and since I had to get back up early in the morning to go to work, I elected for food.  Some friends had recently raved about a place called Cookout, which used to be a Bullets burger joint up on Broad Street, and apparently they have insanely good food for insanely reasonable prices and stay open insane hours of the day and night.

Fastfood Nirvana

So I get there 11:30 on a Tuesday night and it was packed with people, choking the double drive-through and waiting in the walk-up line.  I decide to go up to the window to order, and as I was waiting someone tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I worked for the college (pretty much an ice-breaker question since I was in uniform).  She introduced herself and said she worked at the hospital and we mentioned names of people we knew that worked with the other.  Small world!  Anyway, she gave off this incredibly friendly, positive and smart vibe and was totally adorable, and after a little conversation I got her cell number to text her my number and name so we could be Facebook friends.

Now, for those new to my blog, a quick overview of where I am right now in my life socially—I’m recently divorced after being married for 12 years, I’ve got two kids and three jobs.  Even though I’ve been living a “bachelor life” for 18 months, I have practically no social time—I’m always either working, sleeping, or I am with my kids for visits.  I’m taking steps to change that—recently my ex moved into another house, I moved back in to our old house, and hopefully in the next couple months I’m going to get the placed fixed up so I can get a roommate.  That will let me cut back on the part-time hours I work and actually be available for social outings, having friends over to the house, and things like that.

What I found nice about my new Facebook friend is the possibility of expanding my social circles, which has been pretty static for a long, long time.  I mean, it’s possible I might not ever see her again, but then again maybe she’ll come to my housewarming party and bring some friends, or maybe she’ll invite me out to something she has going on out of the blue.  Who knows who I might get to meet through her down the road?  It’s just kinda nice to have that possibility open up out of nowhere.

So the next day I was in a great mood… and the Great East Coast Earthquake of 2011 hits, with the epicenter here in Virginia roughly 30 miles from where I work.  The ground moves, windows are loudly rattling, and I’m suddenly very aware of two floors of steel and concrete above my head.  I nab my cell phone and keys and make a beeline to the exit, and stand around with my coworkers in the parking lot, mildly freaked out by such a strong earthquake here in a state not at all known for earthquakes.  The last one we felt was 8 years ago that was considerably milder than that one, and that one was the first earthquake I’d ever felt here in Virginia.  No damage done, and life goes back to normal.

As the week moves on, I’m looking forward to Friday because it’s the birthday for one of my co-workers at my part-time job, and we’ve made plans to go out for drinks afterwards to celebrate her birthday, along with several other co-workers.  Now, I’ve tried to tag along for social outings with some of my coworkers ever since my ex and I split up, but just about all of them are considerably younger than me and I guess they don’t really see me as someone willing to go out and get down.  This time around though I manage to get in on the plot and am totally stoked when we get off at 11pm and all of us head over to Mulligans.  Turns out it’s karaoke night.

Uh oh…

All of my coworkers are excited about karaoke.  Another one of my coworkers who was off that night has already been at Mulligans for an hour or two and is ahead of us on the drinks, and on the singing.  He’s having a ball and getting everyone into the groove, being our de facto host, with his lovely and sweet girlfriend as hostess.

I’m a torn about the karaoke.  I have always had a pretty good case of stage fright and a long history of being bashful and shy.  I also love to sing and I’m not terrible at it.  In fact, right out of high school I was lead singer in a rock band for about a year and had a great time, in part due to the large amounts of alcohol I had to drink to beat back the stage fright and shyness.

I order a couple highballs — bourbon and ginger ale — and quickly drink them down.

There’s a book at the table that has a list of all the available songs and I quickly turn to the Rs to find R.E.M., my old standby.  There’s nothing from them in the book—what??  I flip through some more, trying to find other songs I used to sing in the band back in the day and don’t have very much luck.

Meanwhile our hostess is giving me requests.  She tells me she’s got some favorite songs that her boyfriend never sings for her, and asks me to sing them.  Fat Bottom Girls by Queen.  Yikes—Freddy Mecury is probably overly ambitious for my vocal range.  Maggie May by Rod Stewart.  Hm, I could probably pull that off.  Add It Up by Violent Femmes.

Now that is a fucking cool ass song!  Do I have the balls to get up and sing it?

Why yes, I had this on vinyl...

I order a couple more bourbons…

All my other co-workers including birthday girl have been up there and sung at least once.  I’m looking through the book some more, trying to hunt down something a bit safer, something I know I can nail.  My hostess is back at my elbow, giving me a super-serious look.  “You’re running out of time!  You need to get on the list.  Now!”

She’s gorgeous and young.  She’s got tattoos and a killer smile.  She wants me to sing her a song.

I scribble my selection on a slip of paper.  “What did you pick?” she asks me.  “It’s a surprise,” I say.  I drop the selection in the box, and go get one more drink.  Before I’m done my name is called.

Shit!  I run up on stage.  There’s a tinge of stage fright poking around the edges, but the bourbon’s provided enough liquid courage so that excitement is mostly what I feel.  Can I do it?  Can I sound at least okay?

Daaaaaay… after day….. I will waaaaaalk… and I will play

But the daaaaaay… after today….. I will stop and I will start

 Why can’t I get just one kiss?  Why can’t I get just one kiss?

There may be some things that I wouldn’t miss

But I look at your pants and I need a kiss

Violent Femmes– the crowd goes nuts.  Host and hostess and my coworkers are there cheering me on.  I think I’m getting the pitch right and trying to make sure I’m projecting but this is just such a damn fun song and I’m drunk and the music is awesome and I just roll with it.

I stumble a bit on the Oh, ma-mama, mama-mo-ma-mum parts but I recover nicely and the audience doesn’t seem to notice.  And then it’s over and I get the applause and the hugs and the back slaps and people telling me I sounded great.  Flush with praise and excitement, I scribble down another selection and give it to the guy, but about 10 minutes later it’s last call and they shut down the karaoke.

Well, shoot.  I get a large glass of water.  My evening is over already…

Or is it?  Most of my coworkers roll out quickly, but I’m talking with my host and hostess as we leave and some friends of theirs invite them to an apartment to continue the good times.  I’m surprised when the invitation is extended to me!  2:30 in the morning with a hurricane coming and I’m contemplating going to a Fan party?

I miss The Fan...

“Sure!” I say, and hop in the car with host and hostess.  Why the fuck not?  One advantage of being single, huh?

Going into the Fan apartment I’m flushed with memories of good times.  I lived in this area for a decade and went to many Fan parties back before marriage and kids.  Hardwood floors, tall ceilings, sparsely furnished with essentials—comfy furniture, TV, stereo, books, bed.  My empty hand is quickly filled with a beer and we talk about music and books and life and love.  We soon move out onto the back porch, and I’m grooving on the familiar small Fan yard, and the strong breeze, the air smells like the ocean as Irene’s long reach begins to gently lash at the trees.  Everyone is super-friendly and warm, lots of hugs and holding hands and welcoming body language… I love ‘em and they love me too, and my worries over being looked at as the weird single old-guy appear to be unfounded.  I kinda want this moment to last forever…

Coolest. Houses. Ever.

Finally, it’s time to call it night.  Host and hostess take me back to my car and I fire it up.  The clock tells me it’s after 4:30 in the morning.  Yowza!  I drive home in the quiet darkness, buzzing off love and warmth and good vibrations.  I get to the house, jump on Facebook to update my status…

…crawl into bed as the sky begins to lighten and the wind and rain pick up.  Irene approaches.  I think about how much fun that was, and the new people I met, and hope that perhaps my social circles widened just a little bit more and I’ll get to do this again.

So, had any interesting or unusual things happen to you recently, natural-disaster-related or no?  Share in the comments!

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