duck-shaped pain

2000-10-12
Where I Drink Tiny Beers And Wander Around Looking For Some Guy

I suppose I could tell you about the things I actually did while I was in Denver, instead of just having a Big Angst Moment over it. It could even be considered courteous and polite to do so.

The "goal" of the trip, as much as there was one, was to find my mom an apartment. I'll tell you now, so as not to leave you hanging in suspense she didn't find one. I wasn't of much help, as she was looking in parts of the greater DenBoulMetroPlex [1] that I was less familiar with. She was looking mostly on the basis of price and number of rooms my preferred approach is to find a neighborhood I want to live in and find the cheapest place there. So we were calling landlords in Golden, Arvada, Castle Rock (!) all over the place. Nothing really panned out.

So there was nothing left to do but go shopping. I like malls less and less the older I get, especially when your only choice is the extremely lame one in this town. But, once in a while, they're okay. We went to the mall that I worked at for two years, back when I considered retail an okay career, back when I worked at the G*p. The only place I really wanted to go was the enormous kitchen store where I spent much time looking one of the few things that brings out the serious consumer lust in me: shiny expensive cookware.

I ended up getting a squeezable tube of tomato paste, something I had been looking for for ages, [2] and a book called World Food: Thailand. That was my big mall moment.

Back when the mall first opened, it had a big fountain in what was commonly referred to as its middle. Then, they put some sort of awkward benches and oversized, over-upholstered steps in. Since I left, they put in a lot of nice leather chairs and comfy couches, which I found to be an ideal place to sit down and write. Malls are underrated as places to get work done in maybe this wouldn't be so if more them had large leather couches and bound issues of The New Yorker strewn about for random perusal. You can look at people when you don't feel like writing, yet when you do, the commotion provides a nice level of white noise to tune your brain waves by.

After the mall, after dinner, after a good long bath, I went out with my friend S. for a while. We first went to the uptown branch of the coffee shop we'd both spent many years and hours and dollars hanging out in. I made them make me an americano, which is not on their menu there were no complaints. It was like being home again. S. surprised me by giving me a copy of the Brise-Glace CD I sold back in Portland. I hadn't been able to find a copy since, so I was glad.

After sitting around and talking for awhile, we decided to go to a bar. My favorite drinking hole, My Brother's Bar, was closed, so we had to think for a while about where to go. We decided to go check out this old, old bar on Capitol Hill called Charlie Brown's. S. called some people, and this guy P. we both know agreed to meet us there.

Mistake. It was karaoke night (S. assured me it was usually quite mellow there), so there was commotion everywhere. We tried to move around, but were kept from it by people who were rudely in the way, not to mention the enormous drunk guy who started patting S. on the head. We left.

P. wasn't anywhere to be seen, so we walked over to his house trying to find him. P. lives right next to an apartment that was occupied for a long time by J., a friend of mine known basically for two things: taking nude "art" photographs of girls in his bedroom and having the messiest apartment ever. The one time I was there, years ago, even I, as squalor-tolerant as I am, was shocked. S. and I were amused to find out that P. lived right next to it.

Finally, we found him, after much wandering. There was no examination of dumpster contents on the way, which was rare. Living there, you come to love the city's dumpster/alley system and its accompanying culture of finding neat unwanted things laying in or near them. Portland had no dumpsters or alleys essentially, that's what was wrong with it.

We headed over to another bar, only a block from where I used to live, called the Skylark. It was okay we got to see a man light some money on fire and watched some scary girl with blond pigtails (Heidi The Gutter Years) walk around and smoke.

The next day, I had pecan pancakes for breakfast. I could eat them every day of my life and I would be content.

Then, it was record shopping time. I swear, the thing that draws me back to the city will be decent record stores. Denver has plenty, which is surprising, given its complete unimportance to the modern recording industry. I only had time to go to Wax Trax, which, if you're only going to go to one, is the one to go to. I bought two Roy Montgomery CDs, Neu!2 and the LeTigre CD, which may or may not be any good. We'll see.

For lunch, I met up with S. again and our friend J., who had just finishes his shift at the downtown version of the coffee shop we went to last night. We went to one of my favorite downtown restaurants, the Wazee Supper Club, and had sandwiches and beers. Because it was only one in the afternoon, I ordered a glass of beer instead of a pint, and was roundly criticized for my wimpy choice. But, since we got several complimentary rounds from the bartender (a jewel of a person) after that, several glasses of beer turned out not to be not too wimpy after all.


[1] My friend S. recently became unable to refer to the DBMP or any of its individual parts by name, preferring to call it The High Plains.

[2] I am completely serious.

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