*The Pit Stop

There are certain times in your life that you will never forget. I’m talking about the kind of moments that affect you deeply. John F. Kennedy’s visit to Dallas, the space shuttle Challenger, and of course 9/11. When I woke up this morning my first thought was, “Oh…it’s too early to be awake.” However, other than my next thought being that I had to ‘tinkle’, my mind suddenly turned-on full blast, and I couldn’t help but think back to the day that I pulled into the Pit Stop Sports Bar and met Nancy.                                                                             
I am the type of person that is hard to read. First impressions of me are usually wrong. People will see my wild and crazy side in some bar and the next time we meet I’ll tell them the proper way to vacuum a rug. A couple of months ago I was driving around in one of the hottest cars in town. Now I ride the bus everywhere. These modes of transportation are worlds apart, yet both are me. This is exactly what happened to me the day I stopped into a sports bar on my way to get some auto parts. I have since forgotten why I first pulled in, probably that ‘having to tinkle’ thing. (Don’t get old, trust me.) But there I was early one morning. First impressions go a long way with me, and my first one was: “This horseshoe shaped bar is too big and open.” Customers don’t want to see the inner working of a bar. Give us a little mystery; make our drinks appear as if by magic.                                                                      
I sat down at the bar anyway because I was thirsty, and I’m sure it was at least 5 o’clock somewhere. (It was 8:00 am where I was.)  I had been up since early morning writing, so naturally a cold Pabst beer sounded great. I looked up to find an attractive young lady asking me if I was a Veteran. This is the point where my life was to change forever. No…this is not the moment I met Nancy. (Don’t jump ahead.) My answer to the question was “Yes”, and she proceeded to say, “Thank you for your service. Allow me to buy your beer.” My first thought was: “This bar hires mind readers.” How else would she have known that I wanted a free beer? I couldn’t help but ask her how she knew I was a veteran. “It’s Veterans Day you big lug!  I’m asking everybody” she replied. I still managed to feel ‘special’ in my own way because, after all, I did get a free beer.                                                    
As is usually the case, one beer leads to two, and…well, you see where this is headed. The place started to fill up with locals and everybody seemed to know each other. They were all very friendly, even to me. I decided to stick around. I mean, it’s not like I was in a hurry to buy auto parts and spend the afternoon under my car. Breakfast seemed like a good idea and they had one for only $1.99. I finished mine in short order, paid my bill, and started to leave…but then stopped short when I noticed something. (No it wasn’t Nancy. You’ve got to stop doing that.) I noticed that there wasn’t a penny in my change. I’m a curious type of fellow, so I asked, “Why no penny?” Well, it seems the bar doesn’t have any pennies in the till. The lady behind the bar went on to say, “We don’t carry dimes or nickels either.”  “Huh…” I said to myself.                                                        
Now, if there is one thing you need to understand about me it is this: complex mathematical theory, abstract concepts, even the meaning of life itself…all these things are easy for me. Why a bar would price a breakfast at $1.99 and not carry pennies, this I could not grasp. I decided to sit back down and have another beer; this was going to take a while.                               
My menu was still in front of me, so between sips of beer I gave it a look. I saw items for $6.95 and $5.90. Again, I couldn’t help but think, “Huh…no dimes or nickels either.”  The bartender was busy, but I managed to get her attention between customers and ask the following question: “Let’s say I come in five times and order the $6.95 sandwich, each time knowing that I’m not going to get my nickel that day. However, if I figure out a way to keep track, could I get a quarter on the fifth day?”  As is everything in life, timing is very important, and timing is something I never seem to have. The bartender proceeded to give me a look that was either: “You’ve got to be kidding…” or “This is your last beer buddy!”  I’ve gotten both these looks before and they always look the same.                                          
I could go on and tell you that I had already hatched a plan to create a punch card for all the dimes and nickels that people weren’t getting back, but I won’t. Why?  Because most of you are currently wondering, “What about Nancy?”  Patience, patience. This is a story after all and I haven’t forgotten the main topic.
                                                                       
Several more visits to this sports bar were to follow.  I even watched some sports one time.  All of the bartenders I met were friendly, very good at their jobs, and, did I mention, cute. (Yes, I’m talking about female bartenders.) They all had a smile for their customers, most of whom they knew by name. In a short while I too was being greeted by a “Hello Don, how’s it going today?” Regulars across the bar would strike up a conversation and I was beginning to feel at home. This was a new concept for me because for the last 25 years I have been hanging out clear across town at The Nob Hill Bar & Grill. (Conveniently located at 23rd & NW Lovejoy. Great burgers!  Tell-um Uncle Don sent you.) Now it seemed I had to make a choice between the two bars. I really can’t afford both; I’m not made of money. I’m retired.  You know, fixed income and all that. (‘sidebar’ This is the point in the story where I leave out the details about the other two bars I hang out in. Actually, three other bars and a tavern. The important thing is that Nancy might read this and get the wrong impression. We already went over the fact that I was hard to read, remember? OK!)                 
Now we get to that time in the story when I will truly reveal what I was thinking of when I woke up this morning, and that is: “Man, I really have to tinkle.” (Gotcha!)                                                                                 
Not to let you down and not wanting you to think I am forgetful, I am going to say what I feel about meeting Nancy. The simple truth is that I can’t put it into words. I have been trying all morning. I am not currently enough of a writer to fully explain how I felt. Maybe someday I will be able to put it down on paper…but not today.
Thanks, Don

 

“There are things known and things unknown…what lies in between are the doors.” By Jim MorrisonShare this:

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