About a month ago, two friends of mine came up with the idea of going to see the roller derby. I always want to do something new and different, so I figured I would go one time and see what it is about.
My friend suggested we buy tickets in advanced, and I laughed out loud, scoffing at the notion that something as obscure as roller derby would be sold out.
The joke, it turns out, was on me when the roller derby did, in fact, sell out a few days before the date we had all so carefully coordinated in our busy calendars.
But surely there was plenty going on around the city on a Saturday night, we speculated via group text.
I thought this was a prime time to introduce the idea of ax throwing at a place that I’d recently heard about and thought would be a lot of fun. Also a great way to get out some of that pent-up aggression, so really a win-win situation.
We checked into two different places and they were both fully booked.
Finally we settled on bowling. We would meet at the bowling alley in Capitol Hill and maybe grab some dinner after.
After the three of us actually met up in the crowded bowling alley, we found out it was a three hour wait for a lane. Three HOURS? To bowl? I rolled my eyes and turned away while my friend asked if we could put our name on a list.
We figured if we went out to eat and then to grab a drink we’d bowl a little later. That’s when the bowling alley man informed us that we had to stay on the premises. The whole three hours and not even have a lane. Just wait around for one.
No way. I was out. I don’t have patience in spades. It’s something I’m working on, and I’d actually quite like some more of, but I’ve determined people either have it or don’t and I may be past the age where I can gain more than I already possess.
On to the next plan. Boccee ball. We at least had the knowledge to call in advanced to see what the lane availability was. Is that what they are called? Lanes? I’ve never played so I couldn’t say for sure–and that didn’t change last night either as it was a two hour wait for bocce ball.
Roller derby sold out. Ax throwing fully booked. Three hours to bowl. Two hours to play fucking bocce ball. What in the hell was going on?
Dinner and drinks, we decided. We would just enjoy each others company since we hadn’t met up since before Thanksgiving. I always joke that the one friend who is 25 makes a comment every time we hang out that makes the rest of us feel old, and seeing as I hadn’t heard that happen yet, I knew our night had not quite come to a close.
But Capitol Hill is a nightmare on a Saturday evening. And after not getting seats in three different restaurants without a multiple hour wait, I announced I would be flipping a table in a rage at the next place that turned us away. But what did we expect?
We finally found salvage in a place called Montana bar that I’ve been going to for many years. Kind of dingy, but a great Moscow Mule on tap, and you can order food from other places and bring it into the restaurant. We grabbed a table and a round of drinks and then started planning what restaurant to get takeout from.
First we tried Kedai Makan. My favorite little Malaysian place around the corner, and it was over an hour wait for takeout.
Then I exclaimed that we should make it simple and eat at the tortas place next door. It was a window specifically for takeout. It was designed to be fast.
There was a sign on the door that they had an emergency and had to close for the night. Actually unbelievable.
We decided to give up our table at Montana and walk across the street to watch karaoke at a place called Hula Hula, because really, what makes me happier than judging other people’s singing and dancing abilities, even though I can do neither of those things myself?
I ordered some Hawaiian chicken sandwich sliders and a gin and tonic there, and we grabbed some prime seating to watch the train wreck begin.
Between the smoke and bubble machine, the effects made it worth our while.
A guy that looked just like Kenny G got up and sang and seemed like maybe he frequented the karaoke bar circuit routinely on a Saturday night.
I’ve also discovered the secret to good karaoke isn’t being a good singer. It’s choosing a song that gets everyone else involved.
So when one guy got up and started singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” I knew it would bring the house down.
He requested bubbles at one point and the smoke machine was out of control when he then yelled, “This goes out to Uncle Gabe!”
Was Uncle Gabe dead and this was some sort of tribute? Or was he just a really big Journey fan who needed some extra push to keep believing? It was hard saying, but I was sucked into the story and couldn’t look away.
Then there was the guy sitting next to us who was three sheets to the wind and got up several times under the name Fleet Wood to sing. He sang Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” to which my 25 year old friend announced she had never heard that song before. There it was. The moment that makes me feel old. The night had officially come full circle.
When Fleet sat down next to us and we gave him accolades, he announced that he was gay, and really wanted a man who had callused hands and was strong enough to bench press his body weight.
“Tell me about it.” I said, knowing it would get a laugh from everyone else, but not knowing that it meant the next step was to assess how callused his hands were.
“Look at these calluses–feel them,” he said, reaching his hand out to me.
It was then I knew our night needed to come to an end relatively soon.
So I went to the bathroom and waited for a stall to open up while listening to a theremin version of Gershwin’s “Summertime” floating through the room. Yes. That felt about right for the weirdness level of the evening.
As we left, we laughed, noting that even though it started as a train wreck, we definitely still find a good time wherever we go. If you have good company, a good time always manages to follow.