The Running Of The Bulls

July 10, 2009 at 6:46 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
  What with Detroit being out of town and all, some people might think that I would be running wild with booze and hookers and gambling.
  Not so much with the gambling–I’m kinda cheap.  So not so much with the hookers, then either–or at least not the good ones.  I mean, why pay 1500 for something that you can get for 17.50 and retain a lasting memory of…as well as a lifelong STD?
  Left to my own devices, I would probably stay in and lay on the couch, pining away for my love and watching soft porn on Skinamax.  Of course, I didn’t have much to say about it.  Thursday night I found myself out with Mike from Domino’s.  The plan was, we were going over to a friend of his with some other guys, and watch a "documentary" that one of them had made:  footage from a home video of a "Mud-fest" a month earlier that I was invited to but couldn’t go.  This was the world premier.
  I met Mike at his wife’s work, Red Robin.  Also there was Chuck, whom I met for the first time.  Chuck is the guy that got me the dumpster for free.  He owns a large commercial roofing company.  I got acquainted with Chuck, and he turned out to be a regular, nice guy.  And a millionaire.  We sat there for a while and had a drink waiting for Mike’s wife to get off work so she could take the baby.  It had been a planned boys-night-out.  Finally we go, and we follow Chuck in his Hummer.  I drove, because between Mike and I, I had only one drink.
  We ended up in Fenton, which is the southwestern corner of the St Louis Metro area.  I live in the Northwest corner, so the travel time even at night is about 45 minutes total.  We get there, and it’s Tony’s house.  I met his wife first.  Very pretty, and I can’t remember her name but she looked oddly familiar to me.
  It was a big house house in a nice subdivision.  I would guess in the 3 to 400k range.  St Louis prices, not super-inflated California bullshit.  Downstairs was the guy room, well-appointed for the festivities.  We met Tony and also Jacob was there, or Jabba.  Jacob is the guy, if you recall, that was annoying to me when he visited Domino’s and he and his girlfriend were all lovey-dovey and and shit.
  Without his girlfriend, he was much less annoying.  Cool, even.  Mike’s wife had hooked us up with a large assortment of party appetizers from Red Robin, and we brought ice, and Tony had the Jack and Coke.  We were set.  Tony was a computer guy, a technology guy, and apparently he did pretty well for himself.  I talked with him later about that and got his business card, but in the meantime we enjoyed the fruits of his labor.
  He had quite a setup in the basement.  Big screen TV, not flat, but it was HD.  Rear-projection.  Complete HD setup with Multi-channel surround, and speakers all around, including in the ceiling.  While we got acquainted we played a few holes of golf on his Wii.  I could have fun with some of that shit.
  Playing as a Kilt-wearing Scotsman that Jabba made as a player, I made a 30-foot put.  As a victory dance he rode the pony.  I told them all at my wedding I wanted to wear a kilt, and I already had buy-in from one other guy.  Chuck said he would, if he was invited.  Mike said, "I’m in."  So, whether Detroit likes it or not, there is a theme for our wedding.
  I wanted to have the sense that I was out of my league here.  While not his station in life currently, Mike was a successful night club owner, and pretty damn well to do.  He has told me stories of how they would just grab a stack of cash and go out every night–hundreds of dollars or more every night they would just piss away.  Chuck, as I said, is a millionaire and owner of a large and successful roofing company.  I’m not sure what Jabba does, but even though he looks like a homeless Jesus on crack, he also seems semi-affluent.  And Tony–I could look at his lifestyle, house and location, and possessions, and play "guess the income."  It in excess of mine at least threefold.
  But these guys made me feel right at home.  Any friend of Mike’s was a friend of theirs, and they meant it.  They accepted me, listened to my BS, and I became a member of their secret society.
  And so we watched the movie.  Tony owns his own business providing professional IT services to small businesses, but his hobby is video editing.  He took HD video at this Mud-fest, and spent about 30 hours editing the hour-plus into a tight twenty five minutes with sound and music and some effects.  It was not over-done; it had a very professional feel to it.  Seeing mud fly off the spinning tires in the mud in HD was really just awesome.
  The video was These guys, plus Mike’s brother Steve and Jabba’s son Blake going to Mud-fest.  Chuck’s big four wheel drive pickup dubbed "The Grey Ghost" because of it’s off-white complexion was the star of the video.  Mud-fest is somewhere in southern Missouri, and several hundred vehicles with a few thousand people in them come down to just casually romp in the mud and water.
  It was a fun night.  I never got real drunk, just a little, and then it tapered off.  We took a few intermissions outside on Tony’s deck and had a smoke.  The middle-aged affluent men passed around a one-hitter.  It smelled sweet and I could have hit it…
  But I declined.  It has been a while since I got high, and it’s been much much longer since I gave it up for good.  This is not a path I want to go down again.  Luckily, since they weren’t teenagers, they didn’t apply the peer pressure.  Tony even came to my defense when Mike tried to push a menthol cigarette on me.  Menthol?  No way.
  Tony said, "He doesn’t want it, Mike.  No means no."
  I got to check out Tony’s impressive (computer) equipment.  He actually had two computer rooms in his basement.  One was for his hobby, his video editing room.  That one had just two computers and several monitors and some other equipment.  Another smaller unfinished room was full of computers.  I think about eight to ten towers.  Not all of them were hooked up, but Several of them were servers, all running.  One keyboard and monitor to switch between them.
  A funny thing about guys, when you’re friends you mean it.  I always hearken back to the cover of a Cosmo I read while in line at the grocery store.  It could have been over twenty years ago.  I never picked it up, never opened it.  But on the cover one of the teasers was, "Why Men Can’t Have Real Friends."  That’s always bugged me, even though I know it is just fluff and crap written to be filler between the ads and the porn (or one in the same) of the magazine.
  When you’re younger, you know, like in your teen and college years, you just hang out and have friends and never think that it won’t last forever.  As you get older and people move away, get married, get jobs, or become migrant workers, the reality begins to settle in that you should have hung on more dearly to your friends.  This came to mind as well, since I just found mine:  keep your address book updated, and never cross anyone out.  You never know.  You just never–
  My friends from my teen years I may never see again–I was thinking of looking up one of them.  My friends from college I realize now didn’t want to have much to do with me.  The friend I’ve had the longest is Bunny, and I’ve only known her for 18 years.  It’s funny, because when she talks to me about one of her other friends, she refers to her as her best friend.  But I am, too.  And not offended, because I know what she means.
  Unlike The Dude, who is also my best friend, but doesn’t like me to refer to Bunny as my best friend also.  So I do it just to piss him off, because that’s the kind of friend I am.
  What the hell was my point?  My point is this:  When you get older, you take care to cling more to your friends, and let them know what they mean to you.  Especially when you have a bunch of guys hanging out drinking.  It wasn’t a bro-style love-fest or anything, but the guys made sure each of them knew they were glad to be friends, relished the friendship and good times, et cetera.  It was kind of like a beer commercial.
  Cynical bastard that I am, I knew that even though they told me I was accepted into the group, I was still an outsider in terms of shared experiences and so forth.  However, Mike invited me out to the next Mud-fest, which I have tentatively agreed to go to.
  I did manage to have some one on one conversations with each one.  I tried to tell a few stories, too; however, not being used to the flow of the group, the may have fallen a little flat.  You have to know your audience.
  Chuck left first–he has a day job.  All four of us were going to go to a bar–a pastie bar–but Tony’s wife wouldn’t let him come out and play.  Jabba didn’t want to go unless Tony was going.  By the time (and if you’ve been around drunk people you know how this can be)–by the time we decided, after changing everything around several times and starting over, we were going to follow Jabba out of the subdivision, then Mike would guide us and Jabba would follow to the bar because it wasn’t far, and Tony would stay home…by the time we decided that, it was 1245 am, and the bar would be closing when we arrived.   We started making these plans about 11pm.  How does that happen?
  It was all for the best, I think.  Jabba did lead us out of the subdivision, then got on the highway.  We went back to Red Robin where Mike got his car.  I followed him until he got off on his exit, and then I had the long ride home.
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