Last night we had the bean sales party to celebrate our week of pushing off more expensive coffee beans on customers than our other store or the three locations downtown. We met at Bazbeaux for pizza at 6 and everyone managed to talk me into going to the AlleyCat afterwards for “just one drink.”

One of our co-workers was at least five sheets into the wind when he arrived, pounded down at least six beers at dinner, and ordered two or three shots for everyone on top of the other three beers he had at the Cat. While we were eating he sat next to me and proceeded to complain about being surrounded by vaginas. He’s one of only three guys who work with us, and the third guy just started last week, so he didn’t come to dinner. Our friendly drunk also pointed out, very loudly several times, that I was the only girl there who knew anything about sports and while I entertained him with my knowledge of the big Michigan loss on Saturday, he kept talking to me about the Cubs. I know nothing about baseball. I hate baseball, actually.

He and Annie had a minor confrontation which I can’t explain because I don’t understand why he got mad, then we headed over to the AlleyCat. I ordered a cosmo which I managed to nurse for a full hour without anyone really noticing. We played some pool (everyone was much better than I am), chatted, had an overall good time.

When someone I knew came in I decided it was time to go. Although I’m surprised I only saw one person that I know, I realize that most of the people from my bar-hopping days were probably at home with their spouses and kids.

Ah, the bar-hopping days. I loved the AlleyCat. Despite it now being a bit more sterile (not a lot, but a noticeable bit), and being recognized as one of the U.S.’s “top 20 dive bars,” and being frequented by frat guys getting their buzz on before humping all over drunk skanks at The Vogue, it still holds a very special place in my heart.

When I first started hanging out at the “Shitty Kitty,” there were the occasional frat guys, sorority girls, people who thought they were supercool to be “slummin’ it” with the rest of us, but for the most part it was a bit of Everyone Else. The freaks, weirdos, tattooed and pierced people, headbangers, punks, goths, geeks, heroin junkies, cokeheads, hippies, and every imaginable sexual preference and gender association.

That’s what I loved about the place. When you went to The Vogue or sometimes Eden or that horrible place downtown that used to be on top of the mall, it was difficult not to get into a fight. And by you, I mean me. Regardless of the color of my hair, the style, how many piercings I had, what I looked like, it wasn’t difficult to be noticed in a crowd. That is to say, it wasn’t difficult to be singled out for my fashion sense by a guy with a mullet or wearing a blue button-down shirt with khakis just like every other guy in the bar. If it was that they found me threatening somehow, they never said, but guys lo-hu-hu-ved to start shit with me. This is Indiana, after all. I didn’t like going to the mall where people would physically pull their children away from me, or walking past women’s cars who would reach over and lock the doors, or people openly asking me if I was “a boy or a girl?”

At the Cat it didn’t really matter what you looked like. And the freakier, sometimes, the better. At The Vogue a guy would call me a dyke if I excused myself as I pushed past him. At the AlleyCat I could elbow the guy in the face, knock him off his stool, and walk out. But you didn’t have to worry too much about that. People were respectful of other people there.

I don’t know what it’s like now on the weekends, but I always felt comfortable getting wasted at the Cat.


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