happy hour music.
you know--the chain restaurant. We ate there tonight. It took 30 minutes to get a server to come get our drink orders. Have you ever had to sit, for 30 minutes, with a hungry, peevish 6 year old? It is the opposite of fun.
However, it gave me an opportunity to do some really good people watching. I've long said airports, shopping malls, and subway trains are THE best locations for good people watching/character development ideas. Now? I'm going to add chain restaurants to the list.
It wasn't an easy mission. First off, Miss M called it "Applebeets" for the first 5 minutes we were there. But then I laughed and told her when she did that, she was the cutest 6 year old ever. This made her mad. So! MAD! Because Mommy! Don't laugh at me! I told you I don't like it when you laugh at me! ...And also, she is NOT the cutest 6 year old, Sydney is! (So then we had to have a brief, side therapy session to build her fragile self-esteem.)
After 10 minutes of continued waiting for a waiter to say hello to us, I waved at a cute 4 year old sitting at the table next to ours, which pissed Miss M off further because HOW DARE I?! How dare I. ......How dare I (A) acknowledge another child's existence right in front of my own child, and (B) what?! am I saying THAT little girl is cuter than MY little girl?! (After several attempts to explain I actually did not find that little girl cuter than my little Miss M, I just waved at that little girl to be nice, M concluded: This is HORRIBLE! I RUINED THE WHOLE NIGHT!!!!! (So then we had to have another brief, side therapy session to build up her fragile self-esteem.) But then we ordered some sweet potato fries as an appetizer and she was fine.
.....are you getting yet that my child has, like, 90% of my DNA and 10% of her father's? She is all quirky, raging hormones of pure neurotic insecurity. I tend to bundle mine up so nobody looks at me askance or asks me to leave the mall before they call security. M, being six, isn't confined by those societal pressures quite yet, and so hers fly loose and proud and free. She's going to make an excellent Fortune 500 CEO someday. Or the despot of a small, impoverished country deep in the South Pacific. (I actually would be fine with either scenario...because I'd like to be her special advisor and thus earn special favors, like my own private beach and manservants who all look like Channing Tatum.)
Second of all, when we walked in, there was a strange haze of smoke in the air--I think it was sizzling fajitas, but you can never be sure after 6 PM on a Friday in a place like that. It appeared to be the happy hour location that all the OTP (it's an Atlanta thing--Google it) swingers come to exchange business cards. And they had some type of sound system that changed the ambient lighting as the songs switched. Classy. And its songs were loud and slightly inappropriate for small children's ears when we came in. The swingers at the bar might as well have just passed around the bong and been done with it.
Third of all, it was a motley assemblage of humanity: wannabe hip hop stars, creepy business guys, women in business suits in dire need of a shower, girls with arm sleeve tattoos, and a family of people I swear were part of Duck Dynasty. As soon as all the hip hop stars vacated, the Duck Dynasty family changed the music to twangy country.
Have I told you about my issues with rap/hip hop and twangy country? I'm generally quite electic when it comes to music. Right now, I've been listening to a lot of music by Damien Rice and Alison Sudol and Patresa Hartman and The Civil Wars (have you heard of The Civil Wars? I only recently discovered them--only to find out they've disbanded....that sounds about right for me: I'm a late bloomer, about everything). They calm and soothe my soul, and my soul needs a lot of calming and soothing right now. But I'm not opposed to Motown, Reggae, Latin, Jazz, Blues, Classical and Pop/Rock/Alternative music from the 1920s all the way through til today. And Broadway show tunes--there is nothing better than singing a Broadway show tune at the top of your lungs in the car. And, of course, there is my beloved Barry M., who Miss M is also quite in love with right now (but only because he sings to her briefly--briefly as in a 1 second mention of her name--in Could It Be Magic).
But hip hop? Too angry. And, yes, it's true I can have a bit of potty mouth at times, you can see evidence here occasionally. But I promise I only do it when I feel it adds to a thought or emotion I'm attempting to communicate...or you've cut me off in traffic and I really feel I must damage you, psychically, in some way. Rap and many hip hop music makers often feel, to me, as if they maybe could've used a different word in that one sentence, but nope. Because street cred. And possibly the swear was just easier to spell.
And country? Too twangy, too whiny. Sometimes I do feel like hearing country music...but only when I'm in a bar and want to pretend I'm John Travolta's girlfriend in URBAN COWBOY. Otherwise, country music just makes me nervous. Not the people who make country music, please know. Country music makers always seem very nice and sweet. Maybe in need of some therapy, but god knows I can totally empathize with that. No. It's their listeners who make me really nervous. I can't imagine anything more frightening than finding myself deep in Alabama, at a roadside bar, surrounded by people who are line dancing, hocking saliva into their spittoons. A grandpa whittling a piece of wood off to the side, under the Confederate flag. Humming DIXIE softly to himself, periodically muttering "South gone RISE agin!"
Which is why I always tell people I think that when country singers and hip hop/rap stars get together to make music, I think they're mocking me. It's very possible they don't care about me at all, don't even know who I am. But still. They're definitely mocking MLK, Ghandi, Jesus, Father Abraham, and the memory of Johnny Cash. Which is why when LL Cool J and Brad Paisley made that song together, I was SO annoyed. I'm certain Patsy Cline and Harriet Tubman were both annoyed, too.
And that brings me back to my Applebee's experience tonight: it was nothing but rappers and country boys in that place. I watched the rappers hit on the worn-out looking women in business suits and the worn-out looking women in business suits weakly try to engage...then turn right back to their girlfriends, which is who I think they actually wanted to be with. And I watched the country boys sullenly drink their $1.99 draft beers, refusing to interact with anyone in business suits, dread locks, or gold front teeth. The only people having ANY fun at this place tonight were people under age 10. Everyone else was just...papering their cracks.
Oh, and I got to listen to a drunk blond woman complain about her chicken to a waitress. (Why are drunk people always so LOUD?) As she complained about how bad the chicken was, she kept eating it. She'd say something about how nasty it tasted, take a bite, chew and swallow it, and then loudly insist to the waitress that it wasn't the waitress's fault the chicken was so disgusting. And then she'd take another bite and swallow. Eventually the waitress gave up; she may have comped their meal, which could have been the whole point of the production. Plus, the blond was with three other blondes...and they were all dressed alike, as if they were in a dance troupe. I bet they're restaurant performers who go from business to business drinking, ordering dishes, and then drunkenly complaining as loud as they can about the food. It's probably a cheap way to eat out on a Friday/Saturday night. Clever.
Okay. That's it for this entry. I am done. Grateful I have some story fodder for the weekend. And now? So do you! Feel free to borrow/share mine. Or better yet! Go to a chain restaurant (it doesn't have to be Applebee's; they aren't paying me to shame them here or anything) and sit at the bar. But go at happy hour on a Friday after a long, cold, grueling work week! That's when all the interesting characters come out.
It's better if you're in the American South, too. Our characters are 500 times crazier than any of yours, I promise.