Sunday, July 12, 2009

Strong Woman and Bar Kisses; Harsh and the Chinese Yuan

I want to let you know right away that this is not a travel story. It does, however, involve an Irish accent and one Chinese Yuan, so I think it counts for something.

Tonight I went to the VFW to sing karaoke with a couple of my friends. The place is packed on a Saturday night, so there is only time to get in one song, two if you're lucky. Mine was "Like a Prayer".

After the song, a wild eyed woman grabbed my hand and shouted, "I can tell you know how to party! You're coming with me!"

Who was I to disagree?

I was standing at the bar with this woman and two other ladies who, I assumed, were friends of hers. She introduced herself as "Strong Woman". The rest of us, however, had to settle with our plain old given names.

Strong Woman had just broken up with her boyfriend of four years and was celebrating freedom with female companionship. She shouted many things at us as we waited for the shots she insisted we drink. Strong Woman moved to Minneapolis from Ireland when she was 20 years old. She looked to be about 40. I also learned that Strong Woman's mother died in October and that, here's where things get a little weird, her dead mother had chosen us from all the people at the bar to spend the evening with her. I looked at the other two ladies, realizing that they were as tugged from a table as I was, but they didn't seem to care. I suspect they were there to milk as many shots as they could. Although I don't really drink, I didn't have the heart to tell Strong Woman that her mother's ghost was wrong about me. So, I took the shots like a team player.

Strong Woman started to gesture at our breasts and talk about female friendship. She gave us a couple awkward group hugs, and then a couple individual hugs as she told us the details on how she came to be a jilted woman snuggling with strangers in the bar. Then it happened. She gave me another hug, and came at my lips with a kiss. I didn't know what to do, so I puckered and let it happen. As strange as it was, when she swooped in again, after giving the other ladies kisses, I let crazy Strong Woman do it again. I think I was being interviewed.

I always imagined I would get smoochy with someone who had a foreign accent, but not like that. And not with this Strong Woman.

When she and the other women started comparing cleavage, I was fully creeped out and looking for an exit that wouldn't disappoint Strong Woman's mother. I managed to sneak away for a cigarette. She didn't approach me again, however, and the next time I saw her, she had two new ladies on her arm.

As we were leaving, my friends and I stood outside for one last cigarette. I was recounting the tale of Strong Woman when a guy walked up and asked to bum a smoke. I told him that I could roll it with a filter or without, and explained that the tobacco was pretty harsh. He informed me that his friends actually call him Harsh, so he took it as a sign to go without.

As I told my story, he kept saying, "That's one for the Spank Bank." I had no idea what a Spank Bank was, but I found out that it's a place where you store all your hot memories to recall later, when you're all alone and needing hot memories. Harsh noticed that we were all a little weirded out by all the "Spank Bank" exclamations, so he did what anyone else would do: He insisted that he was the creepiest guy we could meet in a bar. It didn't take him long to convince us.

For my trouble, Harsh pulled out a Chinese Yuan and demanded that I take it. Then he went back inside.

It was a weird night...

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