Saturday, September 11, 2010

Saturday flashback

In the Spring of 1994 I moved into an apartment in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. It was just a few blocks from my friends' Kelly D. and Pat S.'s (it's hard to not type their last names because I always called them by their first and last name.) apartment. It was a great little pad, railroad car style, but it was Spring and I didn't realize how ridiculously hot it would get in the middle of a northeastern Ohio summer. It was an old building with no hope for window a/c, the electrical system couldn't handle it. It had a boiler downstairs and sometimes the radiators would leak, which I never understood. I still don't. Perfect place, except for the spiders - it was riddled with them. I've never lived in a place that had so many. Seriously, they were everywhere. After I pulled one off my arm in the middle of one night I started sleeping with a can of Raid. You can imagine why I have such a phobia - they were in every room, every day. I'm still shivering.

A couple of months later Pat and Kelly moved into the building next door. Kelly, who I met while collecting at National City, went back to work as a bartender at our local, Chelsea's. We all liked to drink. A lot. Kelly introduced me to Harvey Wallbangers and it was pretty much all over for me.

But here's what I loved the most about living in the Falls: Saturdays Kelly would have to work around 2 or 3 (can't remember, really) and Pat would usually drive her in and stick around. Not long after my move to the Falls, I'd go with them. It worked out great because, in theory, since Kelly was working, she'd be the most sober to drive us home at 2 or 3 am when the bar cleared out. Pretty soon, Pat and I would just go earlier and Kelly would meet us there when her shift started. Spending Saturday afternoons at Chelsea's was seriously one of the best times of my life - hanging with the vacuum cleaner salesman, the biker, the rest of the drunks, oddly enough made me feel like I was a part of something. As the afternoon wore into evening, more of our friends would come and pretty soon our little portion of the bar was standing-room-only. Tom Petty and Frank Sinatra on the jukebox, seven or eight Harvey Wallbangers lined up, Coors Light all around (except for Pat, he was a Bud man), I loved it.

I really miss those days, though not in the sense that I want to go back. Just a reminder of a simpler time, I suppose.

This morning I called Kelly to check in, and Pat answered. Suddenly it was sixteen years ago, and I asked him if he wanted to go to Chelsea's. Despite the real-life agenda of running taking his kids to swim practice, the mall, the grocery store and day camp, he said yes.

I can taste the Harvey Wallbangers already.


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