Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Night of the Italians... and One Ceiling Fan

Heat can make you do crazy things. Especially extended bouts of excessive heats, like we've been having this month. I think we've been over 90 degrees 20 out of 24 days in July so far, which in my person opinion is ridiculous.

So what's the best cure for beating the heat, other than standing in front of your self-installed window unit air conditioner? Why... going dancing, of course.

That was not technically the thinking when my friend (and former co-worker) Andrea and her sister Claire invited me out on a Saturday night to "The Delancey" -- a club at the bottom of the Williamsburg Bridge on the LES. I had never been there, but last summer our kickball team had played a match or 2 in the school playground right next door, so I knew just how far into BFE this place was. One of Claire's friends, Jenni, was the lead singer of a band and her band was performing there that night.

I get ready (which really was just touching up my makeup and putting on some eyeliner and more deodorant), and head all the way down to what in all intents and purposes is China. The trains were allll sorts of messed up from construction so I ended up just walking from Broadway-Lafayette down to Delancey and Attorney Street. It was in the lower 90s, so it was sort of a hike, but at least it was dark so I didn't have to worry about getting sunburned.

I meet Andrea on the stairs down to the venue. Apparently upstairs is a club, and downstairs is the live music venue. I haven't seen Andrea in months, actually since her birthday party in Queens when I lost my phone in a Gypsy Cab on my attempt to go home.

I say hi to her sister, who I also haven't seen since that night.

"Hey Claire! How are you?" I say as we give each other a hug.

"Great! Glad you could come out tonight! And if you want to save some money, I have a bottle of whiskey in my purse." she of course says the last part quietly and then unzips her purse to prove her point.

I only laugh and get a jack and coke at the bar. Then Andrea and Claire take me around to meet their friends in the band. They are going on in about 10 minutes.

The band starts to play, and they are... well they are pretty bad. They are from California, having just moved to New York like 6 months before, and Jenni thinks she is Gwen Stefani. Which she's not. But she's cute, and enthusiastic, jumping around on stage and genuinely having a good time. Her guitar player is this skeevy looking Italian with shaggy black hair and not quite skinny but not quite fat either. They finish their set, and we hang around the back bar for a while with Andrea and Claire's other friends. From church. There is nothing stranger to me than hanging out with your church buddies while you're knocking back shots. But anyways...

Eventually we decide we need to move on.

"Let's hit up the East Village."

"Ok, well where to then?"

"I don't know. But let's just start walking and we'll find a place."

We aimlessly walk for about 10 minutes. We find a bar, have a drink, leave. Find another bar, have another drink, leave.

"There's this Italian bar we have to go to," the skeevy Italian guitar player (who's name is J.V.) says, "We'll drink for free all night!"

Now. As good as that sounds, I find it hard to believe because we're now at least 10 people deep, and while we might be able to get a free round, and am having a hard time trying to believe we will be getting all of our drinks free all night.

We stumble upon another bar, Blue&Gold, where someone in the group had run into the cast of SNL & Natalie Portman a few months ago. Imagine the biggest dive bar you've ever seen. Then multiply that by 100 and then don't clean it for 10 years and you'll get Blue&Gold. But they had super cheap PBR and (more importantly) $4 jack and cokes.

I was in heaven, with no plan to leave. This fratty mcfratterson named Drew starts talking to me about NASCAR of all things (after he learns I'm from the South and I insist I know nothing about it). Luckily, at that second, Claire comes over and grabs my arm.

"We're leaving. That bar that J.V. was talking about is right around the corner." she says.

"But.... $4 jack and cokes...." I stammer.

Too late, we're already out the door. And in truth, the place we're headed is literally across the street, down the block.

We walk up the steps at what is now 2am to find a small bistro that happens to have a bar area, that is now crowded with a TON of Italians, most of them insanely attractive. Ok, so this isn't so bad, I think. As soon as we walk in, the bartender -- a tall, dark, scruffy man with tattoos and piercings -- says, actually SHOUTS, "Beautiful women shouldn't have pay for drinks!" and throws his hands in the air, smiling.

Ok. New favorite place.

We sit down, all 10 of us, and J.V. brings us glasses and glasses of Sangria from the bartender, who's name is Giovanni.

We're all drinking and talking, and Giovanni comes over and kneels next to me and Claire, talking to us.

"Oh man, Giovanni never does that!" Jenni says after he walks away, "He must really like one of you."

No sooner then those words had come out of her month, Giovanni was back with shots of Italian Liqueor. And then another round. And another.

He jumps back over the bar to turn up his European Techno dance music, and motions for us to come up on the bar.

ON the bar.

Claire and Jenni immediately climb up.

Claire stands up and promptly smacks the back of her head on the ceiling fan. Oops. She shakes it off and then the two of them proceed to dance on the bar, careful to steer clear of the fan and the strings of lights hanging next to it.

"Come on! Come up here!" Claire yells. Giovanni smiles. Of course I go up.

We're dancing, having a great time, when all of a sudden Jenni grabs the string of lights and we're yelled at and made to get down.


Claire climbs down first, then me and Jenni. I look around though and can't find Claire or Andrea anywhere.

"Hey, where did the Branleys go?" I ask one of their church friends about the sisters.

"Ohhh. Well, uh, Claire's head is bleeding from when she hit on the fan. They're in the bathroom."

"WHAT!?" I ask, confused and walk to the bathroom.

I open the door, and Andrea is pressing some paper towels to the back to Claire's head. Claire is convinced she's fine; Andrea is not really believing it. I take a look at it, and well... it's a nice gash for sure. The same length as the fan blade right on the back of her head. But it's not bleeding anymore. And it was already clotted and starting to scab over.

"Seriously And, it's not bad. It's not even bleeding anymore," I tell Andrea, "and I've cracked my head open like 3 times. No worries, she's fine."

We stick around for a little while longer, trying to decide if we should take her to the hospital. Claire insists she's fine, it doesn't even hurt, and she should just go home because she's tired. After a few more people looked at her head, they agree -- no stitches necessary -- but maybe we should stop and get some rubbing alcohol to clean it with. Who knows how dirty that fan blade was.

We head to Astor Place at what is now 4am, to the 24hr Walgreens and buy a bottle of rubbing alcohol and some of those liquid bandaids.

After pouring it on her head at the entrance of the Walgreens, everyone parts their separate ways.

"Maybe when you get home, you should stay awake for a few more hours, in case you have a concussion." I tell Claire before I get in a cab and head home.

I finally crawl into bed at 5:30am and wake up at noon to meet some other friends for brunch.

While I'm getting ready (and still a little drunk, mind you), I get a text message from my friend, Laurie, that was going to join us that night after her rooftop party, but then never did.

"So. How was it last night, pretty lady?" she texts.

"Wild. Fun."

The next day, I text Claire to make sure that she's ok.

"Hey girl... how ya feeling??" I send her.

"Hey!!! Just a little headache but otherwise ok. So much fun last night -- must do it again!" she writes back.

"Yes - but without the ceiling fans next time." I reply.

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