My roommates Leong, Sophie, (Charles) and I were coming from a Yale sporting event. The sky looked like a ***** Swiffer-mop and the wind seemed to be ignoring the posted 20mph speed limit. It was a typical spring day in New Haven, overcast, 65°, with intermittent, drizzling rain. I was thinking it was a good day to be a duck.
We were looking for something to gnaw on and a beverage - of the alcoholic variety. We picked up some Mike’s hard cider (featured in our refrigerator now), which proves college students really do plan for the future.
It was about 4pm and the streets were puddled, slick-looking and empty. The lone passing car sounded like it was riding on a sponge. I was wearing a navy blue, short sleeve Polo dress, a matching Polo bucket hat (for the rain) and a slub knit hoodie that I ‘borrowed’ from Sunny forEVER (seriously, I ordered her a replacement from Amazon) and Roxy boat shoes.
On a side street, a “party-bike” sat parked, sad and abandoned in the rain. A party-bike is a tram fitted up as a bar that slowly drives noisy drunks around. The drunks sit around a “U” shaped bar, on small, backless stools welded onto the tram. Yes, an open-air bar on wheels. I can’t help thinking that a lawyer came up with the idea, because what could go wrong?
The first time I saw a “sightseeing” party-bike was on Beale Street, in Memphis Tennessee. Memphis is the Disneyland of barbeque and the blues. Every storefront for blocks is an open air blues bar, a barbeque place or souvenir shop (or all three at once). Party-bikes make sense there, because intoxication is like oxygen in Memphis. It's a party-bikes native environment. In New Haven, they seem cheap, excessive and opportunistic.
As we were walking, in the distance, we heard the wail of a saxophone and a beat so clear, that the sound seemed to linger and shimmer in the air, like a cartoon neon ‘Jazz’ sign. We instantly turned that way and discovered it was coming from a place called “Three Sheets” which was having open-mic tryouts for the house band.
It’s a bar that serves food and there’s a ‘beer goddess’ painted on one wall. In Georgia, we’d call it a ‘fern bar.' We found a table in the darker back, out of the way, and settled in. A waitress quickly took our orders and brought us several IPA beers.
Near a platform stage, there were 6 or 8 musicians sitting around (with their instruments) waiting to take a turn forming a trio with the house drummer and bass who were laying down a constant beat. One would step in with a guitar and play for a hot minute, then a guy with the sax, another with a trumpet and yet another with a clarinet, it went on and on. They each had a solo, at some point, and it made me wonder why I don’t listen to more jazz.
Our afternoon of music was something Sophie had wished for. Earlier that morning, as we were leaving the residence, she’d said, “I wish there was a concert or something going on tonight - something musical,” and boom, we get this. Still, I don’t subscribe to the idea of holy intervention.
I hate it when I hear people say, “God never gives us more than we can handle.” I bristle, my head snaps in the direction of the speaker, I want to see who that dumb-*** is. My parents and sister are doctors, and believe me, people are dying every day in situations that are more than they can handle. Heart attacks, staph infections, gunshot wounds, covid, cancer - Uggg, sorry, I got off track and boiled-over there.
Anyway, we had some jazzy music and incredible Vietnamese pulled-pork sandwiches with fries and a smoky ketchup that I could have just drunk.
**I put (Charles) in brackets because, as our driver and escort, he’s usually there in the background when we’re not in the residence. But his presence is circumscribed, because he’s not there socially. Is it rude not to include him in every narrative? I don’t know - it's a habit.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Circumscribed: something limited by choice.