Friday, August 24, 2012

What happens in West Virginia ...

Tonight's cocktail is beer out of a bottle, with hand sanitizer (not to drink!) and tissues on the side. Not only is it appropriate to the content of this post, as you'll see, but also my beloved biweekly cleaning lady, who I realize I'm lucky to be able to have, came today, and I try to observe a 24 hour rule on dirtying anything after she has been here.

I have three very dear friends, Amy, Holly, and Laura.* We met while working together and bonded over a quick succession of pregnancies, babies, job changes, parent/in-law issues, etc. Two of us still work in the same place; one of us moved to the frozen tundra of upstate New York (I'm almost certain her house is built on permafrost). I got a divorce and changed jobs several times. These are the kinds of friends with whom, no matter how long it has been since you saw them, you pick up right where you left off, as if no time has passed.  I don't know what I would have done without them.

When Tink was about 9 months old, Laura (our organizer - the woman could single-handedly plan the invasion of a small country without breaking a sweat) announced that she was planning a girl's weekend for us, and we've had one, come hell or high water, every year since. We go to Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, a cute little town about 2 hours out of D.C., just over the Maryland border. It's an unexpected hippie hotspot, a historic town with a natural spring where rich people used to go to "take the waters," and now full of day spas and stores that smell like patchouli where you can buy folk art, antiques, essential oils, holistic medicines and herbs, hand-dyed wool, candles, secondhand books, you name it. You can also get your tarot cards read, your chakras adjusted, and whatnot.

This trip is an island of sanity for all of us. First, we get to sleep in, which is like mommy crack. Second, we drink to excess, smoke, swear, play disreputable music, and other things that we could never do in front of our children, which is liberating. Hilarity often ensues.

A couple years ago, Amy somehow convinced Laura and me to go with her to a seedy bar outside the trendy-patchouli part of town. Holly, unfortunately, had stomach flu that year, and had she not, she would have been the voice of reason and this story, which is 100% true, would never have happened. The bar was called The 19th Hole. Amy thought this made it sound classy, as if it could be on a golf course. I tried to tell her that "hole" was really the operative word, and that in my extensive experience, in any part of the world, a roomful of drunk rednecks is likely to produce at least one very mean drunk redneck, but she wouldn't listen. Laura will try anything once, so we went.

We should have known it would be trouble from the moment we got to the door. We had to be buzzed in. At this point, the thought occurred to me that we might be walking into a titty bar (due to that disturbing use of the word "hole"), but it was just a regular bar. There were TV monitors behind the bar, so you could see who was in the parking lot and at the door. That always bodes well.

Dammit! Who keeps playing the Deliverance music?
In the bar, there was NASCAR on the TVs (not that there's anything wrong with that), pool tables, barstools, country music, sticky floor, and the constant chime of video poker machines gobbling up someone's hard-earned quarters, but nothing particularly scary. Everyone was local, and while they weren't hostile, none were the cheerful hippie types we'd seen all day. Maybe the young, fun crowd came in later, but this was a small assortment of older, serious drinkers, men and women, in to drown their sorrows. We ordered beers in the bottle, because we didn't have great faith in the glassware. They had Corona, and the bartender gave me a lime without being asked. Upon hearing my southern accent, he even smiled and was only missing one tooth. I was starting to think this might not be so bad.

At that moment, in busted a scraggly-bearded guy in cutoff jeans and a stained wifebeater, already drunk and loud, cigarette dangling from his lower lip. He tried to get a beer from the bar, but the bartender wouldn't serve him on account of he already had an unpaid tab. Then he spotted us. Crap.

Ladies! I think he's single!
He immediately zeroed in on Amy, who by her own admission is a magnet for crazy people, and said, "Girl, yew know whut? I got better titties than yew." Laura and I started chugging our beers (priorities) and getting up to leave, but Amy, who comes from working-class Italian roots and takes no crap from anyone, stayed in her seat, took a long pull off her beer without making eye contact, and said, in a level, even voice, "Now, you know that's a damn lie." The bartender, bless him, sauntered over to us and reached for something (Louisville Slugger? Shotgun?) under the bar. Drunk Redneck guffawed hysterically, cuffed Amy on the shoulder, and said, "Yew know what, Yur my baby girl! Do yew know that?" Amy froze and got what I can only describe as a Tony Soprano look on her face. I became quite concerned for the safety of Drunk Redneck and for the possibility that we could all end up in the Berkeley Springs Municipal Jail, which probably does not smell like patchouli. A long pause ensued. The bartender cracked his knuckles and said to Drunk Redneck, "You git on, now." Amy calmly finished her beer as if nothing had happened, and we left. I left Bartender a hefty tip.

The morals of this story are: (1) don't go to bars with "hole" in the name, (2) if you do, order beer in a bottle, (3) don't make eye contact with drunk rednecks, and (4) Amy has big, brass ladyballs.

These are the ladies I want at my back in a bar fight, every time.
I bet you anything she's going to try to get us to go back there next time.

*Not their real names.


  1. Girl, I spent many, many nights in West Virginia waterin' holes and those rednecks can be tough to handle. Good for Amy!!!! Stopping by from Kelly's Break Room.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Amy makes her own fun. :) After reading the post, though, even she admitted that it might not have been her best idea. I really should have her do a guest post.


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