"In any twenty-one day cycle, I have only two nights where I'm completely free - that is, I have that night off and no work the next day." - twelve fluid ounces, September 26, 2007
Having opened with those two quotes, it's no surprise that I was out last night. As is usually the case, I chose Durham over Portsmouth for my merriment - but this time, I had an additional reason for doing so. It's been clear over these past couple weeks that morale may be a bit low; that some of us might be a little on edge. Thus, the Submersible Death Trap sent a few duty personnel out to act as a sort of "shore patrol." I preferred to call them "reservation watches," because their purpose was to ensure nobody from our crew "went off the reservation," as our Chief of the Boat likes to say.
I brought the Minivan o' War into town discreetly, diverting to a course that would not have me drive through the center of town. Once the van was parked and I was on foot, I took one lap around Main Street and entered Scorpions Bar and Grill. I took a place near the front of the bar, in front of a large television showing the game between top-ranked Memphis and No. 2 Tennessee. I was interested in the game because it was an important sports event. The guy next to me, an off-duty Scorps bartender, was interested because he had wagered fifty American dollars on Tennessee. The game was as good as it was hyped to be; it remained close all the way, and the Volunteers ended up winning by four. I was happy with that result; while I'm partial toward neither of the teams, seeing Memphis lose is a small symbolic victory. It wasn't until after the game's end, however, that the course of this night diverted from that of most others.
I was watching SportsCenter after the game, when a young lady worked her way next to me and asked, "Has anyone ever told you that you look like Peyton Manning?" I told her that I hadn't; the only professional athlete I've ever been compared to was Keith Van Horn, and that was nearly a decade ago. She also said I had a "strong face." I tried to stall the conversation; I wasn't attracted to her at all. As this was going on, I noticed several guys with a familiar hair style. That, and the Nike/Bauer logos on hats and jackets that some of them wore, told me all I needed to know about them - they were members of the third-ranked UNH hockey team, celebrating their two wins over Boston College on the weekend. As the Peyton Manning girl walked away, I said to the guy next to me, "yes! The fat girl is moving away." Not two minutes later, another girl started talking to me about hockey; she mentioned that she used to play, but that she hadn't followed the Wildcats since arriving at college. Regardless of the content of the conversation, she was much more apt to command my attention. Even after she dropped the words "my boyfriend" (and not in reference to me), we talked for another few minutes, about the Navy, world travel, and the city of Portsmouth, among other things. Though she did walk away, and I didn't speak to her again, I still felt pretty good. As for those hockey players - well, their mood was quite celebratory. About 12:15, one of them ordered twenty shots of Southern Comfort. The plastic shot cups were arranged, in a five by four matrix, and the players distributed them and downed them in a festive toast. I went to the bathroom, and when I returned, the team was going again. After the second round, I grabbed my jacket and left; and for a reason presently unknown to me, I felt the urge to blast Snoop Dogg's "Sexual Eruption" on my way out of Durham.
It was a pretty good time, and it was certainly better than sitting in front of the television. After all, I've got all day today to watch American Gangster.