Archive for the ‘bars’ Tag

Hot Japanese Mom & The Ribbon Girl   1 comment

A Daquiri, I say, Is a sweet drink. It usually has strawberries in it, or some kind of fruit. You blend it with vodka, ice and a little sugar. In front of me, nodding and somewhat understanding, is a bartender at Planet Café. I’ve been trying to explain for roughly twelve minutes what a Daquiri is.

I’m here on a Sunday, and I feel bored, even though my day has consisted of watching Terminator: Salvation at noon, passing through a barbeque with some friends and hitting up a video arcade. My city restlessness has a new face.
At the bar are a few people from the reggae parties I’ve seen around. A DJ from the T.P sound system crew, his girl and Gully. I order a gin and tonic after giving up on my Daquiri. As the bartender made my drink, he laughed and asked me to write down the ingredients for the Daquiri. I’m waiting on Ribbon girl, the one I met at the party last night. We chatted on the phone briefly after I went to my Barbeque. When I spoke to her, a twinge of excitement had trickled through me when her number popped up on my phone. At the time I was sitting on the sidewalk, chatting to a friend about nothing in particular.

 
I took a sip of my drink, when a flurry of activity beside me grabbed my attention. Two gorgeous girls with slim bodies and long brown hair came to the bar coasting on a sea of giggles. I thought one of them was a girl I met the night before, at the reggae party.

“Hug.” I said.

Nani?” (what?)she replied.

I said it again, more Japanesey. “HUG-OO.” I said. She hugged me, and then I realized I’d never met her. I also realized in the same thought she was very drunk. Japanese girls never hug guys they don’t know. Unless of course, you are famous.
“Hi.” She said exasperatedly.
“Hey.” I replied.
She was pretty, with movie actress looks and flawless skin. She wore a stylish outfit that screamed high fashion. Her friend smiled as I talked to her, but chatted to one of the bartenders and left us alone.
“Where you from?” she said.
“Jamaica.” I replied.
“Really?” she said.
She said this with absolute surprise, in the way a child who swore he failed a test  realizes he actually received an A. I told her I was a designer. Incidentally, I was wearing one of my own shirts.
“I want to buy one.” She said, rubbing my chest. “I am a mother!” she exclaimed triumphantly.
“Very cool.” I said. “One child?”
“Yes, I have one. But I am twenty-one!”
She said this with a bright expression. I held her hand and without getting up, beckoned her to twirl. “Very nice.” I said.
She was. If she hadn’t told me she had a kid, it would be impossible to tell.
“You think I am nice?” she asked. Her eyes were filled with desire.
“Yes, you are.” I replied.
A part of me wanted to exploit this situation, but as a rule, I never like drunk women. The only way it works is if I’m equally drunk when I meet them, but at present I was stone cold sober. Having a sexy mother of one on my speed dial would be cool, but alas, Ribbon girl would arrive any minute.
I was right. In the periphery of my vision, I glimpsed her. She was looking very cute, with huge designer glasses. She wore a black and white dress over a pair of tight jeans. I could see the taper of her body through the layers. She had lip gloss on and a purse that resembled a ribbon. The theme continued.
I saw her pause as she said hello to some of the people from last night. Her eyes were on me, but I didn’t move. I’m not the type to play too many headgames, I was just observing.
The hot mom disappeared with a guy onto the the dance floor, and I turned to Ribbon girl. “Hey! You been here long?” I said. She walked over. She gave me a weak hug and stood by the bar. Close up, I could see the glow of the bar lights on her lips. She put her bag down. She seemed a little nervous. I chatted to her about my day and ask her some questions about herself.
“I don’t do much.” She replied. ” I just like to dance.”
Ah, I said in my mind. She’s a party girl.
I’ve messed with party girls before. One word always comes to mind when I think of a party girl.

 
Dangerous.

 
Party girls always seem to have nothing to do, are often sexy and probably slept with a few guys you’ve met before if you go out a lot. This generally means it’s a bad idea to think you’re special if she likes you. Sometimes this can change after a few sexual encounters, but not always.
She reached into her bag and pulled out a small camera. The LCD flashed brightly as it came on. With her glasses and jeans, she looked like a shadow of herself the night before.  The image of her leaping on me, her face pressing against my neck and the smell of her shampoo flooded my senses quickly. It faded quickly, like a puff of cigarette smoke.
She showed me pictures of her in Jamaica. “Maji de??”(Really?) I said. Then I remembered somewhere between tequila shot eight or nine she had mentioned living in Jamaica for a month. Through her pictures I was catapulted back home. I saw the bright glowing faces of people with dark skin and short curly hair. She showed me the hot spots; Stone Love’s headquarters for Weddy Wednesdays, Lime Quay beach for Sunday afternoon, Devon house for tasty ice cream, and more. There were pictures with famous Jamaicans, and a few of her Japanese friends going wild at big parties, like Passa Passa.
I playfully joked with her, but she was shy, different. She ordered Chozou, a popular drink (sake mixed with water). I didn’t know why she was nervous. After she put the camera back into her bag, her entire focused drifted to the UNO game the people beside us were playing. I hinted a few times at going to dance, but she kept saying she was watching the game.
That’s an incredibly fascinating game of UNO, I thought to myself. Then I remembered. She was a party girl. I’m new to the scene. Disappearing with her on the dance floor might put her on the bad news bus. While we were looking at the pictures, she mentioned some party on Friday she was going to. She watched the UNO game, and I sat, bored on the stool. I got up and left.
As I exited the bar, before the door close I heard my name. In a movie-scene way, the door slammed in front of her as I glimpsed her looking at me.
“I see you Friday night?” she said.
“Yes.” I replied.
She went inside. I laughed a little, because she had practically chased me out of the bar. Party girls are different, I thought. I left the underground passage leading out of Planet and heading outside, back into the nighttime and towards the bowels of the city.

/* Blog reposted from my other site www.jamaicaninjapan.com */

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Hello DC: NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE…   4 comments

People always ask a person who’s almost died, “What were you thinking about just before the moment happened?” With a small level of certainty, I can (sort of but not really) answer this question.

 
Sometimes when I go to Adams Morgan, my mind runs on my ex-girlfriend, who lives in the area. Last night was a particularly boring affair, with me hopping from bar to bar and talking to no one. Like most nights when I’m in Adams Morgan, I take the bus home. When my cell phone displayed the magic time of 1:30, I decide to leave.

 
Strangely, the street is blocked off on one side, allowing traffic to leave the 18th street strip, but not come into it. I watch a bus rumble by slowly, and wonder if it is ever going to come back. I pace around for a few moments, watching people float by in various states of inebriation. An older African-American lady is sitting at the bus stop, with a small plastic bag in her hand. A few feet in front of her, with her arms folded is a tough-looking Caucasian woman. The tough-looking lady is standing and the other woman is sitting down. I lean against a part of the support structure of the bus stop.
So far I’ve been distracting myself by watching people, but for a quick second, I wonder what my ex-girlfriend is doing. Is she sleeping blissfully? Warm in someone’s arms? Or not even home? This thought passed through my head for a fleeting moment, then…

Shots rang out.

There were four or five shots. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! This was no more than ten feet from where I was standing. In that area, people scattered like cockroaches in a room when the light comes on. A few people, not sure what to do, simply stood up, like deer caught in the headlights. Some immediately hit the deck, and others streaked across the now empty street. Strangely, I didn’t move. I was leaning on the post, sort of looking straight up at nothing when I hear the first shot. Then I looked beside me and saw the clamor of activity. Most likely someone had been shot. The noises sounded dull and directed. Somewhere, only a few feet away, a person was probably dead. Only moments before, I had almost walked right there out of sheer idleness.

 
I jogged a few feet away from the bus stop to Columbia road, near the ATM. That was probably a bad idea, because that’s where the noise came from. The gun-toting maniacs were probably running to Columbia Road as well, where the melee might continue.

A few dark bodies fled from the alley, and it seemed that every officer was now brandishing their weapons. A few officers fly out of the alleyway and run down a dark street, holding their guns. As I looked around, an odd quiet hit the air.

People who are genuinely frightened don’t lament or weep. They stand in shock, wondering what just happened, realizing their mortality. One wrong move and a stray bullet could end your life, or severely injure you. The cops looked edgy.

A person running a little too frantically was liable to be chased, and probably beaten I presumed. While observing all of this, I realized that I was the only person standing up (along with the police officer). Everyone else was hiding behind a wall, or lying on the ground. Even this guy I had jogged past, (he was at the second bus stop that faced Columbia Road holding his bike) was crouching on the ground, looking around warily.

The officer looked at me with indifference. I was standing there with my hands in my pockets, surveying the area. The shots didn’t frighten me. A part of me “felt” as if I should be frightened, but the trembling chaos didn’t enter me. I just think I’m one of those people that doesn’t frighten easily.

Once in Jamaica, I was almost hit in a head on collision by a SUV twice the size of my vehicle. It was driving directly towards me with no headlights on. The SUV hopped over an island in the road, and it was only 50/50 that I chose to swerve right and the vehicle went left. Shortly after, a police car came blaring down the road, chasing the vehicle. I didn’t feel frightened at that point either, but seconds after the cars disappeared, my left leg began trembling violently. I was afraid in some way, I just didn’t feel it immediately.

Tonight, or last night was different. I realized that should a shootout happen, a stray bullet could hit me, but that eventuality didn’t make much sense to me. Though I was near the epicenter of the event, and only feet away from where the shooting started, I was standing near all the police cars and heavily armed officers.

After a moment, I walked towards the crosswalk that leads to the McDonalds on the other side of the street. The African-American woman from before was lying on the ground with two young Caucasian women. She was crying from sheer fright. She was inconsolable. I don’t blame her. If I was ten feet away, she was no less than five feet. The two girls held her hand.

“It’s okay. They weren’t trying to shoot you.” The girls said.
One of them, a blonde with tear filled eyes kept looking on me. I recognized her, but I didn’t know from where. They told the lady she would be all right. I couldn’t hear exactly what the woman was saying, but it seemed she thought they were shooting at her, and she was also worried about how she would get home. The two girls said they would pay for a cab so that she could reach home.
I was standing there, watching them with my arms folded. They were crying and seriously frightened, and it must have seemed odd for me to be standing there so stoically. Maybe I will wake up tomorrow and wonder why I wasn’t frightened, and why the tear filled eyes of those three women on the ground didn’t move me to even say anything.

I wanted to say “The worst is over.” And touch the woman’s shoulder, and reassure the girls that they were safe because the police were right behind them, as were the police cars. But I didn’t say anything. I watched them in their humanity, consoling each other in the way that people do in a time of crisis.

 
I felt a piercing vulnerability at that point. I sensed that if I had been walking by there (as I almost did) or if I had been idly traipsing around, I could have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Bad luck, bad timing. It seems fit that minutes before this event happened, I ran into someone I knew and followed that person to a bar for a few minutes. If I didn’t, who knows?

 

The girls still haven’t gotten up. They are freaked out and scared half to death, and are still lying awkwardly on the ground. The older lady is still moaning and wiping her eyes.
For a fleeting moment I get a powerful urge to call my ex-girlfriend. For some reason, some aspect of the event made me think of going over to her place to take refuge. She was only a few blocks away I thought, and I’ll be safe there. I wanted to say to her, “Wow, can you believe that I was standing right by a place where some shots rang out?” A part of me saw myself going over there, standing by her door as she rushes out in the hallway and gives me a big hug and a kiss on the cheek, thankful that I am alive and well.

But then I realized what I was thinking just before this all happened. I was wondering if she was sleeping blissfully, if she was in the arms of someone else, or even home at all. It dawned on me there was no reason to call her, and there was also no place for me to go but my apartment.
Maybe the event didn’t frighten me in a way that made me run for dear life, or hide on the ground, quivering like a small animal, but for a second it took me back to a point in my life, when I felt I had a retreat, a safe haven from the world, in the arms of someone else. Maybe that’s the real scary part of the entire thing, the fact that I completely forgot that I was no longer with her and we no longer spoke, but hearing a few shots echo in my ears, and sensing my mortality, I felt a desire to see her and speak to her that seemed instinctive, dredged up from the recesses of my being that blasted me face-first back into the past.

In these situations, it is a great thing to reassure yourself that you exist by receiving loving words from someone else. A hug from a friend, a sigh of relief over a phone call, or a naturally heartfelt embrace, like the one shared by the three ladies lying on the ground. My desire to speak with my ex most likely represented my instinctive feeling to remind myself that I exist, and that I didn’t have to travel home alone to deal with the situation. Or maybe I just wanted someone to share the event with. Who knows.

I took one last look at the three ladies lying on the ground, and crossed the street. I hailed a cab and hopped in. “What happened around here?” the driver said. “Some shots rang out.” I replied.
“Really?” he said with an incredulous smile. “Yes, really.” I said.
“Where was it?” he asked. “

“Right by the bus stop. It was like five shots.” I said.

“Wow!” he said almost with too much excitement.

“Yeah, I was right there. “ I said, almost not even believing those words.
I told him where I lived and quietly watched the dark buildings go by in a blur as the cab drove to my apartment. I wondered again about that flash of desire to call my ex, and why it seemed so instinctive. As the darkness of the city loomed at me from the windows of the cab, I knew I didn’t really have a safe haven. All I had was my own thoughts to console me, and the emptiness of my bedroom. I thanked the cab driver, tipped him and went inside, immediately greeted by the darkness of my apartment.

 

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