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In praise of bars


Regular readers of this space will have noticed a rare lacuna last Friday when, for only the second time ever, I failed to post a new blog (and thank you Adam Lee for inquiring if I had died). There was a simple reason for my failure: I had a horrendous hangover.

I felt terribly guilty, because I know people come here every day for something new. But to tell you the truth, there was nothing to be done about it. The hangover was so evil that I couldn’t bear to even look at the computer. Just the thought of sitting there at my desk, pecking out sentences, sickened me. I might have struggled, I suppose, to crank something out, but I just couldn’t: it was a physical and mental impossibility.

What happened was, on Thursday night a group of us hit up a couple bars in San Francisco. Okay, not a couple; four. We started at a rather pickuppy W Hotel, down by Yerba Buena Park, then walked over to a rockin’, sockin’ John Collins, in Minna Alley, a few blocks away, where the average age was about 20. Then it was a cab to Bourban and Branch, on O’Farrell, in what I supposed they now call the Haut Tenderloin (but, please, don’t call it Lower Russian Hill!). Finally, around midnight, it was up Market Street to Martuni’s, where the Mission and the Castro come together in one big, glorious explosion of alternative lifestyle (and a piano bar, to boot). Great fun was had by all–but not before yours truly mixed a lot of wine with a lot of vodka martinis (dry, with olives), with all too predictable results.

I mean, I knew I’d be hurting Friday morning. I just didn’t know how badly. But, as is customary with these foreshadowings, I decided to throw caution to the winds and have fun. Let tomorrow take care of itself, I figured.

And why not? We still have, in this country, a certain Puritan mindset, in which pleasure, especially when associated with mood-altering things, is seen as slightly sinful. It’s all right, people say, to have a glass or two of wine at dinner. But to get rip-roaring drunk, the way we did on Thursday night, is supposedly a no-no.

Screw that! I got drunk on Thursday, and I loved every minute of it. I had fun, hung out with great people, laughed a lot, got serious at times (but never maudlin), and it made me happy. And, let’s face it, happiness is in short supply these days, with the economy scaring the bejesus out of everyone. (Even if you pretend or don’t know the Eurozone crisis doesn’t exist, it’s going to slap you silly you anyway.) It’s enough to make you not want to get out of bed in the morning.

So sometimes, you just have to carpe the old diem and say, “Let’s eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” (This is actually a conflation of two phrases from the Old Testament: Isaiah 22:13 and Ecclesiastes 8:15.) That, kids, is your Bible lesson for today. I don’t think they had bars back in Biblical times, but if they did, I bet the Patriarchs and the Matriarchs would have hit them up every once in a while, drinking and singing and praising the Lord for blessing them with the fruit of the vine (or the potato, if they’d had vodka).

  1. Even the bible says you should cellar your wine. “No one that has drunk old wine wants new; for he says, ‘The old is nice.’” Luke 5:39

    And here is one specific to your Friday morning state. “Do not drink water any longer, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent cases of sickness.” 1 Tim 5:23

    Glad you survived!

  2. Oh!!! So you didn’t die!!! What the heck are you gonna do with all the flowers that readers sent?

    BTW. You probably already know this. Intoxication used to mean
    poisoned unto death. Probably you already know of the restorative effects of B-12 and Choline along with a well spaced pints of water.

  3. AWESOME!!! Nothing like a good hangover to remind you you’re alive.

  4. A good friend is one who bails you out of the drunk tank. A best friend is one who would be sitting next to you and saying, “damn that was awesome.”

  5. Ah, the good session. But there is something of the (unintended) self-exculpation in this Dionysian disclosure. Mr. Heimoff, inundated with excellent wines all the day long, finds himself right intoxicated only on a one-off weekend. A true professional; cheers!

  6. Public drunkeness?

    I thought, from the title, that this was going to be a story about cell phone signal strength.

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