I think they're onto me.
While nursing a beer at One Nite Stand
, the bartender asked, "So what's your name? What do you do? What brings you in here?"
The earnest nerd in me always wants to answer, "My name is Robin! I'm a freelance writer! I'm here to spy on you and post about it on the Internet!"
My brain does have a little control in such situations. I told him my name and a semi-truth: I'm a stay-at-home mom who runs away to strange bars one night a week for some peace and quiet and who will someday burn among the brimstone for drinking, lying and lax parenting.
When the owner invited me to his end of the bar and offered me a shot of Jack Daniel's, I declined. Not that this stopped him from offering three more times.
What the hell? I let him give me a shot and a beer. We toasted... and down the hatch.
Jack Daniel is judging you.
I was unaware of JD's magic powers to make everything in the world a-ok. It's not magic enough to kill my natural state of paranoia, though. My head got slightly less swimmy when he made an off-hand reference to the RFT
. One shot's not enough to make me crack, though.
It is enough to make me say, "OK!" when the owner offered to show me the beer garden he's building. I'd earlier heard mention of a couple going to the beer garden. I thought it meant they were going to the restroom to screw.
As we walked the narrow hallway in the back of the building, it occurred to me that I could very well meet my demise -- or get a stern interrogation -- instead of a trip to the beer garden. Not the case. There really is a beer garden, and it's lovely, with a trickling fountain, climbing roses and a fireplace that'll be installed before the weather gets chilly.
I promised to return to have a beer by the fire. I won't be having any JD, though. Next time, I'm sticking to the four-for-a-buck tequila-soaked maraschino cherries, which probably don't have any truth-serum powers at all.
Robin Wheeler writes the blog Poppy Mom. She also has a strange attraction to drinking establishments with jars of pickled -- or possibly fossilized -- eggs. She reports on these dives for Gut Check every Thursday.