Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Piwo Jasne Pelne Okocimskie
There's a Polish club right down the street from my house. Last Saturday I was invited to come listen to a deep trance set at 10pm. Another personal invitation, you ask? Yes. All my friends are DJs. They bask in dance music. Hell, I even own turntables and four hundred records due to their influence. I rejected the culture a few years ago in favor of cynicism, self-destructive substance abuse, grating misanthropy, and indie rock. For some reason they kept calling. Here we are today.
I was intrigued when I learned that this establishment describes itself as a cafe. I can subsist on coffee and enjoy myself! No alcohol teasing like Friday night. Excellent. Since I was done with my family obligations at seven and had managed to scrape up a few dollars, I wandered in at eight. It was dimly lit in red lights. I took a corner seat and fished a menu out from underneath some scattered Polish karaoke flyers. I couldn't read a word on it. I don't have the food menu here to transcribe, but I do have a drink specials placard. Some examples:
Westchnienie ulgi bizona powracajacego z za krzaka
Bieg rozsazalalego Shamana na golasa ku rzece
Sep zdechly z nudow
Skowyt Czejena dzgnietego wlocznia w posladek
I was the only customer present. There were two waitresses sitting at the bar. One was gorgeous. The other had been maimed by some unfortunate mishap. Her eyeball hung loose from it's socket, a pendulum that listed back and forth across her rosy cheek whenever she turned her head too quickly. They conversed in Polish with the chef. He wore chef's whites and made grandiose hand gestures.
The pretty waitress strode up and said some words I did not understand. I looked at her. I was blinking, helpless, and dumb. She grabbed the partially translated version of the menu from another table. This menu I could understand. They served borscht, Hungarian meatballs, and fried vegetables. So I ordered coffee. Since I was alone I opened my sketchbook and drew yet another picture of an infectuous disease under a microscope. I have thousands of them now. Later in the evening a friend described it as "a bird corpse." I love compliments.
I began calling friends. The staff were alarmed at the English words. They shot me sidelong glances. I think they were trying desperately to discern whether I was a policeman or a newspaper writer. They could see me glancing about and hear me describing the decor and atmosphere.
Soon after the former roomie arrived. We whined and complained about nothing in particular. I think we just wanted to hear spoken English. By this time about 15 Poles had populated the downstairs room. I love listening to foreign languages, especially a room full of them murmuring, babbling, exclaiming, and rebuking. Truly wonderful.
The friend who invited me showed up at about ten. I'll call him Eurostar. I had just finished my third coffee. He sat down and a new waitress approached. They exchanged a few frantic words in Polish and I added a coffee to his order. My fourth coffee was much stronger, came in a smaller cup, and contained muddy silt at the bottom. They'd been serving me domestic swill instead of their native brew. I was glad to drink the homeland mudcup. It packed a punch, although it was nowhere near as dirty or offensive as the Turkish or Armenian equivalents, both of which I hold in high esteem and affection.
Eurostar exchanged his set time with the former roomie. The results were odd. The former roomie decided to wear a costume that night. He wore a sportcoat, tie, blue jeans, fake afro wig, and giant yellow sunglasses. I witnessed as this strange American boy played cheerful house music, acted like a cartoon, and made devil horns with his fingers to a crowd of fifty bewildered Polacks who couldn't decide whether to dance, kill him, or leave. I was impressed.
As the night wore on I spent plenty of time talking to a multitude of people, all of them English speakers. We had formed a cadre of ten or eleven, all here to wave the colonial flag and represent our country amidst this enclave of European stubbornness.
It got late and many left. I stood my ground, watching the pretty girls dancing. I even wanted to dance from watching the joyous fun they were having. Some of them were horrible dancers but made up for it with exuberance. I cannot get away with that, since I have nothing to bounce.
I chatted with Eurostar and his girlfriend. I listened to his set, which everybody enjoyed. Near the end of the night I was a little bit drunk. The Doctor, who is Eurostar's girlfriend, had bought me several gin drinks while we discussed fleshrotting diseases and a lung cancer blood geyser death she witnessed the first day of her residency. She'd been soaked. I was impressed.
It was nearly 2 am. I'd been there for almost six hours. Wow. While we were all gathering our respective possessions, a loud, swaying, crazy little fellow joined our crowd. He spoke several unintelligible words and threw a five and a single over the cup candle. He promptly ran away. We all looked at the money. It was about to ignite. The former roomie removed it from the candle, down to the table surface. Who would take it? Everybody said no. Yes. No. They stared, greedy and hesitant.
I've spent the past month broke. Bitter about the fact, I finally grabbed it and said "Fuck it. A better man would return this six dollars, but I don't give a shit about some spastic who flings his money at open flames. Let's go."
As I approached the exit, the former roomie said it wasn't a single. Confused, I stopped and asked him to repeat. He told me that it was not a five and a single, but a five and something else. I called bullshit. I reached into my pocket and held the money aloft. "See? It's...."
It was $105. At this point I really should've tracked down the little mutant and stuffed the wayward money into his pocket. I've always thought of myself as a virtuous man who would return a lost wallet intact.
But I am not. I am a filthy vulture. The money was quickly shoved into my seat pocket and my friends and I fled back to my apartment, where we smoked some strong marijuana and hummed the theme to Gilligan's Island. 11:20 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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