So here's a funny story....
The other night I found myself hitting the town with some friends. They ended up buying tickets to see "Million Dollary Baby," and well... I chickened out. I've seen it before, and let me tell you this... No matter if you're the toughest dude around the block, you'll be bawling like a baby by the end of this movie. I won't spoil it for those of you who haven't seen it, but be warned.
Instead of joining up with them for another cry-fest, I took a call from an friend who was getting off work in twenty minutes. She works as a waitress somewhere out in Virginia and I've spent the better half of the last month trying to track her down. We met up while I was campaigning in Buffalo and we've hung out a few times since the trip. (We now have a little circle of friends all from the Buffalo campaign). I know what you're going to ask... "Is she cute?" While evading the whole love-interest
question, I'll let you know that she's pretty cool. Needless to say, I found the idea of hanging out with her a bit more intriguing than a night of the sniffles with Million Dollar Baby. I caught the Metro and headed out to her resturant where she was closing out her shift. Longer trip than I expected, but I had my girlfriend
there to keep me company.
After finding the place, I found myself a seat at a booth in the corner of the resturant's bar. She was still in the waitress garb, but stopped by with a huge smile to say hi. She let me know that she was closing out her shift, but asked me to sit at another booth with a few of her friends a few booths down.
"No prob" I thought... and I made my way to the half way full booth. Two kids my age (a guy and a girl... looked like they were a couple) were already there. I started to introduce myself but was interrupted by their quick...
"Hey Trent... good to see ya."
"Uhh, no I'm Brian. Good to meet you," I quickly replied.
"Oh yeah," the guy countered. He was clearly on the third of his vodka tonics. "Good to meet you."
It was worth noting that his replies dripped with an Eastern-European accent. I do believe this was the first time I witnessed an actual White Russian down a Black Russian
. But getting back to the moral of the story...
I sat down unsuspecting and started up a little conversation. Completely worthless in the large scale of things, but enough to get the night started. The waitress of interest finally joined us and sat an chatted for a while about life in the resturant. Turned out the Russians also worked at the bar and were off for the night. Good people and all, but after a while, the whole "In Mother Russia..."
thing just got kind of old.
So after they headed out for the night, I got a few moments with her by herself. We got a nice little chat in and she seemed game for a fun night. Of course, my heart sunk when she mentioned a few more of her friends were stopping by.
"You'll like my friend Trent. You look a bit like him," She said giddily.
"Oh really..." I said. "Yeah, Boris and Natasha mistook me for him" (Ok Ok, their names weren't really Boris and Natasha... but how cool would that have been!)
A few more of her co-workers joined us at the booth and started yapping about things people yap about when they work and drink in the same place everyday. After a quick twenty minutes, a younger looking Black guy walked in, about 5'9", and dressed relatively well. Of course, I would have steered clear of the khaki cashmere scarf, but he did know how to put a color scheme together. He made eye contact with our booth and headed over confidently.
"Trent!" she greeted him. The rest of the table lit up with the anticipation of meeting an old friend. Trent was in the house. He made the rounds introducing himself to everyone, took a pause at me... and then outstretched his right arm.
"Hi, I'm Trent." he spoke calmly. The guy had my same accent of all things.
"I'm Brian." I replied while shaking hand. I noticed him squeeze my hand a bit while taking a look over at me. Don't forget komrades: In Mother Russia... Doppelgänger Judges You! He looked a bit nervous as he sat down across the table, but it was clear that he wasn't happy with me sitting next to the waitress of interest. Score 1 for Brian. Let the games begin.
We got a round of drinks, and he began: "So Brian what do you do?"
"I'm a computer software exec."
"Programming?" He asked.
"No... I run their customer service department. Never a dull day you know. How about yourself?"
"Oh, I do software classification for the DoD
"Good stuff." I replied.
THE DUDE DOES INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, JUST LIKE ME! What are the chances? And no, the similarities did not end there.
- The guy is 24 years old
- Huge fan of Shiraz (okay okay... my fav is red zinfandel, but I like the shiraz too!)
- Graduate of the Citadel (as opposed to my time in West Point)
- Hell, he was rocking the same "short all over" hair cut I have. Man, I miss my afro.
At this point, I just gave up. I've been in these traps before. When you start up with someone comparing what you've done, what you're driving, and where you're going. I always tend to move into the reluctant warrior role: I try to stay as modest as I can, but sometimes you just want to jab the guy with "The time I spent in London" or "My work with the Speaker". Only this time, I was countered with Trent's "Tour in Germany" or "Golf game with General so-and-so." He was a worthy competitor.
Then came politics... I don't remember how it came up, but Trent started up bashing the Bush administration. The waitress and I looked at each other and started smiling. I think our old buddy Trent misjudged the situation. He forgot that he was dealing with a couple crazy right-wingers. Of course, I wanted to stir it up a bit... but I let it go. Sometimes its better to let someone sink his own ship.
The final round of the boxing match came in the form of the bill. The bartender made things even more complicated and put it all on one tab. A good sized bar tab, and who's going to pay up? Trent and I took a quick look at each other. You know those scenes from the wild west... two gunslingers standing apart twenty paces while waiting for the clock to strike high-noon. It was one of those times.
Trent rushed in... "I've got it." He dropped his platinum card out on the table while winking in my direction. The man meant business.
I looked over at the girl. Out the corner of my eye, I caught her text-messaging on her phone. The name on the phone was familiar... it was her ex-boyfriend who she claims she's over with. Are you freaking kidding me!? I heard a glorious voice in my head explaining: "In Mother Russia, woman owns you!"
It was the great Yakov Smirnoff
as the voice of reason.
"Wow, thanks Trent." I replied while closing my wallet. "You're a good man."
He paid for all of us.
While we headed out of the bar. I sensed a great unease over the next step of the night. My chairot awaited in the Metro across the street. Trent had his car and the Waitress started walking out with her friends.
"I've got to drive them home and then I have to get some rest for tomorrow. You guys gonna be okay?" she asked.
"Sure... I'll catch y'all later. Good meeting you Trent"
"Nice meeting you. We have to do this again sometime soon."
"Sure thing, mate."