Category Archives: Zog’s

Party Girl.

I choose to fancy myself a successful mingler, much like I choose to remember that I’m terrific at bicycle riding.  Since I rarely perform either of those simple tasks, it is not difficult for me to convince myself I am good at them.


The last time I hoisted myself onto a bicycle, it was my old roommate’s, and I quickly realized with horror that the last bike I owned only had two speeds:  However Fast I Can Pedal and Stopped.  And to stop this bike from 1986, I only had stop moving and the training wheels did all the work.  But there were levers and cranks and buttons and baubles on this modern, more threatening bicycle, and since I possessed knowledge of none of their functions, I ate asphalt in under 90 seconds.


Something very similar happened to me at the party I just attended.


I’m going to share a phenomenon I have experienced since buying the bar.  I rarely get invited to parties, and it’s because everyone hilariously assumes I’m already going to other parties.  Every Monday, customers ask me “how the parties were this weekend,” and they look alarmed when I say that I spent my weekend watching reality TV and trying to find the source of the eight fruit flies in my bathroom.  Why are they there?  There’s no food in there.  I don’t keep food in there.


I live on the end of a very short, largely unoccupied, dead end street, and three days ago I realized that four of my bar regulars have lived two doors down from me for five months.  How did we never notice that?  This is an adorable group of young friends whose presence I always appreciate at the bar.  They are intelligent and talented and respectful.   So when they announced on Facebook that they were having a party, and I was invited, because everyone on Facebook is invited, I started a countdown to my evening of social finesse. On the night of the party, after overcoming a minor sartorial crisis, Jedd Evan and I stuffed our coat pockets with leftover beers and headed over.


Minutes later I found myself standing in a room full of Zog’s regulars, and MY turf was nowhere to be found.  Standing in my own bar imparts me with a certain confidence I’m always sure will translate into real life should my participation be required in a social capacity other than hostess, but it never does.


I’m very good at the bar.  I’m quick and funny and I use poly-syllabic words and I treat my friends to good stories and charm dollars easily out of people I don’t know.  I can tell jokes and recount tales and issue advice and do creative things.  But when I’m not on my own turf I forget how to be a functional person.


I parked myself across from the fridge and started talking to two guys I knew and two guys I didn’t know.  Almost immediately, someone opened said fridge and I watched as a full gallon of milk freed itself in slow motion from the top shelf, burst open on the linoleum and spilled onto my flipflopped feet.  I made a couple of jokes about crying over it and silently congratulated myself amid their polite laughter.  Suddenly, the following sentence exited my mouth and I was forced to watch its painful trajectory as it barfed itself into the conversation:  “Hey three of you guys have glasses and guess what my old roommate just moved out and he left three giant bottles of contact solution do any of you guys ever use contacts do you guys want them because I can just go run home and get them.”  And then suddenly, propelled by my good intentions, I was sprinting the fifty yards back home in my milkfeet, wondering WHY THE HELL I just opted to distribute bottles of contact solution like party favors at an ophthalmology mixer, apropos of nothing.


I returned with the contact solution, distributed it to the bespectacled unwilling, and gave Jedd Evan the pre-opened, rejected one, which he employed as a conversational tool by using it to replace random objects around the room.  As in, he’d slyly leave the contact solution in place of the hot sauce in front of ten people chewing things that needed hot sauce.  Everyone laughed because he is funny, and good at parties.


Some guy came up and told me he liked all my earrings, so I immediately slapped my ear a few times in response.  Why did I do that? Then I talked a mile a minute about how you touch your own hair when someone notices you got a haircut, and I hit myself in the head a half dozen more times to illustrate my point.  No one said anything.  Or laughed.  But a few kids did rescue me by launching into a full Q&A about Zog’s, in which I took part for close to twenty minutes.  It was painful, and not because of them.  They were delightful.


It was me.


They asked legitimate questions, such as, “How does someone in their early 20s buy their own bar,” (I’m 30), “Do you feel bad kicking out drunk people,” (no), “Do you ever have to cut off your friends,” (I almost exclusively have to cut off my friends), and, “What does that ___________ tattoo mean?”  About halfway through this exchange, I realized I was being potty-mouthed and very boring and I could sort of see it on their poor faces. They had the look I get when I want to end a conversation I’m having with a social pariah but I don’t know how.  I felt so awful for them.


Abruptly, I released them from my small-talk grip by simply shrugging and saying, “Whatever,” thereby relinquishing my monopoly on the conversation, and instead of asking them questions about themselves, which is what you DO at a party, I just sort of shut up and stood there until they floated away.  I tried to interject witty remarks into other people’s conversations.  Here are some examples of things I ACTUALLY SAID:


“Oh, Elvis is still alive?  Wait.  Costello?”


“Yes, yes, I got all the milk out of my shoe.”


“My parents got divorced and that’s how come there’s a treadmill in my living room.”


After a while I just stopped saying anything.  What was heartbreaking was that no one was being even slightly rude to me.  All the dumb shit I was saying and all the awkwardness I introduced to the room—it all came from me.


But the sore, palpitating crux of shame came when, after being silent for a while while Jedd Evan performed beautifully with the group he was regaling on the other side of the party, I decided to step up to the girl Audrey and take her shoulder and lean in and whisper to her.  I said, “Audrey.  I don’t mean to be a downer but I never get invited to parties and I’m really nervous and I really don’t know how to talk to people.”  I don’t know why I did it.  I guess because I just needed to say it to someone but it’s really not the sort of thing you tell a virtual stranger at a neighborhood cookout.  It was time to go.


I went out on the porch with Jedd Evan and slumped in a chair next to a wool-vested, headless plastic human skeleton, a remnant of a Halloween party I hadn’t been invited to, and I clutched my tepid bottle of Fat Tire and stared into the street and tried to tell Jedd Evan funny stories while I thought about all the nice, welcoming people inside the house and how I’ve not had enough practice at parties and even though (or especially because) I’m almost a decade older than most of them, I’ll probably not get any better at this point, even with practice.


I’m probably just being paranoid.  But, see, the problem is that I’m thinking about it at all.  As Jedd Evan and I trudged home, we passed Rich’s house, and Rich is a bicycle mechanic in Carrboro.  I waved to him and then glanced over at my old roommate’s forgotten bike under my carport.  Maybe I’ll bring it in to Rich for a tune-up tomorrow and see if I can’t get the hang of it again.



Filed under adventure, humor, life, random, relationships, Zog's

Ready, Set, Abandon!

Dear Evan,

It is 8:30am on a Sunday, and I am in my purple martini pajama pants sitting at the bar, blasting Sade’s “Diamond Life,” and watching adorable boys in bandannas and flannels bustle about with wires and lights and cameras and gadgets.  Their rappel hooks are clinking against the tools in their belt loops and I can’t identify the equipment they’re tinkering with and their hair is all mussed and they’re all thin and wildly focused. The girls in the art department are beautiful and hip and too big for this tiny town in their short-shorts and Keds while they mix batches of fake brains in the bathroom and change the decorations in the bar to fit the scenes.  They’re shooting that movie again at Zog’s, and even though my brain doesn’t even acknowledge the existence of any time before 11am, these people are awake and chipper and no one’s drinking the coffee I made, which is startling to me.  I’m waiting for the lead actor to show up in his leather blazer, because I know he will drink some because he already has a favorite mug here, even, and I’ll feel better about myself for being this worthless this early. He’s quite disarming and since my first impression of him was when he was in crazy-intense character, his actual personality is warped in my mind. For the first couple of hours, he made me nervous and I couldn’t look him in the eyes until I realized he’s just a really good actor.  His beard is the color of apple juice.

Apple juice, coincidentally, is the same color as Wild Turkey 101, so we filled up an empty 101 bottle with juice for the Hitman to drink out of.  It looks so real, but that’s movies for ya.

Hobbling over the cement cobblestones haphazardly leading away from The Viking’s purple cinderblock house felt surreal so early this morning.  I thought I’d never reach my car even though I only had to travel 50 feet.  I’m not used to wearing ill-fitting tank-tops this time of year, and I vaguely worried if any old people were peering out their windows thinking I was doing a Walk of Shame, which I wasn’t.

Right now the actor with the apple juice beard is poring over a ton of guns splayed out on the third pool table.  I’m supposed to be the Assistant Art Director, but I sincerely hope they don’t credit me as such because, aside from me having decorated the bar before the fact, no one has asked me for my art opinions about anything and I don’t want to take credit for things I haven’t done.  I play a bartender in the movie.  I don’t even have to act, which is helpful.  I’m tired of acting, generally, in life.  They asked me to wear makeup.  I don’t really have any.  I hope they brought some.  I hope someone knows how to put it on me.

I guess my hair’s the color of apple juice, too.  I’m just noticing it as such.  I used to think it was the color of day-old iced tea, and I might be right, still.

The first movie set I worked on was almost a decade ago and it was in a tiny, creepy town deep in Louisiana bayou country.  It was the type of place that will haunt you; things are a little too quiet and ghosts are everywhere in the crumbling bricks and Spanish moss and kudzu chokes whatever’s still alive.  The basecamp was set up in an abandoned grocery store.  It looked like people were either setting the store up or taking it away and they just sort of. . .stopped. . .halfway through.  Why wouldn’t they finish the job?  Want pictures?  Here’s one:

Abandon Production, Leave your Ladders.

That was the summer I mildly befriended Dave Matthews, who played a part in the movie.  I learned three things about him:  He drinks quad lattes with no sugar, he smokes, and he owns a fuzzy blue sweater that he will claim he wore for your enjoyment if he thinks it will make you feel special and regarded.

Show me the way, leave me one candle.

The next movie set I worked on was the one where I accidentally cussed out Jude Law for asking me where the fried chicken table was.  I didn’t know where it was, and I clearly wasn’t fucking manning it.  I was, however, manning an espresso station with a broken fucking espresso machine.  I told him as much without looking up, and it wasn’t until he lightly grabbed my arm and gave me a piercing, reassuring smile that I realized who I was treating how.  I didn’t care, though, because he’s a cheating bastard and I totally judge him for that.

So now it’s Monday morning and I’m back at the bar for the next chunk of the shoot and I’m being incredibly helpful by sitting in the corner writing a blog.  But every time I walk anywhere or try to help anyone, I run into a tripod or throw away a carefully-placed piece of prop trash or stand in the way of the dolly tracks.  They did let me do the very first clacky black-and-white slate-thingie, though, which was thrilling.

I think that’s about it from my end.  I wanted you to be the first to know that I didn’t write a blog about being lonely this time.  High-five that hot wife of yours for me.  I’ll see you soon.

'scuse me, what aisle is creepiness on?


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Filed under adventure, life, random, Zog's

Hey, y’all.

Hey, aging hippie.  Look.  I know you’re more enlightened than me because you’re newly 50 and you have the I Ching symbol on your ‘Life is Good.” t-shirt.  But please try to refrain from asking me, “Are you sure all those tats were a good idea?  Your body is a temple,” if you are going to waft down on the four winds from the Buddhist meditation center upstairs from the restaurant sporting all of the following things:
1.    Thirty-two-year-old ringlet mullet
2.    Pleated, stained, and elastic-waisted carpenter cut-offs
3.    Black knee-high trouser socks with shiny new brown Birkenstocks
4.    Grimy finger-printed Mason jar full of Superfood
5.    Fake veganism
6.    A six-compartment fanny pack.
You really, really aren’t in a place to judge someone else’s decorations.

Hey, angsty teen standing between me and my thrice-weekly Greek frozen  yogurt.  I know you think life sucks because you’re slinging froyo at the Bubble Tea Shoppe when you’d rather be writing beat poetry while you slit your wrists the wrong way and post the pics on Facebook, but do you think you could stop your Google image search for Yeasayer long enough to take off the fucking fedora and Blu-Blocker Ray-Bans and stamp my punchcard?  If I order another one of these babies that’s my tenth and then it’ll be free next time so I don’t have to hear you call me “Daddy-o” when you hand me my change.  I can’t make this shit up.  Plus, it’s fucking 10:34pm.  What the fuck do you think this is, a Corey Hart video?

Hey, awesome rode-hard lady who came up to the bar the other day and allowed me to take part in the following exchange:
Her: Can I go out on the employees-only fire escape to smoke?
Me: No, it’s employees-only.
Her: I can’t just go out there and smoke real quick?
Me: No, it goes against our insurance policy.  There’s a giant hole in the fire escape.
Her: Well, I know the owner of this bar, he’s my friend.
Me: I know the owner too.  He pays me to be his friend.
Her: Can I get another Miller Lite?  And I’ll ask you one more time.  Can I go out on the fire escape to smoke?
Me: No.
Her: I’ll have you know I helped build this bar.
Me: Well I’m helping to rebuild this bar, and you can’t smoke in off-limits areas.
Her: *rolls eyes* Well I’m not used to being told “no” in this bar I guess.
Me: No.

Hey Kids in Camp Big Foot circa 1992:  Thanks for forming an “I Hate Amanda Brown” club when we were at the swimming pool that one time.  It really taught me a lot about myself.  I was so desperate to be part of a group, any group, that I actually asked if I could join the club, and you all said No.  It was that very moment that I realized I was socially light years ahead of you all and so instead of tattling I went into the common area and played Extreme’s More Than Words 7″ on the record player over and over again until it was time to go home.  I’ve not given a shit about being part of a group since then, and that song is on every playlist on my iPod to this very day.

Hey, Iron and Wine:  why did it take me till I was Almost Thirty to realize you’re the best?

Hey, every writer ever:  The only thing worse than not having a muse is deciding you’re someone else’s without informing them first.

Hey boy with the drawl:  I hear your voice everywhere. . .now when I talk to myself out loud in my car, which is every time I start the ignition, I do it out loud in that perfect voice. . .it is so imperative that I hear it constantly that I’ve perfected it for my own private use. . .it’s horribly over-exaggerated when I do it and I don’t care. . .

Hey, vodka sodas: I love that you go completely undetected when you’re being consumed by the unfuckwithables.

Hey Mateo Boyoboy:  You’re only part of my Extended Network  and I only know who you are because I think our one mutual friend’s Facebook wall is one of the funniest, most entertaining things on the internet, and I don’t know you and I never will but I just want you to know that even though that’s probably not your real name, I find myself saying it over and over again out loud in a southern drawl when I drive in my car alone.

Hey Matt:  I hope this will suffice for tomorrow, and thanks for reading every single post I’ve ever made in my whole life on WordPress.  The Fartscenter can be a lonely place in the wee morning hours, but I can rest assured you know me as much as the Information Superhighway can possibly allow.


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