Happy Landings

Any landing you can walk away from is a good one. Chuck Yeager said something similar to that. I googled it. I don’t know the origin of the exact words I used. Seeing as I rarely hang out with real pilots, I probably heard it from a pilot in a movie or TV show. The phrasing is smoother than the Yeager quote (look it up and judge for yourself), which is not surprising. Make-believe pilots have script writers.

I am not a pilot, not even a make-believe one, so I’m going to use the words figuratively. I’m sure you’re all fine with that. I’m guessing most people’s experience with actual pilots is restricted to commercial air travel and this sort of derring-do verbal shrug  is not the sort of thing to want to hear coming through the intercom.

The landing I’m walking away from is 2017, now slipped entirely into the past and immutable by non-revisionists. An entire year is a big topic, far too large for me to attempt tackling it in a single blog post. I’ll narrow my scope to the final week and a half. Those ten days were among the least productive of my entire life and that made them doubly significant. When I look back and say “I regret nothing,” it means two things.

Accomplishing jack shit was no accident. I needed a break from life’s responsibilities, or maybe I just wanted one. It’s absurd in either case. If I’m good at anything, it’s avoiding responsibility. I have coasted through much of my life. There have been a few spots where I’ve had to suck it up and actually make an effort. This happened in the middle of December and it was an ordeal.

I won’t go into detail because much of it was job-related and I don’t want it to get back to my employers that I’m anything other than a happy little worker bee. Let’s just say that after it was over, I needed a drink.

Well, it wasn’t quite over if you want to know the truth. The job stuff was as done as it was going to get, but the third part of “The Future Poo Holiday Special” still needed to be written. I had a basic idea of how I wanted to wrap it up, but there were some details that needed hashing out. Drinking is an excellent companion activity for that.

I went to what is fast becoming my not-so-local local, a lovely little dive bar in the Tenderloin called Aunt Charlies. The drinks are cheap and they seem to be tolerant of people passing out on their stool as long as they keep their head off the bar and refrain from falling over and hitting the floor.

There’s a drag show there each Friday and Saturday with a $5 cover unless you arrive early. It’s also customary to tip a buck as the performers strut their stuff past your barstool and no, that doesn’t buy you a lap dance.

One of the performers I like is the first to arrive and is there for every show. She is perhaps my age, possibly older, and takes drink orders from the tables along the wall in addition to being part of the act. She is not the MC, but I like to think of her as the Grand Old Dame of the show.

Her performance is a delight. With her bouffant wig and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane makeup job, she moves up and down the bar with grim determination while lip synching  to “These Boots Are Made for Walking.” If you neglect to tip her, you have no soul.

I can’t remember her stage name. It should be “Countess” or “Duchess” but is probably neither. I don’t know anything else about her and frankly don’t need to. She is out there doing her thing every weekend and that is enough. She is a goddamn inspiration.

Thanks to her example, I knocked out the last blog post the following day with renewed duty and focus. The holiday could finally begin.

Rebecca and I got some Xmas provisions including a 10 lb. ham that seemed like a real bargain at the time as it had been discounted to be just under a dollar a pound. It wasn’t until we got it home that found out how much of it was fat. It was not so much a ham as an enormous ham-shaped lipoma. Live and learn, I suppose.

On the 26th, we got on a plane to New Orleans so we could step up our drinking game with earnest. It was cold, not Chicago cold, but colder than SF. Fortunately, there is no shortage of bars in the French Quarter to duck into and take refuge from the inclement weather. Bourbon Street is a frat-douche hell on Earth, but there are some lovely charming dives less than a block away.

We became temporary regulars at Molly’s on Toulouse Street. I had my first Yuengling there and liked it well enough to keep drinking it. After depleting their supply, I switched to Rolling Rock with the occasional scotch and soda thrown in. Rebecca had some beer, but mostly stuck to her usual Tequila and soda.

We spent our vacation eating and drinking far too much, and feeling good about it because we had made a pact to not give a shit. January was coming at us fast and with it the return to relative drudgery. Until then, prudent behavior be damned.

We put NOLA on our list of cities to return to, but only to visit. We couldn’t live there. That would just be inviting diabetes and cirrhosis to get into a race to kill us off first. Neither of us has that kind of death wish.

Part of the charm of regrettable behavior is living long enough to regret it. It is 2018 and neither of us is dead. Mission accomplished.

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