Wednesday, November 3
It's Wednesday night and we're sitting in the Mountain Sun again.
I've been drinking here for something like five years now. They brew their own, and it's good stuff in general — strong and hoppy but not absurd on either front, the kind of beer I haven't tired of in half a decade and would probably miss a lot if I left town.
For a while, I worked for a doomed startup in a renovated house about a block from here. I would hit happy hour at the Sun three or four times a week, often to stand around by the bar with coworkers grousing about the staggering inanity of the job and the unmitigated sliminess of our employer.1 Very occasionally these days, depending on the phase of my haircut, someone will notice I'm just familiar enough to skip the Boulder-standard "can I take a look at your ID" ritual, which is about the highest level of recognition I ever expect from a given establishment.
I keep glancing nervously at the door because I recognized someone leaving on the way in, and so I halfway expect to see at least one person I can't really deal with talking to.2 As per usual it is almost, but not quite, too loud to sustain an actual conversation at the table. Dave and Ben are talking about snowboarding. Me and Casey are talking about the sort of extra-temporal sensation that arises from the additional day off in three-day weekends.3 We are resolutely not complaining about work, although we are mere days away from releasing a giant pile of code which will in all likelihood consume our every conscious moment and stalk our very dreams through at least the end of the year.
There are babies and small children everywhere. Most of their mothers are beautiful, in the long-haired glowing-face knit-cap flowing-skirt/yoga-pants way of Boulder young mothers. Their fathers seem, mostly, somewhere on a continuum between quietly happy and beer-induced tolerant. While Casey and Ben are out smoking cigarettes, I'm saying to Dave that I've realized lately I'm never likely to have children of my own and I kind of regret it. Never say never, says Dave.
I go to the john and pull some dollars out of the ancient ATM in the hallway. When I come back, some little kid a table over is throwing french fries4 at my bike bag. His parents are profusely apologetic about this for some reason, but when they depart in a few minutes they're still going to leave a pile of cold fries and shredded cardboard coasters on the floor for the waitstaff to clean up. I sense again that there are aspects of the parental experience I shouldn't regret missing out on.
1 Morbid curiosity compelled me, just now, to see if their domain still resolves to anything. Much to my surprise, it does, complete with some contributions of mine — things like notes for tourists on the accessibility of restrooms at long-closed spas in neighborhoods that no tourists ever visited to begin with, and bad correlations of doctored stock photography of beaches with dangerously inaccurate textual descriptions of other beaches. Some desperate little tangle of licensing agreements and dirty hacks must keep this animated corpse of a web application shambling along, a fragile monument to millions of dollars and tens of thousands of man hours pissed into the metaphorical wind.
2 Boulder's a small place, both geographically and socially. The remarkable thing after this long here isn't how often I encounter someone with whom my personal history is basically fucked; it's that it doesn't happen constantly.
3 "What should I write about tonight?" I've asked Casey, and he's started explaining this notion of how a day like Labor Day feels like it isn't quite happening. Like how, this Labor Day just past, when the Fourmile Canyon fire started and this massive, apocalyptic cloud of smoke rolled out over the city, he wondered at some point during the day whether it could really still be going on the next day, or if the events of Monday would basically vanish into the ether once ordinary routine resumed on Tuesday.
I can relate to this question. I'm pretty sure I've lived most of my life waiting for (or in another sense, lived most of my life inside of) those weird, unmoored border times. Christmas vacations, snow days, county fairs, last days of school, airports on the way to strange cities. Skipping class the day of the total eclipse. Drinking beers by the train tracks on graduation night. A Lincoln city park at 2am. A Christchurch beach at 8am in the rain.
4 Ok, look, a note about the fries: Don't do it. Pretty much every other item on the menu is fantastic. High-quality hippie bar food at entirely decent rates. Burgers, nachos, and burritos all among the best you'll find in the state. Vegetarians actually treated like they might want to eat something besides fried cheese. Fresh ingredients, good flavors, etc. The fries... They're a soggy mess.
Sorry guys. Don't hate me.