Whirlygig: 68: Out on the Town

The Comet spotlights signs from above and below

Gotta Go, Gotta Go, Gotta Go Right Now
Maybe it was the bad Chinese food I had for lunch on Friday. Maybe it was the intense workout I had after work. Maybe it was the eight hours of drinking after work. Or maybe it was a combination of the three.

I spent all of Saturday and the majority of Sunday curled up in a little ball on my couch unable to eat or move. I can't remember the last time I was sick enough to go more than a day without eating anything.

It wasn't until 9 p.m. on Sunday night before I thought I was able to handle food again. Since I'd been a medical hermit the whole weekend and there aren't many other restaurants open at that time of night on a Sunday, I went up The Comet for food and Bluegrass music from the Comet Bluegrass All-Stars.

As soon as I opened the door to The Comet, I could have sworn that all the lights in the room dimmed a little except for a spotlight on a girl at the far end of the bar. The bar was packed with people.

All I could see was the beautiful girl with long black hair. I was so fixated on her that I walked right past my good friend Okie. He quickly brought me back to reality by jokingly hitting me in the stomach.

While I was ordering a chicken quesadilla, he decided to buy a drink since he tagged me in the stomach. I wasn't up for alcohol that night, so I had him buy me a Ting. He called me a "cheap date" and went back to the main room to watch the music with his wife.

As we were talking, I realized that I actually knew the good-looking girl at the other end of the bar. It was just the first time I'd seen her with make-up on and her hair down. She's always been one of the girls who are just naturally beautiful, the type that if you saw them first thing in the morning when they get out of bed they'd still be better looking than most of the woman in the bar that night.

As I was eating my first meal in nearly two days, I decided the "moment" I'd when I walked in the bar was a message from above, telling me that I should at least ask her out. Especially since I'd chickened out on at least three prior occasions.

I put the last bite of chicken quesadilla in my mouth and finalized how I was to ease myself into a conversion with her. Then I received another signal from above. Fate decided to make me play the lead part in a commercial where the tag line is "Where will you be when your diarrhea kicks in?"

I'm sure my eyes went from being halfway closed due to the smoke to as wide as saucers when I realized what my body was trying to do to me. I knew I had only about five minutes to make it home to a bathroom before something horrible happened. With a five-minute drive home, I got up and walked as quickly as possible to the door and out to my car.

I swear it was the longest drive home I've ever had from The Comet. I was trying so hard to keep everything in that I lost feeling in my feet and hands. What made it worse was all I could think of was the scene from Alien where the baby alien bursts through the guy's belly, and that stupid song my friends and I sang as kids where the last line is "When you're sliding into home and your pants are full of foam, diarrhea, diarrhea." I was so close to not making it, I actually put a CityBeat under my butt while driving home just in case.

Fortunately, I made it home and into the bathroom in time. But now I have to wonder which message from above I'm to believe.

— R.L. Newman

It's a Small World After All
There are friends and there are acquaintances. Typically in my world acquaintances are friends of my friends who I've heard about or maybe met while socializing in common circles. The difference is the friend category usually involves phone numbers and e-mail addresses, while acquaintances you have to run into while out somewhere.

Sara is a friend who once was an acquaintance through my friend Cindy. We all had drinks one sunny afternoon at the Vineyard Café on Hyde Park Square last spring. Cindy had included Sara. I showed up solo but then my guy friend Richard showed up a little later. We all seemed glad to be together drinking red wine on a beautiful day without a care in the world.

It turns out that Richard and Cindy work in the same building downtown, frequently riding the elevator together. It makes me think Cincinnati is indeed a small town, though just last week I was struck by how big it was when I didn't see anyone I knew at an outdoor street festival. Maybe it's a delightful big small town after all, as now Richard and Cindy speak frequently while en route to their respective offices and are friendly around town as well.

Common ground can be shared real estate or it can be shared experience, as is the case with Sara and me. Both of us are single working moms who survived a marriage and a divorce. She gave me her business card and suggested we get together for lunch sometime, which was a splendid idea indeed.

The truth is I'd rather have a new girlfriend in this town than the business card of 10 single guys. Girlfriends are harder to find and of much greater value in a crisis. Case in point: Girlfriends will rush over with a casserole, Advil and a sympathetic ear after a traumatic visit to the gynecologist. A guy will want to know when you can get back in the saddle. Somehow you know he isn't talking about horseback riding either.

The fun part of having a new friend, aside from the girl talk and comfort, is that you get to meet her friends and live vicariously through them when your own life bores you to tears.

This is the spot I found myself in when Sara called to see if I wanted to join her for a cocktail at Nick and Tony's after work. It certainly sounded better than a trip to the gym to work out.

Turns out that after work Nick and Tony's is quite the hot spot. No sweating like at the gym but plenty of suits and thirsty nine-to-fivers on this particular Thursday. Sara and I caught up on her day. I sympathized that bosses are born to make us all crazy. If it isn't management, it could be the weather rollercoaster we seem to be riding in March.

Richard showed up with a gang from his office that entertained Sara and me with tales of woe from the financial world and sports humor that left us shaking our heads. Then Nina showed up, turning heads. She is Sara's friend who's an acquaintance of mine. I've heard about her frequently and met her once a while back. She didn't seem to notice the drooling gang over her shoulder, as tonight she seemed intent in taking off her 2-inch-heeled pumps — she swears they're ruining her arch — and ordering a drink.

I'm pretty sure she could have had a bevy of guys massaging her feet with hot oils, but it seems she's a taken woman. Nina told Sara and me about the latest date she had with an attorney who I happen to know is easily 25 years her senior. She seemed absolutely smitten with him. I was all too content to listen, though I couldn't help but wonder why a gorgeous girl of 35 is smitten by a 64-year-old man. I guess beauty and the grandfather thing is real.

The conversation veered away from her current beau back to Sara's hilarious rendition of how her latest date held his fork and knife like he was trying to kill his Kobe beef at Jag's in West Chester. Sara said she just wants a man who can speak and eat without her wanting to send him back to his mother for retooling. Nina jumped in with a story she was sure is worse than Sara's about the guy who was so cheap he didn't buy her a birthday gift. He still insisted on coming over to her house on her birthday, where she was entertaining girlfriends, expecting to drink her expensive wine. To top it off, he wanted to hook up with her later after he went to the Xavier game and showed up at P.F. Chang's, where she was still with her girlfriends. The kicker, she said, is that he never even bought her a drink at the bar after he'd shown up without a gift and drank her wine — but he still had the audacity to ask if he could come home with the birthday girl.

Turned out somewhere in the story I recognized the guy and confirmed that I know him too. We died laughing about how cheap he is and loved the fact that we both sent him packing. Did I say that this is a small town? It's a small world.

— Wendy Robinson

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