Whirlygig: 84: Out on the Town

Northside needs to work the bugs out of its parking lot

That's a Lot of Roaches

I still remember the first time I fell head over heels for someone after moving to Cincinnati. It was way back in 1985 when I was a freshman in high school.

My first friend from high school invited me over to his house and I met his younger sister Jess. Her image back then was a cool mix of Deborah Harry and Madonna. Even through years of misadventures and long periods of time apart, we still somehow remained friends.

Friday I invited her out for a mini night on the town. We're both now in our early 30s, and Friday nights tend to be early nights for both of us. Working a 40-hour day job is just a lot more draining than either one of us thought back in high school.

We went to go see my friend Alice Pixley Young's art opening Pierce, Twitch, Burn, Stitch at the DAAP Galleries Downtown. Most of the artwork is charcoal drawings of female models in various poses on huge 15-by-12-foot canvasses.

It's hard for me to describe the scenes, but they look like they're taken from a Grimm's fairy tale. Seeing most of the figures at life-size was a little intimidating at times though.

Afterward we walked across downtown to Nicholson's for a drink and a quick recap of our lives since last we talked. I ordered a Highland Park Scotch and she ordered a glass of red wine. That's when I realized how much we changed since we first met. Back then we only drank Milwaukee's Best. When the bartender came to take our food order, I told him I felt like "something oxymoronic" and ordered a Scottish Spring Roll.

To my surprise, it was actually quite tasty. It had the same fried doughy outer shell as a normal spring roll but was filled with cabbage and grilled chicken with a Scottish mustard as a sauce.

After we talked for an hour and I finished my spring roll, I went to the restroom, where I had a pleasant surprise. There was a bottle of wintergreen Scope on the sink! I couldn't think of a better way to get to get the taste of Scottish food off of your pallet.

We had so much fun catching up that we decided to meet at the Northside Tavern Saturday night for an official night of drinking to bring back memories of high school days. Plus we'd get to see Thee Shams.

I arrived a little late. Jess was already there drinking with a friend of hers from work. Rachael's short blonde hair, perfectly toned body and tight tank top with the number "10" on the front reminded me of a surfer. It's a rare image to see in this fair city.

As soon as I sat down at their table, Jess told me I was going to have to walk her back to her car when we left. I thought at first that she was afraid to walk in Northside alone. But it turns out that when she got out of her car after she parked it at the lot across the street from the tavern, there were huge roaches crawling around the parking lot. It was the first time I've ever seen this girl squeamish about anything, so I agreed to get her car when we left.

After Thee Shams played a great set of Blues-tinged, '60s Rock & Roll, we decided to go play a game of pool. I went to the bathroom first so nothing would distract me from the game. While I was waiting for a stall to open up, a drunk little English man, who only came up to about my nipples, walked in and asked me, "Are you having any luck getting with any of the fine women here tonight?"

I told him, "Nope. I already have a girlfriend."

He just shook his head, and said, "Sorry about your luck."

When I walked out of the bathroom, he'd made a beeline toward Rachael. He started nearly drooling while staring at her breasts and began asking her what the number "10" meant on her shirt.

I just walked up and said to him, "Oh, I see you met my girlfriend."

I don't think I've seen anybody turn so pale so fast before. He just stammered something like, "I wasn't hitting on her. I didn't know she was your girlfriend. Please don't beat me up."

Jess and Rachael had a hard time not laughing in the poor guy's face before he quickly walked away.

After we had our laughs and played a couple of games of pool, I had to fulfill my duty of walking Jess to her car. She was so terrified of the roaches that she gave me her car keys and told me to drive her car out of the parking lot while she waited in safety on the sidewalk. I was making fun of her whole time I was walking to her car, until I put the key in the door and looked down. I nearly screamed like a little schoolgirl.

There must have been about 50 huge roaches just scurrying around her car. I'll never make fun of one of her fears ever again after that experience.

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