October 2010



Shame, Shame, Go Away

Written by , Posted in Travel

Lately I’ve been feeling a bit like an old lady.  I go to sleep around 9pm on weeknights, my knees and back take turns being sore, I’m hungover for 3 days if I’m out past midnight (but I usually only make it until about 11pm), and I’ve been purchasing an inordinate amount of cooking mags.  I started to get the “can’t do it like I used to” mentality…that is, until the events that unfolded in the last 72 hours.  Moms, grandmas, family members that don’t want to hear about my exploits-your reading of this entry should probably stop here if you know what’s good for you.  The shame that is radiating from the four of us as we sit here in the Pittsburgh Airport is palpable.

So me, Mike, and 2 of our friends (who will remain nameless in a small attempt to preserve their dignity) traveled to Pittsburgh, PA for a weekend of football, food, and a little drinking thrown in.  We got in late Friday night, had some fancy tacos at Yo Rita for dinner, and started our bar hop down Carson Street.  We stopped at several watering holes-Jack’s, The Smiling Moose, 1311, and Mario’s before stumbling upon the hidden gem that is Bar 11.  The Bouncer was wearing a hotdog costume.  We walked in and could hardly see a thing because the smoke machine had pumped out enough smoke to fill a stadium.  I squeezed my way over to the bar and got our drinks-along with a handful of small plastic toys from the bartender-fish, spiders, rings, toy soldiers, rubber duckies, candy necklaces, and who knows what else that we piled into our drinks, on our fingers, and around our necks.  The music went from Britney to Ram Jam to the Notorious BIG in the span of 10 minutes.  A foam machine above us spewed bubbles onto my head.  The entire place is lit by blacklights and highlighters are given out to write on each other.  I drew a handlebar mustache on Mike.  He drew 2 penises going into my mouth.  I drew boobs on his forehead.  He drew a penis on my boobs.  It was an all-around ridiculous place.  We were pretty intoxicated and decided to grab some drunk pizza and put our first night in Pitt in the record books.  After watching a couple fights break out in the pizza place and walking back to our hotel across a bridge and through a tunnel,  we did just that.
We wake up to a sunny Saturday and head over to the bar/restaurant Fatheads for some ginormously awesome sandwiches that put us in a food coma-we then made one of our only responsible choices of the weekend and decided to go back to the hotel and take a nap.  So we called up our hotel and the friendly shuttle driver arrived to pick us up.  We all hopped in-completely unaware that the next 8 minutes would be the most awkward in all of our lives.  Here’s how the convo went:
Mike:  We just had lunch at Fatheads
Driver:  Oh yea, I’ve heard that place is great, I might stop in around October 11, I’ll have a little more time on my hands
Mike:  Oh why is that?
Driver:  Well, I quit my third job and that’s my last day
Mike:  (awkwardly, not really knowing the correct response):  Oh, that’s good
Driver:  Yea, I got 3 jobs, I’m going to school, I take care of a 50 year old mentally retarded man, I’m real busy
Mike:  What school?
Driver:  University of Phoenix, Criminal Justice-want to be a detective or something like that, make me some money so I’m not cleaning toilets when I’m 70 years old
Our Unnamed Friend:  Yea, the American Dream
Driver:  Yea, restarting my life.  This is about my 6th restart.  My wife died July 7, I lost my job as a bus driver for the city because they accused me of something dealing with my wife’s illness.  We’re in arbitration now, if I win I get 14 months back pay.  Hopefully something starts going my way, hopin’ this restart’s gonna be the one.
All of us awkwardly chime in together with “oh”, “wow that sucks”, “I’m sorry”, “yea, good luck with that”.  We then changed the topic of conversation to the Steelers and we’re almost disappointed we didn’t let him keep going.  We’re thinking of calling up the Marriott in a couple months to see how the arbitration went.
After napping and watching Green Mile in its entirety, we grabbed a cab to head over to Church Brewery for some beers and dinner.  Our cab driver, a 60-something guy named Joe, was the quintessential Pittsburghian-accent and all.  We asked him if there where any places he’d recommend and he immediately responded with “Club Erotica, strip club about 20 minutes away, I got some coupons, I can run you over there and then we can stop by Primanti Brothers for a sandwich on the way home”.  We all laughed as we pulled up to the church and as we got out of the cab Joe slipped Mike his business card in case we changed our minds.  We had some good brews and then continued our night.
After stopping off at a dive called Gooski’s, we called a cab to take us over to Casey’s on Carson Street.  As we approached the van we noticed a leopard print, too much eye makeup wearing girl sitting in the front passenger seat.  We knew this was our cab and thought maybe she was going in our same direction and just hitching a ride or something.  We all pile in and the cabbie tells us that she’s his intern.  An intern?  Ok…what is going on here?  Is she a hooker?  Just a friend hanging out?  None of the above.  They were on a date.  We hear him say that he needs to have an emotional and spiritual connection with the person he’s dating.  We’re in the backseat talking about the midget bar we’re going to (don’t worry, we’ll get to that) and they don’t even skip a beat up there.  He wasn’t even running the meter, just told us it was $10 when we got there.  We were just in the backdrop of a date.  In a cab.  Awesome.
Andddd now we’re at Casey’s for Midget Madness.  They have a “manboy” who goes back and forth on top of the bar pouring shots in everyone’s mouths.  In the time we were there he was dressed as a referee, a policeman, and Michael Jackson-complete with sparkly silver glove and all.  And we thought the night before at Bar 11 was crazy-this just took it to another level.  $1.75 Coors light bottles and a crazy midget kept us here for the rest of the night.
That now brings us to STILLER SUNDAY!!!!!  We headed over to Heinz Field and met up with one of my brother’s roommates and his family for a little tailgating. The stadium was really awesome-the nicest NFL fans we’ve ever come across and a very scenic view of the river and bridges from our seats.  The Steelers didn’t come away with a W, but we still had a great time.
So…the game is over and we’re ready to do a little more drinking for the Bears game.  We take the ferry over to Station Square and stop into a bar called Buckhead Saloon-it was raining and this was the first bar to cross our path, why not give it a try.  All the tables were full but we found a little section tucked away from the main bar that had couches with their own flat screens-the area may have been closed but we went ahead and helped ourselves to our own private living room.  This might be where things started escalating quickly.  We stayed here for several hours drinking $2 Miller Lites and indulging in fried pierogis.  Several icings took place until the bar had completely run out of Smirnoff Ice.  We then moved to a Sweet Tea malt beverage and I unfortunately was the first and only person to be “Sweet Tea’d”.
We watched the first half of the sloppy Bears game here and someone jokingly mentioned-hey, we should call our cabbie Joe and see if he wants to go to Club E tonight!  Haha, we all laughed, so funny-but then I texted him.  “Joe-u drove us to church brew last night, going to club E tonight, wondering if you want to partake?”  Less then 1 minute later and I get the text, “Yes”.  2 minutes later, he calls my phone.  He can be there in 8 minutes, he knows another strip club called Cheerleaders that has flat screens so we can finish watching the game, and he has coupons for there as well-are we ready?  WHAT are we getting ourselves into here?  Why do we think this is a good idea?  We go to close out our tab to find that the 4 of us managed to rack up $200-on $2 Miller lites??  Ok, maybe we had some Smirnoff and redbull vodkas thrown in there.  Needless to say we were a little schmammered.
The rest of the night was somewhat of a blur, but in short-we went to not 1 but 2 strip clubs-oh the shame.  Our cabbie came in with us and had chicken fingers at the first one.  He asked for his payment up front because he “likes to give the girls a little tip”. He told us to make sure we watched his favorite girl, Karma.  We stayed for about 30 minutes at the 2nd locale but I still managed to leave my ID there-they made me remove my camera battery and held it with my driver’s license-ummm, yea I don’t think these girls are really picture-worthy, but rules are rules.  Unfortunately for me I didn’t realize my ID was not with me until I was in bed at our hotel.  They didn’t open until 7pm the next day and our flight was at 5pm-so they left my ID in their mailbox and we all had return to the scene of our shamefulness to pick it up the next morning.

How did things escalate so quickly and so sharply?  I really don’t know-but we had a crazier time in Pittsburgh than we did in Vegas.  A weekend for the record books indeed.

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