Another Friday night, another random bar in DC. When I say it’s random I’m lying; it’s never really random, as the majority of the time it’s one of the DC Indie clubs. But I try, and sometimes I do go to a random bar. This is one of those nights.
The street is busy, and I’m waiting on a concrete pillar for the rest of our party to catch up. College students here for the summer, young professionals and aging bar hoppers all stream around me to get to their future source of inebriation. Lemmings to the slaughter of dignity. Or something like that.
I spot my group, but before they make it to me a slick looking playah wearing sunglasses at night draws my attention.
“My man, how’s it going brotha?” he greets me with a smile.
Stepping right up, he extends his hand and after a vigorous shake says, “You know what sucks man? Bitches. Fucking weak ass bitches that don’t know.”
I’m not sure if he’s drunk or just high on life, but I play along.
“I feel you man, I feel you.” Yes. I think I’m cool.
As my group catches up he proceeds to tell me a classic tale of heartbreak; she looked into him, then she wasn’t, then she was, then she was necking with some other dude, and he’s like, man, fuck her, and I’m like, yeah man, if she don’t know what she wants, then just keep walking.
He introduces himself to the rest of the boys, but they all sort of eye him curiously, waiting for the scam that is invariably pitched in DC when a group of white yuppies are accosted by a single black man.
“Dude, come here for a second,” he says, and pulls me to the side out of their earshot. “You see all those guys? Not one of them took me seriously. I mean, I don’t take me seriously either, but they just looked at me and went like ‘Dude, fuck off, we don’t need adventure’. You know what man? You’re alright, you looked me straight in the eye and said ‘Yeah man, I feel you’. And I dig that, cause even though I don’t know you and you don’t know me, I know we respect each other cause we listen.”
He takes off his sunglasses and looks me in the eye. “What’s the two pieces of advice you give a brother before he heads out for a night of adventure?”
I think about it for second or two, but my wits were feeling the dulling effect of several Screaming Nazis.
“I’m talking ’bout the cardinal two, so let me tell you so you can tell the next fool that walks by. The two pieces of advice you always give a brother before he heads out for a night of adventure are as follows: ‘Always Listen’, and ‘Wear a Rubber’.” He smiled and put his sunglasses back on, patted me on the shoulder and wandered off into the crowds.
Did it happen like that? It doesn’t really matter. That’s how I remember it, and for all intensive purposes that is how you will remember it too. It’s hard to know what random people or experiences are worth remembering in the grand scheme of things, so sometimes it’s best to just start paying attention to everything.
Living is loving the parts.
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