Bar Stories: What is Wrong with Us?

On Saturday night, I went out with two of my friends to celebrate their successful completion of college in four years. (More than I could do, ladies! Cheers to you!) I agreed to be the Designated Driver because I wanted my friends to drink while I soberly judged their life decisions as they grew more and more inebriated. We were all excited to be together and have a good night.

I slathered on some make-up to create the illusion that I am a beautiful Greek sculpture just radiating natural female beauty. Then, I put together an outfit that I am pretty sure made me look like a three-year-old but I was too lazy to pick out another outfit.

Maybe she's born with it.. but maybe she's actually a statue.

Maybe she’s born with it.. but maybe she’s actually a statue.

I curled my notoriously difficult hair and the results were so-so. Some curls were Shirley Temple status but other “curls” only had a pathetic kink in their otherwise straight orientation. The lack of uniformity in my curls was not going to stop me though! Thank goodness for dark lighting in bars.

We went to a rooftop bar that we had been to previously and waited in line with the teeming masses. After a relatively short wait, we took the elevator to the roof. When the doors closed, a fellow bar patron asked what floor it the ROOFTOP bar was on.

I couldn’t help myself and answered, “The rooftop bar is on the fourth floor. Duh.”

The guy was a good sport and cleverly deduced that the rooftop bar was probably the highest floor and pressed the correct button. Both of my friends basically melted from embarrassment and probably wished they had chosen a friend who could be trusted in public places.

As we moseyed through the bar, we set up shop in a place where we thought people would approach us and engage us in witty conversation. We sat down on some barstools and chatted amongst ourselves happily. However, when we turned around, the once-crowded space of which we partly occupied was completely cleared out. You could practically hear crickets.

But we would not be deterred! We went to another part of the bar and again, chattered away among ourselves but not more than five minutes later, we cleared out THAT section of the bar, too.

The three of us thought that the first time had been a mere coincidence but twice seemed to be pushing it. We each took a few minutes to make sure that we were not emitting some terrible smell or had somehow gotten tattooed with Nazi insignia without our knowledge. Alas, no. Nothing of the sort.

We decided that if we cleared out another part of the bar, we would just call it a night and leave. So, we carefully chose a place where we were close to lots and lots of people. But wouldn’t you know it, not five minutes later AGAIN, we cleared out that particular section of the bar.

Now, I know you’re asking, “Why didn’t they just go up to people and talk to them?” Normally, I wouldn’t have a problem with this as I enjoy talking to strangers because I like people these interactions make for great blog posts. But let me tell you, people gave off DON’T-TALK-TO-ME vibes that night and there were crowds of people, yes, but they were chatting in closed circles. I wasn’t about to tunnel my way through these close-knit circles and then pop up in the middle and exclaim, “TALK TO ME, MY PEOPLE!” As much as I may have wanted to.

It was at this point that we left but we wanted to salvage the night. So we tried one more bar. And wouldn’t you know it, it happened again. And so, only two hours into the night, we headed home, defeated.

We told ourselves that weird people were out that night and it was just an “off” night. We tried to console ourselves that we were cool and nice and friendly but it was no use, we hung our heads in defeat.

Can’t win them all.

- Daughter

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Attack of the Killer Cabrio – Part 2


Like all internet photos, this one makes the car look awesome, baby!

How do you define success? 

By the absence of failure?  By reaching 95% of an unattainable goal?

Or do you just make it up, sometimes, like I do? 

Also sprach ZarathustraDon QuixoteVW Cabrio Convertible Top Replacement — the novella Hemingway meant to write after The Sun Also Rises.  Apparently, he never got around to it. 

And for good reason. 

Good God, you have to be something of a philosopher poet mechanic to get the thing (said Top) fitted on the car correctly. 

And for the record, I did have some help the last couple of days.  My Significant Other assisted me in maneuvering the monstrosity (said Top) onto the body yesterday, and Daughter’s Little Biting Sister struck a perfect Statute of Liberty pose for me today as she held the thing half-open so I could tighten some inaccessible bolts. 

Let the record, therefore, show that the marginally negative comments I referenced in my last post were balanced by a little bit of timely assistance by sideline family members. 

Thanks, Girls!

As the photo above should demonstrate, I did manage to reinstall the new used Top onto Daughter’s car today.  I carved out about four hours (more or less) to “git ‘er done” and I just about hit the mark. 

At this point, I would characterize the job as being almost finished.  And even though I took everything apart just yesterday and thought I had a pretty good idea of where all the pieces went, I managed to end up with everything back in place and “only” five grommets left over — a couple of them are fairly large, too. 

I have no idea of where they supposedly fit, but I’m sure their absence will be felt during the first rain or bumpy road, depending on their purpose.  Until they are needed, they will slumber in the console.

On the positive side, I did note upon disassembly that one bolt used to secure the rear seat to the frame was missing.  And though I couldn’t remember the position of all the rubber bits (see previous two paragraphs), I cannily made a mental note to address this absence and source a replacement from my Spares Coffee Can. 

I did, in fact, find a correct replacement this afternoon, and I happen to know that it originated from an old Alfa Romeo of mine from years past.  For good measure, I even replaced the good German bolt (that wasn’t missing) with a second Alfa bolt, so Daughter’s VW has a tiny bit of Italian blood in it now. 

Based on my many years of experience, the next failure for the VW will have something to do with the Alfa parts. 

Trust me on this. 

So as I was finishing everything up late today, my work certainly seemed to be taking on the appearance of looking half-way decent.  A neighbor across the street emerged from his house, just as I was taking the Cabrio for a test drive — I had to make sure the Top wasn’t going to fly off at speed — and I commented to Said Neighbor, “Hey, I noticed you didn’t offer to come over and help me with the Top today.”

To which he replied, “I’ve had a headache all day, and it looked like you knew what you were doing.”

“My goal is to be semi-professional,” I shouted, and I roared off down the street. 

Actually, Daughter’s car never roars; it putt-putts. 

After a successful test drive (nothing bad happened), I pulled up to the house and began to button everything up for the night. 

Don’t be fooled — the Cabrio still needs a major, thorough cleaning, top to bottom, and I’ve got to figure out why the “Check Engine” light is now illuminated and, of course, the speedometer and tachometer have stopped working again. 

Plus, there’s the matter of making final adjustments to the Top — the last 5%, as it were. 

By my reckoning I’ve got at least another weekend of work ahead of me to conquer all the remaining tasks and to address whatever new ones pop up during the course of knocking out the old ones. 

But it’s good therapy, after all. 

So for me, success is a new used Top on Daughter’s VW that fits pretty darn well and no longer has any gaping holes around the rear window.  Yes, in a pathetic attempt to stave off the inevitable replacement hassle, I was one of those guys who used packing tape to try to patch up the Top in a forlorn quest to keep the elements from entering the cabin. 

The tape lasted about two days before completely delaminating. 

And just to reassure you that this new used Top was meant to be exactly for Daughter’s car, as I was cleaning off the rear window, I noticed not just one, but two very faded decals in the corner of the glass.

You guessed it.  They were cats. 

Hope does, indeed, spring eternal, and tomorrow is, indeed, another day. 

Daughter, I want my truck back!

- Dad

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