October 24, 2007

Three Americans at an English Pub

      There were three of us: Tracy, Carl, and myself. Carl was pretty laid-back. He rarely ever said much, but when he did it was worth listening. Despite reigning from the outskirts of Houston, he didn’t have that kind of confederate quality that Northerners and Europeans always expected—maybe because his family was Korean, or maybe because most Southerners aren’t actually all as confederate as people expect them to be. In spite of not seeming so much, if you watched him real hard you’d see some of it—never in a real rush to say or do anything, always a gentleman, and always a sucker for doing what girls asked him. The last one really bugged me some times, but—like I said—Carl was a pretty laid-back guy.

      So, we walked into a pub—oh, that’s right. I forgot to tell you. I’ll have to back-track a bit. We were all in England when all this happened, doing all sorts of tourist stuff—Tracy taking goddamn pictures of everything she saw. I might as well tell you a little about Tracy before telling you our story or vignette, if you will. Vignette—good word, huh? Must be Italian or something.

      Okay, first thing about Tracy—she was an air-head. She talked like a valley-girl, but that was mainly because she was a valley-girl—or at least she said she was. To be honest, you couldn't believe half of what Tracy said—that her parents were millionaires, that her house was bigger than Paris Hilton’s, that she was friends with big reality-TV stars, and so-on, and so-on. Funny thing was, her bragging never helped her much; instead, she just annoyed everybody. Well, I shouldn’t say everybody, because a lot of times there’d be a girl (it would always be a girl) that not only believed everything she claimed (as hard as it was to believe that anybody would) but also thought the world of her because she had so much to brag about. Now you can imagine how great it was for us, hearing her shpiel every time she found a new audience.

      So here come the three of us, walking into this pub. I thought it was a real nice place—real old, even had a thatched roof. I think it must’ve been from King Arthur’s days. Of course, the first one to say something was Tracy, “Ew, this place is, like, old! L.A. clubs are, like, much nicer, and there’s not even, like, a bouncer-guy. You know a place isn’t hot if it doesn’t even have, like, a bouncer-guy! I have to pee. Give me, like, a pineapple juice.” That was a thing she did; she always ordered pineapple juice, probably because she knew most places wouldn't have it.

      “She’s not getting pineapple juice,” I told Carl.

      “Nope.” Remember how I said Carl was a sucker for doing what girls tell him? Well, Tracy was a whole other matter. In fact, I really think he hated her, but you’d never tell it—as I said before, always a gentleman.

      There were just enough people to be too many people, but to the place’s credit the bartender was pretty fast. I still wasn’t sure whether to tip. That’s always a hard thing, tipping. I’d heard that students don’t have to tip, but that didn’t really make much sense to me. Anyways, I didn’t notice anybody else tipping, so I figured I just wouldn’t tip either; when in Rome.

      Turned out, none of that really mattered; it was going to be a while before I could order anything. I pulled out a few notes from my pocket (I learned real quick back home that bartenders don’t notice you unless you have money in your hand, especially if they’re in a rush) and leaned over the bar a little. Tracy came back from the bathroom in no time. I wondered whether she washed her hands. “Give me my pineapple juice!”

      “What?” I asked.

      “Where is it? I, like, told you to get me it!”

      “You know, you’re being rude. You shouldn’t order people to do things.”

      “Fine, if you won’t get me it, I’ll get it myself!” and just like that, all the way across the bar, “Excuse me! Hey, excuse me! [then to us] I think he’s ignoring me! [back to the bartender again] Over here! Excuse me! Give me a pineapple juice!”

      “Alright that’s it for me,” and I walked out the door and leaned against the outside wall. Carl came out a few seconds later.

      After waiting outside for what seemed a while, we decided we’d go back inside, and, sure enough, there’s Tracy doing her thing. She’d found another audience—three “blokes” (if only Tracy knew what they were actually thinking) and—of course—a girl, captivated by “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.”

      “So you know how Paris Hilton has, like, a big house. That’s, like, like nothing compared to mine, and I have, like, fifty cars, and they’re all, like, Hummers, and, like, Beamers, and, like, Mercedes, and, like, that really fast car, and, like, Cadillacs, and, like, Hummers, and I have, like, three swimming-pools, and, like, this really cute dog that’s, like, even cuter than Paris Hilton’s, and I have, like, all these really cute sweaters, and socks, and skirts for it, and they’re all from Gucci, and, like—oh, here comes my Pineapple Juice. I don’t have any cash. [then to Carl and I] One of you guys, like, pay for it. And, I like…”      


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