Monday, February 25, 2013

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and it isn't "Mom".

At 11 o'clock every night of my high school years, I adjusted the tin-foil-wrapped rabbit ears of the tiny black and white TV in my bedroom and tuned into Cheers. I loved the show. I enjoyed the cast. I was heartbroken when Diane left. Then I adored Rebecca so much that I forgot all about Diane. I was amused by Cliff Clavin's dorky trivia and Norm's succinct one liners. I delighted in everything about sassy Carla and sex-a-holic Sam. I wanted to hug Coach and Woody for being so clueless and sweet. Frasier and Lillith rounded out the band of misfits with their highbrow sensibilities, long winded rhetoric, and the fact that they took their baby to a bar. Most of all, I was enamored with the idea of a place where everyone could bring together their neuroses, dysfunction, humor and varying social statuses, yet still be loved and accepted.
Cheers (1982) Poster

Some may think that a high school girl loving a television program about a bar was inappropriate. Maybe so.

I think it was simply foreshadowing.

The idea of everyone knowing your name is not only charming, it is downright neighborly. I'm from a tiny community of about 600 people. In my hometown, everyone not only knew your name, but they also knew the names of your entire family, your dog, your horse and your prize-winning steer. It's because of this upbringing that I have an inclination to make my relationships with the outside world cozy and personal. Some may say "invasive" or "meddlesome". I say "Let's have a group hug and braid each other's hair!"

The city in which I currently reside is marginally larger than my hometown. For instance, we have stoplights here. We also have a University. We are all fancy with our Whole Foods and Macy's. We even have my trifecta of happiness: Super Target, DSW and sushi. Yet possibly my favorite thing about my current city is the local live Jazz bar that I discovered. Not only does this bar have wonderful Jazz music, which my grandmother always had playing at her house, it has really great drinks. When I say "drinks", I mean martinis. The ambiance is swanky. The lighting is low. The crowd is generally educated and interesting. The staff is attentive and efficient. Unlike so many other places in a college town, this is a club that you can visit without fear of sticking to the floor or being a victim of accidental vomit on your shoes because "Oh Em Gee! I mixed too many jello shooters with my Rum and Diet Cokes that I drank after that pitcher of Keystone Light! Who wants to see my boobs?"

So there's that.

While I tend to stay home in the summer and BBQ in the backyard, I frequent this jazz club a few times a month in the winter. I get the winter blahs, known to some as S.A.D. and to others as heinous bitch, please go somewhere where I can't see you. Since I only medicate with reality TV, booze, shoes, and Girls' Nights Out, I often combine the booze, shoes and GNO into the same evening. I usually do the reality TV thing in my PJ's... with ice cream... and Smelly Cat on my lap. As wonderful as it is to be all scrungy in my scurvy flannel pj's, with a skanky cat on my lap, stuck inside the same toy-strewn room where I just spent the previous 12 hours, I really look forward to my nights OUT of the house. Sometimes just having a reason to dress up.... or brush your hair... or shower... is all a girl needs to get through the long, harsh, desolate winter.

*Don't tell anyone that we often get 50+ degrees in our sunny winter Colorado months.

I like chatting, uninterrupted, with friends. I like music and martinis. I like not appearing like I just fell out of the back of a trash truck. I like a change of scenery. I really like getting a break from having to serve 17 meals that no one eats while picking up an endless supply of dirty socks on the carpet and answering to Mom Mom Mom! MOM! every 3.2 seconds. I suppose I'm selfish like that.

Last Saturday, in a post birthday celebration, I took advantage of the free babysitting service known as Brock and left the house with some girlfriends. I always look forward to an opportunity to create a stylish outfit, wear some sexy heels and fix my sad, sad hair. After three solid days of eating cake, jellybeans, cookies and any other form of sugar I could shove into my cramhole, I was having some wardrobe malfunctions. It was less of a problem with my wardrobe and more of a problem with my waist, or the blobby form that used to be my waist. It was bad. There was not enough Spanx in my entire city to fix that area. I looked like a potato wedged into my pants. In an effort to appreciate my aging female form, I told myself I was a sweet potato with cinnamon and brown sugar. Hotsy Totsy!

Even with my extra birthday lard, the fact that I had a cold thus could not breath through my nose, and the giant dose of DayQuil that I swallowed- which gave me the brain activity of Paula Abdul- I soldiered forth into the night. As long as I rammed my squishy lady bits into a booth, didn't say much and laughed a lot (allowing me to slyly breath through my mouth), no one would notice that I was a medicated moronic mindless muffintop!

When we arrived at the joint, I started to see people that I knew. They also saw me. There were many hellos and friendly exchanges. My favorite drink was whisked to my table and introductions commenced. Then there were more greetings and more introductions and before I know it the band was playing me a birthday song and black-sheathed waitresses were delivering flaming desserts while people were joining us at our table. That is when I inadvertently realized that somehow in the middle of my life, between minx, marriage, motherhood, martyrdom and middle-age mouthy blonde, I had inadvertently achieved Cheers status. I'm not sure how this happened and I don't know whether to be ashamed or proud, but I should probably memorize some trivia and a few one liners.

Hello, my name is Johi, and when there are no leaves on the trees, I am a regular bar patron.



  1. Nothing wrong with being the new Norm! Sounds like a great night with good friends. And there's nothing wrong with squishy for your birthday. You have the entire rest of the year (and the approaching spring!) to run around and lose the weight.

    1. It's a dog eat dog world and I'm wearing milkbone leggings. I added the leggings part just for you, since I know how much you love them. :)

  2. Norm's best lines were the one-liners he delivered when he first walked in. Get those down so you don't get identified at the Cliff of the bunch.

    1. I agree. There is really no chance of me being Cliff. I have always sucked at Trivial Pursuit.