Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Waffle House Dreaming

The beach isn’t for me personally. Sure you could wax poetic about the footprints in the sand having its own lifeline of memories until the tide comes in to erase the slate and start anew every morning. Enjoying the gently rising sun with a wind skipping off the tops of the waves, it was a hangover cure that no perfectly mixed Bloody Mary or pills found at the gas station cash register could match.

But, with my Nordic complexion the sun beats down on me like a nagging wife after too many beers with the softball team. My vacation started with a tree-lined drive to Columbia to meet up with old friends. These friends are not ones that are seen every weekend on the golf course or over at Mama G’s to play some volleyball and swap kids stories with their pitcher drink specials on the patio. Internet relationships are kept via blogs and girly IMs being passed out while firing up some virtual poker or banging away a post to fund the next Vegas trip. Big Pirate was well, big, and flagging me down in front his law firm’s blue painted office that more sense then the blue tinted 84 Lumber yard unless his specialty was lumberjack litigation.

A drive with a couple of co-workers found us on the countryside in front of a older, but well-kept restaurant for some real South Carolina BBQ that this yankee had expressed an interest in. Had I been smart and quicker, one of those squirt bottles of BBQ sauce would have made it into my Full Tilt luggage bag as a souvenir. Best. Damn. Pork. Ever. Every piece soft, juicy, and the spicy mix of hot sauce with the yellow BBQ sauce made my tongue dance. Throw in the small town hospitality of the owner chatting it up and the waitress making sure we were stuffed with the sweetest, best tasting liquid that this normal Lipton green tea drinker ever had, made the experience complete.

Back on the road after moving my belt buckle up a notch, it was time for a Columbia history tour courtesy of the Big Pirate before heading up the highway to invade G-Vegas. The Mexican restaurant sat up top looking down on the motorist going by while the glasses of Otis, G-Rob, and Badblood were in various stages of being refilled as we stepped onto the porch area to relax with a few cocktails before heading over to the host’s home for poker.

“How much money did you bring?” stated the chrome-domed recent winner of many play money chips on Stars.

With that and the addition of Shep and TeamScottSmith, we started the detour-dotted road towards casa del Blood for poker and a prop bet game called “Drizz shut the fuck up”. Classic rock on the Comcast network should have been up my wheelhouse to pick a band that would display their air guitars and bad hair for $5 a song from everyone, $10 if you picked the song as well. But, my choice of KISS and Gene Simmons didn’t manage to bang through the beautiful new TV the host had set up in his living room through the entire night making that the most expensive part of the trip.

A skinny kid in a SnailTrax shirt bellied upto the wonderfully crafted poker table and we were set for a night of card and sarcasm slinging. The poker game doesn’t need the full rehash as the host was most kind in starting me off with a perfectly mixed martini, followed by a bottle of Captain Morgan Silver that I believe I put a decent sized dent into while chipping up via suckouts. After which Otis asked me if I was having a good time due to the ill-gotten gains, but the chips in front of me didn’t have a meaning. I was more focused on seeing people I’ve met thru this space on the internet, and amazed how easy the slipper of friendship was to put on.

Granted ending up a winner for the evening didn’t suck, but I was more focused on enjoy the time even if it got a little fuzzy when the game broke and Big Pirate, Shep, and Scott hauled my rum soaked ass over to the Waffle House for some sobering food and chat (yes Shep, next on my list for a South Carolina trip is to try grits for the first time). Being served by a burnt out looking Michele Pfeiffer with a tattoo on her forearm and a largely-chested female showing ravine-like cleavage in the booth next to me with some tasty vittles of breakfast food topped off what I deemed “my vacation”.

I had a great time with the kids (minus the plane flights from hell), enjoyed the company of my wife, but the few hours I was able to spend with those I’ve met through this page will remain my best memories of the trip.


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