My friend, Leesa, called me from California last night. The room around me was filled with people talking and joking (well, okay, only 3, but they were rather boistrous.) and happiness, and Leesa was crying. She said "i wanted to call you, because i thought you would want to know..." i immediately think that one of our friends is dead, and start wracking my brain for people that her and i both know and who would have ties to contact her before me in the event of a death.
"Good Time Charlies closed its doors last night for the final time."
.... okay, so this is almost as bad. for those of you following my journal for the last 4 years, Good Time Charlies was MY bar. and before you think "ya drunk! it's just a bar!" keep in mind:
- i met a lot of new best friends there (including Leesa).
- i spent 3 new years eves there
- i spent 5 of my birthday parties there
- it was my haven every single friday after work, i would drive down after a long week, grab an armload of free wings and nachos, and a handful of 2 for 1 well drinks, singing my lungs out for the next 6 hours or more, as my friends would slowly trickle in after their long weeks to join me in song.
- i met my last boyfriend there
- i learned how to sing there. i freaking learned how to SING there. if it hadn't been for a seedy bar 2 blocks from my house that had karaoke 7 nights a week and cheap beers, i never would have gotten the drunken nerve to start singing. my confidence never would have grown. i never would have joined The Stairs or relearned how to play guitar.
- it was a place much like Cheers, where everyone knew me, if i was bored and had nothing to do, without making a phone call, i could drive down there and hang out, sing a few bars. i didn't have to be afraid or nervous being a single girl in her mid 20's going to a bar by herself. in fact, the two times that someone DID try something, everyone there (workers and friends) pooled together to protect me. so many times, it could start out as only the bartender, karaoke host, and myself, and one by one, the people that meant the most to me: Peyton. Patrick. Meredith. Bald Patrick. Tiffany. Annette. Leesa. would all trickle in throughout the night. we would greet each other with big cheers and gigantic hugs as if we hadn't seen each other in forever.
it wasn't a place where people were always stinking drunk. in fact, during the 6 months that i had stopped drinking all together, i still went, i still had a blast, although i was sipping virgin rum and diets ;)
that dark room in the back with the creepy red lighting was where so many of my mid adulthood memories were created. i went to that bar for almost 7 years. it was there that i sobbed on the bar because i was supposed to sing in a friend's wedding but showed up the wrong night for rehearsal and instead crashed a full blown mexican wedding (mariachi band and all). it was there that i saw my then boyfriend giving a girl i couldn't stand free drinks, as he would turn around and start charging me for them (and not giving me my change.) it was there that annette and tiffany really came out of their shell, instead of being shy and introverted, to being a lot more comfortable in their skin.
it was more than a bar, it was a clubhouse, our secret hideout.
i feel the burning need now to get my boxes of photos from my mother's closet and scan a bunch of them and post them in homage.
Good Time Charlies, RIP. And thank you for making me Me.