When I went to the gym on Monday, I felt like I was swimming against a heavy current. My domestic life and sedentary career has seemingly compounded the effects of gravity and lethargy. Despite my regular duties as a manservant to Karen and Jasper, I find myself in 2009 having lost a step. A change in direction is going to require a concerted effort. I need to get social. To get out and get active. And, yes, as a reward, to get drunk. Here’ s a quick recap of two recent nights rubbing elbows with fellow bloggers at a couple downtown bars. I’m hoping there’ll be more adventures to come, at the gym, the bar, and wherever food and friends gather.
Hammered at Halligan’s*
Saturday night, Karen and Jasper were out of town. So, I hopped on my bike and met up with another blogger in Shockoe Bottom. Until recently, I wouldn’t have been able to share his name. But, now Urban Richmond~ is out in the open and his name is Matthew Freeman. After poking our heads in Papa Ningo (too loud to talk), we hopped into Halligan’s, pushed through the meat market barroom, and sat down to talk in their smoke-free dining room. The menu said they had Yeungling (my favorite beer – if they don’t overcharge for it). But, when I inquired, they said they were out. So, I switched to my other favorite: Stella Artois.
A couple hours flew by as we got caught up on all kinds of things I can barely remember now. I made three pints disappear and so did Matthew. If you’re a blogger, we probably talked about you. If you’re a reader, but you don’t comment (or do so anonymously), then you definitely received some slightly slurred degradation. After all, what are bloggers gonna talk about, but blogging? I kid. We also talked about our respective home renovations and bicycles, the awesomeness of the new Erykah Badu album, and the reality of politics in the City’s 7th district. Plenty of stones were left unturned, providing impetus for a future meeting.
The bike ride home was a blur. Was it the cold? The beers? Or the bourbon and coke that I downed before leaving the house? Ah, a brief interlude with bachelorhood. Caloric intake and output probably offset one another, leaving only braincells and time expended (and money).
Cheap Drinks at Chiocca’s
I made a new year’s resolution for 2009, to have a beer with a Republican. It doesn’t seem like such a big deal. And I probably have done so more often than I even realize. But, most of my buddies are politically progressive. So, it seemed like a challenge to imbibe with the goal of finding commonality, rather than enjoying assumed same-pagedness for hours on end. Luckily, local Republican blogger, Jason Kenney and I had been talking about getting a beer since comparing our predictions for Virginia’s Democratic primary.
I remember it well. Watching the returns, I wished there was a political pub where the TVs always showed Jim Lehrer and John McLaughlin or at least CNN and everyone could pontificate to friends and strangers. Jason chimed in with a comment suggesting Chiocca’s because it’s small enough to turn it into whatever kind of venue you want (the place really does conjure the small town watering hole vibe). More than half a year later, I got a Facebook friend request from Jason and I said, “not until we have that beer at Chiocca’s. So, we finally met up and wouldn’t you know it? Tuesday is Yeungling special night: $2 bottles.
Jason and I talked about politics, blogging politics, food politics, and the politics of paying the tab (he treated! I usually prefer to go dutch on the first date. However, I handled the tip, understanding the tables will likely turn one day). About politics, Jason may have designs on running for office one day, but in the meantime, life seems pretty lonely for a Republican in a state newly turned blue. With any political perspective, comfort is found in going on the attack. So, keep looking over your shoulders, Dems.
Jason did make one interesting concession: the Republicans need to drop the whole immigration issue and adopt the amnesty position, because our country should be able to adapt to the reality of as many as 30 million latinos integrating into society – otherwise, America’s “melting pot culture” is hypocritical, not sustainable, nor worth protecting. This surprised the hell out of me, and Jason says his position catches his fellow Republicans off guard too. I hope he writes a book about this one and goes on The O’Reilly Factor.
(stop – while writing this, our 12 year old black lab-mix just let out a long fart that sounded like a child’s first attempt at playing the kazoo – just thought you oughta know)
By the time we had compared notes about our respective positions and projects, we’d each had three Yuenglings and a platter of nachos (pretty good with the addition of roasted red peppers). I resolved to try their veggie sub one day, since I hear they’re known for their sammiches. We were both glad to have expanded our understanding who is really behind these blog things anyhow (he’s been at it for 8 years!). Now, I’ve just got to make it back to the gym and see if Yeungling’s fountain of youth has paid off in sets and reps and cardio. Regardless, I’m feeling more upbeat for the change in pace.
*I reserve the right to make any any noun plural or possessive, as one who speaks baby-talk, and like all Richmonders, I feel like I have some special relationship with every bar/restaurant in town (despite staying home for the past year).
Update: Matthew has informed me that, in fact, we were not at Halligan(’s), but across 17th Street at Rosie Connolly’s. Details shetails. A pub is a pub.