Where I live, bartenders end the evening by saying, "I'll close out the tab," or "I'll call you a cab," or even "hey, your friend's puking." In New Orleans, bartenders ask if they can pour me a drink to go. Drinks to go are irresistible. I cannot refuse the opportunity to clumsily walk up and down the French Quarter juggling my purse (red, adorable), shopping bags, my cell phone and camera, and a cocktail in a plastic cup.
The bartender in the hotel was a petite man in a horrible shirt with embroidered guitars. He wore cheap boots and his accent changed with every round of drinks. But, he called me Darlin' and I was able to overlook his flaws. His name is Polly. Polly insists that it is Paulie, but he's not in the Mafia and so I opted to call him Polly. He bought a few rounds of drinks for Lisa and me and then offered to be our official New Orleans tour guide. Because we are not the kind of girls who are afraid of being dismembered and fed to alligators in the bayou, we accepted Polly's hospitality. We also accepted drinks to go.
After spending an evening with Polly, I have decided that I have a calling. I am burdened with many responsibilities. I can't remember what any of them are right now, but I am sure that there are plenty. I am here to help men like Polly learn what does not work with a woman.
Polly did not mention my shoes once during the evening. He did not open any doors. Within a few minutes, Polly declared that he could make love to me for two weeks straight only pausing for drinks and cigarettes. He used the phrase, "Homie don't play that" liberally. He said something about falling in love that broke me out in a rash. He made an awkward attempt to kiss me that ended poorly.
I tried to tolerate Polly. He brought us to fantastic bars where he introduced us to bartenders and local musicians. He laughed at my jokes. But, Polly insisted on talking. It was clear that Polly didn't understand the dynamics of our relationship. The roles were to be as follows; Lisa and I were to talk and enjoy cocktails and look pretty and go to the bathroom together while Polly was supposed to run Crown and Cokes and vodka tonics to us. I try to keep things simple.
As Lisa and I were in the midst of a heated debate about feather boas (I am anti-boa, Lisa is pro-boa) Polly interjected a story about his uncle dying. We talked over him as he made no reference to boas, beads or tiaras. He started the story again from the top. I asked how many time his uncle was going to die before I got a lime for my cocktail. Polly stepped back and yelled, "Can Polly finish talking?"
"Polly," I said, "I think Lisa and I already have that part covered."
Polly stepped back and stared at us for a second. He turned on his heel and left the bar leaving me to get my own lime for my cocktail.
He didn't even get a to go drink.