Periscope Depth

and they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar

I missed the first stop of the jiu-jitsu pub crawl on Saturday night, but caught up with them at Clarke’s, a corner pub behind Faneuil Hall. One of the other instructors had ordered several plates of appetizers; against my better judgment, I snagged a mozzarella stick while ordering a Miller Lite. “Two seventy-five,” the bartender asked.

I caught up with Megan K., one of the recent crop of new instructors, talking about the work/life balance. Folks who keep up with jiu-jitsu for four or more years – which includes every certified instructor at the Theodorou Academy, such as Megan and myself – probably already have the work/life balance figured out pretty well. You don’t stick with something that will wake you up sore more mornings than not unless you know when to shut your computer off. I hope I sounded equally profound after a couple of beers.

We trucked on to Red Sky, across the plaza and next to the Hard Rock. We tried to talk our way into squatting at some reserved tables until the assigned party showed up, but the server wasn’t having it. So we clumped in the dim lounge like fingerprints under an IR lamp. Rita ordered a pizza for the group to share, and I ordered a Budweiser. “Four twenty-five,” the bartender said.

I talked to Cyril for a bit, learning that not only did he work in the same industry I do, but that we shared an alma mater. We talked about BC’s bowl prospects and upcoming opponents, sharing a few anecdotes about games gone by. Apparently, BC used to park about 30% more cars on Shea Field than they do currently. Cyril told me why they don’t anymore; I’ll share the anecdote next time I see you.

The party left Red Sky early to hit up Bell In Hand, making it in 10 minutes before the cover charge. They offer a free “Molson Coat Check” downstairs (did they give the bar the idea? or does Molson pick up the tab? I didn’t think coat checks had a lot of overhead). I decided to keep my coat anyway, since we loitered near the frequently open front door. Nick, owner of the school and head instructor, showed up just as I ordered a Budweiser. “That’ll be six fifty,” I was told.

Upstairs, a DJ spun Top 40 hits and college town favorites. Texas Tech got the paint sanded off them by Oklahoma, 65-21, while we drank and waited for the music to cycle up. Rita’s fuzzy short-brimmed hat got passed around; everyone got a chance to try it on. I looked all right in it, but it was Phil – whose 16-year-old son is also in the advanced class – who should really be rocking the Kangol.

My memory for faces is excellent; names, atrocious. I recall images vividly, whether I read them during a slow fever or lived them on a rainy weekend, but I always skip the details. In the corner of the Bell in Hand I spotted a girl with her collared boyfriend – blonde, cornflower eyes, striking. I knew instantly that I’d seen her somewhere before and that I had no idea where, or when, or how. Audience at ImprovBoston? Across a crowded pub in Cambridge? BC game? Twenty-four hours later I remembered: a work event over the summer with one of our sister media companies.

I devote about sixty percent of this weblog to anecdotes which would only interest people who know me, and not even all of them. I do this because I measure my life by the details I recall and those details keep getting away from me. Already I’ve lived nearly six months in this apartment. I’ve worked nine months at this job. Gorefest is almost a month in the past; the Waste Land Comedy Hour, nearly a year. If I didn’t document these things I wouldn’t believe they happened.

All I really want is to appear in more photos.