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Two bitches and a beer 

Wednesday, Jun 28 2006
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The deal with the Romantic poets (other than a fashion sense centered around tight velvet trousers) was the idea that art should rush from one's uncensored inner spirit — a spontaneous flow of emotion translated to words. In short, when you picture some asshole poised with pen in hand and a wistful yet tortured look upon his visage, you have the Romantics to thank. (Or you are watching George W. Bush sign a bill.) Anyway, the trouble was, once these guys (Coleridge, Shelley, and probably Lord Byron) sat down to effuse unheeded, not much really seemed to come out. The whole idea of Romanticism was just so, well, romantic.

What to do, what to do? Ah, yes. Yes, that's it! Drugs! Lots and lots of drugs. Opiates, preferably. These guys were higher than Snoop Dogg, only it seems that when they awoke the next day and looked at what they had penned under the influence they saw genius and not whiz-ack riz-amblings.

In retrospect, the Romantics were all depressive self-medicators, which brings me to myself. This week I have been operating under the idea that nothing should stand between my gut feelings and my speech. I have a thought or a reaction, and I let it out. Coincidentally, I also have PMS. Yes, I am really being a bitch. But I'm also really fucking sick of letting shit go, so don't cross me.

I went to the Albatross in Berkeley, one of my favorite places. I have been going there since before the new ownership, when they played classical music on the stereo and that same dude sat at the end of the bar day after day writing symphonies. The Albatross has an obvious Coleridge association, from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner the tale of a kindly albatross who helps a ship to safe waters and the captain who repays it by shooting it dead. Then things go downhill, with zombies and ghosts and stuff, until the captain repents. The poem has a story arc of drinking; sort of like the steady ascension into tipsiness, then good-natured revelry, and then onto the slurred, dark sarcasm and eventual fistfights of alcohol abuse. So it truly is a great name for a bar.

I had an ulterior motive for going to the Albatross. I have a plan to patronize every business that advertises on 960 The Quake, Air America's hub here. I've already bought an Oreck vacuum and I have a call into American Vision Windows. The Albatross has an ad that says, basically, "Your four-legged friends are welcome, too," which is always a plus since I like to take my doggie with me. I could also plug in my laptop there and write this column spontaneously, à la the Romantics. (And if I needed any opiates, I was right there on San Pablo Avenue.) Also the interior of the bar is very conducive to "creation," being super cozy and dimly lit. I was set.

Earlier in the day I'd had two occasions to be blunt and bitchy. First, at the library, some crotchety old guy was complaining that my developmentally disabled client was being too loud. "Isn't this the library?" he asked smugly. Long story short, I told him he was shit out of luck if he thought we were going to leave. Then at work some chick gave me grief about some bullshit thing and I told her to freaking deal with it. Oh yeah, people, I said "freaking." I'm that hard-core.

But the impetus to all this was that I got pump-jacked. Unfortunately, it isn't as fun as it sounds. Some guy approached me at the gas station and offered to pump my gas, I said no thanks, and he washed my windows free of charge anyway because I had such "a beautiful smile." Then he offered to put my pump back in its hub and took it out of my hand. I jumped into the driver's seat and skidaddled, only to see a $75 charge on my credit card the next day. Motherfucker had kept my pump open and given gas discounts to the next people who drove up, on my goddamn credit card. I was his albatross, bringing kindness and good will, and he fucking shot me. (And a big "fuck you" to the people who drove up after me and ripped me off! What is your goddamn excuse? May you eternally wander the earth in a purgatorial existence of un-death!)

So no more Mrs. Nice Gal.

I just wanted to have my dog and my laptop and a Sierra Nevada and sit and write, unhindered. "I like your dog," said the bartender, "but he has to be on a leash." Fair enough. "And no dogs after 8 p.m.," said the other bartender. I had just ordered and was getting ready to settle in. It was 7:45. They open at 6:00. This means that dogs are allowed for two hours a day. The phrase "your four-legged friends are welcome," to paraphrase, ran through my head. I could feel a spontaneous outpouring of emotion. I didn't let anything censor it.

"I wish you guys wouldn't advertise that dogs were so welcome," I said testily. The barkeep didn't appreciate it and said rather rudely back to me, "There's a sign on the door." Well, fuck that. It took me 40 minutes to get there, plus I was lugging around my goddamn laptop, and now I only had 15 minutes to drink a beer and then get out. Well I wasn't going to stand for that. I left him a 15 percent tip and I also left my untouched drink on the bar and exited. That'll show 'em.

I got back in my car and drove home, near tears (PMS). I cursed everything and everyone. The overpowering flow of emotions was tres spontaneous and very Romantic.

I quickly pulled over and penned the following:

And like a dying dame, gaunt and befuddled,

The bee-atch totters forth, hound tightly cuddled

Led she was by the drive to create missives unabated

The rheumy glow of gloming's evening vespers to be sated

And amber ale at the beckon, to ghostly wonderment in love's true fealty I do reckon'

Alas, she got pump-jacked and denied by some douchebags. Kiss my ass. Kill kill kill.

OK, now I feel much better.

About The Author

Katy St. Clair

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