He paused for a bit, then sort of looked quizzical, the same way he had looked at me before asking all the other probing questions of the Bayou State. The only things left to discuss in my repertoire were probably Emeril Lagasse and Crystal hot sauce. I headed him off at the pass before he could even go there.

"Well," I said, getting up from my stool, "I'm still on Eastern time ... pretty tired, nice talking with you ..." Yadda yadda. He of course inquired which hotel I was staying at, and I threw out "the Hyatt" as I backed away. "They still on strike?" he asked me (argh!), and I pretended I didn't hear him, since I didn't know the answer.

I emerged outside, triumphant. The next time I lie at a bar, it will be about something sensible, like my age or marital status.

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