Last night I dreamed I was at a bar in Disneyland. This made perfect sense, because it was a dream, and in dreams absurd things happen and you pay them no heed. However, there has always been one of those urban myths about a bar at Disneyland; it is supposedly hidden in Tomorrowland or something, and is like those Admirals' Clubs at airports that only allow entry to the "elite." I'm telling ya, if you can sip scotch with the best of the best at Terminal C, you have really arrived.
In my dream, any old person could walk into the Disneyland bar. Anyhoo, I was having a good old time in the dream, chatting up Cruella De Vil, whom I saw as some sort of goth antiheroine. She was allowed to smoke in the bar, and sported a 3-foot-long cigarette holder. I looked closely at her makeup and noticed that it had been tattooed on. I was just about to ask her what motivated her hatred of dogs when the bartender interrupted us. "Are you Katy St. Clair?" she said. I replied in the affirmative. "Leave. Now," she said. Then suddenly I remembered that I had penned a scathing write-up of the Disneyland bar a few weeks prior, wherein I denigrated the food, complained about the poor service, and reprinted an entire idiotic conversation I had had with some poor, hapless imbiber on a family vacation. Oops. Whatever had possessed me to return?
If dreams are supposed to be big metaphors for our lives, then I have some serious deconstructing to do on this one.
There are indeed several places in the city I would never walk into and introduce myself by name, because I am sure I would be asked to leave immediately. So that part of the dream is based on fact. But mostly I am just a schlub among schlubs, and I have a nice time doing so.
This week, however, I returned to a place that I have never said anything bad about, the Uptown on Capp Street. I love it there. It is like a cafe with booze. There's plenty of comfy seating and a relaxed clientele. It's hip without being pretentious. It's full of regulars, but newbies will feel just as welcome there. It has pool and dogs. Me likey. The only thing bad about this place is the bathroom. If you can swing wearing an adult diaper so that you can avoid using it, I would highly recommend it.
That reminds me of something that has always flummoxed me: Why is there a brand of adult diapers called Depends? Do you really want to trust your incontinence to a name like that? Sometimes it will absorb your urine, other times it won't — it depends. Finally, another company came out with Certainty. Now that's a brand I can stand behind. Or sit in.
I brought my doggie, ol' Flo the basset, and we sat on a couch and she watched me intently while I did my crossword.
Every time I come here, I see men with handlebar moustaches, and this night did not disappoint. I find them strangely appealing. Oh how I would love a man in a handlebar mustache to ride up on one of those bicycles with a huge front wheel and serenade me with "Sweet Adeline." These guys are rocker types, though, so I would settle for "Sweet Child o' Mine" in a pinch.
If this were Disneyland, I suppose the Uptown would be in New Orleans Square, next to the Haunted House. It's not rustic enough to be in Frontierland. There were indeed women there who looked a bit like Cruella — bone-thin, with dyed black hair with white streaks. I think a few of them were even eyeballing my dog's fur.
The handlebar mustache guy was sitting with a friend directly across from me. There wasn't much conversation going on, but if there were, I'm sure they would be discussing Radio Birdman. Some hipster dudes are a lot like old married couples. All that can be said has been said. The spark has gone out, but they don't want to be alone. They know what the other one wants to drink without asking. If the friendship has been going okay that week, they might even surprise each other with a free one.
What if one of these guys is reading this right now? What if he remembers the woman with the dog doing a crossword, and when he sees me again, he tells me to get out? Is this my worst fear? Is this why I dreamed about it? I think most critics are good at dishing things out from afar, but probably terrified of coming face to face with their subjects. We are cowards. However, I find it just as uncomfortable to meet people who have read what I have said and actually like it. This person who writes a column exists only in print. If I have to exist as a corporeal being, I feel like too many worlds are colliding.
Another dog came in and sniffed my dog's butt. Flo couldn't care less about such things. We are quite the complacent pair. I, too, don't seem to mind when people try to sniff my butt.
The music started to get too loud for me to have my calm crossword reverie; I didn't recognize the artist, but it sounded like a cross betwixt Wolfmother and the Flying Lizards. The mustaches were still sitting there, quietly sipping their PBRs. More people began to pile in; all of this was a perfect storm for me to make my exit. Sometimes I am just not in the mood to be in a bar that is acting like a bar.
Outside on Capp Street it was chilly, and a toddler was walking with his mom. She was on a cellphone and dragging him along. He saw my doggie and smiled and pointed, but she didn't notice and swept him along on their way. Me and Flo just nodded.