really good band for a bar
Friday, April 6 2007
I was in front of my computer all day but then Penny and David picked me up drove me up Dug Hill Road to the Reservoir Inn. As it's only five miles away, I've been there many times, but Penny and David haven't. As bar/restaurants around here go, the Reservoir Inn is actually rather nice, with ancient mortared bluestone walls, rough-hewn timbers, and tasteful decor (in other words, there are none of the deer heads and tacky beer company schwag one sees at, say, the Hurley Mountain Inn). The only thing that needs fixing is the surface of the bar, which is covered in that plastic faux wood veneer one is most used to seeing on folding tables. Gretchen's main beef with the place is that it's insufficiently vegetarian, but that's an impractical standard when the subject is bars within risk-free drunk driving distance. Perhaps the greatest thing about the Reservoir Inn is its warmly low-key ambience, which achieves its zenith at the bar. That was where Penny, David, and I sat to first drink and then eat. They were very impressed, and kept talking about how great the place was. Our food came out, and of course it wasn't great, but it was perfectly adequate.
The other day I took delivery of a Cowon iAudio G3 MP3 player, a tiny device with two gigabytes of flash memory. I'd actually bought it for its sound recording capabilities; it has a reasonably-good built-in microphone and is one of very few recorders on the market that can record directly to MP3. I have this idea that I can discreetly record conversations and occasionally hit gold when one someone tells a great story. Naturally, the ethical thing would be to ask permission before ever using such a story for anything. But I don't know that I'd ever be able to get anything good if people knew I was recording when I was actually doing it. So this evening at the bar I recorded some stuff (and later I was suprised to discover I could actually make it out over the noisy restaurant din). Unfortunately, though, eventually Penny ratted me out after becoming fixated on the tiny white device I was holding nonchalantly in my hand. She's an unusually observant person.
Eventually Gretchen, who had been dining at the Garden Café in Woodstock, showed up. On arriving she realized our friend Susan the German Translator was there (the Reservoir Inn seems to have become her favorite place), along with Val, one of her friends, as well as Val's teenage son Elijah.
Elijah is a high-functioning autistic, which makes him delightfully weird in social situations. When I shook his hand he winced in pain but when I apologized he acted like he'd only been kidding. His voice was high and unusually gravelly, as if voiced somewhere just beneath the back of the nose. He also talked very slowly but fluidly, as if he was giving careful consideration to every word. "Are you that guy from MTV?" he asked, not supplying a name. I assured him I wasn't, and took this to mean that he, like me, is incredibly bad at recognizing faces. Looking past me at the bartender and the backlit bottles of the bar, he suddenly asked me, "You know what would be really good music at a bar?" "What?" I asked. There followed a long pause which made what he said next seem like a punchline even though it wasn't. "Van Halen," he said. "Or how about Black Sabbath?" I suggested. "No," he replied, "they're too good." This led to a discussion of AC/DC and other classic hard rock bands, which in turn led to my telling him the perfect method for arguing the greatness of any band, no matter how bad they happen to be. All one has to do is ask, "But have you heard their early stuff?" I then suggested that it is even possible to use this method to argue that Britney Spears is great. "No she's not!" Elijah insisted. "But have you heard her early stuff?" I asked. "Yes I have!" he assured me. "No, I mean her early stuff!" "Yes, I've heard that too. And she sucks!" Then Elijah paused again as if for comic timing and added, "Actually, I think she's best now that she's shaved her head and started acting crazy." Elijah and I could be great friends if only we weren't both completely antisocial, depending on our wives or mothers to haul us out of our respective caves.
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