Monday, May 14, 2007

2nd Saturday and the Turkish Problem

As usual, we attended the 2nd Saturday celebration at Capitol Hill Books. The wine flowed like Faulknerian prose and the patrons were ensconced in conversation that carefully wound its way from Baudelaire to Biggie Smalls. Giddy grad-students grabbed copies of Jane Austen, and tried to sound as if they knew what Ayn Rand’s books were about when their friends asked. (“It’s about, like, her philosophy…”)

The generally genial mood of the party was momentarily deadened by deep, guttural pronouncements projected from the mouth of an 84-year-old Serbian nihilist who had quietly entered the store, propped himself up with his wooden cane, and then stood proclaiming the death of Europe for several minutes. (Why is it that we want to take old men from the Eastern Bloc so seriously? and more so when their eyebrows are untrimmed?) Eventually, his Malthusian meanderings gave way to talk of chesty young women and soccer-style field goal kicking, but not before he had cast his aura of impending doom upon those within earshot.

Our next move was Tunnicliff’s, mainly because it was right across the street. We rolled into the bar 6 deep and ordered 5 beers and a cider. As is customary, the Admiral bought the first round and we settled into our stools. Talk then turned to our Turkish tablemate and his feelings on a secular Turkey. The Admiral, never one to mince words, got down to brass tacks:

Admiral: “So are you gonna vote for those Muslims?”

Mehmet: “No. I’ll vote secular.”

Then, in a brilliant non-sequitur:

Admiral: “You guys killed all those Armenians.”

Mehmet: “Well, you guys killed all those Indians.”

Ah yes, the scandal of origins. And of course, the Admiral is caught in a paradox—he wants a secular Turkey, but at the same time wishes for an acknowledgement of genocide that would undermine the meta-narrative that helps legitimate the nation-state as he wants to preserve it. Perhaps a secret acknowledgement of that fact, miraculously timed with the arrival of our appetizers, ended that vein of conversation.

On our table lay plates of calamari, buffalo wings, spinach artichoke dip, wasabi glazed tuna, and quesadillas. We were at once overwhelmed by the bounty before us and at the same time driven to annihilate it which we did in short order. After another round of drinks, the weak and girlfriended (Boullionnui, Never Bisque) and the old (The Admiral) went home, and the hearty moved to 18th Amendment.

The first floor of 18th amendment was inexplicably filled with Republicans in green polo shirts. It didn’t seem worth asking what was going on, so we didn’t. Instead, we headed straight to the basement in hopes of open jukebox and pool. Our hopes were partially dashed when the bartender informed us that someone had stuck a baseball in the pool table the previous night and as such, it wasn’t working. We played a few tunes on the jukebox and decided to move on to Capitol Lounge.

Cap Lounge was on its way to hypeness when we arrived. We sat on the west side of the bar and ordered beers. Rowdy petitioned for shots, but there were no takers. The bartender on the west-side is of Brazilian origin; More specifically, from the historically significant region of Minas Gerais, but just as she and Rowdy were about to toast “the Inconfidencia”, the female member of our party informed him that someone had etched “for a good time, call Rowdy” on the back of the stall in the lady’s room. Incensed at the besmirching of his honor, Rowdy stumbled downstairs to investigate…

At this point, as so often happens when 2nd Saturday draws to a close, details become nebulous. What is vaguely remembered is that the Mad Turk was missing, the rain drops fell more and more insistently, and as revelers scattered home, the need of self-intoxication slowly ceded its will to the practical problem of retiring to one’s private ambient.

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