It was late April 2009, and I had just made the decision to leave DC for a couple of years in the pursuit of life-defining adventure. I would be gone in a month, so earlier in the day I quit my job, hit the gym, and made plans to do up U Street with my attorney, the sexiest 79 inches of man this side of the Appalachians. In the beginning it was like any other night.
We began doing what we did best ‚Äì drinking scotch and listening to pickup jazz in our favorite basement bar on ‚ÄòBlack Broadway‚Äô. Between sets we talked to any lowlife who was willing to listen. Those who refused to converse drew evil stares during the drum solos, and perverted smiles during the wailing of tenors. What else were we going to do on this very special Friday night?
As the clock approached midnight, our favorite mixologist, Chris, approached us from behind the bar and sat down. His face was distressed, as something terrible had just happened. ‚ÄúDamn, those fucking Somalians just fired me,‚Äù he said. ‚ÄúThey said I have been giving you and the tall one too many free drinks. Something about ‚Äòlook-look, you-30%, you steal, dirka-dirka‚Ä¶‚Äô Anyways, I‚Äôve got to find a new job.‚Äù
We immediately decided to pay the tab and venture out with our recently unemployed friend. Neither of us felt remorseful for our part in the dismissal of our friend. The unemployment rate would surely be under for 7% in a matter of months, if not weeks. There‚Äôs no suffering in DC, it‚Äôs a city of perseverance. All Chris needed was a drink and a few hours of talking to DC‚Äôs finest young ladies. We were off to the roof top bar.
As we entered the establishment, we ascended to the top of the stairwell. My attorney looked at me and said, ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt get me wrong bro, everyone knows you‚Äôre a good guy. But when you walk up steps, you‚Äôre fucking intimidating.‚Äù My initial reaction was to look down and see if I had any blood on my clothing or any other evidence of violence. My confusion forced me to seek further counsel, to which my counsel replied, ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt know man, I just had a sense that I was walking into this joint with Tony Soprano. Maybe it was this hipster music. Forget I said anything.‚Äù
As we approached the doorman at the deck bar I was greeted with a waving hand. A man fit to bounce hardly anything at all was standing in the doorway shaking his hand at me. ‚ÄúThis one, is a walking liability. Not entering, have a nice night.‚Äù Again, I looked for signs of violence, torn clothes, and nothing came up. Confused and unwilling to shoot our way into the club, the three of us decided to head back down the stairs.
As we came back outside Chris started to discuss our next options, and of course my tall attorney mentions food. While we approached the first alley, the doorman looks at me with big eyes and gestures for me to come closer. As I approach he grabs me by my right triceps and pulls me into the alley for what I hoped would be a quick word.
‚ÄúHey man, I grew up down here, my granddaddy played jazz down here,‚Äù he started. ‚ÄúYall can‚Äôt be doing that shit,‚Äù which I responded to with a clueless look. ‚ÄúEvery time a jazz club patron walks into a hipster joint, this block takes a step further away from art, music, and culture. You fucking pervert. You want to see young girls with piercings in their lips? Go buy a National Geographic, dirt bag‚Ä¶ You‚Äôre getting off easy this time, now get the fuck out of here!‚Äù
I had to stand my ground, turn the experience into something constructive. As the doorman was heading in I shouted, ‚ÄúWhat else is acceptable? I can only go to jazz clubs, now?‚Äù
The doorman walked slowly back to the side door and with a very blank stare said two words. ‚ÄúTry comedy.‚Äù