In honor of Felicia's Atomic Lounge's fifth birthday, here's an excerpt from my upcoming bar memoir book (still looking for a publisher), which should probably have the title, What the Hell Were We Thinking?
Fortunately, the stars were on our side. Here's to you, Felicia, and to Leah for talking me into doing one of the craziest things I've ever done in my life:
“I have an idea.” Leah’s face was pressed up against the empty tavern window, hands cupping her eyes. “We should open a bar.”
Leah always had ideas. I heard the line come out of her mouth daily. “I have an idea….”, followed by an elaborate plan to start her own business and become rich. Hand-painted t-shirts. Designer cat litter boxes. Carved wooden yoga blocks. A thing that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter and statically draws all the floating dog fur into its jaws.
“You said you never wanted to open a restaurant,” I said, peering in the window beside her.
The tavern was dark and filthy. Floor tiles were missing, and the ceiling had a hole in it where someone had fallen through from the attic. On the front of the bar where your feet would kick, wavy lines of glue were all that remained to inform us that tiles or plywood had been torn down. On top of the dusty bar, a number of gray glasses stood and others lay on their sides. The walls were covered with an almost-black wood paneling. Bob’s Tavern had stood empty for years. Until the trendy coffee shop opened next door, we had no reason to visit this rundown neighborhood.
“A bar is different,” Leah said, sipping her iced latte through the straw. “Less work, higher profit margins. And we’d have our days to ourselves.”
I was not convinced; I was never convinced. Leah told me once that if she was a kite, flying high in the sky, kept aloft by her ideas as if they were the wind, then I was the string, yanking her back to the ground.
“A bar could work,” Leah said again. We walked side-by-side to our car which was packed to the gills with camping gear, gripping our coffees that would fuel us on our eleven hour trip to Maine.
Leah would have ten days in the wilderness with me to convince me, an uptight social worker who didn’t know how to make a gin and tonic, to open a bar.
copyright Amelia Sauter 2009
Photo note: I'm the one with the little boobs. The ones you can't see. Even if Leah wasn't standing in front of me.