Matt and Alisha came down from Atlanta for the weekend to attend the wedding of two friends out on the beach. Getting married at sunset on the beach on Halloween night? Odd, in my opinion, but hey- who am I to judge? Why be conventional? The three of us planned on meeting up afterward.
There are nights that I don’t like to go out and party. New Year’s Eve being one of them, St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween being two others. But I agreed to meet them out at Cap’n Fun on Pensacola Beach. I got there around ten, and the place was jumping. A lot of times I’m the oldest guy in places like that. But not last night! It was a nice, diverse crowd. Everyone was in a good mood and the entire huge place had a good vibe going on. Maybe 90% of the people there were wearing a costume. Of the remaining 10%, I couldn't tell if maybe half of them were supposed to be in costume or were just wearing their usual strange getup. Kids these days...
Actually it was the four of us. Matt dressed as Yankee baseball great, Joe Dimaggio. Alisha was Marilyn Monroe. Pete the pharmacist was (a very convincing) Borat. And Bob was…well, Bob doesn’t dress up on Halloween, being the stick-in-the-mud, party-pooper that he is. No, that’s not correct; I went dressed in my usual costume…as a geeky helicopter pilot. One very inebriated little girl stopped me on the way back from the bathroom, standing directly in front of me, blocking my path, sizing me up and down.
“Who are you?” she demanded.
I am nobody, I replied.
“Well you should say you’re Mr. Rogers!” she suggested brightly.
I looked at her closely, trying to determine if she was mocking me or just having a good time in the spirit of the night. She seemed drunkenly sincere, so I thanked her, and laughed, and left. Heh- Mr. Rogers. Good one. Come to think of it, I should've borrowed the McGruff costume from the Sheriff's Office.
There was a band playing that called themselves Monsterprty. Without the “a.” I suspect that their name once appeared on a marquee or flier that was too small to fit the entire name, so someone decided to drop a vowel for space considerations. Either that or it was a typo that stuck. Either that or they mistakenly thought it would be clever. They were a high-energy party band that had a varied repertoire that ranged from ultramodern stuff way back to Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” which inexplicably has become something of a bar-band staple 'round here.
As I've mentioned before, Matt and I love live music. There is just something about the spontaneity and creativity of music being performed live. Over the years we've seen an awful lot of bands. And a lot of awful bands! They're usually at least tolerable, and we’ve only walked out on…maybe two bands since we’ve been hanging out. We both agreed that Monsterprty wasn’t bad. They weren’t good either, but they weren’t bad. At least they were in tune. Most of the time. And they were loud, I’ll give them that. Fortunately (or not), my hearing has been so damaged by a lifetime of flying noisy helicopters that I can tolerate the loudest of bar-bands now. At least I don’t have tinnitus. Yet.
After one of Monsterprty’s lively sets, the very young (maaaaayyyybe 21 year old) lead singer came down and was chatting up some girls right near where we were standing. I nudged Matt, “Go tell him!” And Matt, my ever-willing accomplice, leaned over to the boy and said, “Hey, you guys aren’t half-bad.” I couldn’t hear the singer’s response, but I saw his face light up with pleasure as he mouthed the words, “Thank you!”
It’s not that we like to be unkind. We don’t. In fact, we prefer to pass along positive feedback to bands we see. But sometimes we can’t resist messing with them just a little. Monsterprty may be a halfway decent bar-band, but they’re surely not the Next Big Thing. Not as long as they're content to be singing other people's songs. Bands like that generally don't have a very long shelf life. I hope that lead singer is putting money away for college.
Unusually for me, I didn’t drink much last night. Between ten p.m. and two a.m. I only had four overpriced, watered-down Rum and Cokes. The FAA is now taking the view that someone who gets a DWI cannot be trusted to obey all of the federal regulations that guide us pilots. So we are required to report to them such driver’s license “actions” (suspensions, etc.) within 60 days of the event. Some sort of counseling is usually required, even for a first offense. A pilot who accumulates three DWI’s will find himself no longer a pilot at all. I won’t say I’ve never driven drunk in the past when I was young(er) and stupid(er), but it’s sure not worth the risk now. I must be getting old.
I will close with this: If America is really serious about getting drunk drivers off the road, why do they let bars have parking lots? It's not like we go to bars only to ogle the girls and listen to mediocre bands. A lot of people go there to drink, too.