Pizza, Pianos & Pandemonium

We all went out for Jen's birthday Saturday night - me, Jen, Jen's new boyfriend Chad (who I LUV), Kimberly and Ted, Angela, Dynasty, and Alan. The plan was to meet at Chad's and then go over to Mafiaoza's for dinner. Good plan. Except, due to the newness of Chad, I had no idea where he lives. Jen helpfully informed me that his condo is about 4 blocks from Mafiaoza's, but since I had never been to Mafiaoza's, this bit of information was of relatively little use to me.

As we all know by now, I have this uncanny ability for getting lost no matter where I'm going. Which is why I have come to rely heavily on the directional wisdom of Google. But, when I talked to her on the phone, Jen wasn't sure of Chad's exact address, so she gave me directions that went something like this:

Ummm…let me think…coming from your place…uh, you'll want to take 40 to 440 and get off of that exit…Wood-something-or-other…you know the exit…the one right after 65 and then you take a right on 8th and then another right on Bradford and then you'll see a bunch of condos eventually…some of it is still under construction so you'll see it…and then you turn onto Knowles…and you'll see my car and then just call me…I can't remember which number is his. We have reservations at 8 and I'll probably get to Chad's around 7:15-ish…you're wearing a dress, right?

Oh dear. As I frantically scribbled down her directions, (which might've been adequate for anyone except me), I optimistically convinced myself that it didn't seem too difficult and was sure I could find it. Ha!

Note to self: Accept your limitations and do not delude yourself into thinking they do not exist.

Needless to say, I never did make it to the new boyfriend's condo and instead ended up finally stumbling upon Mafiaoza's (with the kind assistance of Chad via phone, which is just one of the reasons I LUV him) at 8:40 where I was greeted with relief and snark...mostly relief...but a little bit of snark. Pizza was eaten. Wine was drunk. We eventually decided we would take two vehicles downtown and go to the new piano bar next to Paradise Park.

I was whole-heartedly in favor of this plan for two reasons: 1.) I wouldn't have to drive and 2.) I had been eager to check out this piano bar thing since first hearing about it. Now, I don't know about you, but when I think "piano bar" I envision a dark, smoky, lounge-like environment with low, comfortable tables and chairs and an atmosphere of casual sophistication. Sorta jazzy, ya know? My first clue that this was not going to be the experience I was anticipating was the sign outside of the bar announcing its name as the "Big Bang Piano Bar".

As we were waiting in the mile-long line stretching down the sidewalk, Dynasty realized her ID and her ATM card were missing from her bag. This realization, of course, induced a state of general panic, and after calling the restaurant to see if any IDs or ATM cards had been found and being told that no, no such items had been discovered, Dynasty, Alan and Angela went in search of the plastic leaving Jen, Chad, Kimberly, Ted and I waiting in the Big Bang line.

We were finally ushered in among throngs of drunk, sweaty writhing bodies. It was SO crowded (nuts to butts, as Casey would say) and very hot, and not at all what I expected. Yes, there were a couple of pianos being played by a couple of guys, but it was raucous and campy and disappointingly sorta Tin Roof-ish (for the Nashvillians who are familiar with the Tin Roof). It was also reminiscent of the dueling pianos at Juniors (for the Erieites who are familiar with Juniors).

So, we're all standing there with our overpriced drinks and because all of the other singletons went in search of Dynasty's ID and ATM cards, I was the dreaded fifth wheel.
Apparently Chad knows EVERYONE in Nashville...(yes, even you - you may think you don't know him, but you do) and he and Jen went off somewhere so that Jen could be introduced to some of the vast numbers of people Chad knows. Kimberly, Ted and I were standing there sweating and being jostled by the crowd when suddenly Doug was standing in front of us. (FYI - Doug is Jen's ex-long-term-boyfriend-more-recently-sometimes-fuck-buddy-who-doesn't-yet-know-about-Chad). Can I get a "DRAH-MA!"?

Meanwhile, Dynasty & Co. have located the missing plastic cards in the trunk of her car and are now standing outside in the line to get into the Big Bang with the rest of us.

Kimberly, Ted and I (after talking uncomfortably with Doug for a few minutes and surreptitiously scanning the crowd for signs of Jen and Chad) maneuver our way over and down to the bar where we find Jen and Chad and a bunch of the people Chad knows (including Paolo who, despite calling me "babydoll" and giving me a big hug upon being introduced, I couldn't help but like).

Finally, Dy, Angela, and Alan were admitted inside, quickly found us, and more introductions were made. And after a mere ten minutes or so, Alan turned to me and shouted, "are we at a frat party?! please shoot me now". Hee. Alan cracks me up and I could totally sympathize.
And then, the greatest thing happened…wait for it…a brawl! Yes, friends, an honest-to-goodness bar brawl. Right in front of us. Things were a blur as Alan and Angela and I got shoved into one another and were drenched with someone's spilled drink amidst the yelling. Beer bottles were being broken, shirts were being ripped off. And there we all were - a huddled group of well-dressed thirty-somethings shielding our heads with our arms and trying to stay out of the way.

When the bouncers finally got things settled and the broken glass was cleaned up, Alan (who, by the way, is a very stylish gay man) says, "I so would've joined in except that my hands are so swollen from the damn heat I can't even make a fist!" Maybe next time Alan...maybe next time.

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