Wednesday, June 27, 2007

North Carolina

Heather, Candi, and I.
So I went directly from Minnesota to Raleigh North Carolina. The good news here is that I have plans to meet someone here - Candi! This time I broke one of my personal rules - I went out drinking on a work night. Don't get me wrong, I will take a drink on a work night, but I try to draw the line at drinking too much if I have to work the next day. That line was well and thoroughly crossed on this trip though!

 We started in the Clarion hotel's lounge/restaurant where I met Candi and her friend Heather. So we are chatting it up and having a reasonably good time when other people start to show up. One guy keeps staring at us and giving us looks from across the bar, but everyone else was 100% cool. A younger couple came in and sat down and we all chatted and laughed. The woman appeared to be comfortable but the guy was all red in the face. He chatted and laughed with us, but clearly he was kind of embarrassed. Well, while we are talking with this couple a woman down at the end of the bar is talking to the bartender/waiter. We later find out her name is Noel.
"I just can't decide if I should have the potato pancakes or not!".
Candi over hears this and interjects "Oh yes hun, you WANT the potato pancakes!"
Noel says, "I don't know, I'm trying to watch what I eat", or something along those lines. At the same time Candi and I try offering our advice:
Candi - "Get 'em, you'll love 'em!"
Me - "Don't do it! You'll be sorry!" (yes, I'm trying to loose weight myself)
Noel looks at us and tells the waiter "I'll take 'em!" This of course sets of a conversation that lasts most of the rest of the night.
Me, Noel, and Candi 
After speaking to her for quite a while, we found out that Noel is taking a new job as a music teacher. Talk about guts! Not only is she going to be responsible for a room full of children, but add to that the fact that she must appreciate music and is going to put instruments in the hands of those that can't yet play them. As an amature musician, I can only imagine how painful this is going to be for her!

It also turns out that the bar tender is fairly accomplished musician and the two launch off on a discussion involving lots of numbers. I play by ear, so when people start talking numbers to describe chords and notes, my eyes cross. Well, if I understood her correctly, we are the first TG's Noel has met! Considering she had never encountered one of us before, and yet immediately started laughing and talking with us, I've got to give her a thumbs up - way to go! If more people were like her the world would be a great place.

After dinner Candi and I headed out on foot to a place called the CC Club that was about a city block away. Noel was going to go with us but wasn't feeling well or perhaps she had reached the limits of her courage, but she backed out at the last moment. Of course I guess the other option is that maybe she was too damn smart to go out drinking at 1030 PM on a week night!

When we arrived, the place was literally empty - there were maybe two people in it and I had started to think that we had goofed. Somewhere around mid night the place was suddenly packed though, and they had a drag show. One of the Tgirls was just drop dead stunning (I hated her).

Eventually I had had enough (okay - MORE than enough!) and since I had to work in the morning, I called it a night before Candi was ready to go. She stepped outside with me and pointed me in the direction of the hotel and off I went. As it is a 21 story building, you could see the hotel roof and so it seemed perfectly reasonable to walk directly there. What I didn't realize is that there was no path or sidewalk between the bar and the hotel, so I had gotten about half of the way there when I found myself facing a block wall that was crumbling and falling apart.
"Hmmm . . . walk all the way back and around, or climb the rubble in heels and a skirt?", I ask myself. I figure "what the hell" and start climbing. Good to know that all those confidence courses in the Army are finally paying off! As I'm climbing over the pile of blocks the whole picture hits me and I see the next days headlines in my minds eye:
"Drunk drag queen breaks damn fool neck" or "Cross dresser found robbed, beaten, and dead on pile of blocks." That's okay, as Monty Python said "Always look on the bright side of life!"

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