Sunday, April 03, 2005

I'm trying to organize my thoughts about last night's adventure because I have an 1100-1400 word first person article due about it on Wednesday. This is not my article, just a spilling over of the night so I can have something to work with:

Pub Crawl

I, the Northern California lightweight drinking champion, (she who once threw up for 24 consecutive hours) last night went on a Pub Crawl. Okay...there is no such award. And it wouldn't have mattered anyway, because this P.C. isn't about the drinking.

Oh don't get me wrong, we started out at the Sweetwater Distillery/Portworks in town (walking distance from my house), where the bartender was making FREE Lemon Drops and Cosmopolitans, and there were many takers (myself included). But the concept of this crawl, started by Dublin-born local John Crowley-is about socializing, not drinking. The first time I sat down and spoke to John he told me, "every time I invite people to a pub crawl, they often say things like 'Oh No, I don't drink.'" Which is his cue to give them a bit of Irish Pub Crawling history (bear with him a moment, I know what you're thinking...Irish...Pubs). "In Dublin, you go from pub to pub following the watering holes of famous Irish poets like Yeats or Cavenaugh, reading their poetry or prose at each location." While there was no readings, we were all instructed to bring a book that meant something to us and trade it out. I wound up trading out Brave New World without taking a book of my own (a good thing--too many already!) to a woman who couldn't remember if she'd read it in high school/college. I said, "it'll freak you out how prophetic he was" and that really urged her on.

This Pub Crawl started some five years ago here in town, when John, a father of two small children, realized that a Saturday night of entertainment had become mainly television, and he couldn't stand it anymore. He called up some buddies and suggested they meet at a local joint downtown. It must be noted that Petaluma doesn't have any true pubs. Well, one, a new Irish pub called Finbar Devine's, but before there were only two kinds of places to put your drunk on: the bars of most restaurants in town, or the seedy drown-your-tears-in-your-beer types of locales, which apparently have been spawning a rash of fisticuffs with downtown riff-raff after hours!

This was not that kind of evening. The Pub Crawl, linked to Crowley's e-community of likeminded, progressive Petalumans, which is ever growing, has spread by word of mouth only to a crowd that is easily one hundred, often more. The only way to go, is to know someone and get invited. And ideally, you'll be from Petaluma, since the idea is to build community. The locations are chosen in walking distance from one another most times. The idea is to socialize. And socialize we did.

I must say, I noticed a distinct lack of meat-market pick-ups going on, a lot of genuine conversation, and a "scene" for the 45+ Set who are plum tired of going to movies and eating out. As one bubbly woman said to me, "I'm here to party!" The words of a 20 year-old? No way. This woman is a high-powered stock broker by day, who "rested up" for the weekend so she could stay up until the dancing, at Dempsey's.

After the free liquor (better than a commercial!) at the distillery, we moved to Graziano's, one of the bastions of restauranting in town-Italian with a great bar. Graziano himself, all smiles, wove among the crowd, patting backs and chatting with his clientele. It was packed to the gills, and the non-pub crawlers who had the misfortune to be in the bar looked quite miffed to be crowded out, but hey, there were 100 of us! What were they going to do.

It was here that I had some of the most interesting conversations of the night, including one with the "Boy" half of "Boy Meets Girl" a band mostly popular in the eighties. George wrote that Whitney Houston song, "I want to dance with somebody," and I tried to recall if he'd made a guest appearance on American Idol last season, but there was no way in hell I was going to ask, having to then admit that I watch the show. We got into this artsy little conversation about the process of writing--him, music, me-whatever it is that I write, and damn if after a few minutes I wasn't totally engaged. He was describing the way that music is a part of his everyday experience. The way someone says something, its rhythm, will strike him, or the cadence of somebody drumming their fingers on the bar, or you name it...and he is constantly putting together "new" music, can't wait to work on the puzzle that is music. My answers were not so eloquent, but we had a good talk.

I brought along my husband and my 20-something friend, who are both much less social than I, and as such, were good company for each other, if not a little wierded out by the whole thing. But I never fooled them about what they were getting into.

From Graziano's we made it to Dempsey's where the floor was cleared and the dancing began. I know what you're thinking, as my friend said: "Old people...dancing..." and then she kind of shivered. But I gotta tell you, as I gazed out at the writhing bodies, I didn't see 40-50 somethings; these people, in their hip clothes and with their good moves, looked like any crowd of 20-30 somethings grooving it up. And look, I've been to the ex-hippie freestyle dancing kind of events that evoke the spirit of the Grateful Dead. This was not that. DJ Val spun serious tunes. I had a really hard time not getting up and shaking it to Prince and James Brown myself.

And I have to admit that it is here I crapped out. I didn't make it the final leg to Zebulon's, but I had a strangely good time, and saw that John's desire to create "social capital" is working. People were happy to see each other, having fun and clearly, if the event happened more often, they'd be there.



At 9:22 PM, Blogger katie said...

I think you and I will have to fight over who is the lightest of the lightweights.

My house, tequila shots (half a bottle will do?)


At 7:20 AM, Blogger Myfanwy Collins said...

This sounds like so much fun! I wish we were neighbors, Jordan.

At 7:39 AM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Katie, love...the fact that you chose a half a bottle of tequila proves I am the lighter weight. A Quarter bottle would have me more than plowed.

Plus, the amount you drank would have had me throwing up.

Myf: I wish you were my neighbor too...or, perhaps that I was yours, since we have two coasts to choose from.


At 4:35 PM, Blogger katie said...

I meant we would split the half bottle.

Really, 2 beers and a lemon drop would have made you throw up?

Maybe it was the crack cocaine I smoked in the car before I got there...


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