Tuesday, May 22, 2007
C-Blocked At The Cellar Bar
So... I'm at The Cellar Bar tonight, in the Bryant Park Hotel, attending a firm function on behalf of newbie law students who, one day, will be inducted into the lawyer fraternity. We're drinkin', we're laughin', we're having fun times. There's some music playing just low enough for us to engage in friendly conversation. After doing my duty with a few of the newbies, I start to take a look around. It's a good turnout for a Tuesday night. Dark, low light. Turning towards the bar, I notice that one of the bartenders is wearing this impossibly tight leather-cinched thingamabob stretching down from her chest down to her waist. I don't know what those things are called, but it looked positively medieval. You see them in those period movies from the 1700s. They're basically a body vise -- really good at pushing boobs up to stratospheric heights but really bad for female circulation. I had no idea how she could breathe through that thing. I literally could have done an "OK" sign around her waist. So, I noticed that.
Because I hadn't had any dinner and was starving, I began looking for a food source. That's when I noticed these attractive waitresses walking around with hors d'oeuvres trays. They were wearing the same boa constrictor uniform as the bartender and were serving crispy crabcakes, small hamburger sliders, miniature quesadillas, and some salmon and mango combo on a stick that I couldn't decipher. One of them in particular caught my eye. She was very tan, had dark brown eyes and a 1000 watt smile. Latin. Nicey. An hour or so into the evening, I was really starving and the food just wasn't coming around fast enough. So a colleague told Ms. Latin of my plight and urged her to bring out more food forthwith. Shooting me a very friendly smile, she said "I'm coming back out and you're next." I'm next! I'm next!
True to her word, she brought out some fried cheesy poofs, three of which I popped in my mouth and swallowed whole. Over the next 45 minutes, Ms. Latin kept the food coming, bringing out mini-burgers, quesadillas, and more cheesy poofs, which I devoured like a caveman. Not to worry, I washed the appetizer smorgasbord down with several Grey Goose and sodas. So grateful was I to Ms. Latin in fact, that on one trip out, I decided to start a little game. For every flavored shrimp and cheesy poof I removed from her tray, I would ask her a question that she would have to answer. Sounds like fun, no? In my buzzed condition, I certainly thought so. Not much in it for her though. I wouldn't even have thought to initiate such antics but for the fact that well, Ms. Latin was giving me the smileys. Maybe it was all in my head. Maybe she was giving the same smileys to every other dude in the place. Perhaps, but I don't think so. I'm fairly cynical about such things, and even I couldn't help but notice. The vodka definitely helped attune my vision. In any event, she agreed to play along with my silly game.
Question 1, accompanied by a piece of spicy shrimp on a plastic sword was, predictably, "Where are you from?" Answer: Colombia. Okay, Colombia. Never been there. Not much to go on. So I pondered. Then Question 2: "What part of Colombia are you from?" Yeah, real original. Quit your cringing, please. I was just getting warmed up. Answer: Cartagena. Okay again, not much to work with there. I saw that movie with Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan, what was it called? Oh yeah, Proof of Life. I don't think it was about Colombia, but it could have been. Can't really go anywhere with that. Drug trafficking and kidnapping don't exactly make the best cocktail conversation. Indeed, a true Colombian might take offense.
I was in the process of preparing Question 3, and by now, we're two more GG&S' into things, when she swung by again. All the Horz Durvrayz are beginning to look the same. For Question 3, I was going to ask Ms. Latin if she was single. I was getting too drunk, and it was time to cut to the chase. Problem was, I was surrounded by work colleagues who were themselves quite enamored of Ms. Latin and eager to chat her up as well. So, during a pause in their pathetic bombardment, I leaned in close to ask her Question 3, and here's what happened:
MARRIED COLLEAGUE J.: "Hey, do you like turtles?! Wanna see a turtle?!!" He holds up his cell phone, which yes, has a tiny picture of a real turtle on it. It's a picture or a screen saver or something. On his cell phone. "Yeah, this turtle was E-NORMOUS!" Chattus Interruptus.
MS. LATIN, being polite: "Really, wow... that's a very nice turtle. Very nice. Is it real?"
MARRIED COLLEAGUE J.: "Oh yeah, it's real alright. It was HUGE. Great turtle."
MS. LATIN: "It sure is."
And with that, Ms. Latin took her empty tray and departed to the back room.
Life comes down to a matter of moments, people. And when that moment passes, it's O-V-E-R. You're done. No second chances. I wouldn't have that good an opportunity to have talky-time with Ms. Latin the rest of the night. Ten minutes later, she came by and said "Have a good night guys." When she left, I gave Colleague J. the C-Block Death Stare.
Now, I love Colleague J. He's a great friend of mine and a really good guy. Wonderful man with a nice wife and incredibly cute kids. (Not to mention the fact that I know he's going to read this.) But man-oh-man-oh-shevitz did he C-Block me tonight. Cut me right off at the knees, did he. With a goddamn turtle on his cell phone. He couldn't shut up about the fucking turtle.
I am so sick and tired of being C-Blocked by my friends, particularly the married ones, who have no business even opening their mouth in situations like this. I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me in my adult life. In fact, I could write a book on how many times Best Friend P. has C-Blocked me alone. We go back a long time, so there's a lot to work with. I recall one time at a party, Dear P. told an ex-girlfriend of mine he wanted to take her into the closet for ten minutes. What a pal. My friends are so damn loyal, they even try to C-Block me with my own girlfriends. How awesome is that? I was quite displeased upon hearing this bit of news from the ex, and I certainly let him know it in very assertive language. He denied it up and down, of course. (Lie, lie, and lie some more is the C-Blocker's motto when called out.) Bygones though. He's still here; she's long gone.
The C-Block can take several forms. Sometimes it's an Intentional C-Block a/k/a The I Don't Give A Fuck. Usually conducted by some stranger, a jerk you don't know very well, or someone you know really well, but who doesn't give two shits about your relationship. The reason for the Intentional C-Block is pretty universal, however: the chosen target is just too attractive, too significant, too worth it for whatever reason, to pass up. So let the best man win. The irony of the Intentional C-Block is usually it's so damn obvious that no one wins. Subtlety rules with the C-Block.
Which brings us to The Discreet C-Block a/k/a The Slip N' Slide. This one's the most insidious. You, the poor victim, have no idea what's happening until it's too late. You're standing by the bar, talking to a lovely. Before you know it, some putz has slowly, carefully, discreetly wedged his ass/elbow/arm/back/messenger bag between you and the lovely. Now he's got pole position (pun intended) and you're sucking a straw by yourself, staring at the striped pattern on the back of his untucked shirt. Game over.
And last, but not least, there's The Clueless C-Block a/k/a The Accidental. This type of C-Block is a pure mistake, an unfortunate confluence of circumstances. Negative serendipity. That's what we had tonight. Dear J. did not engage in any intentional wrongdoing. No sir, there was no mens rea on his part. No evil intent. He was simply feeling the turtle, and he wanted the world to know. Turtle Love got the best of him.
So, even though I am seriously tired of the C-Block and will take greater, ever more drastic measures to avoid it in the future, I can't be mad at Colleague J. He didn't do it on purpose. Besides, I really love turtles.