Me, Willie, and The Lone Star Cafe #48

Have you ever had one of those days when you wake up and are just not right mentally? I don’t mean like when you have a hangover or are sleep deprived or jet lagged. Just one of those days when you can’t process words coming out of people’s mouths, and even the daily paper requires a translator? What causes this? Is it astrological? Menopausal? Did I have a mini-stroke in the middle of the night? I had one of those days Friday, and it was wicked. Thoughts would begin to take shape, then dart away like a shy bird, never to be reclaimed. I unloaded half of the dishwasher before I realized the dishes were still dirty.  Surely the word menopause was intended to be mentalpause. A spelling error perhaps?

We were switching our homeowner’s insurance from one company to another, and had to finalize things Friday. I’ve worked around insurance and human resources for years, and am quite comfortable in that realm, but when our new agent had to run some options past me regarding choices of deductibles, I had to get her to repeat the info three times! Then, I had to call her back a fourth time, just to double-check facts that were free-falling through my addled brain cells.

I decided not to inflict myself on the universe in this deficient condition, and decided to catch up on reading my blog subscriptions. I’m a fickle reader and fall in love with different blogs every week, so my subscription list is lengthy; two days of turning my back on it, and it grows like topsy. So, I decided that the safest course to keep myself out of trouble would be to catch up on my reading and stumbled across Jackie’s blog Twist 365, coincidentally entitled “Life as a Suck- Banshee“. It was all about her mental brain deficit on Friday. I wish I’d thought of Suck Banshee. In our house we call it “Staring Stoopid” days, and pretty much just lay low, hand the car keys to someone less dim-witted, and try to stay out of harm’s way. I would be in serious danger of getting a D.U.I. if stopped by an officer, Dummy Under the Influence of misguided faltering hormones. I hope they don’t have a brainolizer to measure for that yet.

Now, for another installment of “Texas Toast”. Boy had decided to give me the ultimate ‘going away’ present with his little palimony Texas two-step. At the end of the day, it came down to choices. Either I give him a percentage of my income for the next three years, or give him a one-time lump sum payment to permanently go away. The temptation to give him a percentage of my income was strong, because I’d simply stop working and go back to school. How much is 20% of zero? But, as much glee as I felt envisioning that scenario, it would ultimately be shooting myself and my modeling career in the foot. So, I wiped out my entire savings in order to send him to hell and back back to Texas. Happily, this DID turn out to be the true and official ‘Tale End of a Boy‘, and I have never laid eyes on him since the day I handed him his five-figured check. I’ve heard that he moved to Dallas, married the boss’s daughter at an architectural firm, and later made partner… bet Wifey #2 had  one very big surprise in store for her! Do you think he brought any of the Prancing Sheilas along on the honeymoon?!?

With Boy jettisoned at long last, I took stock of my finances. What I saw wasn’t for the feint of heart. I quickly acquired a Canadian roommate, who was also a Wilhelmina model. Despite living in NYC, she continued to work in Canada and Europe and wasn’t around a lot; I find that a desirable trait in a roommate! Pay half of the rent and come home two or three days a month! I was unfortunately doing a lot of ‘editorial’ work, i.e. all glory and tearsheets, very little money. It was clear I needed another source of income and fast. The swanky Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center was advertising for a ‘hat check girl’, which mostly meant you took people’s coats, returned them, and hopefully procured large tips from rich, drunk people. I decided instead to take a job waitressing at a hot new Texas club a couple of blocks from my apartment; it would make getting home in the wee hours easier.

The Lone Star Cafe on Fifth Avenue and 13th Street had been open about a year when I started working there. There was an enormous replica of an iguana on the roof of the building, and the words “Too Much Ain’t Enough” over the door. I’d been a patron there several times. Duh, you think? A Texas beer and barbeque place with fabulous country singers? Three blocks from where I lived? Oh yeah, this was a part time job with ME written all over it! All new waitstaff were given the Purgatory detail. The bands and the bar were located on the first level, but up a massive staircase was the second floor with a balcony that overlooked the performers. Mostly the customers upstairs did way more drinking than eating, which meant we were carrying very heavy trays loaded with pitchers of beer from the very crowded bar downstairs, up a staircase overflowing with spectators who didn’t have seats at a table. If you survived the dreaded second story Purgatory hazing, you were then allowed to work only the coveted first floor.

It was deafeningly loud, dark, and smokey and the crowd was usually in rare form after midnight. It was on the fourth night that yours truly met her Waterloo. The work was physically very taxing. I weighed 105 lbs soaking wet and hadn’t done a lick of exercise since high school, unless you count running all over Manhattan in 5 inch stilettos exercise. I did get to see The Blues Brothers debut their act before they did it on Saturday Night Live, and heard Asleep at the Wheel and Jerry Jeff Walker. Big tips flowed like cheap wine as the customers got drunker.

On this particular Saturday night, there was a group of university boys gathered on the staircase, clearly feeling no pain. For hours I had endured their catcalls and pleas for my phone number. But after midnight, the gremlin in one of them came out and he got much bolder. Every time I’d head up the stairs with 8-10 pitchers of beer on my tray, he would grab my ass and make kissing noises. On my next to last trip, on what would be the end of my waitressing career, I told him that if he grabbed me one more time, I would pour beer all over his head. Some stooopid boys just can’t listen, and what do you know? He did it again, so I calmly set down my tray and upended a full pitcher of Coors over his piggy little head. Both the customer and the manager found my response excessive, and moments  later I found myself walking down Fifth Avenue, just before dawn on what promised to be a beautiful Sunday April morning in Manhattan.

I suppose a sane girl would have been worried or panicked over just losing a job she really, truly needed. But somehow, as I walked down the avenue, my heart just got lighter and lighter. I started smiling because I absolutely knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that the stars were aligning and everything was going exactly the way the cosmos had planned. As I headed for home the Willie Nelson song that had been playing on the jukebox when I left Lone Star kept echoing through my mind

Blue skies smilin’ at me

Nothin’ but blue skies do I see

Bluebirds singin’ a song

Nothin’ but blue skies from now on

Never saw the sun shinin’ so bright

Never saw things goin’ so right

Noticing the days hurrying by

When you’re in love, my how they fly by

Blue days, all of them gone

Nothin’ but blue skies from now on

(Blue skies smilin’ at me

Nothin’ but blue skies do I see)

Never saw the sun shinin’ so bright

Never saw things goin’ so right

Noticing the days hurrying by

When you’re in love, my how they fly.

Blue days, all of them gone

Nothin’ but blue skies from now on

Nothin’ but blue skies from now on

The feeling was so strong and powerful, it was almost palpable. Both my prince and my ship were about to come in, any little minute now

6 thoughts on “Me, Willie, and The Lone Star Cafe #48

  1. I have a co-worker who’s big on astrology and the universe. The last seven days for me were crappy. I hate to give into her, but finally asked if anything wonky was going on in the universe. “Mercury’s in retrograde,” she replied all knowingly. Pisses me off every time! But, believe all that business or not, let’s just use it as an excuse, shall we?

    I think I went to the Lone Star. Certainly remember it anyway. You are my IDOL: pouring a pitcher of beer over some stoooopid idiot! You go, girl!

    Love your cliffhangers, Renee, as much as I go “Damn” when I realize you’re throwing us another one.

  2. I have been there, with you Renee, walking down life’s path, were some would of been bawling, why me, I didn’t do anything wrong…haha, my defense, “I warned you”. Love it!!!

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