I was sitting at the bar in a hotel in Ontario.
An hour earlier, my flight had been cancelled due to weather. I was not happy about the lay-over but what could I do about it? I could hole up in my hotel room, order a pizza, watch the tube, and mope or I could walk across the street to the steakhouse, sit at the bar, drink a martini, eat a steak, and watch a game on TV. I had opted for the walk.
When I got inside the restaurant, which was inside a large, rather swank hotel, I was impressed by the decor. This place was much nicer than the Best Western where I was staying. The bar looked inviting and I headed right over. I pulled out a stool and sat down. "Tanquerray 10 Martini-straight up-two olives, please." I had said those exact words on several other occasions.
The Celtics were playing the Hawks on TNT. I would feel better, soon.
There were about seven of us at the bar. All of us alone but I was the only one with a martini and the only one really watching the game. I am a financial advisor and a basketball nut. I don't mind talking to strangers and bartenders but I needed to melt away the experiences of a long airport delay, the struggle to haul my suitcase and laptop onto the motel shuttle in a driving rainstorm, and the anxieties of being in a city where I knew no one and had no real plan, other than to catch the first plane home to Boston in the morning. Thanks to the lobby fireplace, the 50 inch plasma flat-screen and the gin, it didn't take long before I began to feel better.
I accepted a menu and began to look it over when the guy next to me began the small-talk ritual. "Where are you from?" he asked.
"I live in New England and I'm supposed to be there in two hours but all the flights have been cancelled due to weather." I replied.
"Blah, blah, what do you do, basketball, snow, airports, etc., etc." and soon we were old friends. I ordered a steak and finished the martini. Within half an hour, the Celtics had beaten the Hawks in the first game of the "TNT NBA Double-header" and game 2 was about to begin. My steak arrived and I ordered a second Martini. My new friend had to go but now, the bar was getting busier.
Game 2 was the Portland Trailblazers versus somebody. As my steak arrived, so did a blonde woman with a big chest, a tight, low cut blouse, and blue eyes. She was escorted by an older gentleman. They sat down right next to me. I ate and drank and I suppose it was the martini but I kept commenting on the game to myself, the bartender, and to no one in particular. Apparently, she was listening because she spoke to me. "I love the Blazers." she said.
"Really?" I asked. "Nobody loves the Blazers, anymore. Not since Walton and Lucas and Hollins, and Dr. Ramsey."
"I remember!" she practically screamed at me. I noticed her eyes were sparkling. "I live in Oregon. I loved it when the Blazers won the Title. They beat Philly and Dr. J!! It was soooooo exciting!"
"How about your husband? Does he love basketball?" I was fishing.
She explained in a quieter voice that her 'escort' was just a guy she'd met at the hotel. She hardly knew him. They weren't 'together'. She was here for business. She had been here for a week and would be here for another week. Her name was Angie or Debbie or something with an 'ie' and we began to talk. Suddenly, the game wasn't so interesting. Neither was the food. However, the martini still was interesting and Sherrie/Barbie was not only interesting but interested in having another beverage. She had lost interest in her old friend. A few minutes later, he must have felt the lack of interest because he excused himself and said that he had to go to bed. Laurie/Kerrie said good-bye and the two of us were alone together at the bar with the other people who had either been there, just arrived, or magically appeared while she and I had been talking.
She was a pretty woman. Smart, funny, a talker. She was sexy. I was feeling more than a little drunk. She might have been, too. I asked her for her room number and she leaned up to me, brushing her chest against my arm. She whispered 7573 in my ear.
I guess the room number dialogue is code for "I'll be up there. You come too. Give me 20 minutes" because she excused herself while I finished my drink and I paid the tab. After figuring out the tip and signing the bill, I laughed.
I couldn't remember her name or her room number.
Now, what was I to do?