Cheers (Drink to That)

This is where I live

On First Friday Tropez bartends with me. Oh, great. Actually, he’s not that bad. In fact, he insists he’s better than me. So annoying. It’s only because we’re not that busy. We have to wear these gray vests now as part of our uniform. It used to be that we could wear basically anything black. They’re not bad, but I always leave mine unbuttoned. He notices this tonight. “Is this how we wear our vests behind the bar?” What, Tropez. He motions to me and then himself with his unbuttoned. He sort of throws his head back and acts like a heavy metal rock star. “Behind the bar, we just let our hair down?” Wow. Yup, I guess so, Tropez. You weirdo.

Saturday afternoon Mike and I head to Santa Monica Pier. We’ve been wanting to go for a while since it’s so close to us. Mainly, we want to go before the Manfre’s come in April so we can act like we know where we’re going and not act like tourists. Parking is madness by the pier, probably because it’s the weekend and it’s so nice out. It’s been in the 60’s most days but today it’s low 70’s. We can’t find anything so we finally drive inland and find a $5 parking garage. Make a note in my phone of where it is so that we can just drive straight here when the Manfre’s visit. I think it might be too far of a walk but there’s lots to distract us on the way – shops, bars, live music. Then we both get a text from Jess Buffman. It’s Hoboken St. Patty’s today – the biggest drinking day of the year in Hoboken. It’s a quick video with a bunch of our friends including Kevin, Jill, Count, and Pierson. It’s loud and hard to hear, but Jess is announcing a toast in our honor.

How awesome is that. We used to live there. That was our kitchen! So glad I don’t live there now. Jess informed me later that the cops arrived shortly after to break up the party. Now Mike and I are craving a cocktail. Walking to the pier is nice, but once there the crowds make me hate it. I feel like such a tourist. I do really want to go on the enormous ferris wheel, but we’ll save that for the next time. We walk to the end of the pier and enjoy the view before heading into a Mexican restaurant. Margaritas? Yes, please. We sit at the bar and share a 44oz margarita, on the rocks, no salt. This thing is massive and exactly what we were in the mood for. We share some flautus or tortas or chimichangas… they’re all the same, aren’t they? It’s all the same ingredients. Afterwards, we walk down to the very crowded beach – slightly buzzed – to sit for a bit. It’s a nice afternoon, but I think I’d rather be at my own quiet, peaceful spot in Venice.

Santa Monica Pier

Sunday I drive to Moorpark College to play field hockey. That’s right, I found a league! I couldn’t find any schools in the area that have field hockey, but maybe the websites haven’t been updated? It’s a stretch, but I email the athletic director at Santa Monica High School the previous Monday. “Sorry, no varsity field hockey here. I love seeing it on TV.” Great. Tara sends me a link for a field hockey website. I haven’t seen this before. How do you find this stuff? “Rich taught me everything I know.” I believe it. It’s the Field Hockey Federation of Southern California. I contact Patti. Not really sure who she is, but her email is there so I go for it, and she responds quickly. “In Moorpark, we have the Nation’s largest club organization and we have teams starting at Under 10 going up to the Men’s National Team level. We would love to have you come out and take a look!” Well this is the best news I’ve had in a while. I’m looking to play and/or coach, and this might allow me to do both. I email back, telling Patti I need field hockey in my life. “Hehehe I love you already!! We desperately need coaches for our young one’s but would like to meet with you first and find out your availability. The adults play on Sundays from 8am to 6pm. Feel free to come out and watch, see, sign up!!” I’m so there. It’s about an hour away. A little far, but totally worth it.

Before the game I meet Rebecca, who is basically in charge of our team. A little older, she informs me that our team is made up mostly of high schoolers. “We try not to yell at them; only positive reinforcement.” Oh, Christ, here we go. I’m not going to sit here and act like I’m not going to get on them. So I’m straight with her. They’re in high school and they play field hockey. Tough love. They can handle it. After talking for a bit longer, it sounds like our team basically sucks, and it sounds like Rebecca could care less about being good or winning – not my kind of teammate. And there’s no coach. This could be bad.

So we get our butts kicked. These girls aren’t bad; it’s just that most of them don’t seem to care if they get beat. There’s one little pistol on the forward line I immediately want to recruit. Recruit for what, I don’t know, but it’s my first thought. To be fair, the other team is really good. I’m glad there’s good competition. At halftime, Rebecca asks if anyone wants to say anything – she says nothing. I’ll take the backseat on this one. It’s my first day and all. …But no one speaks up! OK, yea, I’ll start. I go off about playing defense and keeping the other team to the sidelines because they’re coming straight up the middle. They’re better than us, guys, so we need to push them outside. I feel like I’m coaching, but these girls look at me with dead eyes. Who the hell am I to tell them what I think? The new girl. Why the hell don’t we have a coach? This is dumb. We get clobbered in the second half, and I am totally spent at the end. Definitely rusty and not in the shape I need to be in to play a full game. I get really tired and start to play lazy. The very nice referee who introduced himself to me at the beginning of the game walks over. I think he’s going to say, ‘Good game,’ but he doesn’t. “Lindsay, you look tired!” At least he’s honest.

There’s not much traffic on the way home – until I get to Venice Blvd. Bumper-to-bumper the whole way to my apartment. What’s the deal? Is something going on today? Nope. It’s just a Sunday and it’s 80 degrees and sunny. This is beach traffic – because I live at the beach. I have to smile at this.


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