Cherie is visiting from Jersey! She’s staying with her friend, Yara, in Hermosa Beach. Mike and I make plans with them to see the LA Galaxy soccer game, but last minute Mike has to work so we meet them afterwards near Yara’s place. The girls won’t be able to meet us until after 10, so Mike and I leave a little early to check out the Hermosa Beach scene. We walk out to the car and there is Blacky on the hood of my car, staring at us. Blacky is our neighborhood cat. Mike almost pet him once, but then decided Blacky has cat AIDS. I like to think of him as my pet.
Since it’s late, it only takes 25 minutes to drive there. We park in a nearby lot, then make our way to a sort of strip with bars lining both sides. The middle looks like it could be a street, but it’s only for people walking around. We’re meeting at Waterman’s, and since we’re early, we check out another bar first. There’s a live band playing and no cover, so we walk in. It’s definitely an older crowd. The band is playing on an elevated stage to the right. The bar is on the left and in between is a dance floor. We walk past and order a couple beers before taking a seat at a small table with a good view to people-watch those getting their groove on.
At one point the dance floor clears and this guy goes out there and starts dancing by himself. Like ridiculously. He’s younger than most of the older people we’ve seen out there, maybe in his 30’s. At first I think he’s freak who thinks he’s cool – he’s even wearing his sunglasses. Then i just start to get embarrassed for him because his moves are getting weirder and weirder. The more I watch him, and the longer he continues with his silliness, the more I respect him. It happens for both me and Mike. By the end, we’re both laughing and agree that this guy is awesome.
We’re one and done and walk out to try another bar since Cherie and Yara are still not here. From the outside, it looks like a traditional Irish pub, but we walk into a club scene. So weird. There are booths filled with decked out younger people and bottles of vodka on their tables. Once we order beers, we find an open space. Surprisingly, the area in front of the DJ, which appears to be a dance floor, is empty. This is either the loudest music I’ve ever heard in my entire life, or I’m getting old. My ears hurt. But I am really enjoying the music. The DJ is mixing some new with some 90’s and I start dancing by myself because Mike only dances when he’s drunk.
I look at my phone and see a missed call and three texts from Cherie. Shit. They’re here, at Waterman’s. From the outside, it looks like a chill tiki bar, but we walk into a club scene. What is up with these bars? The music again is ear-splitting and I have to fight through the crowds all the way to the back. I spot Cherie. Hi! She looks hot in her tight pink dress. So does Yara in a little tan thing. Cherie, seriously, you had to wear heels? Like you’re not already taller than me. I thought you guys were coming from a soccer game? “Yea, we stopped at her place first.” Where’s Fred? “Not here.” What? Why didn’t he come out? She starts to tell me something and we’re screaming in each other’s ears. So he’s back at Yara’s? “No, he didn’t come to California.” Ohhhh, I didn’t realize that. Cherie tells me how much she loves California. I could totally see her out here, especially in Venice. Laid back artists and hippies and friendly care-free spirits. And bums. But Fred would never move out here.
I notice Cherie sipping straight from a redbull can. What are you drinking? “Just red bull.” Are you not drinking? “Nah, I don’t drink.” Really? Since when? “For like, a couple years, it makes me sick.” Wow I had no idea, that’s crazy. Not that Cherie has ever needed to drink to have a good time. She’s always happy and outgoing and interested in talking to every type of person.
I knew tonight wouldn’t be like our usual hangouts in the past: sitting at my house on random late nights talking about all philosophical things and of course, astrology. There were also snow days because there was nowhere else to go except our backyards.
It’s too short of a visit. I have to drive and be up in the morning for my first training shift at Brick + Mortar, so it’s not long before we’re saying goodbye. I meet them outside and see them both talking to different guys. Unsurprising. This guy finally walks away from Cherie and another one comes right up. And not just any guy – the dancing machine.
First I say something. Yea, do you not see the ring on her finger? She’s engaged. Cherie is too friendly and nice to tell someone to go away, but she doesn’t need to because Mike steals him away. “I liked your moves earlier. We saw you on the dance floor.” “Ohh no way? You guys from Jersey, too, with her?” Yea. “Oh right on.” He gives us high fives. Mike continues to compliment him. This guy – Nick – loves it. “I own a bar right over here, next to the pizza place.” He points down the block. “You guys should come in.” OK, cool. “Are you guys just visiting?” No, we live here now. More high fives. “Where do you live?” Venice. “I love Venice! Yo, let me get your number so we can meet up.” I look at Mike. Do you want to give your number or mine. I ask because I have a problem with giving my number to guys at bars. Like I don’t even want to but I can’t say no and I can’t make up a number. It would be so easy to just change the last digit but I feel bad or something. Mike gets so mad. “Lindsay, why can’t you just say no.” I don’t knowwww, I need to work on it.
I give Cherie and Yara hugs goodbye. The next day I get a text from our new friend but I don’t get it until later in the day after I get done my shift. “Hey this is Nick, I met you last night. Hanging on the beach all day having drinks with rad friends if you’re interested!”
That sounds rad, Nick.