Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bukowski’s Tavern

We went on a hunt for Bukowski’s Tavern in Boston, MA. I’m pretty sure Buk never had anything to do with the place. I’ll bet he never even set foot in there. More likely, it was created as a tribute to him, after his death. Cool enough. I am a huge Charles Bukowski fan and also a fan of beer. Bukowski’s Tavern is supposed to have a lot of that, and we’re on vacation in Boston on the 4th of July. So it sounds good to me. Along the way we stopped to drink at a few other bars to refresh ourselves. Hunting with bad directions in a city of illogical civil engineering makes you thirsty. It was a good evening. Then it rained. We ducked into a CVS and bought a $6 umbrella for my wife. I don’t mind being wet, but she does. If she’s going to be wet, she also wants to be holding an ineffective umbrella over her head, so she feels like she is at least making an effort not to be wet. She’s a complicated woman. We walked a great deal, got lost, and she had a need to piss, apparently pretty strong. The frustration of walking around Boston lost, in the rain, in a throng of sidewalk congestion was getting to her. Loads of people, all headed to see the fireworks. I heard that they’re big fireworks, but I really couldn’t give a shit about fireworks. The pouring rain, immense navigational frustration, sore feet, diminishing beer buzz, and full bladder were getting to my wife. She wasn’t happy. Understandably. There was seemingly nowhere to stop to use a simple fucking bathroom. So we ducked out of the crowd and down an alley behind an apartment building, looking for somewhere that she could go. We saw three dumpsters arranged in a “U” shape, and she darted between them, hiked up her skirt, pulled her panties to the side and pissed. I was the lookout. We were about 40 feet away from a giant crowd of innumerable people, all moving down the street like cattle. There were cops everywhere, and we were barely hidden by some dumpsters. I was looking. Nobody was coming. The rain was pouring, and I could hear the sound of my wife’s urine stream against the pavement over and through the drone of the rain. She peed louder than the rain. It was literally a pissing contest between her and God, and she won. When she was done, we walked back into the mob and kept looking with renewed vigor. She was re-energized and filled with a new conviction to get me to my bar. “I’ll bet you’re going to write about that!” she said, no less than three times. “Yup,” I said in response, each time. Eventually her new mood deteriorated again as we searched. After about two or three concessions of “Fuck it, we’re giving up,” we actually headed back towards a subway to head back to our hotel room, defeated. The umbrella blew inside out, just like an old cartoon. At that point we saw Bukowski’s Tavern. It was roughly the size of a telephone booth, attached to a parking garage and an empty lot with some miscellaneous construction vehicles beside it. We went in and it was pretty cool. It was dry. There were amateurishly painted murals of Buk, an awesome framed Robert Crumb illustration, and cardboard coasters with the name of the bar screen printed on them. It was perfectly depressing. Very appropriate. The beers were overpriced but good. We each had one, and I pocketed our cardboard coasters. When we left, the rain had stopped and I took a picture of the front of the bar. I had mistakenly thought the return trip home would be less painful than the initial journey to the bar. I was wrong. The fireworks were finishing up, and foot traffic was flooding the streets and trains. Though we knew exactly how to get back from where we were, the return trip was almost as long as the initial search. Three different trains, with people crammed into the cars to the point of bursting. Ninety degree heat, humidity, and agonizing human scent. When we got back to the hotel room, I went to sleep like I had earned it.

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