So I had one of those Seinfeld moments Saturday night when I had to chose between being “socially acceptable” or “that guy.” Kinda like the time when George and a friend decide to split the check down the middle, only to find out they wanted to tip differently than each other and one of them was about to look bad, haha… Only in my case, it was up to me how bad I wanted to look ;)
Here’s how it went down:
- A friend and I hit up a hip local art show – her dressed up very classy as always, me dressed in my jeans and cowboy boots while rockin’ the hawk.
- We show up not knowing a soul – which is okay because it’s an art show, not a house party – and quickly realize it was “semi-formal” attire. Something we both missed in the flyer we got, only one of us stood out more than the other (*ahem*)
- We go right in anyways and start perusing the local paintings as all good art-purveyers do – slowly walking from one canvas to another, thumbing our chins as if contemplating the story behind each unique piece (all the while REALLY wondering what the hell half this stuff is).
- We get to the end of the first wall, when I – almost literally – run into an old friend from college I hadn’t seen in at LEAST 13 years. And my oh my has that guy changed. A complete 180 from a shy little comic nerd to a larger – more manly- ‘stache sportin’ art aficionado. And apparently somewhat of a local celebrity (who’s still very much into comics, mind you, but somehow it seems more cool this time around).
- “Good for you man, good for you” – I say as we start catching up…
Now I should pause here for a second and let you know that we’re literally standing RIGHT in front of the makeshift bar at this place. With Mr. Bartender-of-the-year behind it, and a gaggle of girls flocking around him (he’s mighty attractive). Oh, and there’s a big honkin’ tip jar in front too – which will become pretty important in about 30 seconds.
- So the friend I came with wanders off knowing I’m about to chat this guy’s ear off for a good 10 minutes (which actually turns into almost 40) and about mid-way through our convo I realize I’m damn thirsty for an ice old beer. Which is literally 2 feet behind us.
- I do the quick “time-out” gesture a la 3rd grade, and quickly ask Hottie McBartender for “a cold one.” Which naturally means “Pabst Blue Ribbon,” of course. I mean, this is a pretty hip art show you know ;) And while I do happen to like it, the beer itself is irrelevant.
- What is NOT irrelevant, however, was that big tip jar I mentioned just a handful of seconds ago. The one now staring me in the face, along with my new old friend and the most handsome bartender around (have I mentioned how good looking he was yet?).
- My friend mentions it’s an open bar, and I think to myself – “Great! All I gotta do is tip then.”
And this is where the dilemma comes in…
- I reach into my pocket to pull out a crisp $1 bill – the most agreed upon tip when it comes to drinking beer – free or not – and out comes a $10 bill. ACK!! That’s not what I want!!
- I joke around and say something like “Hah! It doesn’t taste *that* good!” and thrust my hand right back into my pocket to see what else I could find. And within the half-second it took me to get there and back, the horror sets in that – nope, you do NOT have any of those dollar bills you were just blogging about 24 hours ago. You spent them all on junk food, you idiot!
- All I had on me was that $10 bill which my wife so generously lent me so I wouldn’t be out of cash on the town – my 2nd to worst nightmare, btw, as I was currently playing out my 1st.
- “Ummm…. (nervous laugh)…”
Now at this point I figure I have one of three options: 1) Give the jar the $10.00 – the thing I absolutely do NOT want to do, 2) Reach into the jar and make *change* for $10.00, that way I can leave $1, or 3) Don’t tip at all and hope no one notices. Considering both manly men were looking directly at me, though, the latter was quickly rejected. Leaving me with either committing a major faux pas (at least that’s what my Spidey sense tells me?), or just sucking it up and dropping the $10 all the while pretending I’m not phased in the least.
- “Ummm… (nervous laugh, nervous laugh)…”
- “Here you go. Don’t spend it all in one place!” <—- Who AM I? My parents????”
I bit the bullet and went with route #1: Essentially paying $10.00 for a PBR. I figured it’s not *that* much money at the end of the day, and better to avoid any (more) awkwardness than I probably wanted to deal with anyways (my brain usually defaults to the “quick way out” in cases like these, whether I like it or not). And plus, it’s not like I had a million years to think about it or anything – the whole thing probably happened within milliseconds. It just seemed like it took forever.
And just like that the music turned right back on (you know, cuz it had come to a screeching halt while everyone gawked in anticipation ;)) and all was well in the world again. Except, of course, for my wallet. ‘Cuz not only was I out $10 now, but I was out of ALL CASH ON ME which as you now know is nightmare #2.
My friend and I finished our conversation, I grabbed my other friend, and 10 mins later we were out the door almost as quickly as we came in. Who I then, of course, relayed the whole scenario to and asked what she would have done in my place. Her answer? “Probably the same as you…” Exactly what I wanted to hear, but also exactly what a good friend tells another good friend in times like these ;)
Overall it was a great experience, though, and even better seeing an old friend. It is what it is, and we now have this fun blog post out of it, right? Which also means I get to ask YOU the same question now too (and don’t you give me the answer I *want* to hear, sirs and madams!):
What would you have done if you were me? Dropped the $10, dropped nothing at all, or dropped your hand into the jar and snag yourself some change? The funny thing is I’d have been better off if the open bar was actually just a cash one ‘cuz for $10.00 I could have gotten a whole CASE of PBR! ;)
Photo credit: DieselDemon