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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Still trying to be an optimist

    Andi Berlinarts columnist
    Andi Berlin
    arts columnist

    I had been walking in the freezing cold for twenty minutes along one of downtown’s many forlorn and desperate roads, when I realized I’m a dollar short.

    The bouncers at the Optimist Club only accept cash, and being rejected is a fate worse than death. Every hipster, scenester, punkster and monster in the area is constantly watching you and scorning the fact that you might actually be as poor as they try to look on a daily basis. They huddle around the door, smoking their cigarettes, laughing amongst themselves and constantly referencing Pedro AlmodÇüvar as they judge everything about you.

    Going to Club Congress’s weekly Thursday night extravaganza is less like a party and more like a drug-induced business conference. The point is to get in there as quickly as you can, make some connections with the major players, find some way to get drunk, and pretend like you’re having more fun than everyone else until you leave to go to the Grill – twenty minutes early, of course.

    But none of this could happen if I wasn’t able to get in. Unfortunately, it was too late to go back. I had already spent an hour and a half layering my American Apparel shirts and straightening my hair with an ice rink zamboni. I had to keep going.

    When I entered the double doors, the Holy Ghost himself floated down from the heavens and handed me a golden ticket to blissful eternity. Actually, it was just one of my friends sitting in the lobby that had a dollar, but it seemed like a miracle at the time.

    Walking inside the club is like passing through an interstellar time portal from a David Lynch movie: kitschy electronic music explodes through the walls and the lighting drops to nothing but the reflections of a few stragglers’ oversized aviators.

    For the first half hour, Optimist Club is actually kind of boring. You’re not drunk enough to dance, it’s too crowded to sit or stand anywhere, and the bass is pounding so loud inside your stomach that you kind of want to throw up. Most of this time is spent pushing your way through the crowded bar, pretending like you’re really cool, having half-assed conversations, and nodding at random people.

    As if I wasn’t having enough fun, the most annoying guy in the entire club starts walking up to me. This reputation has not come from the fact that every word he says is so forced it sounds like it’s going to pass out and die, but that he’s really only 19 years old. Secretly, every 21-year-old hates the guy with the fake ID, but everyone despises the guy that sneaks himself in for free – especially when you didn’t have enough money yourself.

    “”Heyyyy, Andiii,”” he managed to make each world trail off separately into its own dimension. “”Wannaaa buy me a drinkkkk?”” I realized he was hanging on my back like a sheep turd that hasn’t fallen off its ass yet. I didn’t know what to do, because even though everyone secretly hates him, he’s somehow become one of the hippest people downtown.

    “”Uhhhh,”” I hesitated, bulging my eyes out and contorting my mouth into a fish.

    “”Ohhhh loook. There’sss so-and-so. Heyyyy!”” He dropped his cigarette plain on the ground and flipped around like a runway model.

    I turned to the bar, and felt a hand on my back. This time, it wasn’t so familiar.

    “”You very beautiful. What your name?”” a devastatingly ugly foreign guy with a big nose and a mole on his face hissed.

    “”Stacey,”” I said. “”What’s your name?”” I don’t think he heard me, because he went on.

    “”I want to buy you drink. You like dance?””

    I shook my head no and tried to give him some excuse, but he wouldn’t have it. He grabbed onto my hard with all his force and refused to let go. “”You have boyfriend? What your phone number? You want see tattoo?””

    “”I, um, have a boyfriend.”” I stuttered.

    “”Where is he?”” I realized I had nothing to say. Even though I did actually have a boyfriend, he wouldn’t be caught dead in this mess of a bar. “”Um, right over there!”” I pointed randomly.

    We both looked over to the spot my finger had gravitated to, and stared directly at the back of the annoying 19-year-old’s head. I bolted over to him and seized the back of his jeans. “”Hey baby!”” I screamed over the pounding dance remix.

    “”Heyyyy, Andiiii,”” he anxiously replied, showing the most emotion I’ve ever seen in him.

    “”I thought you Stacey!”” the man shouted. At that moment, he arched his back and his hands shot up over the two of us threateningly. The powerful figure made a terrorizing silhouette over the disco lights, and we both realized he could probably dump both of our bodies in a reservoir if he wanted to.

    “”She’s with me!”” the emaciated hipster in girl’s pants threatened as I continued to clench on to him. The man stared at him in disbelief for a minute, but then every so-and-so in the near vicinity took notice and crowded around, staring him down like he had just bought a latte from Starbucks. Intimidated, he turned around and walked away.

    “”You wanna go to the Grill? I’m hungry,”” my friend asked through his smile.

    “”Oh, you know you won’t eat anything!”” I laughed, and then walked to the exit.

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