Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Hole, Part II: A Thousand Words

Before I start telling stories about Girl Fights or Snuffleupaugus, introducing you to characters like Shorty and the Stud, or telling you the reason my Best Friend Up Here got barred, I need to draw a quick picture of the place for my readers From Away. Because not everyone who loves me lives in the Greater Waterboro Area, you know. (But tell the Dormouse to shut up, because everyone in the GWA does, even if they won't admit it yet. So there.)

The State of Maine doesn’t allow advertising on the outside of a bar. No Budweiser-sponsored light-up signs, Busch plastic placards, nothing like that. A single lettered-neon can peek through a window from the inside, and that’s it. So aside from the rooftop billboard announcing its real name (which actually blew down a couple months ago and no one noticed), the only thing hanging outside the Hole is a dry-erase board announcing specials and schedules that never gets updated, and a laminated 8½x11” sheet forbidding colors, fighting, drugs, and smoking within 25 feet of the door. There are usually a few people on the front step smoking anyway, because the butt-hut in the corner of the parking lot hasn’t had a roof on it since February, so now it’s really more of a butt-stall, and people use it just about as often as they follow the other rules. In the fall, a big red sign hangs on the left welcoming hunters, which always makes my visiting friends laugh. Oh, there’s a plant on a hook next to the window. It’s been dead as long as I remember, but they keep watering it, anyway...

 ... and a smiley-face somebody smoke-showed in the parking lot.

The inside is blonde-wood-paneled – not so rough that you actually get splinters in your ass if you lean against it, but enough so that you wonder if you would – and way too brightly-lit for a bar. The black light they put in a couple months ago over the beer taps is so overwhelmed by the overhead florescents that all it does is accentuate your clothing-lint and make blue-eyed girls like me look zombified. The walls are 75% ad-schwag-covered  – over-compensating, I suppose, for what’s not allowed outside – and the other 25% is riddled with stapled-on dollar-bills, each one signed in Sharpie with somebody’s name (this tradition began before my time and I’ve never felt the need to put my dollar up, but the crew is under the mistaken impression that these are no longer legal tender, so I’m seriously considering showing up penniless and giving ‘em no choice but to let me pay my tab with ‘em on closing night). Assorted pig paraphernalia fills what space is left, because the real name of the place is a play on “Hog” – like Harley Davidson. And there’s always something misspelled about every handwritten sign.

Wrap all that around a pool table, honey – a slightly-imperfect pool table with one hole that the balls bounce right back out of if you hit them right – and I’m in love.

But that’s only half of it. There’s a whole back room I never go in, because you only go there to dance or sit down, neither of which are things I ever do. It has, well, tables, I guess, or maybe booths. And a dance floor, which I think is made of wood. A little stage for a band when they have one, but I don’t think it actually steps up. There’s a big something that might be a cabinet, and sorry, but that’s about all I know. I think the tables – or booths, or whatever – might be red...

There’s no heat in the ladies’ room – and that, of course, I’ve been in. I damn near got in a fight in there last weekend, as a matter of fact (in my defense: I didn’t start it or engage. And in hers: she was just an Intimidated Little Girl. I’ll tell you the rest of that story later, if there’s time). But I hear there is heat in the men’s room. Probably to make sure their equipment stays big enough to get a hold of when they’re drunk.

Last but not least, there’s a sort of courtyard-thing out back. Dirt and fences and a volleyball court I’ve never seen in use. Picnic tables that are good for sneaking under the fence and having sex on after last call (or so I’ve heard. Despite rumors to the contrary, I have never had sex on the premises, although I will admit to coming pretty damn close at least once). They have fires back there when it’s cold if it’s busy enough to bother, so smokers can huddle up and stay warm, but I always forget and wonder why I’m the only stupid bitch freezing out front.

Oh. And the jukebox. Almost forgot about the jukebox. Has a “favorites” list. Which is about the extent of some people’s imagination. I gave up a long time ago putting money in it and looking for different things, because everybody just bitched at what I chose till my five bucks were up. As if there’s something wrong with Dion and the Belmonts. Sheesh. So instead we hear the same damn songs over and over and over again, until I start to learn to hate “Copperhead Road.” It’s always a relief when a new song joins the fray, even if it’s some shiticulous piece of crap like “Red Solo Cup,”  but then we hear that over and over and over again until I want to stab my pool cue through my ears.

Yeah, the jukebox. That jukebox, I don’t love. Makes me feel like I’m goddamn married again.

Foresaken Hole.

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