i only wear white when it rains

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tasteless of tampa

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I heart earplugs

Singa and I planned to attend the Taste of Tampa Saturday night until Kettles invited us to join her for a “religious experience.” Typically I hear “religion” and I’m out. But since Singa somehow manages to get her ass into church each Sunday morning on 20 minutes of sleep, she hung on to hear details about the “Above & Beyond” concert at the Amphitheater in Tampa. Rather at the Amphitheatre in Ybor City that I’m pretty sure the Feds raid on a weekly basis. “Why not?” I thought. You’re never too old for a revolving dance floor.

When Singa and I arrived at Kettle’s beach house at 6 pm fully dressed in our best Nikki Beach and toting a bottle of Effen, Tagamet and earplugs, we were surprised to see Kettles and Company still sporting their bikinis and going nowhere fast. So we sat back and enjoyed the view. Not of the sunset and green flash (swear to Charlie Crist we saw it), but rather the wedding underway next door where the theme was somewhere between Miami Vice and 1980s YMCA indoor pool tile. The groomsmen horrified in turquoise blue while the bridesmaids terrified with neon melon halters and shimmery gold lamé sashes. You know how you shouldn’t stare directly into the sun because it will hurt your eyes? Well, trust me when I tell you this wedding hurt a little bit more than that. At one point I considered turning down our music since I didn’t want to ruin their reception. But that was before I glanced over and saw the orange dyed water in their flower vases and realized anyone who uses Tang as part of their decor pretty much just fucked their own wedding.

In the two hours it took Kettles and Co to shower and Singa and I not to eat a morsel of food, we kept ourselves amused by taking distorted Photobooth pictures on my iPad and giving them labels like: “Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Singa,” etc. Warning: this is only humorous if you’re drinking vodka on an empty stomach.

As 8 pm arrived, so did our yellow cab with 112,358 miles and a driver rocking a Shirley Wilson afro. Our first stop was the James Joyce Irish Pub near the concert where Kettle’s friend Sticky apparently knew the owner. I didn’t care where we preprommed as long as there was Grey Goose and maybe a little bit of alcohol-absorbing food since my stomach was beginning to eat its own lining.

When we arrived at the pub, Singa and I wriggled through the cabbie’s afro to exit onto the curb where a man dressed as a leprechaun or albino serial rapist posed for pictures with us. When he held out his hat for a tip I felt like a fanny-pack wearing tourist posing with Hello Kitty in Times Square.

“Mother bitch,” I thought. We’ve been out of the car 30 seconds and we’re already acting like high school students who just tumbled onto 42nd Street after cutting class. Singa threw him some cash, and we made our way to the doorman who asked for my ID. Getting carded is a funny thing. From ages 17-21, it’s terrifying because your ID was created with a Polaroid picture and inkjet printer housed in your brother’s room. From 21-22 it evokes mixed feelings of pride and relief. From 22-27, you roll your eyes, think the doorman is an asshole and resent even having to carry ID when all you should really need is a pack of Trident and lipgloss. From 27-30, it’s flattering. You thank the doorman and flash him a big toothy grin. From 30-on? You will blow him right on the spot.

The tattooed doorman who seemed young enough for me to have birthed eyed my ID pretty closely, which I found humorous since I might not look my age (78), but I certainly look over 21. But it wasn’t until he got to Singa’s that he called bullshit.

“No way,” he said to her. “No way you were born in ’71. Look at you! Look at your body! No way.”

To be fair, Singa does look amazing. She works hard to keep her body in shape, and she’s beautiful. But I couldn’t help but wonder, “Was my ’74 really so believable?” I wanted to tell the doorman that I spend a lot of money on Botox so he’ll check my birth date for forgery too. Instead I watched a small crowd of people stare as Singa ascended a flight of stairs marveling out loud how “an ass like that could be 40 years old.”

So after I established where we should go whenever Singa needs a self-esteem boost and I want to feel like an aging hag, I approached the bar to get the first round of drinks. It was there that I overheard a conversation between the bartender and the not-so-smooth, 27-year-old Sticky who just hours earlier regaled Singa and I with a story so grotesque I vowed to never play Grosser than Gross with him for fear I’d lose my Championship title. I’ll spare the details, but suffice it to say it had to do with finding his mother’s vibrator looking for chocolate in her nightstand…and then I killed myself after that.

“So where is Ryan, the owner?” Sticky asked the bartender.

“Our owner is not named Ryan,” she answered, dead behind the eyes.

“Well, what’s his name then?” he demanded. “I just partied with him last week.”

“If you don’t know, I’m not telling you,” she said, probably annoyed by his use of the word “party” as a verb.

So I bought $40 worth of drinks we never drank because once we decided “Ryan” didn’t exist, we headed straight over to the Amphitheatre for 23 hours of dancing, drinking and fending off advances from what seemed like every guy who has ever mowed my lawn as well as a man who is the current Guinness World Records Winner for Space Violation. Somehow I’ve made it 30-cough years without realizing some space violators take their craft so seriously, they will actually sit on your leg while they are talking to you on a couch or search for an orifice in which to insert their elbow if you so much as glance in their direction.

Amphitheatre in Ybor: Oxygen Optional

Luckily the music was phenomenal. And although I couldn’t quite bang my neon necklace imaginary tambourine and spin in circles the entire night like Singa, I enjoyed the electric vibe, the bass beating in my internal organs and the fact that no one vomited on me. Until about 1:30 am. And then I was ready to go to Sleepy Town. Sad I didn’t pull my brother’s signature move of, “Hey I’m going to grab a drink  – want anything?” before promptly exiting out the back door, I hung in until the lights went on at 2:50 am and Shirley Wilson waited in her cab three blocks, five murderers and six muggers away.

Ybor City at 3 am probably would be dangerous and scary to Satan himself. There is a powerful police presence, but somehow I felt less safe and more like I was about to be run over by a tank in Tiananmen Square. Just imagine Singa and I lost, looking around for our cabbie in see-through Missoni, David Yurman and 4-inch high espadrilles. Having the nickname “Hyperbolsen” comes in handy in these situations since I was able to call Shirley’s cell phone screaming something about him being an accomplice in our murders if he didn’t find us before Ybor strung us up to the revival lamposts by our thongs.

After illegally piling seven of our posse into Shirley’s cab (which never went over 35 mph due to the weight inside and the fact that I had to pee), I’m happy to report I got a pulse back in my left leg several hours later as I scrubbed the atmospheric nicotine from my lungs with a steam shower.

I emerged from my coma today at 12:26 pm convinced my grey matter was ripped through my ear canals while I slept. Once I realized the sun would not burn my skin like a vampire’s, it became evident that the doorman was right. I’m an octogenarian who’s totally unable to pull all-nighters like I used to. But every once in a while? You need to swap the Taste of Tampa for the Tasteless of Tampa. It’s way less fattening.

Written by I only Wear White When it Rains

May 2, 2011 at 12:24 am

One Response

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  1. ugggh !!! so MAD i missed out on this !!! p.s. i was born in 74 ;0)


    May 3, 2011 at 10:18 am

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