April 11, 2015

What I Did for a T-Shirt

My Tuesday night started normal and simple enough: one of my friends convinced me to go out to the bar when I really just wanted to stay in my hotel room, wearing sweatpants and listening to music that makes me emotional. We thankfully made plans before I got in too deep weeping to lost loves and watching Miranda Sings videos.

Arriving at the bar, I noticed there were sassy t-shirts on the wall with the bar name and a colorful design. I knew I needed another shirt like a hole in my head, but the design with sunset colors on a black t-shirt really looked nice.

After a few cocktails and bar games, I'd forgotten about the shirt but I was hungry. I went to the vending machine to buy some chips, and saw the shirts were sold in the vending machine, just next to the Fritos! They were neatly labeled with the sizes in each vending slot, and only $15, so I checked my wallet and opted for a shirt instead of 15 bags of chips. It would last longer and look better on my mid section.

I inserted my first two $5 bills, but the third wouldn't take. I put it in the other way, flattened it over and over, rubbed it against my pants, and licked it for good measure. Nothing worked and the machine continued to spit it out. I went to the bar to get change for the dysfunctional 5. I put in the first four $1 bills successfully, then the fifth wouldn't take. The bill wouldn't even go into the machine to be ejected, it was just jammed or had had enough of my money. Now I had a $14 credit on this stupid bar vending machine, and I refused to get $14-worth of chips. In a moment of poor judgement and despair, I hit the button that refunds the inserted money. I thought and hoped I'd get 14 unpopular Sacagawea dollars, but instead I noticed my refund was coming out in smaller coins. But they weren't quarters, they were mostly nickels with a few dimes peppered into the mix. Since the slot isn't designed to hold $14 worth of nickels, the change quickly overflowed and began clanking all over the sticky bar floor. Now determined and angry, I squatted on the nasty floor to try to avoid losing any of my $14. I'd come that far, I had to have the damn shirt! At this point, the bartenders and some local drunks were laughing at me as I laid bellow-down, reaching for nickels under the vending machine, getting drink and dirt stains on my shirt. I finished gathering what I could and loaded my pocket with 10 pounds of coins. I crawled to the bar to get change for another dollar, then put the nickels back into the machine one-by-one. Clank clank clank for 20 minutes.

I needed a memento from this place.

$14.50. Fifty cents were lost in the filthy cracks of this bar. I went back to the bar to change another dollar, frantically flapping my wings and telling my hardship to anyone who'd listen. $15.50, some dirt and tears later, I had my t-shirt, that said "Charlie's" with a cactus and a cowboy. I'd like to say the shirt was worth it, but I don't really know if it was. Regardless, I'll be wearing it after every wash so everyone knows I went to Charlie's.

Or that time I was a refugee with drag queens...

1 comment:

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