Inevitable Coffee Ring

One Syracuse Hour

(The Inevitable Coffee Ring) The only thing on my mind, aside from the conversation, was the gratification of obtaining a bar stool.

Let’s go back to this past Saturday. The weather and temperature were favorable for the early Syracuse spring. What else is there to do except go out?

Let’s enter the minds and see through the eyes of a couple early-30-something males. Although this reality took up an hour of our time, this post shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes of your time.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

10:45(ish) P.M.

The morning kicked off with some improv with the Syracuse Improv Collective (SIC). The collective rents space through the Central New York Playhouse in Shoppingtown Mall, a mall that is more alive than is expected. This Saturday was the third day of the annual Thumbs UPstate Improv Festival, which took the place of the normal monthly open mic night and Bank Show. (Fact: the SIC used to perform in a space that was a former bank; hence, “Bank Show.”) There were classes held this past Saturday, keeping the festivities going from Thursday evening.

Considering my genius, I decided to wear boat shoes (figuring they would be the most comfortable option) with socks that pictured Santa golfing. Neither would do me any good by the time I climbed into bed. This would mark the second day within a year’s period where my feet, legs and back ached terribly; it got to the point where I was going to start sawing off my aching appendages and sell them, used, on the black market. That other day? Farm Aid 2013 in Saratoga; however, as a bonus nuisance, rain poured down for half of that day.

shutterstock_52270414-feet-on-fire-150x150My volunteer shift at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology’s annual Tap Into the MOST event ended at the time above. Aside a few odds and ends, my duty for the evening was bouncer for the V.I.P. section. Aside the boat shoes, my cardigan and tie allowed me to illustrate myself as the least intimidating bouncer ever (the medal was polished this morning); however, my confidence was high with the consideration of looking approachable. My mind was still riding the improv wave from Thursday, and my mouth was moving non-stop, yammering to every person walking by. However, the hours flew by despite my feet feeling as if they were on fire. The excitement, the combination of improv and Tap, exhausted me until stepping outside; the fresh air woke me up for a second wind. A text was sent to my friend, who was done with work at 11, and it was Guinness time.

Kitty Hoynes Irish Pub was the venue decided upon. The place was filled with familiar faces from the museum’s event as well as new (and prettier) people. What does one do while they wait for their friend? Stand off in a corner and look at the phone.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

11:15 P.M.

My friend, let’s give him the alias Abbott (it’s fun to yell), came across the bar from the other side after finishing a cigarette; we don’t shake hands, we one-arm hug. Our past and how we met is irrelevant; however, due to life and the inevitable concept of time getting the best of us (there are not enough hours in the day, dammit!) we don’t see each other as often as we’d like.

We covered a lot quickly: work (work is work, finding it is just as tough as tolerating some of it, and work has to be finished regardless), family (everybody is happy, healthy), finances (we’re both saving up quite well), activities (he’s enjoying his fishing, I’m enjoying my writing and improv, and we both exercise).

Love life. Abbott and I are different in this aspect. He’s gone through a relationship experience that I have not gone through. It’s known that many of my friends and peers around the same age have experienced this indifferent moment as well. Regardless of the topic, a relationship has ended; it’s time to move on. Unless he wants to talk about how he is feeling, I’m in no way going to pressure him, but my ears and mind will be open for his desire to discuss it again.

The Kitty Hoynes soundtrack that night was live acoustic music, which was provided by a solo guitar player. Some of the covers were typical, some of the songs should not have been attempted, and others sounded better than the original version. One of the better versions was a Steve Miller cover, but anyone can play Steve Miller better than Steve Miller. However, an acoustic cover of ZZ Top’s “La Grange” doesn’t do the song justice. If he would have attempted “Tush,” I would have went all John Belushi on him.



Eh.  Not really.  “Stairway to Heaven” or “Free Bird” are my triggers.

Despite the pub attracting particular patrons — a wiser crowd — the place was filled with a little bit of everyone. The population included the half-cocked drunk crowd from the fundraiser and/or the pre-gamers, who had gotten a comfortable buzz on before heading out to the bars. Let’s be honest here. We’ve all used the pre-game tactic before. Like tailgating (hence, pre-game terminology), we do it so we don’t spend as much or feel pressured to spend as much for a night out in the city. Regardless, the more in the bag you are, the likelihood of your buying drinks for your friends and interests increases, and it is inevitable that more money will fly from your wallet than intended.

Happens. Every. Time.

Then there are the dancers. I love these people, who don’t seem to care — regardless if they realize it or not — that the space is too small to swing and twirl their partner as they dance into huddling people trying to get out of the way. Once upon a fun first date and while listening to live music at Al’s Wine and Whiskey Lounge, the spontaneous girl I was with felt it necessary to dance. Unfortunately, Al’s is a bit on the narrow side. Sorry, folks.

Then we have the adults who could be my generation’s parents’ age, but they are hanging out at the pub for a fun night after dinner or a show. They probably are the coolest people in the bar, and they probably have better stories than you. The younger crowd would gain some insight and learn a lesson or two by talking to them.

The 21 to 25 crowd was having a good time: slamming shots, hootin’ and hollerin’ (no joke), and fist pumping. Yes, fist pumping. Why? Not only is it a surprise that they still do this, but to acoustic music? This is similar to my getting blatantly punched in the face in the mosh pit of a ska show–it should not be happening. This group includes the girls talking unreasonably loud even though there is really not much noise. This group of kids–especially the males–would easily brush conversation with someone classified as a parent, stating that some old guy was was talking to them.

Then we have the standard guys, Abbott and I, the types who still want to go out and have a good time in a responsible fashion. We’re not looking to create much controversy, we’re not looking to get smashed, we’re not going out of our way to talk to women (but we would if an opportunity or two should present themselves), and we want to enjoy one quality pint over many crappy, watery domestics. If it’s $5 for a pint of Bud Light at Hoynes, and it’s $6 for a Guinness or craft beer, why…hmm…forget it.

The musician went on break, another guitarist stepped on the small stage and strummed a few pop songs; his enthusiasm was remarkably more powerful than the enthusiasm of the pub patrons. His snazzy approach to playing was heightened by pronounced words, wide eyes, and darting glares…almost a lounge singer. A joke was made within our company, including the bar-back, about this being an open mic night, and it was suggested to Abbott to pick up the guitar and play a few songs. Abbott can play and sing very well.

The only thing on my mind, aside from the conversation, was the gratification of obtaining a bar stool. My feet, my toes specifically, grew eyes and a mouth as they shouted a cry of glee like Tonguey from Kung Pow! Enter the Fist.  Here’s a short video (6 seconds) if do not understand the reference:

Yes.  Imagine all of my toes yelling that at once.  That’s how oddly awesome it felt to actually sit down.

The age/number 35 came up in our conversation. If you don’t know my love-hate relationship/infatuation with numbers (it’s a writing thing), read my blog. However, while seeing a spiritual adviser and psychic I trust, information was given to me about whom I was to marry, and the number 35 came up. There was/is some disbelief, but this writer analyzes everything. Abbott and I spoke about women, dating, which is something we are both currently not actively participating in. He did meet a couple women recently. One of them was 35 and had two kids. This notion burned brightly, and my reading popped immediately into my head when 35 and two kids fell from his mouth. This would be the third reference to 35 in the last few months.

Like the show Lost, I’m going to purposely leave loose ends.

Abbott and I don’t fear silence.  We spent time looking around the bar, watching at the Wisconson/Kentucky game, and people watching and checking out the prettier gender.  Since we are on the topic of scoping for women to talk to, what is the process of that?  There is none.  We’re all different.  Some are more audacious and bold, some sit back and just not worry about it.  When it comes to approaching, I’m horrible at it, so I wait for the female to approach me.

I’m shy. I scare easily. Flight is always an easy, favorable, but irrational option of mine.

It’s best to present yourself to someone you find attractive; however, you need to be seen. The first thing that attracts me to a woman is her face, her eyes. If she is wearing too much makeup, club clothing (especially in an Irish pub) that’s a no for me.

Next, my gaze darts inconspicuously to her left hand. The situation is assessed–is she with any guys, or does she appear to be with any of the guys in her group. Next is either trying to find something clever to interject with if you overhear something that could be related to. Squeezing your way next to them at the bar while ordering a drink could be another approach to utter something intelligent. Next, crossing fingers is important–hope, hope, hope.



As the grand finale, if and while I talk to her, I can pull my Ted Mosby–less clingy but celebrating my stagnant life.

Before leaving for the evening, I stood outside with Abbott and a friend of his; and while they smoked a cigarette, we gazed over at the long line at Benjamin’s on Franklin. We shook our heads in almost disbelief. There was no hating on the place, it just isn’t our scene. Plus, this is Syracuse–paying a cover is taboo and almost unheard of; however, the club having a cover might turn off the riffraff. While Benjamin’s is the only actual appeal of being a club in the Armory Square area, it really has no competition in that niche.

We said our goodbyes, promising to keep in better contact. The more you say it, the better it feels, and the more likely it will happen.

Saturday, April 6, 2014

12:25 A.M.

Upon arriving home, between exiting the car and crawling into bed, my feet were to the point of pins and needles. Fatigue had created such delusion to the point where my feet felt as if they didn’t exist. My stature felt more slouched, and it was difficult straightening. I felt shorter, and it could have been that my dragging feet had eroded away to stumps and below the kneecap. Crawling into bed was not far-fetched, and there was wishful thinking that my feet would grow back by the following morning’s Relay For Life’s Paint Westvale Purple 5K.

Photo: Erin Mahoney

Photo: Tara Mahoney

Moments of the Week

Thursday, April 3 Friday, April 4

There were a few moments this week that made me say awww, and all the moments deal with kids. This past week was full of typical and consistent adult responsibility, and these reminders broke the arduous life. As a single 31-year-old, you better believe the debate of settling down and/or having kids has gone through my head several times.

Comic timing.  At Dick’s Sporting Goods, when I was in line to purchase purple socks and an incredibly comfortable SU shirt found in the clearance section. A little girl was eyeballing the candy bars, and she asked her mom for one. Her mom replied that they were not for kids, and what she was looking at were energy bars. The kid burst out laughing as said that she needed energy bars because of her ability to run around and play, but she left it at that without putting up a stink.

Consideration. The adult and the little girl crossed the first half of Erie Boulevard on this past cool and rainy Friday late afternoon. The black umbrella over the adult’s head made it difficult to determine gender, but the cane for the blind was a tell all. The little girl walked slowly and carefully, guiding her guardian safely across the boulevard.

Christopher MaloneChristopher Malone plays with more thoughts and words at his blog, The Infinite Abyss(es), and at Kinani Blue. He can also be found creating worlds and playing with invisible objects with the Syracuse Improv Collective.  Feel free to tweet at @Chris___Malone, or email him at [email protected].

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