It was just supposed to be happy hour…

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[ALT HED: Why this post counts for Friday when it’s dated Saturday; and yes I know I missed Thursday, I’ll make it up I promise]

6:00pm – I leave the house to pick up W and then head off to Third Base for a Texas Exes happy hour. It’s a regular event held before every home game; Texas plays Baylor this Saturday. Our friend Kath is meeting us there. On the way we catch up, and as we turn in to the parking garage (after my little backseat driver questions me on exactly where the turn-in is) we come upon a blue car blocking our way, as the driver chats with a dude walking down to the bar. W and I start in:

“Uh, helloo… could you move?”
“Who the hell is that dude?”
“It doesn’t matter. The dumbass car needs to get out of my way.”

As the driver finally moves forward, we realize… it’s Kath.

We spend a few hours at Third Base, on the patio where it is way too damn cold for such in my opinion, heaters or no. There is freeroll poker going on inside, and naturally, every time someone gets busted out of the tournament they immediately come outside to vent to friends. One such gentlemen does so quite loudly when he busts with pocket 7s versus Q6. I announce to the table “that dude owes me a dollar” and am then reminded that Bad Blood is having a home game and step away for a moment to complete a dial-a-shot.

Now, given my plans for the weekend, I really didn’t want to be out late tonight, but when the texts started rolling in from other friends, I decided that really, what was one more bar? We were already on 6th. This was easily kept under control. We all piled into my car and headed off for The Ranch.

9:58pm – My first time at The Ranch I am a little less than thrilled to discover that the club is pretty much just one big open patio. Beautiful place, don’t get me wrong, but it’s 50 degrees out and dropping fast and while I have a lovely coat it is at home in my closet. C has snagged a spot by the fireplace and I snuggle up with her, which is fantastic until the manager comes over and informs us the DJ needs the space and we’ll need to move. We are promised a round of drinks and an operating space heater in exchange and agree to give up the spot. Kath is quickly becoming out of her element; Diane and Ryan join us out but it’s not their scene either. It’s the new 6th Street, West 6th Street; it’s the “new” Austin that so many of you hate but that I personally kinda like. [This will become important later.] I meet Summer, who is one of those chicks that on first glance I’d dismiss, but actually instantly love. And quickly find out why.

Despite our little heater, it’s freezing; mainly because the heater isn’t actually heating more than a 1-inch radius. A request is made to hit a bar down the street. Kath has already left us to go eat at Katz’s, the 24-hour diner in between. Again, not wanting to be out all night, but the night’s still young, and she’s still eating, so sure, let’s go.

10:59pm – With Summer leading the way, we didn’t even get further than next door. We ended up at Annie’s West, where Ryan & Diane bail in search of entertainment on the other end of 6th. We go in and instantly things get better. For starters, there’s a roof. For seconds, there’s a band. For thirds, Summer starts buying the drinks. But she also starts talking to everyone. Which means that while we’re done drinking and ready to move on, she’s still got a full glass and chatting away.

This is C’s problem to deal with; W and I leave her to it while we head off to the ladies room. Naturally, as ladies, there is some gossiping that occurs along with the reapplying of lip gloss (not about anyone present with us that evening). The term “stupid bitch” might have been thrown around.

“But you know… I say that about everyone at some point really. I mean, I love you and I’m sure I’ve said it about you at some point too.”
Like when I break out my credit card for the band?
“EXACTLY. You stupid bitch.”

Kath returns to us post-meal, and finally we are able to wrangle Summer away from her new friends and convince her it’s time to go. I’m instructed to lead the way out the door – “Go, just… GO” – and while we do lose her in the process, we grab her again and then collect ourselves on the sidewalk. We’re going home now, right?

11:36pm – “Just a shot at Union Park” she says. Well, it is where the valet is…

I check with Kath, who really is at our mercy but if she bitched enough I’d cave. (Or hit an ATM and then shove her in a rickshaw.) She gives in, and off we go. We walk in and see the place is packed – C tries to turn Summer off the idea but there’s no doing that. There are multiple bars in Union Park – we head for the main one, but there’s something wrong with this one…? And off we go to what is known as the “boom boom” room.

It is a dark and tiny little room that is wall to wall people and thumping dance music. I’ve never seen it so packed. Naturally the bar is at the other end of the room from the entrance. Naturally the fact that you have to worm your way through the crowd is not a deterrent to Summer at all. The four of us make it there to the corner with Kath remarking “I just want you to know this is my own private version of hell”, down our shots, dance for about 5 minutes tops, and then fight our way out again. I have no idea what I drank. I’m also pretty sure Nancy Pelosi was dancing next to us.

11:50pm – So finally, when we’re convinced that we’re done with downtown, we head off to what is quite frankly the best bar in Austin – The Horseshoe. It’s like family there. It’s a dive bar in every sense of the word really, but everyone knows you, and if they don’t they soon will, unless you don’t want them to in which case okay then we won’t fuck with you.

Over the course of two hours there would be a cigarette thrown in someone’s eye (he totally deserved it), a random makeout session (“what’s his name?!?” “asshole“), an anniversary celebration (“don’t have kids, because they’d just be fucked up”), and some pretty rowdy shuffleboarding.

2:00am – As I pulled out of the parking lot, C said “Who the fuck do we think we are staying out till 2am??” Yeah, if you recall… that was not my plan. Granted it’s better than the 3 or 4 or later that I’ve been known to do, but still. I really did mean to be home much much earlier. Reading and shit. Or knitting. [Note: I have no idea how to knit]

On the way to her place, C complained about someone had stolen her beer koozie. As serious drinkers, we typically carry them with us. W inquired if it was her Packer koozie, knowing that losing that one would be a devastating loss indeed. In fact, if it was the Packer koozie, I was probably turning the car around and we were interrogating everyone at the Shoe until it turned up. No, wasn’t that one, was the burnt orange one from Trudy’s. [See if you’re a real serious drinker, you’ve got multiple koozies.] As she got out of the car, I caught a glimpse of something burnt orange and relayed the good news to C – “Hey genius, your koozie is in your back pocket.” Happy with the news, she grabbed it and laughed while W took over the front seat, shaking her head.

“Stupid bitch.”