Sunday, June 03, 2012

What I Did On My Birthday

Birthdays have always been lame reminders of our own mortality - until now! For I have invented and perfected a fun concept that makes growing old, fat, and bald memorable and fun. I call it 'Going to bars that spell my name.' And this year, for the first time, I extended the concept to include restaurants.

So we started at the Mexican restaurant Amigos (sometimes called Tres Amigos) in Oerlikon, then moved on to News Bar, then D-Vino, Rio, El Lokal, and ended up in Double U. Most of these places were ace, but two ended up on my fast-growing list of boycotted places. Here's how it went:

Tres Amigos: The day had started well when the sun came up and decided to burn Zurich to a crisp. It was the last game of the season for FC Hard Seniors (who I play for because I'm old). We won 5-0 and I scored the decisive fifth goal. At Amigos, we had an outside table in the shade. So far, so perfect.

My soccering exertions had left me tanned and wispy-haired. I looked frikkin great and ordered Anna to take a photo of me. This photo has been lost forever, because Cecile grabbed the camera, roared 'Cecile smash!' and dashed it against the ground. The photos you see here were taken on phones, so the quality may vary.
As usual, the food and service in Amigos was good. I recommend the cheese-rich chicken burrito.

Train: 6 of us trained it to the city centre while Lisa went on her scooter. The train gods decided this trip should include an extended delay. This happens in Zurich about twice a year. It wasn't too bad though, until Cecile started showing off her elbow abnormality. Basically, her elbows pivot in any direction, so she can look like something from a horror movie. See for yourself:

You'll see this in your nightmares. Don't ever sleep.
Seeing this for the first time, Cecile's boyfriend Nick began rethinking if he wanted to marry her, and we started discussing whose friend I would be when they broke up. Nick won the debate by saying, "If you choose me, I can give you all the real dirt about Cecile." I can't wait till they break up!

News Bar: Manuel and Stephanie were there already, and Lisa had scooted there ahead of us. Tory's friend Maria joined us and we quickly merged some tables together and started chatting. It was still a glorious evening and everything was going swimmingly. 
News Bar - 7 Year boycott ends June 3rd, 2019
After fifteen minutes without service, I went inside and gently told the waitress that we were there. She said she'd be out right away. Fifteen minutes later, she came outside, took some ashtrays from the other tables, got to within two feet of our large, thirsty group, then legged it back inside. We were all astonished, but too thirsty for booze to find it funny or charming. So we left. News Bar is now blacklisted and I've started a 7-year boycott, similar to the punishment meted out to Henrici.

D-Vino: The contrast with News Bar couldn't have been greater. "Come in! Sit down!" said the waiter, eager to take money from us in exchange for goods and services. "Can we sit outside?" I asked. "But of course! Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to move all these tables for your large group." "So can I get a drink from you or should I order inside?" "It's table service! We'll come to you and take care of you! All you have to do is sit down, relax, and let us make your stay at D-Vino starkly, almost comically the opposite of what happened at News Bar."

And so it was. The service was amazing and with drinks freely flowing, the quality of silliness improved greatly. Highlights included an extended wine-glass-music jam, a hen party trying to get men to kiss the bride-to-be, who sadly looked like a pig in a nappy, and Cecile refusing to give me some of the chocolate cake she ordered because I'd chosen to side with Nick after their inevitable separation.

(Cecile refutes this version of events, and insists that I point out that the chocolate cake is divine and you should buy chocolate cake when you go to D-Vino. It's warm and comes with ice cream.)

Making music

Rio: Great music, hot barwoman. I gave her a big tip and told her it was because she danced while making my drink. But it wasn't. It was because she was hot. 

Manuel's elegant descent into drunkenness became a freefall - his Vodka Red Bull was four times bigger than normal (at the same price). Two police vans turned up, and then an ambulance, because something had happened at the nearby river. But the ambulance made a mistake and drove the wrong way, and returned five minutes later. "They're too late, everybody's dead now," said Manuel, and everyone gaped at him. None of us had ever heard Manuel say anything mean, ever, and seeing our astonishment he covered his mouth with his hands and tried to blame it on the vodka. Then he slipped into a gloriously unconstrained fit of giggles, captured in this photo:
"I hope they find the heads! Giggle!"
"Where are we going next?" asked Anna.
"El Lokal," said Josu, who had joined us, and who had actually read the schedule and understood it.
"!!!" Anna said with her face.
"Oh, there's a totally hot bar dude there. His ass is just ..." She mimed squeezing his ass. If Anna did get her hands on an ass and squeeze with that force, the ass would quickly be reduced to a fruity pulp and lose its sex appeal. Anyway, we were all intrigued and wanted to see the object of her affection for ourselves.

El Lokal: Great music again. More fun silliness. Then a tall, thin man walked past. He had long, greasy hair and a grumpy air. If you took the worst parts of Shaggy (from Scooby Doo), Professor Snape, and an unreconstructed caveman, you'd get this guy. Anna's face quivered with excitement. Josu's face stretched in disbelief. "You're not serious?" he said. "That guy?!" Nick, Cecile, Florian, Manuel, and Lisa were equally bemused and amused.

Lisa: "If a guy walks in and looks like he has no home, he's for Anna."
Nick: "Anna, the good thing is it's not often you can use the pickup line: 'Hey, I have a shower.'"
Cecile: "You should go and talk to him. I don't think any other girl would be interested so your chances are good!"
Anna (after 7 minutes of non-stop teasing): "You know what? You guys are kind of pissing me off right now. I'm going to ruin Andrew's birthday by storming off in a huff."

I went outside and calmed her down, while, brilliantly, repeating all of the jokes everyone else had thought up. When Anna is 95% angry, the fastest way to calm her down is to raise her anger level to 100%, because at that point she resets and goes right down to zero. It's pretty fascinating.

Kebab interlude: We had kebabs in the Niederdorf. Fake vegetarian Cecile took a bite out of my meat kebab when she thought I wasn't looking.

Double U: I had the choice of ending here or at Wings. Wings is your typical pretentious Zurich bar. It has the admittedly cool feature of having loads of equipment from the old Swiss Air, so some of the chairs are plane seats and that kind of thing.

But I chose Double U because it's one of the dive-iest places in Zurich. Or so I thought. In fact, not only had they cleaned the floor, improved the lighting, and added the coldest air-conditioner in human history, but drinks were normal price. In fact, they added 2 francs 'because it was after midnight.' What the fuck? Insane. Let the boycott begin! Still, we had fun.

Anna showing how many francs extra she had to pay
While I was trying to lecture everyone about why Dolph Lundgren is hugely underrated, why Rocky 4 is one of the three movies from our era that will still be watched in a thousand years, and why scoring the fifth goal in a 5-0 win is technically scoring the winning goal, Cecile kept going 'Speech!' 'Speech!' although with her accent it sounded like 'Sperch!'

I tapped the side of my ripoff caipirinha a few times and my friends fell silent. 
"I talked to Lisa today about hiring her restaurant and having my next party in there. We could fit 50 people in and have great food and it'd be awesome. But then I thought, are there fifty people in Zurich who I actually like? And the answer is no. Because you guys here are my best friends, and there's no-one I'd rather have at my party than you. And even if I live to be a thousand years old, I will always say, you guys have made this the best ripoff caipirinha I have ever had. Cheers."

There was complete silence. The silence was broken by the sound of flesh hitting flesh, and I looked up to see that Nick had started a slow handclap. Florian joined in, and then the others, and it grew faster and louder, and I realised the entire bar had joined in.
I wept a tear from my eye, and reduced the boycott on Double U bar from 2 years to 18 months. It was that kind of night.

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant.

    Except I think we leave the DoubleU in the two year basket - that place is a fucking dive and has no business charging 17 francs for a mojito.


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