About ten minutes after the truck was unloaded the Lizzle placed a phone call. The person on the other end was one of my very good friends back in my younger days.
"Hey! What's up? Why are you calling me in the middle of the day?"
"Well, I wanted to let you know I was in town."
"What? You're in town but not visiting?"
"I moved. I'm back."
"Jesus! Who died?"
"Nobody died... Yet... I just had to come back for a job."
"Yeah this town is a black hole like that."
"Ok, well, I don't want to keep you if you're working. Just wanted to let you know I was around."
"Oh, we're going camping this weekend. You should come."
"It's January. It's fucking cold."
"Well there's a cabin involved."
"Well that's not camping."
"Yeah it is. Come along. You'll see."
Saturday afternoon, as snow flurries fell, we drove out to the cabin. The cabin was out in the heart of butt-fucking nowhere. To accurately paint the picturesque scene, it's a rustic little number, with a wrap-around porch, resting atop a little hill with a small lake at the bottom. There was a decent-sized campfire burning out front, and two antique wood burning stoves burning inside. Yeah. Wood burning stoves, like "Little House on the Prairie" style. Those were the only heat source in the cabin aside from all of us running our mouths... There were lights, but no running water, and keeping the beer cold meant just leaving it outside the door.
We sat around talking and drinking for a little while, we cooked up some beer brats on the stove, and then someone took them out to grill them up on the campfire. We drank some more. More people showed up. And then someone suggested out of boredom that we go to a "bar" that was in "town." I use those terms loosely, because the "bar" was really just one of those single-level pre-fabricated trailer style structures... Though admittedly larger than your standard double-wide. I don't know much about trailer sizing, but I'd call this a quadruple wide... And that's about it. And as for "town," well that consisted of about six similar structures nestled on the same stretch of road in what was otherwise just a forest in the middle of nowhere.
But saints be praised, it was karaoke night in the wee little hamlet! And before you ask, the Lizzle did NOT sing karaoke. Largely because I don't know any country western songs, and that genre constituted the bulk of the karaoke catalogue. (They didn't even have "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond, which under normal karaoke standards is considered a requirement, and BEGS to be sung at the top of your lungs at any bar, EVEN IF IT'S NOT KARAOKE NIGHT!.)
It should be noted that being only two days removed from Chicago at this point, I was still quite used to REAL BARS. And though I'm far from being anyone's prize, I was still BY FAR the best looking person in the joint. (Don't get me wrong and think that I'm being boastful by saying that, because let me tell you, being the best looking one among that motley crew didn't require much more than the occasional bath and knowing that oral hygiene isn't something that you can pick up at the Carhart outlet.)
Long story short, we drank, we listened as some people pathetically warbled their favorite country tunes, I excitedly talked football around a campfire with some good ol' boys who were amazed that sports knowledge and a vagina could happily coexist in a single body, and when everyone else decided to go up to the loft to sleep, my punk ass parked it in an armchair next to one of the stoves... Because I'd rather sleep sitting up and be warm than sleep laying flat and shivering. It's really no contest when you think about it.
It might not be the most glamorous start to rekindling a social life, but at least I'm wasting no time jumping right back in there!